05 July 2011

Software news: new version of BibleWorks; new direction for Logos?

by Dan Phillips

Last October, in Why I love BibleWorks 8, I said: "To be much faster, [BibleWorks] would have to do the searches before I knew I wanted them."

Unbeknownst to me (but just now betoldst to me by Glenn Weaver, Content Developer with BibleWorks), just the day before I posted, the merry tech-elves at BW had implemented a new "Use Tab" in BibleWorks 9, then a work-in-progress. The way it works, I'm told, is that a mouse-over of a word in the Browse Window does an automatic search for every lemma or every form, in either the current book studied or in the entire Bible version. The Use Tab can be linked to the Stats Tab in a new fourth column, so that the Stats Tab updates automatically to show graphically where these search results occur.

So, in other words, BW added a search feature that does the searches before I know what I want, and they did it before I even mentioned I wanted it! Is that cool, or what?

The new BW9 can be ordered now. Read about the new features, and check out some demo videos. The full content is listed here, and upgrade information is here.

When I receive a copy, I plan to learn it, use it, and tell you about it.

In other Bible software news, Logos Bible Software has brought in a Roman Catholic Product Manager, whose "ambition...is to work in what Pope John Paul II called the New Evangelization." This announcement prompted Tim Challies — in what for him is an out-of-control, wild-eyed, virtually chair-throwing rant — to say "I was sorry to read this." Those six mild words brought down a shower of disapprobation and scolding from some of his commenters.

Bob Pritchett, President and CEO for Logos Bible Software, put up... an interesting post, in which he orders    forum posters, "Stop posting about errors in other people's doctrine." Further,
Please stop posting your own doctrine. Please stop responding to correct misperceptions or misunderstandings or to counter attacks. ...Logos Bible Software is here to serve everyone who studies the Bible. That is intentionally "big tent" and we intentionally do not have a statement of faith or a doctrinal position.
Then, having trumpeted Logos' lack of a doctrinal statement, Pritchett addressed the Roman Catholic customers they are courting:
[Roman] Catholics: Logos welcomes you, and we're working hard to provide more tools, resources, and support. We've hired a Catholic product manager and are working hard to serve you. But our customer base is still 95% protestant, and you know that there are some passionate and even out-of-control people in protestant churches, and that the protestants don't do a good job getting along on a single doctrinal statement. That's why the Catholic church is basically one large church, and the average protestant church splits after reaching 100-200 people. I know the attacks are painful and unkind, but please understand that you're "surrounded" by people who traditionally are more likely to split a church than seek unity. In the protestant mindset there isn't a single authority figure who will be respected, let alone able to quell debate and dissension.
Interesting on so many levels, no?

UPDATE: figuring that some of you would want to know where BW stands, I've been in some dialogue with them offline, and received this from BibleWorks president Mike Bushell: "The doctrinal position of BibleWorks  is that  expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. We attempt to run the company in a manner that is consistent with those doctrinal standards. That does not mean, nor does it need to mean, that all the content included in BibleWorks is consistent with those documents. Because of this confessional commitment, our priorities will necessarily move in a certain direction. It would be dishonest for us to pretend or claim otherwise. But we also believe that our focus on the Biblical text enables us to serve the needs of all students of Scripture, whatever their confessional or creedal position. The one thing that all professing believers have in common is a desire to understand what the Word of God teaches. We try to provide the tools that are necessary for any student of Scripture to study the Word of God in depth." I would also point out THIS and THIS FAQ article.

Dan Phillips's signature

45 comments:

JackW said...

Well, it is true that it is difficult to be united when you are not a cult. They really should study the Bible though.

BW for iPad?

Nope.

DJP said...

JTW -- interesting that you mention cults, and then an Apple product.

Just sayin'.

Robert said...

Wow...just wow. I like Logos and all, but that guy totally missed the boat. Maybe he missed Paul's comments from Ephesians 4 about how we're supposed to provide grace with our speech in order to edify each other. Of course, when you're more worried about bringing in the goats than dealing with sheep, I guess that stuff kinda goes out the window. And no, I am not saying all Catholics are goats...however, from what I saw growing up in the RCC I think the broad majority are. And I thnak God for saving me from staying on the path I was on as I grew up learning just a little bit of the heretical teachings of the RCC.

Fred Butler said...

I always wondered about Logos' OT guy and his weird views on the word elohim and his odd interest in UFO stuff. Don't know what's that about.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnny Dialectic said...

Hmm, Logos was built for Bible study which practically defines evangelicalism. Catholics have not exactly been encouraged by the magisterium to do the same. Maybe it's not a bad thing for individual Catholics to be encouraged in this pursuit...they'll come across an abundance of Protestant material that could very well change them.

I would, however, like to see Logos make clear when their packages are directed to Catholics.

Jeff said...

Dan:

It seems that publishing Bible study software is becoming like all forms of Christian publishing . . . market-driven. When the market pressures drive the business plan rather than theology, this is what happens. Logos's "all things to all men" approach should surprise no one. Several Grand Rapids print publishers have been doing this for years.

Bob's post does express a theological point of view, a fact that he seems to be totally unaware of.

The news is sad, but not surprising.

Jeff

DJP said...

RCs can study the Bible.

And the magisterium tells them what they're allowed to see when they do.

Anything contradictory is just their lying eyes.

C. M. Sheffield said...

Thanks for the post Brother. . .

Now back to splitting-up my church!

DJP said...

Well, right, CM -- because that's what we do.

Larry Geiger said...

"Interesting on so many levels, no?" Why do I think that we haven't heard the last of this?

Frank Turk said...

I have heard that Mormons are looking for a decent Bible Software product as well.

I am actually trying to help them find one,a nd now I have a great idea ...

Robert said...

Frank,

I read your comment and imagined a Mormon "prophet" or somebody like Joseph Smith popping up and saying, "Silly Christians, the Bible is for kids!" (a la the Trix bunny) Because they have those other "inspired" books, ya know? Although their doors are opened just as wide as the Catholics...they've even baptized all the presidents (at least I knew that had up until Obama...not sure if theye did for him or not)

stratagem said...

As Dan said, "interesting on so many levels."

As a marketer and a company executive, it is interesting to me that any successful company would allow one of its managers to publicly denigrate a group that by his own admission, constitutes 95% of its customer base, in order to pacify 5% of its customer base. Gutsy move, that. Perhaps more gutsy than wise.

As a Christian, it's interesting to see how biased the company official is that made the post, considering that there are apparently a multitude of bad characteristics associated with protestantism, and apparently none associated with Catholicism.

But, things are looking up for us protestants: If Logos succeeds in getting Catholics to read and understand the Bible for what it says, it won't be long before they are out there splintering as well.

By the way, I want it known that there is only one Universal Holiness Baptist Church of Paducah. All churches that have split away from it (including those who have left to join the RCC) are "splintered," and only the UHBCP is unified. ;-)

Deb_B said...

stratagem wrote, in part:
"...As a Christian, it's interesting to see how biased the company official is that made the post..."

That particular "company official" is the owner and co-founder of the company.

stratagem said...

Kind of irrelevant that it's the founder of the company, except that he can't blame his company throwing 95% of his customers under the bus on some foolish underling who didn't know what he was talking about. Making it a doubly-stupid move from a business standpoint.

I think this might be the same man who wrote the book "Fire Someone Today", a business tome I read a couple of years ago. Maybe he should take his own advice and fire himself, turning the company over to someone a little more customer friendly? Just a thought.

Thanks for letting me know.

Sir Aaron said...

@Jeff: I'm not sure this is an example of trying to be everything to everyone. It looks like an specific attempt to reconcile Catholicism with Protestantism.

I might be less opposed if it were simply a money making move...you know, to include as much religious literature as possible to broaden the customer base. But that wasn't the reason given.

Deb_B said...

stratagem wrote, in part:
"...Thanks for letting me know."

You're welcome. I don't know quite what to make of it all just yet - it perplexes me, frankly - just stating a fact.

Christina said...

Strategem said it best.

Pritchett's mischaracterization of Protestantism is disrespectful and highly offensive. But, that aside, I am truly astounded by the profound lack of business sense that is on display here.

To insult and disrespect "95%" of your customer base (I'm assuming his percentage is accurate) is just flat out stupid. That’s called bad business!

To boot, his comments are STILL in the forum for all to see. Surely, there must be one person at Logos with the sense and the courage to plead with him to take it down. Any intelligent company would tell you that is a PR nightmare -- or, at the very least, it has the potential to be. Yet his very disrespectful and inaccurate comments STILL stand.

For me, it is this terrible display of business savvy, on top of everything else, that makes this so astounding.

DJP said...

One particularly tone-deaf aspect is that it's simply a recycled RC snipe at Christianity. It would be as if Logos wanted to feature the Collected Works of Bell and Maclaren, and hired an Emerg*** guy to promote them all, then responded to criticism by saying "95% of our customers are fundamentalists trapped in a Western mindset and hopelessly detached from the real pulse of what Jesus would say to this culture." Yeah, hello?

~Mark said...

It's interesting to see the presented backgrounds of most of those who are patting the owner on the back for his statement. Kinda reminds me of the pastor I know who moved decidedly liberal, then I found out his daughter is flirting with lesbianism.

LeeC said...

The New World Translation should be good for at least 144000 copies.

Brendt said...

Although Pritchett may have worded his post poorly, I find it interesting how defensive the comments here have been. Even if Roman Catholicism is unified for the wrong reasons and Protestantism has splits on oft-relevant issues, we Protestants have a lousy track record for seeking unity, even (and especially) when the reasons are not relevant. Yet not one comment allows for reflection on even the possibility of validity of this point.

The doctrine of penance seems to imply that man must, in some manner, take part in his own justification. And this issue is one of the more significant differences between Protestant doctrine and Roman Catholic doctrine. Given all the self-justification going on in these comments by Protestants, and assuming the difference that I just stated, one must come to the conclusion that penance is a Protestant thing.

DJP said...

Drawing one of Brendt's unfailingly off-target snarks is a sure sign that a meta is on-target.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pierre Saikaley said...

This announcement prompted Tim Challies — in what for him is an out-of-control, wild-eyed, virtually chair-throwing rant — to say "I was sorry to read this." Those six mild words brought down a shower of disapprobation and scolding from some of his commenters.

What can I say?It's the Canadian in him. We're such...nice people.

Reforming Baptist said...

It's all about filthy lucre. The execs who made those decisions are making the bottom line, the bottom line. This isn't new. The publisher called "Group" that supplies most of our churches with VBS materials sold themselves out to the Catholics so that they could make a few bucks on licensing their product to be tweaked for Catholic VBS.

Jeff Brown said...

Nothing new here - Logos Bible Software has always been a for profit business that just happens to produce the best Bible Study software (hands down) and nothing more. They never have claimed to be anything more or less than a business.

Being a computer guy and a Pastor I have used both Bibleworks and Logos side by side for years until version 4 of Logos came out now I use Bibleworks less and less because Logos does everything now.

For years Bibleworks slogan has been "focus on the text" and they have done that well but this last year I have received "offers" for more content to work inside BW8. Also when I preordered BW9 I noticed they included Grudems Systematic Theology and the ESV Study Bible in the upgrade which is great but I will probably never use in BW9 because I have them in Logos and it does a much better job with content.

From a Pastoral standpoint I benefit from both these tools greatly - in my opinion BW needs to focus on the text and keep focusing on the text and Bob needs to quit making commments about theology and focus on making Logos a better product.

From a business standpoint (and that is what Logos is) why wouldn't you want to target a potential billion more customers? Sounds like a great business idea and very entrepreneurial.

And here is another novel idea - let Logos make the software and then let the elders of the local churches (not business leaders) teach sound doctrine and rebuke those who contradict it.

“He [Elders]must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. ” (Titus 1:9, ESV).

Just sayin... :-)

Love in Christ
Jeff

Brendt said...

Dan, in your OP, you said, "Interesting on so many levels, no?"

All of the other comments have hit on the same level when you called attention to many levels. For some silly reason, I thought that this non-specificity in your analysis of the situation meant that you were interested in discussion of the issue. I did not realize that blatantly ignoring your "many levels" question was the only way to remain on-topic.

The oddest thing to me, though, is that (thus far, anyway) you are the only one to respond -- for two reasons. (1) My point was very largely addressed to others. (2) This is not the first time that your readers have rushed to assure us that a DJP-penned post was inapplicable to them when you more specifically addressed an error and even when it was a case where you confessed that this was a problem with which you struggled, too.

This particular post has not drawn any "I thank thee that I am not like Dan" comments, but the self-justification in the meta is tiresome, nonetheless.

DJP said...

...and now the usual Brendt-playbook has not only been played but, one hopes, played out.

MikeB said...

As a user of Bible Study SW (in this case Logos), I want SW that is easy to use and provides good value (ie books, translations, etc). I am not looking for the provider to have a doctrinal statement that I agree (or disagree) with. So from that point of view I understand where Logos is coming from.

That said the post from Logos regarding comments on protestants seems over the top and to contradict the "big tent" they were aiming for.

Thanks for the post and update. C. Michael Patton has also tweeted on Bible Works so may have to make the switch one of these days - especially since I am still not upgraded to Logos 4.

-MikeB

Brendt said...

Translation: Move along. Nothing to see here. No reason for a man to examine himself.

Solameanie said...

If there was ever an opportunity to "Frank" the meta here, this is it.

Unfortunately, my sense of humor is failing me, so I will have to pass. And Frank won't be able to whack me.

As a point of seriousness, this kind of thing always bothers me to some extent. Yet if I make any critical comment about past commentaries etc, I could open myself to the same criticisms, i.e. why diss an on-line resource when the printed page could be just as bad or worse.

It almost tempts me to chuck all technology out the window, go buy a tube of VO-5, Brylcream or Pomade, sit down with my King James Only Bible and a plate of fried chicken.

Brendt said...

Frank, you've been verbized! Congrats, bro! :)

stratagem said...

"why wouldn't you want to target a potential billion more customers?"

You would. The question is, why do you want to tick off 95% of your customers in doing it? Especially when you don't have to?

Steve said...

Below is a statement by Bob Pritchett:

"Wouldn't it be great if all the people who waste their time and energy on petty things put that time and energy into Bible study?

Wouldn't it be great if people who've made horrible theological errors and are leading others astray spent their time in studying the Word? "

I'm reminded of this song. It goes like this:

"Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace"

Sounds like Bob Pritchett DOES have a theological position after all! Lennonology. :)

Tyrone said...

A very Interesting stat 100-200 and then the split, I never knew that!

Steve said...

To Bob Pritchett:
You have identified yourself as a Protestant. Therefore, I can assume you are a born-gain believer. As such, whether you like it or not you have a responsibility, as do all believers, to pursue and promote biblical truth. "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Timothy 4:16).

You stated, "I certainly don’t feel qualified to teach theology" BUT you feel qualified enough to peddle false theology to those under a false religious system. Bob, you are accountable before God. That should cause you to tremble. You are just as guilty as a false teacher because you are making money on false doctrine and feeding it to those who will be condemned for their idol worship.

Some will say this is an extreme example but I don't think it is. Do you think those who provide pornography are guiltless? Aren't they just giving people what they want? Well, idol worship, and false doctrine, are no worse than pornography.

The big hurdle that I just can't get over is that you, a professing Christian, are making money off of peddling idolatry and false teachings. And just to be clear, your objective in offering RC theology, as evidenced by the stated goal of your new Catholic Product Manager, is NOT to equip Christians to confront falsehood but rather it is to strengthen Catholics in their idolatry. His admitted ambition is to "work in what Pope John Paul II called the New Evangelization" which, I'm sure you are already aware, or at least you should be is, among other things, to Catholicize Protestant Christians. http://www.christlife.org/evan...

For "95%" of your customer base, the larger issue is not that you "threw Protestants under the bus" but rather that you are throwing Christ and his Word under the bus! All to make a dollar on peddling false theology to lost souls.

Steve

1 Tim 6:10
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs"

2 John 1:10-11
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works

bereanboarder said...

Not to be overly commercial here but what about Accordance? It is a very mature original Bible languages program that has been around for a long time. If you're going to review Logos and BW please at least mention Accordance. It is at least the equal if not a superior produce to the other two in it's own way. (Not to start a Bible study produce flame war mind you ;-)

DJP said...

I don't think Accordance works on grownups' pcs, does it?

(c;

Steve said...

Dan, you are correct Accordance is made for us who belong to the evil empire. Mac Users! :)

You can run Mac on windows and use it though, but reading the brief comments you have made about Mac I doubt that would happen :)

DJP said...

Well, if They gave me a good one (?), for testing purposes and all, you know, I might give it a whirl.

threegirldad said...

You can run Mac on windows...

Technically, yes...but not legally. Apple's End User License Agreements (EULAs) specifically prohibit the installation or use of the OS "on any non-Apple-branded computer."

Peter said...

Steve-

Thanks for mentioning Accordance for the Mac. I have only an old computer (PPC running Tiger), so there's nothing else out there for me.
I don't mind because Windows machines are just so ugly and clunky. They look like those Yugo things before Reagan made that speech to Gorbachev and the Wall came down and Eastern Europe became free and...

No, I haven't joined a cult, I'm just enthusiastic.

I'm downloading the Free Trial now. See if it works...

Steve said...

Dan,

Just wondering. Now the whole Logos ordeal is now over, do you think that Bob Pritchett should still keep his comments up as he is doing?

"Catholics: Logos welcomes you, and we're working hard to provide more tools, resources, and support. We've hired a Catholic product manager and are working hard to serve you. But our customer base is still 95% protestant, and you know that there are some passionate and even out-of-control people in protestant churches, and that the protestants don't do a good job getting along on a single doctrinal statement. That's why the Catholic church is basically one large church, and the average protestant church splits after reaching 100-200 people. I know the attacks are painful and unkind, but please understand that you're "surrounded" by people who traditionally are more likely to split a church than seek unity. In the protestant mindset there isn't a single authority figure who will be respected, let alone able to quell debate and dissension.

Respectfully,

-- Bob"