Tag Archives: Logos Bible Software

RefTagger Anywhere

Several years ago I created Bible Refalizer: an extension for Firefox that automatically hyperlinks Bible references in any web page to an online Bible. I’ve made a few minor improvements over the years in response to user feedback, but I haven’t implemented the most commonly requested feature, namely, the option to add tooltips containing the Bible passage to the hyperlinks. I haven’t added that feature because, in all honesty, it would take too much work and I don’t have the time and motivation.

Most of the people who have asked for this feature make a comparison with RefTagger. Created by the clever folk from Logos Bible Software, RefTagger is “a tool that lets your website visitors instantly view a Bible passage by hovering their mouse over a Bible reference.” It’s very nicely done and you’ve almost certainly seen it in action on one of your favorite blogs or websites (if you have JavaScript enabled in your browser). However, while RefTagger’s processing is done on the client side (i.e., in the user’s browser) the code to enable it has to be added on the server side (i.e., by the owner of the blog or website). For this reason RefTagger only functions on sites that have chosen to implement it.

Until now, that is.

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Review of Scholar’s Library (Logos Bible Software)

Installing a new software package on your computer is rarely an interesting or pleasurable experience. The longer it takes, the more irritating it becomes. Strangely, however, I found that installing the Scholar’s Library from Logos Bible Software flouted this principle. Even though it takes a good while to install, I didn’t resent the wait, because the installation process itself makes clear just why it takes the time it does. As all of the electronic books in the library are copied from the DVD to your hard drive, thumbnail images of their covers are displayed on the screen like playing cards dealt face-up on a table. And believe me, there are a lot of cards to be dealt!

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The Collected Works of John M. Frame, Volume 1

“The Collected Works of John M. Frame, Volume 1: Theology” is as descriptive and accurate a title as one could want for an electronic library. The first of three volumes to be released, it contains all six of Frame’s books on theological topics:

  • The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God is the first book in Frame’s ‘Theology of Lordship’ series. It’s essentially a detailed exploration of what Scripture has to say on the subject of epistemology: what knowledge is, what we can and do know, and how we know it.
  • The Doctrine of God, the second in the ‘Lordship’ series, is an exposition of the attributes and character of the God of Scripture, centred on His self-designation as ‘Lord’ (Yahweh). Among other things, it contains lengthy discussions of the problem of evil and the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • Salvation Belongs to the Lord is an introductory systematic theology, based on a survey course Frame was invited to teach in 2004. As modern evangelical STs go, it isn’t a competitor to the weighty volumes by, e.g., Wayne Grudem and Robert Reymond, but neither is it intended to be. In keeping with Frame’s other writings, it’s clear, concise, reliable, readable, and edifying.
  • No Other God is Frame’s critique of Open Theism, the revisionist view of God promoted by Clark Pinnock, John Sanders, Greg Boyd, and others. One of the features that distinguishes it from other classical theist responses to openness theology is that it is explicitly and unashamedly Reformed. A large part of the book is devoted to refuting one of the driving presuppositions of Open Theism, namely, libertarian human freedom.
  • The Amsterdam Philosophy is one of Frame’s earliest publications: a short but penetrating critical assessment of the philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd and his followers. It isn’t as relevant today as it was in 1972, but it remains instructive as a critique of an influential movement that tended to put philosophy rather than Scripture in the driving seat.
  • Perspectives on the Word of God contains the text of three lectures delivered at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1988, applying (with relative brevity) Frame’s triperspectivalism to the subjects of divine revelation and ethics. As such, it offers a preview of the final two volumes in the ‘Lordship’ series: The Doctrine of the Word of God and The Doctrine of the Christian Life.

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The Works of Cornelius Van Til

According to one leading Reformed theologian, Cornelius Van Til is “the most important Christian thinker of the twentieth century.” If that’s an overstatement, it’s a forgivable one. Van Til’s thought was profound, innovative, and provocative. He wrote voluminously, and his most prominent publications have been variously engaged, praised, and condemned by Christian scholars from practically every point on the theological spectrum. His ‘presuppositionalist’ Christian philosophy with its sharp distinction between analogical thought (“man thinking God’s thoughts after Him”) and autonomous thought (“man is the measure of all things”) has wide-ranging implications for many other disciplines: apologetics, education, systematic theology, biblical hermeneutics, scientific inquiry, counselling — indeed, for any area of human study and endeavour one cares to mention.

In 1997 Logos published The Works of Cornelius Van Til on CD-ROM in their Logos Library System format. For those of us with a more than passing interest in Van Til’s thought, this was a gift from the heavenlies. A labour of love by Eric Sigward (who must have spent hundreds of hours assembling, editing, and formatting its content) the CD-ROM contained 29 of Van Til’s books (including both editions of The Defense of the Faith) and over 200 other articles, pamphlets, reviews, and unpublished manuscripts. It also boasted over 50 hours of audio recordings. In addition to this wealth of content, the Logos Library System provided a fully indexed search facility that enabled complex searches for words and phrases (e.g., display every paragraph in which Van Til used the phrase ‘natural theology’ near the word ‘Arminian’).

At this point, I have to make a shameful confession. The Works of Cornelius Van Til has been utterly indispensable in helping me to sustain a wholly undeserved reputation. By serving as the moderator for the Van Til email discussion list for 8 years, and the maintainer of www.vantil.info for 6 years, it seems I’ve inadvertently given people the impression that I’m an ‘expert’ on all things Van Tilian. (Sadly, this is far from true, but I’ve been reluctant to come clean on the matter until now.) As a consequence, with some regularity I get emails asking me what Van Til thought or wrote on such-and-such a matter. Without the Van Til CD-ROM, my ignorance would be manifest; but with its help, I’m invariably only minutes away from an answer that makes me look like the world’s greatest living authority on the Dutch Calvinist philosopher.

“Can you tell me what Van Til had to say about the New Testament canon?”

“What’s Van Til’s take on the Sermon on the Mount?”

“Did Van Til ever interact with Dietrich Bonhoeffer?”

No problem! (Click, click, tappety-tap, click.) You want citations with that?

Imagine then my delight on learning that Logos have issued an ‘enhanced edition’ of The Works of Cornelius Van Til. All the original content has been preserved, but also updated to take full advantage of the Libronix Digital Library System (the successor to the Logos Library System). The material has been arranged into 40 volumes to facilitate navigation and searching. Furthermore, the new edition includes thousands of indexed hyperlinks to other Libronix resources, such as Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion and Barth’s Church Dogmatics. By means of the same technology, it is now possible to find out — in a matter of minutes — in which of his writings Van Til interacts with, for example, Calvin’s discussion of the sensus divinitatis or Barth’s treatment of the doctrine of Scripture. Provided that no one reads this review, I’m confident that my ill-deserved reputation as a Van Til scholar will be secure for many years to come.

Whatever one thinks of Van Til’s work, there’s no denying that The Works of Cornelius Van Til is a fantastic resource. At the time of writing, Logos are offering it on sale at a substantial discount, but I’ve been told that if readers of this review use the magic coupon code ‘VANTIL’ they’ll receive a further 25% discount when they order the product before 31st July 2008. And those who own the original Logos version of the CD-ROM are entitled to a free upgrade.* What more could one ask for? (Did someone say, “The Collected Works of John M. Frame”? Volume 1 is already available; 2 and 3 are the pipeline.)


*As Phil Gons of Logos explained to me: “It is true that owners of the old Logos version of the Works of Van Til get the new version for free. We’ve actually already activated the new version in the Libronix accounts of everyone who owned the old version; however, if someone never made the switch to Libronix, this automatic upgrade wouldn’t have worked for them. They will have to call our customer service (800-875-6467) and have it manually unlocked. There is a qualification, though. The individual must have owned the old version prior to the release of the new version or at least not purchased the old version as a way to get the new version at a significantly reduced rate.”