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Misquoting Jesus

By

Dr.Bart Ehrman

These pages will be used to review and critique different books concerning archaeology and other topics which relate to the Bible and Christianity.  The first book to be looked at is titled above and we will only be dealing with the introduction of that work for within its 15 pages there is enough information to analyze and review. We will look at 3 points made in those pages and point out why this book cannot be accepted by the Christian community.

In the introduction to his work, Dr. Ehrman provides an annotated life history which hits upon the major events in his life and traces these events to give us an idea of his evolution of faith.  It lays a foundation for his beliefs and for his subsequent changes of mind and acceptance of scripture.  The first point we will look at is found on pg. 5 and is as follows:

"Moreover, none of these copies is completely accurate since the scribes who produced them inadvertently and/or intentionally changed them in places.  ALL scribes did this. So rather than actually having the inspired words of the autographs of the Bible, what we have are the error-ridden copies of the autographs." {Capitals mine}

First off, this passage of the introduction is full of gross assumptions and they are many.  Throughout the introduction, Dr. Ehrman keeps repeating the sentences referring to the fact that we do not have the originals thus how can he be so sure ALL the copies are 'error-ridden'?  This idea is very hard to prove since we do not have anything to compare with and see where the mistakes take place or if ALL the mss. are error filled.

Then, he makes the assumption that all the scribes copied poorly whether accidently or on purpose. This to is impossible to prove since these scribes were long dead when the author was studying their work.  It is highly presumptuous to make such a statement without any proof or written record to support such a contention. We have theory or conjecture but i know of no documents which describe these errors being made or if such errors did take place in ALL the copying being done.

Another assumption made in these few lines is that Dr. Ehrman thinks God's inspiration is limited to only the original autographs and that God is incapable of guiding the copyist’s hands to preserve His word throughout time. It is this type of unbelief in God that allows the devil to lead believers down the wrong path and to the wrong conclusions. The desire to find the original words is a waste of time and effort as we do not know what those are and any decision on that aspect would merely be subjective and only opinion, not fact.  It is safe to say we have the original words of God in our present copies and they are just as inspired.

The next point we need to look at and refute is found on page 11 and reads:

"In short, my study of the Greek New Testament, and my investigations into the mss. that contain it, led to a radical rethinking of my understanding of what the Bible is...my faith had been based completely on a certain view of the Bible as the fully inspired, inerrant word of God. Now i no longer saw the Bible that way.  The Bible began to appear to me as a very human book. Just as human scribes had copied, and changed, the texts of scripture, so too had human authors originally written the texts of scriptures.  This was a human book from beginning to end."

The assumptions from the first point have led Dr. Ehrman to this next step.  If the scribes were allowed to put in errors then God could not have written it or been involved at all. His own words state that he did not see any Divine influence as he declares the Bible a human book.  He does not take into account the working of the devil who can, and does, motivate people to write bad copies of God's words {the Jehovah’s witnesses' Bible comes to mind here} and immediately assumes the authors of the book wrote on their own without Divine aid despite the confirmation in scripture.  Or that God did not actually write the Bible.  He forgets that the devil worked back in ancient times as he does now and assumes that if the mss. is ancient and about the Bible then it must be immune from such evil influences.  These is just not so as we cannot be lazy in our scholarship or less demanding in our discernment and blindly accept all ancient documents as written by believers.

We must realize that as in the days of Moses, the devil can produce copies but only with weaknesses that do not stand up to the authority and power of God. We need the Spirit's help in determining which ancient mss. are from God and which are not.   The last point we shall look at is found on page 15 and states:

"...that is, for those who know nothing about it, who don't have the Greek and other languages necessary for the in-depth study of it, who do not realize there is even a 'problem' with the text, but who would be intrigued to learn what the problems are and how scholars have set about dealing with them."

There really isn't a problem with the text; the problem lies with the reader and his understanding of the words written in the Bible.  An unbeliever, a deceived person will not have the regenerated mind needed to grasp what God is saying throughout His pages.  This lack of understanding leads many to the wrong conclusions and it makes it evident to all believers that we need help from the Spirit to know the meanings behind all the words.  If one is like Dr. Ehrman who now regards the Bible as a human book, then they cannot hope to understand what God is saying.  Their disbelief clouds their minds and doesn't allow them to see the words properly.

This is quite evident, not only in Dr. Ehrman's work, but also in the writings of those who openly deny the Bible as the word of God, whether they write for a credible magazine or on unbelieving websites.
 

Fabricating Jesus

By

Craig A. Evans

It is always difficult to find the right words to critique a book that is written very well.  This is such a book as Dr. Evans goes through different writers and scholars pointing out their errors and games.   From the first chapter to the last the writing is steady, calm and clear as the author's points are well defined, supported and logically laid out.

In dealing with the topic of how scholars treat Jesus, Dr. Evans moves smoothly between modern scholars and ancient writers exposing their errors or mistakes and showing how they are wrong or apply their thinking poorly.  He spends a lot of time on Dr. Ehrman's position and came to many of the same conclusions I had done in my review but Dr. Evan's questions Dr. Ehrman's reaction to the textual problems he encountered.  The author comes to the conclusion that there is no logical reason why Dr. Ehrman questioned his faith as he should have been exposed to such topics throughout his early academic life at Moody and Wheaton colleges.

But this book doesn't focus solely on Dr. Ehrman as he analyzes the Jesus Seminar, pointing out inconsistencies and errors in their thinking.  This is an insightful book, valuable to all pastors and missionaries who are acquainted with the popular works of those scholars who challenge the validity of the Bible, the inerrancy of scriptures and other areas under attack by those who choose alternatives to the Biblical record.

 
From Eden to Exile

By

Eric H. Cline

This work is one of the ones a person has to watch out for as they scan titles to find a book to read.  Though the title says From Eden to Exile, unraveling the mysteries of the Bible, it really isn't about unraveling the mysteries as it is an attempt to destroy faith and replace it with secular logic and reason.

The author of this work is a bone fide archaeologist who recently wrote an article attacking all the unprofessional people who publish works which lie at the fringe of truth, sanity and actual evidence.  He is a person who feels that only the secular professional should be allowed to publish about the past even though their theories are more far-fetched than any Biblical account is accused of being. To be fair, it should be said that there are a lot of wing-nuts out there who do a great dis-service to archaeology and Christ but that doesn't mean we paint every person with the same brush

What would the world of archaeology look like if there was no opposition to the secular world?  No dissenting opinions?  We would be fed a bunch of lies from those who reject the Bible, and who have little hope in proving their theories.  There would be no restraint on the quality of their work or topics for publication and soon the world of archaeology would be discredited, useless and of no value to anyone.

What the author is looking for as he writes this work is any physical evidence to substantiate the accounts recorded in the Biblical pages. Chapter after chapter he asks for something that gives credence to the accounts and how they took place forgetting that with God we will not be getting all the evidence we want for He will not provide evidence that would destroy faith but only enough to strengthen it,.

Dr. Cine is like many others in his field, lacking understanding of how God works as they set out to prove or disprove what He has written in the Bible.  They think that with all of their training, education and experience that they are more qualified to determine what took place thousands of years ago than the only eye-witness to all events.  This is just ludicrous. 

Given what we know about working with the past, see the review of K.A. Kitchen’s work The Bible In Its World, it is also ridiculous for these professionals to come to any conclusions that are contrary to the Biblical record, due to the lack of data, artifacts, evidence that can be dug up and examined.  Plus, even though there are many, many written records, not all those records explain everything that is found or why it is found where it is.  Too much is left to the imagination of the archaeologist, who often ignores the present in deciphering the past.

This last sentence is important as too many archaeologists discount the past because for whatever reason they feel the ancients were/are different from modern society. Since God created all man and gave them all the same bodies, brains and so forth, i disagree with such positions. This book is written from the secular human perspective with the secular human understanding and fails to acknowledge that most of the events, and places it is unraveling, will not leave the type of evidence they are looking for.  If found such evidence is immediately dismissed as it does not fit these professionals pre-conceived ideas of what should be discovered.

This is the problem for the Christian in today's world, the non-believer wants evidence but only that which fits his/her mind regardless of the fact that earthquakes, local floods, eruptions, wars, construction and other factors disrupt what evidence could have been left behind to point to the validity of the prior existence of those events.

The Christian must make a stand upon the faith factor.  Though derided it is what pleases God and we need to stand strong on that principle and ignore the cry for physical evidence.
 

The Bible in Its World

By

K. A. Kitchen

This author is another who writes well and with authority as; although he has never achieved his doctorate he is well respected for his scholarly and exact work.  In previous work, he was able to establish that the price for slaves, when Joseph was sold into slavery, was exactly the amount recorded in the Bible.  This effort puts a crimp in the arguments of those who tend to minimalize the Biblical accounts and declare that the Bible was written centuries later by some agenda serving scribe.

The importance of this book comes within the first 20 pages as Mr. Kitchen demonstrates the reality of working with the past.  It is not like one can go to the local store and find everything that they need and can examine each piece of the puzzle with an instruction booklet in one hand and pictures in the other.  The past reveals very little and this field of archaeology is severely handicapped by the influential factors which we all face every day.

These influential factors are both natural and man made.  Everything takes its toll on the remains of past civilizations and pottery and other artifacts are very fragile and not built to last for time.  Such factors are: earthquakes, storms, volcanoes, floods, and simple erosion (pg. 10) or those which are man made, construction and wars are two such examples.  All destroy the evidence of the past which makes the archaeologist's task very difficult at best.

Another major factor that limits archaeological conclusions and theories is the fact that sites are rarely dug beyond a total of 5% of the whole site (pg.12) this limited discovery and research means that for the most part the archaeologist has to fill in the blanks and he/she could be very wrong while basing their articles on a miniscule amount of actual information.

This is one reason we have to be careful when archaeologists like an Israel Finkelstein starts down dating to fit his theories. He doesn't have all the facts and his bias dictates what he concludes.  It is not the evidence, for it is usually inconclusive, but his conjecture, his disregard for the Biblical record, the incompleteness of information which leads him to the wrong conclusion.  This is something that has to be watched for as he is a popular writer but he is wrong as Kitchen has pointed out quite convincingly in another book, On the Reliability of the Old Testament.

Another danger that needs to be carefully watched for is the reliance on dating an artifact or ms. (pg. 15) Dating is very subjective and it varies depending upon the archaeologist and their personal beliefs and bias.  There is no alternative here as we all have the same evidence; we just don't all have the same opinion or interpretation.

This book is a must read if one wants to navigate through the confusing popular division of archaeology.  Not every archaeologist is looking for the truth or for the validity of the Bible.  There are those who look to disprove it or minimalize its claims and make the Bible say something it does not.
 

The Rape of Nanking

By

Iris Chang

This book by the late Iris Chang is compelling and worth the time to read as it depicts a part of the Japanese involvement in World War 2, which in modern times, the Japanese have refused to acknowledge or apologize for.

Ms. Chang did a good job in detailing the events that took lace in China, which were repeated over and over again in other cities under Japanese occupation and control of their war machine.  It is not fiction nor is it a product of a wild imagination as in knowing some teachers who have had students and in having the possibility of teaching students whose relatives were used in such a manner makes this a story too real to sweep under the rug.

What Ms. Chang does is reveal the depths of depravity that man can go when not influenced nor guided by a supreme morality or have rejected Christ a their savior. The picture she includes with this work are very graphic, unforgettable and help bring the point home that those without Christ do not consider their fellow man worth anything more than reusable garbage.

This book helps illustrate the depths that the Israelites went when the Bible records their actions with the phrase, "and everyone did was right in their own eyes...' It helps us to understand why God took the actions He did when he sent punishment after punishment upon His chosen people.  It also helps to illustrate the patience of God when people disobey Him and lead a life of sin and make us even more grateful for His grace.

Throughout the pages of this book we see how low man can go when they reject God's morality and it becomes an anything goes world where the strong oppress and dominate the weak.  This book and the pictures are not for everyone but they do remind us that we need to pray and stand up against the evil practices of all people, reminding us of what really is important in this world.

Hopefully it will motivate people to avoid the latest building project and turn their attention to what really matters--people.  The only way we are going to make an impact against evil is to fight it with God's ways and instructions putting aside our own understanding and methods. It is time for the church to decide which side it is on and prepare itself for what will come.
 

Unwrapping the Pharaohs

By

John Ashton & David Down

Here is a book which provides a compelling, rational, logical argument for revising the Egyptian Pharaoh chronology from its present traditional format.  It also seeks to demonstrate how the new chronology fits with the Biblical record and in turn providing the proof we need not only for the Israeli sojourn in Egypt but also for the Exodus.

Slow in getting started, the authors build their argument slowly and legitimately avoiding the traps of the extreme position often taken by many fanatics in this field. They provide credible sources for their position and they do not take liberties, allowing for alternatives where the record isn't clear and provide clear thinking when disputing other arguments or positions.  The refuting of the traditional chronology is done with the same candor and open-mindedness one is expected to have when researching this area of study. The evidence is looked at honestly, with a clear head and no agenda or ulterior motive is detected as the authors go through different positions and use the evidence to backup their point of view.

Chapters 1 to 14 provide their best work and most compelling arguments as they seek to set the record straight.  Of course, most Egyptologists will have a problem with their point of view as it tends to upset the generally accepted view of Egypt’s past.  But the authors point out that the generally accepted view has problems lining up with other ancient nation's timelines and history thus it must be concluded that there is a problem which needs to be fixed.

Their work on identifying the Hyksos is good and they point out the scenario as they see it leaving the reader to make up their own minds as they read and see how the evidence can be put together.  There are those who will dismiss this work as another Bible thumping attempt to prove the Bible true but such arguments do not hold water as the focus is more on examining the evidence that is known in the archaeological world avoiding theoretical possibilities that have no hope of being proven true.

The evidence as put together by the authors rings true and this book is a must read especially for those who are struggling to fit archaeological history to the Biblical accounts. We must be careful when listening to the secular scientific and archaeological commentary on the past and on the evidence.  Non-believers are deceived and do not recognize the truth and search for different answers that provide an alternative to the Bible.

We have the evidence we need; it is how it is used that makes the difference.  Objectivity is the battle cry for the secular world yet true objectivity is basically impossible to achieve, what we need is honesty when looking at the past for honesty is a better guide than objectivity.  Without that character trait analysis of the past can be and often is haphazard as it seeks to avoid the truth and tries to re-write history the way the researcher wants it.

 
The Language of God

By

Dr. Francis S. Collins

Here is yet another promising book which soon degrades into a biased work that denies creation as told in the Bible.  It is written by the head of the Genome project and the reader expects a rather revealing, due to its hype, of the DNA molecules and how they affect our lives.

The first warning about the nature of this book is found in the very first 5 pages of testimonials and which are led off by Naomi Judd.  That says it all right there and we can be assured the rest of the work is not objective, scientific nor honest.

The author does provide a lot of detail about DNA and RNA which is fascinating and the reader can learn a lot if they restrict their reading to the informative parts of the book but when the author starts to apply his work to the theory of evolution and says these results prove the theory then the author has taken a wrong turn and has been led astray.

The theme throughout the work is that science is greater than God’s word and that whatever science does is good, which can not be further from the truth as science is as fallible and corruptible as any other aspect of life.  It is complete arrogance on the part of the author and secular scientists to think that science can be used as the final authority on the origin of life.

The whole field is built on the big assumption that science has it right because science has created all these ‘wonderful ‘tools to explore the past.  Well despite their good intentions that are circular reasoning at its best and denies the claims of objectivity that secular scientists claim to have.

Dr. Collins spends 7 chapters laying out a reasonable argument and details about DNA and their affect on life as we know it but in the 8th chapter he goes on an illogical, irrational, amateurish rant worthy of a middle scholar’s first attempt at writing an essay on the topic. The arguments and questions asked are childish and not worthy of a scientists of Dr. Collins caliber and in it we see his bias very clearly.  This bias serves to undermine his own position and detracts from the previous work he had done.

That chapter and the following one on Intelligent Design are intellectually dishonest and do not give a fair hearing to the points made by the advocates of those positions.  It is if the author has something to be afraid of if he examines their point of view too closely.  Like being wrong.

He claims that there is over-whelming proof for evolution to be a fact yet can never connect that proof to showing that 1. Evolution actually exists (which it doesn’t) and 2. That evolution is responsible for the changes throughout time.

What the author doesn’t seem to realize is that the scientific principle of ‘prediction’ does not apply to God’s creative act.  Mainly for the reason that creation was a one time supernatural event which does not follow the rules that secular science has devised.

This one miscalculation demonstrates how far off scientific study is concerning life and its origins and also shows how limited is the scope of the field of science.  This limitation of science shows that reason and rationality applied wrongly will lead one down the garden path away from the truth and not towards it.

Couple that limitation with the belief that science has it right then the person who sides with the secular field of science is lost.  Another glaring error made by those who say Darwin got it right and one can be a Christian at the same time is not seeing the big picture. 

There are big problems for Christians who accept the theory of evolution and substitute it for Genesis 1:   1).  Darwin was not a Christian and was under the influence of the devil which said influence propelled him away from the truth.  Christians are not to ‘walk in the counsel of the ungodly’ and accepting evolution is not walking with God but denying His words.

2). the bigger picture.  Why would God wait till the 19th century and use a sinful man who has rejected His way of salvation to expose the truth instead of having His Godly authors do it in the Bible?  If this were true then God would not be just, honest or anything else that makes up His character and undermines His words on how we are to act.  How many people died without knowing ‘this truth’?

No, God did not use evolution, it does not exist, nor did He use Darwin to discover and preach the truth.  That was done in Genesis 1 &2 and all men have had equal opportunity to that truth throughout time.  The theory of evolution and science, in this case, are wrong and there is no evidence to say otherwise

 
The Case for Christ

By

Lee Strobel

This is an older book and many may have read it over the years but it is worth mentioning here because it is a well crafted work with strong evidence from qualified scholars.  The book was hard to put down as the experts laid out there positions with clarity, evidence and reason leaving little or no room to refute their points.

One of the week points comes with Mr. Strobel’s interview with Dr. John McCray.  In that interview Dr. McCray mentions some microscopic letters on a coin that provided proof for what they were talking about.  Now I have read Dr. McCray’s book, ‘Archaeology and the New Testament’ and as mentioned in the interview, the piece about the microscopic letters on the coin are mentioned and Dr. McCray used them as strong evidence for a Biblical account.

BUT the problem is, the man who ‘discovered’ those letters and the letters themselves have been legitimately discredited.  There are no such letters.  This is the one weak spot throughout the entire book.  The interviews alone are worth the price of the book as they help a believer sharpen their defense of what they believe and provide solid evidence to use in discussions and debates.

It also helps believers become aware that there are qualified Christian men out there doing their homework, and have found information to support the Bible.  One cannot rely on secular researchers to present the whole story concerning the past and we need men like these, and others to replace them, who can find and discern what the truth is and present it to the Christian community.

I do not know about the quality of Mr. Strobel’s other books but this one does do a good service in presenting the words of these scholars in a readable and understandable manner so that everyone can learn from what they have studied over the decades and take heart that all is not lost but that God continues to raise up men to find and keep the truth alive.

 
Did God Have a Wife?

By

Dr. William Dever

One reviewer (on the back flap) said that Dr. Dever ‘has written another page turner’ well only in disbelief that comment may be true. About the only honest statement the author makes is in the introduction where he states that ‘he makes no pretense of being objective.’

He isn’t and his bias is very clear from his unsubstantiated remarks concerning the documentary hypothesis to the illiteracy of the Israel nation to his belief in the supremacy of archaeology over theology.  Dr. Dever hides none of his personal feelings as he presents his theory of how monotheism arose in Israelite nation.

This is what the book is about and throughout its pages the reader can see how the author disregards and ignores the biblical record.  For him its pages of revealing God’s call to Abraham or God’s separating the Israelites from other nations at Sinai mean nothing and are just an interesting tale to bolster the image the priests and scribes want the people to believe about their own history.

Dr. Dever misapplies the archaeological evidence and creates his own fantasy, using the discoveries his own way and relies heavily upon his reputation plus 40 years of archaeological experience to persuade the reader he is right.

Fortunately, reputation and experience are not the criteria for being correct.  With the omitting of the earlier parts of the Biblical record Dr, Dever allows himself to conclude that the Israelites were just like the Canaanites and all the history recorded in the Bible was done by scribes trying to revise the Israelite past into something they can take root.

There is no consideration of the fact that the Israelites were monotheistic and then strayed from God’s path for them by the seductive powers of false beliefs.  This ignorance of this fact shows that the author had no intention of being honest or of presenting the whole story. He is only interested in presenting his theory because he cannot accept the Biblical records for the simple reason his belief in archaeology is stronger than any belief he had in the Bible.

In an interview with the Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, Dr. Dever discusses his loss of faith as he looked to the physical evidence over God’s word.  Now to the unbeliever this may not be important but to the believer it is highly significant and shows why we cannot take Dr. Dever as being correct. 

He has allowed himself to be deceived and this work reflects that deception as he totally tries to re-write Israeli history without regard to what the Bible says.  His work is not something worth reading as it does not examine all the facts, leaves out important information and assumes things not in evidence (revisions, editing, and late authorship among other unsubstantiated charges).

It is easy to see where the author errs, as he looks for a conclusion to digest the evidence he and others have found.  One look at the Biblical record tells the reader that the evidence discovered proves the Bible where it talks about Israel ceasing to follow God and did what they wanted to do.

The evidence doesn’t prove a rise of monotheism from polytheism that is just interpretation not fact.  It does prove that the Bible recorded the true history and that the Israelites were and are an unfaithful people. 

For the reader of these books, not just Dr. Dever’s, one cannot just assume the evidence is being used properly or that the conclusion it is being used to support is correct. One has to be able to compare notes with the Bible when reading these books and not just take the ‘expert’s word for it’ simply because they are experts.

Experts have their own influences which direct their steps and for the most part God is not one of them and that is the key.  We cannot blindly follow man’s conclusions especially when they disagree with the Biblical record.  Man does not have the authority to dictate what God did or didn’t do.

As for this book, its only value is the record of the evidence discovered.  The conclusions are false and need to be ignored.  Dr. Dever has presented just another alternative to the Bible, one which lacks in evidence and proper use of the evidence used.  Also it dismisses God and His role, His laws, His morality and decides that religion is a human construct not a divinely ordained idea.

After all, the Bible tells us that God put the desire to know Him in us and what we do with that desire, the decisions we make, the paths we follow, we will be held accountable.  No matter how hard people try, they cannot escape the truth and this book is a prime example of that fact.

 
Misquoting Jesus #2

By

Bart Ehrman

It took awhile to come back to this book and finish reviewing its pages.  Simply put, this is not a scholarly work, nor is it an honest one as the author only uses quotes and examples which support his theory and never once looks at the topic honestly.

The assumptions made were all basically unprovable and turned this work into a one note compliant about how no one has the originals and no one knows what the originals say.  The whole work and the author deny God’s promise to preserve his word and he fails to acknowledge the influence of the devil in trying to thwart the passing on of God’s word.

The author paints a picture he wants the past to be and not what it is really, he assumes that all scribes and copyists made error upon error but he never cites one actual account of that taking place.  It is all theory and conjecture as he paints a bleak picture of the transmission of the Bible.

One of his key errors is without the originals, how does he know 100% of the ancient mss. are in error?  He assumes they all are because some are found to have mistakes.  Another key mistake he makes is that he lumps all people who advocate some type of belief into one category of Christian and accepts their writings as valid even though they do not teach anything remotely close to the truth.

His blind acceptance of all mss. as Christian, is one of his undoings .  Then he completely ignores the facts of right and wrong, ethical and unethical behavior, and implies such characteristics are not present in the beginning centuries of the church.  He also claims that Paul dictated his work and was smart enough to do that but not smart enough to proof read or double check the work of his ‘secretary’.

This book is full of errors and mistakes as it tries to spread lies and false teachings throughout the world.  It is a very dishonest and biased book which describes only one side of the argument and completely ignores those scribes and copyists who did do it right.  The author wants people to think that their English versions are all tainted (though some are) and should not be trusted to communicate God’s word.

That is complete bunk and is just another lie of the devil and is being used to undermine the message of how God wants His creation to live plus sow confusion and distrust among His followers.  This is a book to be avoided as it has nothing good to say.

 
David & Solomon

By

I. Finkelstein & N.A. Silberman

This book is a product of a fertile imagination or two.  Very little good can be said about this attempt to remove both David and Solomon from the pages of Israeli & Biblical history.  In a nutshell, this work basically is describing one giant conspiracy theory which took place in the 7th-8th b.c. and was perpetuated for over 2700 years and continues to mislead people of all races and lands and it is up to these to writers to 'right' the 'wrong'.

They fail miserably as they cannot produce any contemporary evidence to support their claims and resort to events and artifacts from, supposedly, 60 -200 years later to disprove the claims of the bible.  The writers are very dishonest in their work as they do have an agenda and instead of looking for the truth, they do only enough investigation to support their theories and ignore in-depth and detailed work which would undermine their position.

It is as if they are afraid that they will find something that will ruin and destroy their life's work.  Which wouldn’t be difficult as they re-write the Bible at will and change it and Israeli history to fit what they want it to be and not describe it as it really was?  Their reliance on archaeology alone means that they are drawing conclusions from minute evidence and do not factor in what has been lost over time to construction, wars, destruction, natural disasters and so on.

Their lack of construction knowledge is very evident as they fail to factor in the many methods used in construction and make conclusions based upon their own slanted ideas and not actual fact.  This is clearly seen by the ignorance of renovation and removal of previous structures procedures in that field and supports the accusation that they are not interested in the truth but furthering their agenda, which is found at the following link:    agenda

Unfortunately for them, they cannot prove one iota of their ideas and create some great fantasies for bedtime reading.  One of their failures which link this idea to reality is their arbitrary down dating with no real reason to do.  They also make the claim that certain books of the bible were products of a later time (7th-8th c. B.C.) and were done for political and religious reasons yet they cannot and do not provide one piece of credible evidence showing this to be the case.  It is basically an imaginative creation done at the whim of the authors.

This book and others from these authors just aren't worth the time or the money to read, they do not hold any truth to them and they can be equated with the title false teachers who are deceived and who deceive others

 
Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

By

Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat

Here is a good book if one wants to get an idea of what life was like back 3-5,000 years ago.  Many people claim that the ancient world was not like the modern one and that we have to look at it vastly different than our own time.  I disagree with that idea as God gave everyone the same brain and thinking capacity thus they would have the same desires, temptations, struggles and accomplishments.

In fact they had many accomplishments which would astound the modern world and this book tries to record the general idea of them and does so successfully.  It is well known that the Babylonians had the Pythagorean Theory long before Pythagoras discovered it and it is well known that the ancient world mapped the stars long before there was a Dr. Hubble and Dr. Hawking.

This book does well in its recording of ancient medicine and other aspects of life we take for granted in the modern world and shows us that ancient man was not all that different than we are today. The Bible tells us that 'there is nothing new under the sun' {Ecc.} and this book provides the proof for that verse.  Many things we thought were original inventions were done long before there was a United States or a Germany.  Even the idea of mass production was thought of long before toy companies sought to over-whelm the market place with their wares.

This book is worth the read and the information it provides helps one get a better understanding of what life was like back in the 3rd or 2nd millennium B.C.

 
The Catholic Church

(A short history)

By

Hans Kung

This little book is a good read if one does not have a lot of time but wants to find out more details about the Roman Catholic Church.  Hans Kung is noted for being some what out spoken on several issues concerning The R.C.C. but he steadfastly remains a member of this organization despite the many faults he has cited over the years. 

One point he makes is that in writing this book he hoped to be objective, yet most scholars will tell you that objectivity is almost impossible to obtain and maintain for any length of time.  We all have prejudices and Dr. Kung's comes out as he deals with delicate issues.  So it is better to say that he was not objective but honest for the most part as he takes the reader from the beginning to the present in 213 pages.

He does not try to hide anything when he deals with the miscarriage of duties by the popes and he does not try to sweep under the rug well known activities that give the church bad name.  He also is honest in his assessment of the documents which support apostolic succession, calling one a forgery (pg. 22) and reveals that this succession is ‘merely functional not historical' (pg. 23).

Dr. Kung's best point may have been when he says that 'to understand the R.C.C. one must understand Augustine (pg.45) and this bit of insight may help clarify some of the mystery behind the church's actions over the centuries.  One will find this work a good read, full of important information and insight as Dr. Kung ties to briefly lift the veil and give the reader a peek into the inner workings of the R.C.C. It is by no means definitive but it is honest and most likely without influence by the church's hierarchy.

 
The sayings: Gospel Q

Edited by

James Robinson, Paul Hoffman & John S. Kloppenborg

This is an interesting little book which deals with a mythic source called Q.  Like the JEPD Documentary Hypothesis, scholars have invented a manuscript which they call Q and claim that the gospel writers used it as their source for recording the words and deeds of Jesus.  I say mythic and invented because no such document exists outside of the imagination of these scholars and all their work is pure conjecture.

The problem with the scholarly world is that they cannot just accept the fact that the gospels were as written and written by the authors whose names grace the front page of each book. They look for any excuse to dismiss the authority and guidance of God while trying to drag the Bible down to a human level. 

Like the JEPD 'documents' no scholar has been able to unearth any evidence or fragment of a manuscript to prove that it actually existed or was used by the apostles or their aides to write their own works.  It is an exercise in futility to even consider such an idea as 1. Mathew and john did not need source material, they were eyewitnesses to most of the events and dialogues; 2. They had the Holy Spirit guiding them and providing them with the information they would need for those events they were not present, i.e. the birth & baptism of Christ; 3.  They would have talked amongst themselves telling each other what they had witnessed and experienced.

This idea of a 'Q' source document is outlandish and removes any spiritual influence.  The authors could not come up with any good reason why such a document would have existed in the first place, they offer no credible, if anyone, person as the author who would have been privy to all events and be literate enough to write everything down.  There is nothing in this work which provides anything remotely credible for this perspective to have an honest hearing.

Another main problem is that throughout the pages of this work, the editors keep saying that the original sayings have been reconstructed and it is possible to tell which came from 'Q' and which didn't.  Yet they fail to say that they cannot know for sure for they have no ancient document with which to compare their work with and see if they got it right.  Such a source document does not exist and at best all the work to 'reconstruct' this document is conjecture at best and a hoax at worst.

There is nothing in history that indicates that the gospel writers used another source other than what they have claimed.  Too many variables are also ignored as the editors lay out their argument and it is best for the Christian to just dismiss this line of thinking and accept the fact that the gospel writers were skillful enough and intelligent enough to write their own work a God guided them.

 
The Discoveries

By

Alan Lightman

This book is a secular work which brings together into one volume 25 of the great scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century.  It is well written and the author's comments help the reader to understand not only what was being discovered but what lead up to the discoveries.  The scientist's lives are also briefly noted to provide some background to the thinking of the men and women who were instrumental in changing the world the past 100 years.

Also included in each chapter are the original papers of the scientists so that if the reader is able or wants to, they can read the scientist's own words as presented to the world so long ago.  This material alone is worth the time to read the book and grants the reader a chance to make their own informed decisions regarding the benefits of these discoveries.

This book is not for everyone as it is not an easy read as technical and scientific terms may be too much for some, a dictionary on hand would be helpful for others as well.  For Christians, this gives them a chance to see what the scientist's are thinking and they can evaluate their work in regards of how it applies to God and the Christian life.

It would be nice if qualified Christians would take up such projects so that the Christian world would have better guidance when dealing with such topic matters and how they apply to the Christian life.  It is a shame that most works like this are left solely to the non-believing world as the Christian loses out on the Christian perspective and are left to muddle through trying to figure out what is right or wrong about some of these discoveries and how they are applied to life in general.

For example, Einstein's theory of relativity and his bending of time.  It would be great if a Christian scientist could explain what Einstein meant then put God's perspective on his work and how the two relate. It can get complex and the believer needs the truth not the secular version of it.

Other than that, it is a good read and worth the money to buy as it presents evidence to the Christian world concerning science and how God has allowed things to transpire and come together to meet certain needs and levels of faith.  Scientists think that they have done so much on their own and they fail to realize that God created all these different materials and items to work together to bring out the results these and other scientists have 'discovered'.  There is no room for the arrogance on the part of the scientists for all they are doing is discovering things that God has made possible if one researches and investigates properly.

The glory for these discoveries should still go to God for He is the one who created all these 'ingredients, gave the scientists their intelligence to fit all these parts together and to decipher codes and mysteries which has lead to these discoveries.  If anything, this book reveals more about God and what He has provided for us, now it is up to us to use it wisely and for His glory.

 
The New Testament Documents, Are They Reliable?

By

F.F. Bruce

This was the first book the late Dr. Bruce wrote and despite its age it is well worth the read as the author takes the reader through controversial issues that still rage today and leads them to the truth.  It is well written, in a style that is easy to understand and he clearly deals with problems without the intellectual double talk and twisting sentences.

His points are honest and leave no room for doubt as to what he is saying and as an example, we find in the first chapter the following: "But the argument can be applied to the New testament ONLY IF (capitals mine) we ignore the real essence of Christianity.  For the Christian gospel is not primarily a code of ethics or a metaphysical system; it is first and foremost good news..." (pgs. 1 & 2). 

Dr. Bruce did what many after him have done and shown through the comparison of the number existing ancient documents of both the Bible and accepted secular works how the secular mind works when it comes to rejecting the works of the New Testament authors.  Despite overwhelming mss. The secular world will still reject the Bible, and subject it to unrealistic criteria and demands while blindly accepting the works of secular authors, though those works have no existing original mss., or have only copies published centuries later, or are just quoted in other works.  This double standard is very obvious and Dr. Bruce exposes it gently but firmly and shows the worthlessness of the secular world's arguments.

This style is practiced throughout the book which makes his message simple and easy to understand.  The believer cannot go wrong by reading this book and it will help them in their Christian walk and when they face those who do not believe and seek to ridicule or dismiss the Bible. 

 
The Jesus Dynasty

By Dr. James Tabor

This book first published in 2007 is the latest attempt to convince people that Jesus was human, did not die on the cross and had children with Mary Magdalene.  Dr. Tabor has taken great hits of credibility because of his involvement in the Jesus Tomb project with S. Jacobovici (at least in my opinion) and this is another one of his desperate attempts to regain any credibility he thought he had lost.

It did not work.  Throughout the book he makes futile attempts to appear like he is investigating the issue objectively but is undermined by his constant referral to hearsay evidence and his inability to provide any credible evidence to support his thinking.  One prime example happens when he tries to delve into an alternative idea concerning Jesus' real father (step-father?).  Dr. Tabor begins his investigation with a very weak excuse found on page 59:  "But history, by its nature, is an open process of inquiry that cannot be bound by the dogmas of faith."

In other words, I do not care what the Bible says I am going to replace its words with what I want. This is the childish attitude Dr. Tabor presents throughout the book.  But it doesn't stop there, here is the next line: "Historians are obligated to examine whatever evidence we have, even if such discoveries might be considered shocking or sacrilegious to some."

The problem is, there IS NO OTHER EVIDENCE for alternatives.  Everything he discusses pertaining to an alternate father, Panthera, is based upon hearsay and which was written in 178 a.d. (pg. 64) by Celsius who heard it from someone who heard it from someone.  This is not evidence but a futile attempt to replace the Biblical record with anything other than what the Bible says.

Another problem with citing Celsius' story is that there is NO connection between the roman centurion and Mary the mother of Jesus. Yes there was a soldier named Panthera but his grave is found in Germany not the Holy Land and he hailed from a town over 40 miles north of Nazareth.  (pg. 69)This is as close as Dr. Tabor can come to linking this soldier with Mary as he retreats into speculation to cause confusion in the minds of weaker people.

Like others who do not believe, Dr. Tabor argues from a position of absence of evidence to spin his deceitful ideas and ignores the reality.  Not every detail in the ancient world was recorded and it would be impossible to get all of the details even it they were.  Yet he takes a detour from this reality and tries to concoct some sort of fable which is more pleasing to his unbelieving mind.  He even goes as far as trashing the only real evidence we have, from the only eye-witness records there are just because it doesn't fit what he wants the reality to be:  "Even though Matthew and Luke represent Mary as pregnant after her engagement, since neither believes Jesus had a human father, their representation should not be taken as the final word."

Why?  Matthew and Luke were a lot closer to the real event, knew the real people involved in that event, and were told what took place by the Holy Spirit this is not good enough for a man who does not believe in Christ, is 2000 years removed from the event and who did not know the people involved.  This is how ridiculous Dr. Tabor gets and demonstrates why he lost his credibility; he ignores the truth while believing word of mouth with nothing credible to substantiate that oral transmission.

Dr. Tabor tries at different times to use different Greek and Hebrew words and offers his translation of them but the believer must remember that such translations are not God inspired and must be taken with a large grain of salt.  One must consider the source and their agenda before accepting any new definition to a word which has been translated by men who were led of God and believed in Him. Then one must see if that translation is in line with God's message and the truth and so on. 

One cannot accept any new meaning just because the person is an expert or has learned the language, that is a dangerous move to make and one must be careful of being deceived and led astray.  God is NOT in all re-translations.  As for this book, it is not worth the time unless you want to research the unbelieving's side of the argument and see where they go wrong. Dr. Tabor does not regain any credibility, but loses all that he had left, with this book (in my opinion).

 
The End of Reason

By Dr. Ravi Zacharias

Finally, there is a good book from an evangelical that sticks to its purpose and delves into all aspects of a topic and goes beyond the surface to do so.  This book by Dr. Zacharias focus point is upon Sam Harris book, Letters to Christians, and it is meant to counter the charges made by the latter towards God and Christianity.

It does that and more. Well written, informative, does not insult the intelligence and provides answers to counter the atheist attack, Dr. Zacharias has provided a tool that all Christians can use to help them in their daily lives.

It is too the point, does not distract from its purpose and does not run when the atheists yell nor shrink away when they demand their 'moral rights'. (pg. 60) As the author points out what moral rights are the atheist referring to?  They have rejected the only objective, independent morality available so where do they draw this position?

It also shows the depravity that comes from an atheistic position and callousness towards those who are less fortunate than Dr. Harris which uncovers the very weakness of atheism.  That weakness is comprised of many facets with one being that the freedom they desire is anarchy in disguise.

Very easy to understand and there are no long, drawn out, complicated intellectual responses to the criticisms made by Sam Harris so even the least educated can grasp the truths being set forth by Dr. Zacharias.

You can get a copy cheap at www.christianbook.com

 
The Edge of Evolution

By Dr. Michael Behe

To many people, Dr. Behe is a champion for the anti-evolutionary cause , he is articulate, points out the weaknesses of Darwin's theories yet he is not completely honest about the theory as he holds to many aspects of it himself and ruins any trustworthiness he garnered by his stance.  There are 2 main points which have brought me to this conclusion and they are found early in his work and both will be demonstrated by his own words;

1. pg. 65-- Over the next few sections I'll show some of the newest evidence from studies of DNA that convinces most scientists, including myself, that one leg of Darwin's theory...is correct..."

This is untenable when one is battling a theory as it shows a compromise with the very ideas one is refuting and we all know that when a person compromises he loses.  It is very hard to trust anything Dr. Behe says because we do not know when he will change his mind and argue for the reverse of his points. God does not compromise and evolution is not a part of the creative process nor is it at work today continuing God's work, Genesis 1:31 informs us that 'everything was complete' at the end of the 6th day thus there is no way for evolution to be working at this time.

To say that evolution is correct is opening the door to evil to work their confusing magic on people’s minds and lead them away from the truth.

2. pg. 4--'In dealing with an often-menacing nature, we can't afford the luxury of elevating anybody's dogma over data"

Here we find Dr. Behe's real ideas.  Christianity plays no role here and is subservient to the scientific data and only the data can find the truth.  This is completely wrong for scientific data does not deal with all the evidence, nor includes any information from the supernatural forces at work thus it cannot come up with the correct answers.  It may show some of the impossibilities of Darwin's theories but if it doesn't provide any answers for the why molecules, viruses, bacteria etc., really work the way they do. 

By omitting the Christian answers, one is left solely with the Darwinian ideas and that is just shooting oneself in the foot and doesn't show how false the theory of evolution really is nor does it demonstrate why God would allow a process to be discovered 1900 years AFTER the Bible was completed and millions of people left without the truth.

Evolution is not true, whether it is macro or micro, and it is not at work today. Compromising and throwing out the answers, as Dr. Behe does, just leaves people without the truth and does not defeat the enemy but allows them to continue their fight and deceiving people.

One needs to forget about intelligent design if they are a Christian and return to the roots of all things, the Bible. In its pages you will never see God compromise with sin or evil and that is exactly what the intelligent design movement does and it is wrong.

 
The Asiatic Fathers of America & Secret Maps of the Ancient World
 
by Hendon M. Harris & Charolette Rees

The 20th review will feature 2 books instead of one as they are written by father & daughter and both deal with basically the same subject.  The former was written by Hendon M. Harris Jr. & the latter by Charlotte Harris Rees and both deal with the discovery by Mr. Harris of ancient Asian maps and how the Chinese came to America long before Columbus.

Both works are far from scholarly but they contain valuable information and prove that one does not have to be a scholar to know the truth. Or at least part of it.  Each work presents their findings in a simple way, providing more than enough quotes and examples to build a proper case.

One might be put off by their style of writing but if that is the case then they would miss out on some very important information, especially the DNA evidence found in Mrs. Rees' book that cements the case of a Asian migration to the new world by a people later known as the American Indian.  This evidence also helps put to rest the Mormon claims that the western Indian were the 10 lost tribes of Israel.

Part of the problem with investigating the Chinese activities in the ancient world comes from the many book & map burnings they held over the centuries.  Such acts make research very difficult and aid the skepticism that arises when people broach the subject of the western natives as Asian.

At times their evidence is very slim, and they try to make everything out to be Chinese forgetting that other options could have come into play as well.  The drawback of these books is that they are a one note themed work and little attention, if any, is given to other possibilities outside of their own theory.

Yes they have lots of evidence but their explanations tend to over-reach a bit or stretch the theory too far and it would have been better if they had taken the time to flesh out the alternatives so the reader could make up their own minds instead of reading the same thing for pages on end.

Both books are less than 150 pages and you can get them through Abe Books for $19.95 ea. and they are worth the time and money to read.  The evidence contained within the pages will help any student of history get a fuller picture of the past regarding the western Indian.
 

The First Human

By Ann Gibbons

Every once in awhile a secular book comes along and hands believers the keys they need to expose the errors of evolution.  This is one such book as inside its pages are countless situations which expose the counterfeit ways evolutionists use to promote and prove their theory.

This is a well written book and provides a great historical overview from Louis Leakey on down to the present showing their efforts, their jealousies, their deviousness and their faulty analysis.  It also exposes the weak dating methods and how circular reasoning is actually involved with putting early dates on skeletons even though they are found near the surface of the earth.

Well worth the time and money to read it as it is one of those rare evolutionary books which is very interesting and informative ,letting the reader in on the 'inside' of evolutionary pursuits. Published in 2006 so you know that the information is up to date and easily verifiable.

 
Biblical Creationism

By the late Dr. Henry Morris

I am going to do a rare thing here and put 2 books on the same page as there is not much to say about each of them except praise and they both deal with the same topic- the origins of man.  This book is a very well laid out resource for any creationists as they do not have to comb the Bible for all the references God made to His creative act.  Dr. Morris has done the work for you and has put them into chapters per book if the Bible making the references easy to find.

In the first appendix Dr. Morris also includes extra-biblical references to creation helping the creationist support their arguments with more than just scripture.  Even though scripture is all we need, the non-believer looks for confirmation outside of the Bible to convince them.

Again this is a very helpful reference book making discussing and supporting creation a lot better.  There are many good books out there on creation but this is the only one i know of which lists all the scripture references in one volume.

 
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible

By Robert J. Hutchinson

Despite the title there is little in this work that is really politically correct but it is a well presented well researched piece of work which does make a good case for the Biblical way of doing things.  Though it cites questionable archaeological discoveries at times, on a whole it does make a good case for the accuracy of the Bible.

Mr. Hutchinson has a great chapter dealing with slavery and presents in detail the different arguments and definitions of the word. It also goes to great lengths to show that the biblical writers DID NOT support slavery nor advocated its existence.  Rather they condemned the type of slavery practiced by the Americans and Europeans.

Another good chapter is chapter 8 entitled, 'Sodom and Gomorrah. This is not a chapter which deals exclusively with those two cities but instead it looks at the law and the differences between God's law and the secular ones, both ancient and modern.  This chapter shows how the arguments by homosexual advocates concerning what scripture says are off the mark and provides a healthy look at what the Bible is really saying on this issue.

I do not always agree with his points or examples but for the most part i find his arguments very accurate and in line with what God teaches.  This is a book well worth the careful read and worth the money it costs.
 

Ancient Near Eastern Themes in Biblical Theology

By Jeffrey J. Niehaus

The best part of this book is found in its conclusion.  This is where the author fully exposes his position and provides the real truth and demonstrates how it seems that God copied the secular civilizations when in reality, it was the other way around.

This work contains 7 well written and researched chapters which compare the four major ancient civilizations with the theological acts found in the Bible.   The 4 civilizations looked at are: Sumer, Egypt, Babylon and Assyria with the Bible as the last item explored.

One of the problems that arise when discussing the ancient world is that the idea for civilizations seems to always stop at Sumer and the Sumerians.  In the secular world everything prior to that would be pre-history and very primitive man.  Unfortunately for secular man, ancient humans were NOT that primitive and civilizations did not start with Sumer.

In dealing with the similarities between the Bible and the secular kingdoms, one MUST remember the chronology.  Too often, the unbelieving world will automatically assume and conclude that the secular societies came first and the Biblical writers simply copied or borrowed from them.

If one takes the time to research thoroughly, they will find that the key to it all belongs to the chronology.  Prior to the 4 societies, there was Noah and his family and with all their stories of what God told them to do and how He protected them and so on.  These ideas were locked into the descendant’s memories and as they strayed further from God into evil and worship of false gods, these ideas came back. Yet instead of giving credit to the one True God, the secular people gave credit to their false gods, thus the stories that seem similar to the Biblical acts.

It is not that the Biblical writers or God copied and stole from those who appear to be older but secular, it is the fact that the Biblical people gave credit to God first and the secular civilizations copied from their believing ancestors.

The conclusion of the book properly illustrates the work of evil spirits and shows how they do copy from God to bring confusion to the Christian world.  Do not fall for such tricks BUT remember the chronology, Noah came before them all and prior to him was Adam thus in a battle of who copied whom, the Bible wins each time.
 

The Portable Seminary

Gen. Ed.  David Horton

For those who want more education from a quality source yet cannot afford to return to school or seminary, then this large book is the best option.  26 chapters touching on all aspects of Christendom written by some of the most qualified Christian scholars.

This book provides a seminary education without the expense, hassle or the writing of papers or taking tests.  Informative, intelligent and with biographies at the end of almost each chapter allows for the reader to become better educated in what they believe.

I doubt one will agree with everything being said in this book but for the most part it is a Christian’s aid in helping them grow stronger in God and in what they have chosen to follow. The chapter on false religions is worth the price alone as the book gives a very easy to understand overview of the cultic beliefs of not only the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses but also atheism, Islam one form of Buddhism and Hinduism plus more.

The book's chapters are laid out in a progressive format starting at the beginning the doctrines of scripture, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, moving on to the church, apologetics and much more. If one is serious about their faith, about their family and God then they need to read this book to be able to meet the challenges thrown at the believer by the secular world.
 

The Truth about Mohammad

By Robert Spencer

A well written book about the man the Muslims call a prophet.  Not as detailed as the book, The History of the Arab people by Hourani but very honest and well presented material on the life of Mohammad.  The Islamic religion takes very seriously any criticism of their prophet and beliefs thus good works are very hard to find that provides clear information on the prophet and the origination of their 'faith'.

The acknowledgment, at the back of the book, sets the tone for this work as it relates the seriousness and reality the author and his sources had to work under. I quote: "There are many people, living and dead, working openly and in hiding, to whom i owe thanks.  For a variety of reasons, I am unable to name them here, and must offer instead a 'thank you to... you know who you are.'

The point being raised by the author is that playing the appeasement game with the Muslim, means a loss for democratic and personal freedom and he provides good examples that illustrate this point.  I am afraid he is probably right as the western world continues to back down when the Muslim rise up in anger when they feel their religion or prophet has been insulted. The western world also does not do itself any favors by not standing up for its people and religious beliefs when attacked by the Muslim world.

The author does a great job in providing good insight into how Mohammad lived, how he developed his new religion and how he forced others to follow his ways.  Also, Mr. Spencer clearly dispels the myth that Islam is a religion of peace.  Some followers may be inclined to follow peaceful ways but there is no such thing as peace contained within its belief structure, as those outside of Islam are looked upon as worthless and less than human.

This is anther book well worth the time, money and energy to read as it informs in an intelligent manner, coupled with an honesty rarely seen anymore when people write about religion or the religion of others.
 

Biblical Authority

By Mr. Draper, Jr., & Dr. Keathley

A must read by all Christians, doesn't matter who they are as the Christian world is under constant attack by the secular world and all Christians need to have their beliefs strengthened, or set on the right path.  This book will do both as it calls Christians BACK to the authority, the truthfulness, the sufficiency of the Bible.

Today there are many in the church who has laid the Bible aside for the pursuit of science or other alternatives on how to live their life and the church is growing weaker because of it and souls are lost. Too many Christians are listening to the secular world when it comes to certain instructions of God.  One such area is the issue of women as pastors and many have left God's side and sided with the secular idea of political correctness which advocates that it is oppression of women if they cannot ascend to the leadership of a church.

Such people are wrong and this book explains why quite well.  The church cannot afford to ignore the beliefs they say they follow, nor can they afford to dismiss what God has said for them to do and this book provides the easy to understand reasoning to help the believer to return to God's word and stand true for Him.

Written in 2001, this book is more valuable today as more and more Christians succumb to the powerful attraction of archaeology and its conclusions or secular science and its theories.  Faith is being assailed on all levels even though the secular aspects of these fields deal with partial evidence or limited information.  The believer needs good books to shore them up and keep them from giving in to temptation and going astray, this book will help fill the breech and make sure that the believer can withstand the assault from the secular 'experts'.

The Christian cannot do wrong by buying and spending quality time reading this book that is if their faith is important to them.

 
The Old Testament Documents

By Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.

In the spirit of F.F. Bruce, who wrote The Net Testament Documents: Are They Reliable, Dr. Kaiser has written a book that is well thought out and supported by various credible sources.  He uses 16 chapters to present his argument that the Old Testament documents are reliable for us today.

Carefully examining all the evidence and arguments, both pro and con, Dr. Kaiser has given us a work that we can rely on to support our faith and take strength in the books that make up the Old Testament. 

Like K. A. Kitchen, Dr. Kaiser destroys the JEPD theory thoroughly, leaving no room for their existence at all.  We do not know where the Old Testament authors found their material yet with the help of the New Testament we can be very certain that God lead them to the right material or informed them himself of the events they wrote about, if they were not eye witnesses.

He clearly dispels any notion that a council got together and decided on the canon of the Old Testament. He prefers to refer to it as a 'progressive recognition' and by that he means that as the books were written they were accepted as scripture.  He states that as early as 200B.C. approx. the Old Testament canon was complete and was referred to as such from that point on, through various people throughout ancient history.

This is a good book to read as it does clear up many details, fills in many blanks and is very informative.  If you own F.F. Bruce’s New Testament book, then you would want this one to sit beside it on the bookshelf.  Both authors have done the work for us and we get to sit and reap the benefits of their hard work.
 

God Has Spoken

By J.I. Packer

As it is with all good books it is hard to write a book review.  This book is no exception, though it is an older work, first published in 1965, its words are timeless and God still uses it today to help His followers to strengthen their faith.

I do not agree with his Calvinist stance but that doesn't detract from what Dr. Packer is trying to say in this work.  The key is that God has spoken to us and that the Bible, both Old and New, is very relevant to us today.

In today's world, where every lay Christian thinks he/she is an expert on what God has said, this book helps set them straight and provides some tough boundaries to make sure one is on track with their own exegesis or bible study.  Too often, Christians tend to look at the Bible as a book they get to play with and change as they see fit and as culture demands.

Such is not true as Dr. Packer mentions on page 95: "All, therefore, acknowledge scripture, the written record of God's revelation, as in some sense authoritative for faith and life. But when we ask, in what sense, agreement ends and conflict begins"

This is so true today as many Christians like to twist the words of God to meet their sensibilities and ignore all efforts to reign them in and be submissive to what God has said.  They feel that a certain horror should be included in the criteria for divorce and they will twist the Greek or the English to justify their inclusion of that which is not included in God's word.

This is just horribly wrong as they forget that Christ faced all situations that we faced and he still gave the criteria as we have it today.  To change it because one is offended by the exclusion means one is placing themselves above God and His word and sitting in Judgment of same.  That is pure arrogance, pride and wrong.

Dr. Packer's words are not for everyone as most do not want to see loved ones hurt or trapped in situations they do not like but his words are a reminder that God, Jesus and their teachings do not serve humans, it is humans who serve them and must be obedient to them.  We are never given permission to change what God has taught, we are never given permission to sin and we must not assume that we have the right to make any changes because 'culture' demands it.

God's word covers all situations and Dr. Packer reminds of that fact even though we do not understand it yet the servant is not to understand everything but they are to obey.  This is where 'the rubber meets the road' as God sees who will obey and who will find excuses to justify their disobedience.

This book is another one worth reading and owning.
 

The Beginning of All Things

By Hans Kung

This is one of 3 books that have turned me off of intellectual debate and discussion; the other two are exploring the Origins of the Bible ed. by Dr. Craig Evans & Emmanuel Tov and Dopes God Belong in Public Schools by Kent Greenwalt.

Notice i said 'intellectual debate & discussion' NOT intelligent debate and discussion.  There is a difference as intelligent debate means that people are talking honestly, are well informed and know what they are talking about.  Whereas intellectual debate tries to cover all sides of the issue without tipping one's own hand as to what one believes and uses lofty verbiage to sound important while saying very little.

Dr. Kung's book and position rests upon an assumption, like all such people do when they disagree with Genesis 1, and that assumption is that the secular scientists have it right and that their dating is correct. Problem is, when one bases their position on an assumption of an assumption they have little upon which to stand.  They are just pontificating for the sake of wanting to be heard in a discussion that has gone on for centuries.  {In fact, even the ancient Babylonians used to debate this very topic long before evolution and the big bang became known- see Pelligrino: 1994}

Dr. Kung adds nothing to the debate and basically is one more voice n an over-crowded arena.  He sides with the secularists which is not good for a man who was once a R.C.C. priest and professor and he ignores the very criteria God says pleases in Him in support of using physical evidence {those that is very limited}.

As with the other two books mentioned, there is a time when intellectuals need to stop feeling that they are above the fray and special, as they are not.  They have no more insight than most other intelligent people and certainly far less than those endowed with God's wisdom.  It seems that the intellectual debate is just another stall tactic which allows the participant to delay making a decision and taking a side.

Little do they know that if they are NOT for God, then they are against Him and the choice has been made.  Nothing is gained by partaking in intellectual discussion except to help see the arguments of both sides, yet one does not have to be an intellectual to do that. One just has to be objective or honest.

If one wants some intellectual exercise then these three books will provide that but they accomplish very little and probably far less than an intelligent conversation will.  The issues are quite clear even in the origins debate, one either sides with a hypothesis built upon assumption or one sides with the person who provides the answers.

The latter does so with little effort while the former is still searching for that definitive proof which will never come. One does not have to be intellectual to see the futility of the secular position and the strength of the creationist side. The creationists doesn't need science to prove origin, they just need to show the results of creation which takes place every day.

This is the truth which intellectuals miss, as does those who side with secular science and who accepts their assumptions without real proof and Dr. Kung is no exception. The book is an interesting read but really one could spend their time and money on better works.
 

Giving the Sense

Ed. by Drs. Howard Jr. & Grisanti

The purpose of this work is to showcase the quality of evangelical scholarship (pg. 13).  For the majority of essays included this is so but for others it is questionable as to the logic they employ to come to the conclusions they do.

One such essay is entitled 'did the patriarchs know the name of the Lord?'  Of course, if the answer is yes then the evangelical world is calling God a liar when he clearly states they did not know Him as Ywh but as el Shadday.

Scholars need to be careful when investigating passages of scriptures and how their answers make God look.  If they say he fibbed, then they say that God sinned and that just isn't possible. Now the author of the essay makes the distinction that if this is a new name for God and that 'people living before Moses could not have known the name (pg.323).

Yet that is NOT what the scriptures say.  The passage of scripture in question is Ex. 6:2-5.  The passage states: "God also said to Moses, 'I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them..."

We see that it was NOT ALL people who did not know this name just the patriarchs.  When one is doing scholarship work they must be careful not to over generalize and stick to the actual text as the ramifications are immense.

Plus the problems that are caused by such errors can be avoided if the researcher is careful and puts God's character above their own investigations and desires to find a smoking gun. 

Even though there is very good information contained in the pages of this book, one wonders where is evangelical scholarship heading and who is it following?  Is it following God's rules or the rules of secular man? Is it trying to be accepted by the world or is it obeying God's instructions and being acceptable unto Him? Finally, is it trying to impress the secular world or is it trying to teach the followers of God the truth so that they will grow in their faith?

These are questions those in in the field of evangelical scholarship need to answer as they seem to stray further and further away from God's commands in hopes of getting a pat on the back by those who do not follow God. It is one thing to practice good scholarship and Christians need to do so BUT it is another when they do such scholarship in hopes of receiving rewards form those who do not follow God.

The secular world does NOT own the research fields and have less a right to make the rules of research than believers have. We are to follow God's rules not the worlds and if God's rules conflict with secular man's then it is secular man's rules that are dismissed, ignored and put to the side not God's.

One quick word, the back cover informs the reader that this work has been compiled in honor of Eugene H. Merrill which tells you the focus and purpose of the book.  Its purpose is to make a professor and giant in the field proud and little has to do with making God proud or giving Him honor.

This is the problem with the evangelical world, they put their eyes on men and take their eyes of Jesus, and too often people lose sight of the reality of the Christian faith because they follow different men while forgetting that God raised these men up to help His people make it through life. Paul wrote about this and discouraged its practice as human men are not God or the author of the faith.  They are servants of God and the honor should go to God not humans.

This is a good book, just be careful when reading it and do not blindly accept everything that is said within its pages blindly.  Be good students and use discernment when reading it.

 
Civilizations...vol.1 & 2
 
Ed. by Jack Sasson

The full title is 'Civilizations of the Ancient Near East' and it is a 1300+ page work full of many different articles from many different scholars.  Well edited by Jack Sasson, it is a book full of information about the societies that preceded our modern world. This volume is part of a 4 volume set and if you obtain the updated publication it may be in 2 book sets with 2 volumes per book. 

There is one chapter that is totally out of place in this work as it deals with a subject matter that is not normally discussed in archaeology.  It is entitled 'Egypt in the Pre-history of Northeast Africa' by Fekri A. Hassan.  I say it doesn't belong because it adopts an anthropological perspective of the development of man and its evolutionary concepts, which is not usually found in archaeological works.

That chapter doesn't ruin the whole book but it does put a shadow over all the rest of the information found within its pages.  It reminds the Christian that this work is NOT Christian in nature and that the Biblical truth, perspective and God's involvement in history are not part of the purpose of this work.  Even Kenneth Kitchen, an evangelical Egyptologist, sticks mainly to the historical facts as found in the secular record.

This is a book which provides the reader with a lot of details about the past BUT the consistent theme throughout its pages is the reminder 'we do not know a lot about these people...' or 'we have not discovered a lot of information...', thus the reader needs to be wary of how they apply the data they find in each article.  The limited amount of information at our disposal tells us that we cannot rely on archaeology or archaeologists to draw our conclusions about ancient people.  That we must go to God and the Bible as the ancients were endowed with the same emotions, feelings, characteristics, talents, desires and abilities (thinking, brains, etc.) as modern man and were subject to the corruption that entered into the world at the fall of man.

If an archaeologist dismisses the modern world as clues to the past then one needs to dismiss that archaeologist as the author of Ecc. tells us that what we think is new, really is not and have been done from the beginning of time.  "Nothing is new under the sun..." are his words and as archaeology makes more and more progress, we see that as very true. 

This set of books are for those who want more details of past civilizations, who want to see how other people lived (within reason) and need to defend their faith.  The information contained in these pages are for the believer as well as well as the unbeliever as the Christian needs to know about those things of the past so they can make a strong defense of their faith and show the unchurched that Christians are educated and know what takes place in the world.

This set and volumes 3 & 4 are well worth the money and are a great resource for theological and all other students.