Weekly Review

China’s Bible, Australia’s “Pragmatic Conservative” PM, Canada Snubs Unplanned, Twitter Orthodoxy, and Sigrid Undset

Chinese Bible Birthday. One of the most widely read Bibles in the world is 100 years old this year, and it’s likely that you’ve never heard of it. The Chinese Union Version (CUV) Bible, the most commonly used Bible translation in the Chinese world, was first published in 1919.  China has had fragments of Bible translations since the 7th century but didn’t get a complete Bible until 1822. However, in 1890, missionaries from a variety of denominations began working cooperatively on a new Bible translation based on the English Revised Version. According to WORLD, “It took 16 years to translate the New Testament and another 13 for the Old Testament. In 1919, two versions of this translation—the Chinese Union Version—were published, one in classical Chinese and one in vernacular Chinese.” Though newer translations exist, it continues to be the most popular translation, widely used by churches and by Chinese Christians for study and devotional use. WORLD has a fascinating and much more complete account of the CUV Bible, and I commend that excellent article to you.

Aussie Tide Turns. Conservatives strengthened their hold on Australian politics this week. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ruling conservative coalition won 78 seats. In Australia’s parliamentary system, parties need 77 seats to form the majority government. Morrison became prime minister in August of last year. Morrison is a Pentecostal Christian who attends an Assemblies of God church in Australia, and he calls himself a “pragmatic conservative.” That means he has not actively opposed abortion and same-sex marriage, but says he believes they are issues for the territories and not the federal government. Morrison welcomed the victory as a “miracle” and thanked the “quiet Australians” who voted for the coalition. “Tonight is about every single Australian who depends on their government to put them first,” he said.

Canada Snubs Unplanned. Two of Canada’s largest theater chains have refused to show the pro-life movie Unplanned.  The movie’s director, Chuck Konzelman, told Grandin Media, “They see excluding us from Canada as ‘positive good’ … effectively enacting de facto censorship, without right of appeal.” Taking out the two largest movie theater owners in the country means the movie has so far not been able to find a distributor to get it in other, smaller theater chains. Canada allows abortion at all stages of pregnancy, right up to the time of birth.

Twitter’s Thought Police. Twitter temporarily suspended the account of psychologist Ray Blanchard after he posted a list of concerns about transgenderism. Blanchard teaches at the University of Toronto and he served on the working group for gender dysphoria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the definitive book for mental disorder definitions and classification. Twitter reinstated his account, but not without making the point that it “takes reports of violations of the Twitter Rules very seriously.”

Milestones. Yesterday, May 20, was the 137th birthday of Sigrid Undset. Though largely unknown today, Undset wrote the monumental Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, for which she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Raised by atheist parents, she became an agnostic herself before converting to Christianity at age 42. In part as a result of her Christian faith, she became involved in resistance to the Nazis in her adopted country of Norway. She had to flee Norway during the Nazi occupation, but eventually returned and lived there to the end of her life. She died in 1949. Her devout Christianity is strongly reflected in her fiction, though the integration is organic, not dogmatic. She has been mostly forgotten by Christians today, but she should be studied as a model for how to authentically integrate faith and art.


Warren Cole Smith is the Vice-President of Mission Advancement for the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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