Manga Bible or Mangled Bible?

Thanks to HB reader and correspondent Ed Lacorte for pointing me to a NYT story about the recent publication of a “Manga” Bible in which Noah loses count of the animals and has to start again and the the sermon on the mount is omitted because there’s not enough action. If this niche Bible isn’t your cup of tea, remember there’s always “Revolve” (for teen-age girls) which sold 40,000 copies in its first month or there’s the forthcoming life of Jesus as a sort of Clint Eastwood like character.


This is what comes of evangelical pragmatism married to modern marketing. This is what comes of trying to make the bible “relevant.” This is what comes when we drag the bible into our world rather than letting the bible drag us into its world.

The bible can’t be “made” relevant, hip, cool, or whatever. It’s not any of those. It’s the culturally transcendent Word of God that was given in particular cultures, languages, and times. The Bible cannot me made over any more than Jesus can be made over. Jesus is who he is. There isn’t “this” Jesus or “that” Jesus. There’s just Jesus. Any “blue eyed” Jesus isn’t Jesus. Any Hawaiian surfer Jesus (whom I saw once in a poster) isn’t Jesus. He wasn’t American. He wasn’t Japanese. He wasn’t (and isn’t) African. God the Son became incarnate in Palestine. He became incarnate as Jew. He was and remains and historical person. The bible isn’t a Shakespeare play that can be endlessly re-cast and re-set in new times and cultures. The bible comes to us in given historical cultures and yet, speaking to us about the kingdom of God from those times and cultures it transcends them.

It is not Christ who must be re-made in our image (idolatry) to be made relevant to us, it is we who must be remade in his image and be made relevant to him. It is not we, who at the end of days, shall say, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” It is he who will say that to us humans.

Here endeth the rant.

UPDATE: Stan Guthrie at CT weighs in.

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