Before we get into reviewing specific books, I would like to make an announcement. Dean Hough, pastor of Savior of All Fellowship, has informed me that he has several used books for sale, some of which are hard to find out-of-print books. Some deal with ultimate reconciliation. Dean is an excellent source of information for books dealing with the salvation of all mankind. This fellowship has photocopied hundreds of pages (probably thousands) for me so that I could write some of the material I am presently writing. Write for the list. This fellowship also has reprinted some of the classical works done on the "salvation of all" which were written in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ask for the list. Their address is:
Savior of All Fellowship
6800 Hough Rd
Almont, Michigan 48003.
The first two books we will briefly talk about come from the publisher Prometheus Books. This company specializes in books most Christians would categorize as "secular humanist." Their books generally cover a handful of topics from a pro-atheist, pro-intellectualism, pro-feminism, pro-(homosexual, bisexual, erotic), pro-philosophy, pro-science slant. The books are definitely anti-Christian and while I think they would probably categorize themselves as anti-religious in a general sense, from my vantage point, I see the writings really full of religion but not full of truth. While they would consider themselves rationalists, many of their books deal with satisfaction of the more base desires Some of the books encourage what the Bible calls "perverted." Studies clearly show that pornography increases sexually related crimes, this does not seem to inhibit Prometheus Books from publishing a slew of them.
The cover of the catalog from this publisher shows the Greek Mythological character Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and giving it to man. While trying to get away from religion, they find themselves actually embracing the most vial and corrupt forms of idol worship.
I have read some of the books from this catalog. I have discovered that many of those writing for this publisher have been deeply burned by the Christian religion. Much of what they write against Christianity is true! They expose many of the charismatic faith healers as frauds. Amazing Randi the Magician, exposed Peter Popoff by showing his so-called "word of knowledge" was nothing more than a radio receiver implanted in his ear. Gerard Straub, a former producer for the "700 Club" reveals what life is like in this evangelical empire. There are several books on the subject of the horrors perpetrated upon mankind by the institution of religion. Several books deal with the subject of the Bible, its contradictions, errors, and its ill effects upon "reasonable" people.
I am probably going to get some flack from some Christians for what I am about to recommend. So be it.
Much of what these writers have to say about the "church" past and present is true. These writers have looked at church history and many have participated as active members in main stream churches and walked away disgusted, or hurt. We should have a heart to hear their cry. We should have the willingness to correct those things clearly wrong, and most of all, we should be humble enough to admit when we are wrong and change.
But when I was in the mainstream church, we read books by so-called "cult" experts who would read these books for us so that we could know what they believe without getting our little minds dirty. People these "cult" expert writers and ministries will one day be exposed for being cults themselves! It is time for us to grow up. We must be accountable for our own actions, and we must "see if these things be so" ourselves.
The books I am reviewing from Prometheus Books are entitled The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy by C. Dennis McKinsey and The Bad News Bible by David Voas. These two books are new additions to the several books Prometheus Books publishes which are aimed at discrediting the Bible as the word of God. Now, listen to me very carefully, especially those of the fundamentalist persuasion. Don't twist my words. Hear my heart. There are some in our readership that should go to the library and check out these books if available. There are some of you who should purchase these books, read them, and wrestle with the contents until you can give a reasonable explanation or answer to the things contained in these books. You should then minister to these people in love showing them where they are correct and incorrect. The trouble with this is most Christians do not know the Bible or church history well enough to do so. I am not exaggerating when I say that many of these anti-Bible books writers know the Scriptures better than most pastors.
The Bad News Bible is written from a fictional viewpoint of Jesus' brother James. James, when he is through commenting on what is today incorrectly called the "New Testament," shows the "words of Jesus (or his ghost-writers) specifically deny much of Sunday School theology, and only the most selective quotations can give anyone confidence in salvation. Jesus doesn't live up to the Good Shepherd reputation. The promise of a heavenly afterlife comes from Paul, whose views on sex, women, and the family do little for his credibility. Judgment Day could come at any moment." While David Voas is very incorrect about who Jesus Christ is, he makes some very keen observations about much of what is taught as Biblical truths which are nothing but the traditions of men.
The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy was written by a high school counselor. He has appeared on many radio and television programs in debates. McKinsey "thinks the Bible is a deceptively inaccurate conglomeration of mythology and folklore masquerading as a valid picture of historical reality." According to the publishers the book "vividly proves the Bible to be its own enemy."
I have been in correspondence with Mr. McKinsey over the last few months and I would like to make a few comments. This man knows the Bible as well as any fundamentalist preacher, probably better. He certainly knows church history better. One night we spent over 2 hours debating over the telephone on my nickel, or should I say on some of those nickels some of you have sent in. (Thanks) He has combed that Bible very thoroughly. Let me tell you, those of you who really want to be able to share scripturally the hope within you, who want to truly understand the scriptures, who want to test their faith without hiding their head in the sand should purchase this book and spend several weeks wrestling with some of the points he makes. My heart goes out to this man and to many like him who have not received good answers from Christians. Shut off the TV and get knowledgeable enough about the things of God to be able to talk to this man and millions like him who are not satisfied with lazy superficial answers!
The famous atheist, Bertrand Russell, rejected Christianity not because it was not true, but because he read the Bible through the eyes of modern traditional teaching. The orthodox view of things does make the Bible contradict itself in many ways. We need to acknowledge our errors. We need to fess up about our faulty "inerrancy" doctrine and admit our English translations are not as pure as we have said they were. In short, we need to get honest. I believe when we do, people like David Voas and Dennis McKinsey will see the light and will be a very valuable part of the body of Christ.
While both books are overpriced, (as are many Christian books) I recommend those who are not afraid to have their foundations tested or who have a heart to reach those who can argue and reason well, to purchase these books, especially McKinsey's. They will greatly sharpen your skills and probably rearrange some of your theological furniture. It is time to put off our stupidity and put on the mind of Christ. These books will force you to press much deeper than perhaps you have in the past. To order call or write:
59 John Glenn Dr.
Amherst, New York 14228
Bad News Bible-$25.95
The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy-$49.95