[sword-devel] Copyright Scripture distribution

Jerry Hastings sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sat, 04 Dec 1999 21:04:10 -0700

At 06:27 AM 12/4/1999 +0000, Paul Gear wrote:
>Jerry Hastings wrote:
>> At 08:23 PM 12/3/1999 -0800, Joel Mawhorter wrote:
>> >Since the issue of Copyrighted texts is being discussed on this
>> >list, I thought I would give some info. on my experiences.
>> Thanks for posting that, Joel. It was very interesting.
>Scary is my word for it - a Bible society reluctant to give out Bibles?

Yes, it is. It also points to something I was trying to show. That in
trying to protect their translation, with good reasons to protect it, they
end up in a system that is made for worldly problems, not church problems.
I don't want to fault them for using the system. The Apostle Paul appealed
to the powers at Rome. Many US churches and Christian organizations are
public organizations that by law belong not to "The Church" but to the
public, with the government keeping an eye on them to make sure that the
public's money and property are being use correctly. Again, I don't fault
people for going that way. In fact, I am with such an organization and took
part in its incorporation. But, we did a lot of taking to get me past the
scary feelings I had about it.

If you have ever been part of a church that became political or a ministry
that became a business, then you know something about scary and also about
how well meaning Christians can disagree on how to be "in the world but not
of it." Sometimes you just have to let each other answer to God.

What does this have to do with Sword? Well, my suggestion is that those
involved with Sword not think of organizations as Christians, and not think
of Sword as a tool to Christianize and correct the worldly behavior of an
organization like Zondervan. Sword should be something for the believer,
"The Church" and those seeking God. Zondervan is to Sword just a way to get
more people to use and promote Sword. If someone there makes some money,
even a lot of money, what is that to us? 

Bible Foundation gives Bibles away free. There have been detractors that
think there is a problem because you can't be sure if someone asking for
Bibles is not just wanting them to sell. But if someone in Ghana can sell a
dollar Bible for a few cents, someone still ends up with a Bible, and that
person may care more for it than someone that got it for free. So, my point
is that we should not worry about the middle man, other than to make it
easy for the middle man to pass Sword on to the end user. In the case of
Zondervan and the NIV, what then should be done do so that Zondervan and
the NIV are not a hindrance to the Sword but part of reason that more
people will be studying Scripture. Perhaps part of the answer is to not
worry about how much Zondervan makes on the NIV, or the nature of the
restriction they put on the NIV. They can worry about that for themselves.