[Please note the addendum at the end of this post.]
Ever since Adam’s fall into iniquity, our minds have been—in the words of John Calvin in his commentary on Genesis—“smitten with blindness and infected with innumerable errors.” The primeval fall not only stained our natures but also degraded our bodies so that imperfection has crept into every fiber of our beings, including the workings of our brains. Theologians call this “the noetic effect of the fall,” demonstrating once again that theologians need to come up with more creative names when they attempt to describe theological phenomena.
In any case, the noetic effect of the fall explains–at least in part–why you forgot to pick up your daughter from dance class last week, why you can’t recall a single formula you memorized in high-school geometry, and why you and your spouse got into that argument yesterday about where you ate on your first date.
It’s also why, no matter how carefully authors and editors review manuscripts, at least a few errors are still present when the book is published.
So here’s the deal: After a thorough review of the first printing of PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace, I found a handful of errors–some of them my fault, some due to the noetic effect of the fall on others, all of them in need of correction.
All of them will be corrected before the second printing of the book, but–for those amazing people out there who will purchase their copies from the first printing–here’s the full listing of errors, with commentary.
So, kids, get out your favorite crayons and prepare to start marking these corrections in the closest copy of PROOF (unless, of course, your closest copy of PROOF is the property of a bookstore or library; if so, you might want to reconsider before applying your purple crayon–grace is great, but I wouldn’t push it with librarians or bookstore managers).
Palmer, Plant, PROOF, and the Sad Truth About the Music to Which I Listened in the 1980s
When 1988 began, my music of choice was Def Leppard and Van Halen with some Kenny Loggins and Cheap Trick from the Top Gun soundtrack in the mix as well. That changed a little more than halfway through the year, when I purged secular radio stations from my boom box, erased all my iniquitous cassettes, and then packed those same cassettes with bootlegs of Petra, Stryper, and DeGarmo & Key. (For those of you who are too young to know what I mean by “cassettes,” here’s a brief history of this amazing bit of ancient technology.)
But there was one particularly catchy radio hit that I recall hearing soon before this great sonic purge. It was “Simply Irresistible,” by Robert…someone whose last name began with the letter P.
And therein lies the problem.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I always thought the singer was former Led Zeppelin lead vocalist Robert Plant. I’ve since learned that it was an entirely different individual named Robert Palmer. Thus the most horrifying error in the entire book: On page 92, the singer of “Simply Irresistible” is wrongly identified as Robert Plant. A quarter-century later, it’s clear that my great musical purge cost me more than my Top Gun soundtrack.
Practice Your Penmanship, Boys and Girls
The last two rounds of tweaks in the manuscript were made by hand on galley proofs. Penmanship–or, as the politically-correct people among us like to say, penpersonship–was not my favorite subject in school because it involved doing the same thing over and over; I do not deal well with repetition, unless it’s 1980s hair-band music which I’m quite content to repeat forever.
The result is that the words “common-sense” in my handwritten addition to page 138 looked to a well-intended editor like “common-serve.” Hence, a bizarre reference on page 138 to “common-serve philosophy”–which could be a great philosophical movement in which philosophers attempt to provide sufficient warrant for serving one another, except that this would have nothing to do with what I’m talking about on page 138 of PROOF which has to do with the origins of Charles Finney’s revivalism.
My penmanship also appears to be the reason why Jared Wilson’s outstanding book Gospel Deeps is misidentified as Gospel Days on page 204–though I do think that, since he’s such an amazing writer, Jared Wilson should definitely consider writing a book entitled Gospel Days as well, if only to make my errant footnote seem more believable.
There’s a chart that I simply forgot to check. No excuses, no anecdotes about my high school musical tastes, no appeals to poor penmanship. I merged two columns of a chart trying to simplify the chart and neglected to work carefully through the result.
In the top cell of the rightmost column on page 165, the heading should read: Predestination based on God’s unconditional choice with no offer of gospel to non-elect. In the cell under that one, this sentence should appear at the end: The outward call of the gospel does not apply to the non-elect. Also, on the next page, it would have been more clear to say God does not actively cause anyone to be condemned instead of “God does not actively choose anyone to be condemned.”
A Determination about Determinism
If I were a causal determinist, I could declare that something or someone greater than myself caused all of these errors. In this way, I could attempt to evade responsibility for my failures. But alas, I’m not a causal determinist when it comes to my beliefs about human freedom; I’m a compatibilist–a position which some philosophers have dubbed “soft determinism,” even though I wouldn’t call it determinism at all. Still, since there are differences in terminology on this issue, I should have been clearer in footnote 8 on page 216.
Instead of declaring that “the Reformed view of God’s government of human affairs is not deterministic” I should have said, for the sake of clarity, the Reformed view of God’s government of human affairs is not causally deterministic.
Thus ends this series on the handful of errors in the forthcoming book PROOF.
The Good News!
In 1631, an English printer made a mistake when printing a copy of the Bible, leaving out one tiny word in Exodus 20:14. The result was that this edition of the Bible declared, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Despite the probable popularity of this new revelation, the printer was fined three hundred pounds, and most of the thousand Bibles that he printed were burned. Today, however, the few copies that remain are each worth about $100,000.
So, who knows?
Hang on to that first printing of PROOF, and you may be looking at a fortune sometime in the future.
But I wouldn’t bank my retirement on it if I were you.
There is, we have learned, one other item in the book that needs to be–and will be–corrected before the second printing.
The chapter on resurrecting grace is filled with references that are unique to Louisville–baseball bats, bourbon, and the zombie walk are mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, then we land in a local Louisville coffee shop to close the chapter out. Working through the chapter to infuse local flavor in as many places as possible and thinking of a certain horse-related event that happens here in Louisville every May, I used the term “camel jockey” in a reference to Abraham. I had probably heard this phrase before at some point, though I can’t recall where. Unfortunately, this phrase–as a reviewer at The Gospel Coalition has pointed out–is also used as a derogatory term to describe persons of Arab descent. When this was pointed out, Daniel Montgomery and I immediately contacted the publisher and made certain this would be changed before the book’s second printing. The following is our response to the review wherein Derek Rishmawy pointed out this error:
First off, thanks to Derek for his review of PROOF. Both Daniel and I deeply appreciate the care and attention Derek has taken in his reading and review. Second, neither of us were aware that “camel jockey” functions as a derogatory epithet, and we apologize that we erred by including anything in the book that might be hurtful to any ethnic group.
No matter how unintended it may have been, the hurtfulness inherent in such an epithet runs counter to everything toward which we are working at Sojourn Community Church–to rejoice in the diversity of cultures and languages that God brings together through faith in Jesus Christ. We are thankful to Derek for calling us to account in this area so that we may share the grace of Jesus Christ more effectively with persons from every tribe, every language, and every ethnicity.
This morning, we have already taken every necessary step to have this error corrected. The first printing of the book has already shipped, but we have been assured by the editors at Zondervan that this section will be reworded prior to the second printing of the book.