[sword-devel] Doctrinal Statement

Chris Little sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 28 Jul 2000 17:48:46 -0700 (PDT)

Some good points have been brought up in this thread (burried somewhere
down there below all the flamage and rhetoric).

I think some kind of signing system is needed, possibly built into the
module format itself.  It may be time to update the sword module format to
include some new features.  Perhaps all modules should be encrypted such
that they are only properly readable if they are unaltered, something like
using their own checksum as an encryption key.

We might also add a message to the various frontends that would popup if
non-Crosswire-sanctioned modules were loaded in, similar to Larry P's
popups in OLB.  Or we could warn that possibly tampered-with files are
being loaded.

Personally, I'm all for adding support for non-canonical literature.  Last
I checked, very few of the commentaries we currently support have been
added to the canon. <g>  I'd like to see support for the Apocrypha though,
because I consider them a useful historical tool, a good read, and utterly
necessary in any serious scholastic Bible research tool.  (Name for me a
commercial product that doesn't support them.)  Aside from this, I'd like
to add support down the line for things like the Koran, Book of
Nag Hammadi codices, Pseudepigrapha, non-scriptural styled general 
books, etc.  Whether you're ministering to someone who believes them,
studying comparative-religion or historical/heretical 
Judaisim/Christianity, etc. they're recognized as useful texts, IMO.  I
know I'd like to have a Book of Mormon that I could study because I'm
helping my girlfriend write her grandfather's biography, which is
intended primarily as a ministry tool to Mormons--and I know nothing of
their religion really.

I do think we should make it clear, however, to our users what material is
Christian and what is not through labelling.  I don't think we should
stamp modules either Christian or heretical, but we should label them as
Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, LDS, etc.  I think this would be a
good idea, even with our current set of texts because we have a number of
Catholic and Jewish texts that Christian users may not desire to have for
simply that reason.  One of the only reasons I haven't made a module
of the Joseph Smith Translation/Inspired Version is that we don't
have any good labelling to warn people who might confuse it for
something other than an LDS text.  (Troy actually suggested labelling
quite a while ago, I'm just stealing his idea because it may have been

As for Troy not wanting to put non-Christian/canonical stuff on
CD...  that certainly works for me.  The focus of the CD should be on
Christians just wanting to read/study the Bible, for any other needs,
there's always the ftp site.

On original issue of estabilishing a doctrinal statement... I'd have to
urge against doing so.  We're a software development group, not a
church.  I think the introductory blurb on crosswire.org serves us well,
and anything additional, like a Crosswirean Creed, would probably be

Just my thoughts.  Hope not to have offended anyone too grievously.

--Chris Little