Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Most Britons do not believe in the nativity, survey shows

[Source here]:

Most Britons do not believe the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus, a study has found.

By Ben Leach
Last Updated: 10:20PM GMT 20 Dec 2008

Young people were particularly doubtful about the nativity, with 78 per cent of 16-24-year-olds saying they were not convinced of its historical reliability.

Overall, 70 per cent were sceptical of the baby’s birth in a manger to a virgin mother, according to the poll of 1,000 people by the British Marketing Research Bureau.

Almost a quarter of those questioned who described themselves as Christians admitted they did not believe certain aspects of the Bible’s teaching about Jesus.

The survey was commissioned by St Helen’s Church in Bishopsgate, London, which has produced a film of “sound evidence” supporting the Bible’s account. The Rev Charlie Skrine, curate of the church, said the survey showed that “most of the UK believes that the accounts of Jesus’s birth aren’t good history“.

He added: “Combined with a general lack of understanding about the real meaning of Christmas, this leaves people without the hope that Jesus offers.”

Simon Gathercole, a new testament scholar at Cambridge University, said people were sceptical because they were not aware the origins of Christianity were anchored in real history.

He added: “Jesus was born while Augustus was emperor of Rome just before Herod died. We’re talking about events that are anchored in real history not in ancient Greek myths.”

A separate study by Mothers’ Union, a Christian charity, showed that more parents encourage their children to believe in Father Christmas than in the nativity.

A spokeswoman for the charity said the survey “raised concerns that the church needs to do more to support families in the spiritual nurture of their children”.

She added: “The church needs to get across the fact that in times of both adversity and prosperity, it has a universal message which enables people to connect with something outside themselves.”

The study of 1,000 parents found that one in five do not encourage their children to associate Christmas with the nativity. Five per cent do not encourage their children to believe in Father Christmas.

It also found only four per cent plan to attend church services more with their children in 2009.

It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Saturday that he believed the basic premise of story of the three wise men was true.

Last year, Dr Rowan Williams appeared to cast doubt on it, but speaking on BBC Radio 4, he argued that the idea of astrologers following a bright star to Bethlehem made sense in the historical context.

Asked if he believed the men – who according to the gospel of Matthew, took gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus – existed, Dr Williams said: “Yes I do. I think I trust the beginning of Matthew’s gospel in broad outline, because the notion that there are astrologers, perhaps of partly Jewish background, just outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire who might be on the watch for this, getting involved in the politics of Herod’s last days in Jerusalem.”



December 20, 2008 Posted by | Anglican Church, Bankrupt Churches, Jesus Christ, The Bible Exposed, UK | Leave a comment

Chronological Study Bible debate response


Thomas Nelson’s new Study Bible, The Chronological Study Bible, has caused quite a stir in the media and Blogsphere. It’s interesting to me that the pundits would discuss it even though the actual Bible isn’t due to release until September and none of the writers have actually seen a finished copy. I will try and address some of what has been written in this post, but first let me provide some context.
There are many factors that fuel our creative processes as we develop new products. The first strong factor is the growing Bible illiteracy among Christians:

•    The Bible Literacy Report I finds that 98% of English teachers say that Bible literacy gives a distinct academic advantage and 90% say it is critical to a good education. They also said that an alarming loss of Bible knowledge among teens is eroding students’ ability to understand British and American literature impairing their study of art, music, history, and culture.

•    The Bible Literacy Report II reveals that English professors surveyed at leading universities – including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford – unanimously agree that, regardless of one’s faith, an educated person needs to know the Bible.

•    Recent Time Magazine and Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reports indicate that most Americans can only name one of the four Gospels and cannot name the first book of the Bible; and 60% cannot name five of the Ten Commandments.

The second strong factor stems from our own research with the Barna Group, which revealed the felt need from our customers to have Bibles that help them actually get into and read a book that, too many, can seem intimidating and difficult to understand. These two factors motivated us to develop the Chronological Study Bible. We wanted a product that would help people see the whole story, from beginning to end, without duplication or confusion (as the Canonical order can sometimes cause) especially for people new to the Bible. The project gives readers historical and cultural context not found in a typical Bible. It provides users with some anchors to historical events and shows them what was happening in the world during biblical times. This adds relevance for many readers.

Now, knowing the motivators behind the project’s development, allow me to address some of the points made by recent posts:

•    This is a new idea. No, not really. Chronological Bibles have been around for some time. In 1975 Edward Reese developed the Reese Chronological Bible. Then,  in 1984, F. LeGard Smith developed a Narrated Bible that was later released as the Daily Bible in Chronological Order that users found extremely helpful. So, as one writer described, the “rejiggering” of the books of the Bible isn’t new or sacrilegious.

•    Scholars Won’t Like it. It was not developed for them. The Chronological Study Bible was created by biblical scholars for people who are seeking to study and understand the historical and cultural context within the time frame of the Holy Scriptures. Scholars typically already possess this knowledge.

•    What’s the right chronology for the biblical narrative? That depends. Any two attempts to reformat the Bible will exhibit numerous differences. The chronological arrangement of the Bible requires conjectures and choices to be made based on particular data. A chronological Bible is, therefore, an approximation designed to clarify the historical setting and assist further study and Bible reading.

The scholar team that assembled this product had to make some judgment calls. In the Bible’s introduction they say this to the reader:

Rearranging the Bible is, of course, a fallible human effort. Even those who have earned advanced degrees in the various fields of biblical studies would disagree on any particular arrangement. The editors of the Chronological Study Bible have been forced at times to make hard decisions, and to choose one location at the neglect of another that is equally plausible. In such instances, an honest effort has been made to acknowledge another possible arrangement and to present its case fairly. This allows the readers to decide the issues for themselves.

Rearranging the order of the Bible’s books may appear to some readers to be a violation of the integrity of the Bible. The goal of the Chronological Study Bible is not to replace the time-honored canonical arrangement, but instead to honor time as the setting in which the biblical record appeared. Readers who study this Bible will return to their traditional (in canonical order) Bibles better equipped to read them.

•    The book of Psalms (and other Narrative sections) is split up. Yes they are and for good reason. We wanted the reader to feel the emotional and spiritual significance of the narrative sections. For example, what better way to understand David’s emotion and passion after he confesses his sin with Bathsheba than to place Psalm 51 right there in the story instead of tucked in with the other Psalms? The Chronological Study Bible allows the reader to discover that moment of spiritual history as it happened instead of asking them, via a footnote, to find it elsewhere and hope they turn the pages.

•   The motive is strictly financial. Certainly to grow our business and mission we need to develop products that make a profit. However, that’s not our primary goal. We listen to pastors, consumers, book sellers and our own creative selves and the driving force behind our product development is Nelson’s mission to inspire the world and bring more people into God’s word. Our motive is no more financial than any newspaper’s motive to sell print or Internet advertising. In fact, knowing my team, it’s less.

•    The product is radical. Not really, it’s different.  Looking through the eyes of someone who has had trouble understanding the Bible, this could be a refreshing alternative. It may also seem “different,” but as we’ve seen in so many other venues different can be good especially when we learn more about it. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was teased and taunted as a young boy for his “different” body and now that perfect swimmer’s build has propelled him to become the greatest Olympic athlete of all time. Different isn’t bad, it’s just different.

Bibles are developed for many reasons. Most of the time they are developed based on a particular customer felt need and out of a sincere missional desire to fulfill that need. We have many consumers who, for the most part, don’t understand the Bible and yet want desperately to hear God’s voice from His scripture.  We also have a group of people who find the traditional Bible difficult to read, difficult to become engaged with, and they don’t understand the relevance or context of what’s being written. Hence, they feel lost and give up trying to figure it all out. The Chronological Study Bible easily fills those needs through a unique approach to reading and studying the Bible. It’s our hope that many people will find it refreshing and a new way to seek God’s wisdom for their lives.

September 2, 2008 Posted by | The Bible Exposed | 1 Comment

Chronological Study Bible stirs interest, skepticism


Like most versions of the Good Book, the new Chronological Study Bible from Thomas Nelson starts with “In the beginning,” and ends with “Amen.”

Everything else is up for grabs.

Entire books, like the Psalms, have been chopped up and mixed in with other sections of the Scripture, while others have been combined into nine story arcs, known as epochs.

Editors at the Nashville-based Christian publisher say their remix of the Protestant Bible’s 66 books will give readers new insights to the Scriptures. But some scholars believe the project will lead to confusion, not enlightenment.

Wayne Hastings, senior vice president at Thomas Nelson, says this new Bible isn’t for beginners. Instead, he said, it will help longtime Bible readers see how the different parts of Scripture fit together.

Sitting in a conference room at Thomas Nelson with a mock-up of the Chronological Study Bible, Hastings pointed to a section about the life of King David. The section includes both text from the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel and Psalms. It also includes maps and historical notes.

Readers get both the historical and spiritual context, said Hastings.

“Here’s where David and Bathsheba did their thing,” he said, “and right in the middle of that is when David wrote Psalm 51. So we dropped (in) Psalm 51, to give you, the reader, the spiritual impact of that psalm.”

That psalm is traditionally believed to have been written by King David expressing his remorse for committing adultery with Bathsheba.

Context is an issue

Parallel parts of the New Testament, such as the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — also have been woven together.

The new Bible’s chronology is based on the setting of each text — when the events in it occurred — rather than when it was written.

That’s a problem, says Doug Knight, Buffington professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Many books of the Bible, he said, were written long after the fact. For example, Knight says, the book of Joshua is set in the late Bronze Age, but was probably composed several hundred years later. Inserting notes about the historical context of a Bible passage won’t help if that text was written hundreds of years later, he said.

“Why would that be relevant, if the author is not living in the Bronze Age?,” he said. “What’s happening in the author’s own time is relevant.”

That’s especially true of a book like Daniel, Knight said.

That Old Testament account is set in the 6th century B.C., at the time when the Jews had been conquered by the Babylonians. But it was probably written in the 2nd century B.C., when Israel was ruled by a tyrant named Antiochus Epiphanes, and was written to encourage the Jews to keep their faith, despite being persecuted.

“It’s a powerful account if you put it in the time period of Antiochus Epiphanes,” Knight said.

But Richard Hess, professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary in Colorado, said a chronological Bible could be a useful tool.

“Anything that provides new insight and helps people study the Bible is good,” he said.

For example, he said, a reader can better understand parts of the book of Isaiah, which deals with the threat of the Assyrian Empire, by reading portions of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Parts of those two books describe the conflict between the Israelites and the Assyrians.

“When we teach an Old Testament survey class, we often teach in that way,” he said. “We try to put the prophets into their historical context.”

Still, Hess said that a chronological Bible has its limits.

“I do think you do lose something when you start demolishing any book of the Bible,” he said. “You lose the literary and theological context.”

The changes are so great that at least one scholar thinks the new publication isn’t really a Bible.

Philip Towner, dean of the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society, says the term Bible should be reserved for only canonical arrangement.

“I’m not going to jump off the roof or anything like that,” he said. “But I’d want to be quite careful in pitching this as a Bible.”

Don’t like it? That’s OK

Creating alternative arrangements for the Bible is nothing new. The Jewish canon, for example, includes only 35 books, rather than the 39 in the Protestant canon, and the two lists are in different order. Catholic and Greek Orthodox Old Testaments include even more books — such as Maccabees, Sirach, and Bel and the Dragon — commonly known as the Apocrypha.

Around A.D. 150, a popular book known as the Diatessaron combined the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into one story.

Bob Sanford, vice president at Thomas Nelson, said the new Bible can’t replace the canonical version. But he believes the book, which launches in September with a print run of at least 75,000, will be a helpful tool.

Bibles make up 11 percent of sales in the $2.4 billion Christian retail market. That doesn’t include Bibles that are given away or sold in secular or church bookstores.

Nelson sells about 10.5 million Bibles a year, in about 1,500 different types, said Hastings. He said the target audience for the new Bible is someone who already owns at least three and as many as 10 Bibles.

“They are constantly on the lookout for something new and different,” he said.

“Their motive is to get closer to God and hear his message. Bible one, Bible two, Bible three, Bible four are all mechanisms to hear that message clearer.”

While the arrangement of the Chronological Study Bible is different, the content remains the same, Sanford said. Every verse of the canonical version is in the new Bible. The editors even created an index to ensure that every verse was accounted for.

Some people may not like the new version. But Sanford doesn’t mind.

“What we do here in publishing, we do for the purpose of getting people into Scripture, to get into God,” he said. “Some of the things we do, not everybody likes. But that’s OK.”

August 25, 2008 Posted by | The Bible Exposed | Leave a comment

New Bible isn’t good book for all


NASHVILLE, Aug. 24 (UPI) — A new chronological Bible isn’t going to be the good book for everyone, even its Nashville publishers agree.

The Chronological Study Bible remixes the traditional Protestant Bible’s 66 books according to description of events in time. It is a version from which some may learn but which may confuse others, The Tennessean reported Sunday.

Wayne Hastings, senior vice president at Thomas Nelson publishing, agrees this new Bible isn’t for beginners. But he argues it will help longtime Bible readers see how the different parts of Scripture fit together when compared chronologically.

“Here’s where David and Bathsheba did their thing,” he said, “and right in the middle of that is when David wrote Psalm 51. So we dropped (in) Psalm 51, to give you, the reader, the spiritual impact of that psalm.”

But critics say that approach fails to realize that many biblical passages were written much later and thus influenced by the context of their own times.

“I do think you do lose something when you start demolishing any book of the Bible,” said Richard Hess, professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary. “You lose the literary and theological context.”

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Christians vs. Bible, The Bible Exposed | Leave a comment

LCCC atheists put up ‘gay Jesus’ poster


ELYRIA — Jesus Christ had a homosexual relationship?

Those words, written on a poster above the image of a topless man tenderly kissing Jesus on the neck, angered dozens of students Thursday night at Lorain County Community College.

“We had complaints all day,” said Amanda Lucero, a senior who also works at The Student Connection. “It’s sexually graphic. It’s very suggestive, and it still would be if it were a man and a woman.”

The sign went up about 4 p.m. in College Center student commons as part of Club Awareness Week, along with many other displays advertising student-run extracurricular organizations.

Students stopped to gawk, then grew angry and very vocal about the statement made by the poster.

Campus security guards said offended undergrads voiced complaints for about three straight hours, but the sign remained up because it didn’t present a security issue.

“You can’t portray Jesus like that. He believes in matrimony, that relationships like that should be done inside matrimony,” sophomore Brianna Holland said.

She said she believes homosexuality is wrong because she is a Christian, but she also said she is proud that her religion teaches tolerance and acceptance.

“I have a lot of homosexual friends. I’m not going to tell them they’re going to hell. That’s something they have to take care of between them and God,” Holland said.

Student aide Jessica Hodge said she felt the poster would “pollute the minds” of her children, ages 2 and 5, if they saw it.

“It looks like soft-core pornography,” she said. “I don’t think they’re making a statement at all. They just want to shock everyone.”

A Christian, Hodge said she doesn’t try to force her opinions on others. Questioning religion is fine, but mocking it isn’t, she said.

Lucero said the LCCC student handbook agrees, and pointed out a part of the school code that says, “Harassing any person(s) verbally, in writing, by graphic illustration, or physically, including any abuse, defamatory comments, signs or signals intended to mock or ridicule race, religion, age, sex, color, disability, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin” is not allowed.

“In higher education, we certainly respect all viewpoints. There is debate, and there are different perspectives,” Marcia Ballinger, LCCC’s vice president, said. “Controversy on a college campus from students is something that is inherent to free speech.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean she agrees with the message of the poster.

Christopher Burns is the secretary and treasurer of the campus Activists for Atheism club, which put up the poster.

He said it wasn’t intended to mock religion. Instead, the poster was meant to stir debate about Christianity by referencing a passage of the Bible that was allegedly cut out by early Christians.

Burns said most Christians have never heard of the Secret Gospel of Mark, which was found inscribed in a letter by Greek historian Clement of Alexandria. The letter has been disputed for decades and is now lost, with only photographs of the passages remaining for study.

One text from the letter hints that the Bible’s account of Mark’s gospel originally told the tale of Jesus raising a man from the dead and then having an intimate relationship with him, said Aaron Weaver, a senior at LCCC and president of the college atheist club.

“The purpose of the poster is to get students to see something they haven’t seen before,” he said. “The chances are it challenges them to challenge something they thought they knew.”

Sure, the poster was attention-seeking, but ultimately Weaver said he just wanted to create enough buzz to get people debating and thinking about why they believe what they believe.

“I understand that people will be offended. People will sometimes be offended for the most ridiculous of reasons,” he said.

He said his fellow students have the right to practice their religions and to express themselves in any way they choose.

He said he was shocked to learn the college had a policy that bans students from mocking religion, or any idea, for that matter. The policy is a clear violation of the First Amendment, Weaver said.

Sophomore Dejoune Grantham said the poster is libelous and blasphemous, and in her opinion it isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

“I don’t want my children walking through here and seeing that. It’s filthy,” she said.

Another sophomore, Amber Cales, said the poster was in a public place, and it was easily seen by anyone who passed. She said that took away her right as a parent to shield her children from controversial ideas.

She said she also felt the poster was just taking a pot-shot at Christianity instead of protesting all religious expression.

“You know if it was something about Judaism or Islam, it wouldn’t be tolerated,” she said.

A student named Zach Jefferson, who Weaver said is not a member of the atheist group, decided about 7:30 p.m. to take down the poster, but he wouldn’t say why.

Laura Nash, president of the Student Senate, said she wasn’t surprised at the outrage so many students voiced.

She said anyone offended should write a complaint and submit it to the Campus Life Division or campus security.

Weaver said anyone offended by the poster has never read the Bible.

The Bible is full of gross sexuality, rape, murder. If you’ve read through the Old Testament, you’d be disgusted,” he said.

He said he received permission from Student Life officers to put up the poster but was denied permission to place smaller versions on bulletin boards.

And Weaver said he didn’t just take a shot at Christianity. On Wednesday, he put up a picture of the prophet Mohammed — an act strictly forbidden in the Islamic faith.

He said that about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, he received a death threat in response to the picture, which read, “With love and missiles.” He took the picture down, turned over the note to campus security officers and went home.

“I put myself at risk, but I do so freely. I don’t let fear or the threat of death stop me from speaking my mind freely,” he said.

August 22, 2008 Posted by | Gay Jesus?, The Bible Exposed | Leave a comment

Pastor’s sex with daughter inspired by Bible

This following article by Diana Luciois a blow to the Christian Bible [source]:

Anthony Hopkins may have built a reputation as a preacher, but it’s how he’s accused of using his faith, that will now determine his fate. “The (unidentified) stated that when he first had sexual contact with her he explained that it was normal and he described to her and told her in detail the story of Lot from the Bible,” Said Ashley Rich, Assistant Mobile County District Attorney.

A story from the Old Testament that Dr. Cecil Taylor with the University of Mobile says, is a tale about a good man who gives in to evil and ends up committing incest with his two daughters. “Lot has raised his daughters in such a sexually perverted city that it was almost normal for them to do what seems to us so very abnormal, “Said Taylor, the Dean of Christian Studies for the University of Mobile. As sordid as it sounds, Cecil says it is intended to have a moral meaning. You have to be very careful as you read the Bible to avoid taking a negative example as a positive example and copying that in your own life,”Said Dr. Taylor.

Something that Hopkins allegedly did and Clinical Psychologist Michael Rosenbaum says it is characteristic of a sexual predator, to manipulate their victims. “They use whatever they can to influence the child to go ahead and engage in some type of sexual relationship,”Said Dr. Rosenbaum. While Hopkins stands accused of raping, sodomizing and sexually abusing one of his eight children. Rosenbaum says he also abused his faith, to have his way. “He obviously used that story and arbitrarily interpreted it, as a way to influence his daughter so that she would think that his having sex with her was ok,”Said Rosenbaum.

View this news item as an image file here

Esam Mudeer: Am I surprised to read all this? No. I am not even shocked by this article to say the least. Why? because long time ago, I have read the following passage from an Islamic best seller written by a very famous Muslim scholar of the Christian Bible:

Dr. Vernon Jones, an American psychologist of repute, carried out experiments on groups of school children to whom certain stories had been told. The heroes of the stories were the same in the case of the different groups of children, but the heroes behaved contradictorily to each group. To one group “St. George,” slaving the dragon emerged a very brave figure, but to another group, fleeing in terror and seeking shelter in his mother’s lap. “THESE STORIES MADE CERTAIN SLIGHT BUT PERMANENT CHANGES IN CHARACTER, EVEN IN THE NARROW CLASSROOM SITUATION,’ concluded Dr. Jones.

Now, while bearing in mind the news item above, read the following by Mr. Deedat:

How much more permanent damage the rapes and murders, incests and beastialities of the “Holy Bible” has done to the children of Christendom, can be measured from reports in our daily newspapers. If such is the source of Western morality, it is no little wonder, then, that Methodists and Roman Catholics have already solemnized marriages between HOMOSEXUALS in their “Houses of God.” And 8000 “gays” (an euphemistic term for sodomites) parade their “wares” in London’s Hyde Park in July 1979, to the acclaim of the news and TV media.

Mr. Deedat then adds:

George Bernard Shaw said that “THE MOST DANGEROUS BOOK (the Bible) ON EARTH, KEEP IT UNDER LOCK AND KEY.” Keep the Bible out of your children’s reach. But who will follow his advice? He was not a B.A., a “reborn” Christian.

According to the high moral scruples of the Christian rulers of South African, who have banned the book, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,’ because of a “tetragrammaton” — a four-letter word, they would most assuredly have placed a ban on the “Holy Bible” if it had been a Hindu religious Book, or a Muslim religious Book. But they are utterly helpless against their own “Holy Book,” their “SALVATION” depends upon it!


Read Genesis 19, verses 30 to the end and mark again in “red” the words and phrases deserving this honour. Do not hesitate and procrastinate. Your “coloured” Bible will become a priceless heirloom for your children. I agree with Shaw, to keep the Bible “under lock and key,’ but we need this weapon to meet the Christian challenge. The Prophet of Islam said that “WAR IS STRATEGY,’ and strategy demands that we use the weapons of our enemy. It is not what we like and what we do not like. It is what we are forced to use against the “ONE BOOK” (Bible) professors, who are knocking at our doors with “the Bible says this” and “the Bible says that.” They want us to exchange our Holy Qur’an for their “Holy Bible.” Show them the holes in the “holiness” which they have not yet seen. At times these zombies pretend to see the filth for the first time. They have been programmed with selected verses for their propagation.

To continue: the “history” has it that, night after night, the daughters of Lot seduce their drunken father with the noble (?) motive of preserving their father’s “seed.” “Seed” figures very prominently in this “Holy Book”: forty seven times in the little booklet of Genesis alone! Out of this another incestuous relationship come the “Ammonites” and the “Moabites,” for whom the God of Israel was supposed to have had a special compassion. Later on in the Bible we learn that the Jews are ordered by the same compassionate God to slaughter the Philistines mercilessly — men, women and children. Even trees and animals are not to be spared, but the Amonites and the Moabites are not to be “distressed” or “meddled” with because they are the seed of Lot! (Deuteronomy 2:19)

No decent reader can read the seduction of Lot to his mother, sister or daughter, not even to his fiancee if she is a chaste and moral woman. Yet you will come across perverted people who will gorge this filth. Tastes can be cultivated!

‘Hopkins’ Sex Acts Inspired By Bible’ WKRG.com August 15, 2008

Read again and mark Ezekiel 23. You will know what colour to choose. The “whoredoms” of the two sisters, Aholah and Aholibah. The sexual details here puts to shame even the unexpurgated edition of many banned books. Ask your “born again” Christian visitors, under what category will they classify all this lewdness? Such filth certainly has no place in any “Book of God.”

I invite you to read this book Is the Bible the Word of God? by Ahmed Deedat while bearing in mind USA Today’s article.

Read the book online here | MS Word Doc. | Scribd PDF

Listen to the content of the book: Debate – Is The Bible God’s Word – Ahmed Deedat Vs Jimmy Swaggart 1 (www.aswatalislam.net).mp3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

You can also watch the debate of Youtube.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Ahmed Deedat, Incest, The Bible Exposed | Leave a comment

In a new Bible this fall: no more 4 gospels but one

Bob Sanford wanted to create a Bible that would bring order and clarity to the text. Instead, he’s waded right into one of the great debates of biblical scholarship.

The Chronological Study Bible will be released this fall in the midst of a Bible-publishing boom in the United States. In an industry that now as much to do with profits as with prophets, Sanford expects his new edition to have wide appeal.

“(Our challenge) is to take the scholarship and make it enjoyable to a readership that enjoys history,” said Sanford, who oversees the Bible division for the giant Christian publisher, Thomas Nelson.

The company has carved out its share of the industry’s estimated $500 million annual haul by cornering the market on niche markets, such as families and teenagers.

The latest edition rejiggers the order of books, psalms, and Gospels in an effort to provide a historical framework for a text most scholars consider chronologically challenged.

So, for example, whole sections of Isaiah and Nehemiah are reordered to better reflect an accurate historical timeline; the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are merged into one based on Mark’s chronology; and some of St. Paul’s letters (which traditionally appear later in the New Testament) are woven into the Book of Acts.

Some biblical scholars, however, aren’t buying the idea.

“I would say, generally speaking, that scholars would have no interest at all,” said Pat Graham, a professor at Emory University in Atlanta. “What it ends up being is something that laypersons find helpful — or would think it would be helpful. Any biblical studies expert worth their salt would not have much interest in this at all, except as kind of a curiosity.”

At issue for scholars is a question they have grappled with for generations: When — and by whom — was the Bible written? For readers, the larger question is this: Does it really matter if Ezekial, say, appears before or after Nehemiah, and does it make a difference if a biblical timeline looks more like a zigzag?

The most recognizable changes in the Chronological Study Bible come in the placement of non-narrative sections — the books that aren’t necessarily anchored by specific people, places and events. The book of Psalms, which appears in the middle of the Old Testament in most editions, is split up in the the new edition by time period. All Psalms relating to David, for example, will instead appear as supplements to the relevant books of the Old Testament such as 1 Chronicles.

Sanford says unlocking and reordering the Bible’s chronology can help readers understand the context in which portions of the book were written. But in practice, scholars say, this can prove challenging.

For some biblical accounts, such as the Israelites’ exile to Babylon, there are historical accounts to support the narrative. Other stories require a leap of faith, however. Scholars say trying to rearrange individual books requires getting to the bottom of some of the world’s oldest known cases of identity theft: Many biblical works were the handiwork of multiple authors, all writing under a single name.

“It was very common in antiquity to attribute one’s own writings to the most important historians in the past,” said professor Michael D. Coogan, a professor at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., and editor of the New Oxford Annotated Bible. “It happens not just in the Bible — Socrates certainly didn’t say everything Plato quotes him as saying.”

Take, for example, the Book of Jeremiah, which was written by an undetermined number of authors over an unknown period of time. Some narratives are repeated and any semblance of chronology devolves into a jumble of dates and places.

The Bible’s order is significant for other reasons as well. Some scholars worry that changing the order would impact the Bible’s meaning and diminish the value of non-narrative elements, such as the book of Psalms.

“Part of the problem, and to me one of the flaws, is the assumption that this Bible is working with — that (narrative) — is the primary genre of literature in the Bible. That just isn’t true,” said the Rev. Bruce Birch, who teaches at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Graham, who called the idea of a chronological Bible “radical,” offered a helpful suggestion for potential buyers.

“It’s like you would attach a pack of cigarettes with a warning label from the surgeon general,” Graham said. “Well, this Bible should have a warning from the theologian general or something: ‘This bible may be harmful to your spiritual health.‘”

All is not lost for the book’s publishers, however. While the Ivory Tower cries heresy, the book’s target demographic seems more receptive to the idea. The Rev. Brad Riley, a pastor at the First Church of the Nazarene in Wichita, said a chronological Bible would likely be most useful for newcomers to the faith.

“The Bible can be intimidating for people … and the chronology can help people put the timeline together in their minds,” Riley said.

The Rev. Tommy Bratton Jr., who leads group Bible study at the First Baptist Church in Asheville, N.C., agreed.

“We try to put our Bible studies now in context of when things occur,” Bratton said. “It would give people, I think, a greater sense of how things were laid out in that way.”

Whether or not the book will win any converts in academia, Sanford thinks his new edition will be a success. There have been chronological Bibles before, he says, but none specifically geared toward Bible study. If everything works according to plan, the newest product will provide a fresh perspective on an age-old bestseller. And on this, the experts begrudgingly agree.

“You’re writing a new biblical narrative,” said Timothy Beal, a professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “I guess in this age of (cutting and pasting), it seems like a way to come up with a new Bible.”

Esam Mudeer: This USA Today’s article is  the most disturbing and damaging revelation concerning the alleged divine authorship of the Bible.

Long before all this the modern and academic shocking discoveries, the Holy Quran of the Muslims is by far the first and most critical of all approaches to cut to the heart of the long disputed matter.

Consider and ponder upon the following verses from the Quran:

And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book, but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture. Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: “This is from Allah” to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby. HQ 2:78–79

Also, the Holy Quran does not speak of 4 gospels but only one true Injeel (gospel) attributed to no other person but Jesus Christ, peace be upon him.

I invite you to read this book Is the Bible the Word of God? by Ahmed Deedat while bearing in mind USA Today’s article.

Read the book online here | MS Word Doc. | Scribd PDF

Listen to the content of the book: Debate – Is The Bible God’s Word – Ahmed Deedat Vs Jimmy Swaggart 1 (www.aswatalislam.net).mp3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

You can also watch the debate of Youtube.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Ahmed Deedat, The Bible Exposed | Leave a comment