Contact: Wiley Drake, 2nd Vice President of The Southern Baptist Convention, 714-865-8132
MEDIA ADVISORY, Mar. 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- Dr. John Hagee, of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Tx., called "The Bible and Its Influence" "a masterful work of deception, distortion and outright falsehoods." Bible Literacy Project Communications Vice President Sheila Weber has claimed that "misrepresentations" about the textbook "The Bible and Its Influence" have been corrected. However, many of Hagees' strongest concerns remain unchanged.
Page 29 of the Bible Literacy Project textbook reads "other origin stories tell of many gods who are created, etc." Hagee says this "plants the concept in the mind of children that polytheism is just as acceptable as monotheism, which is contrary to the Bible." Also unchanged is a Bible quotation from an interpretation by Dr. Robert Alter, an endorser of and contributor to the textbook, saying God created the world "out of welter and waste." Hagee contends this leaves a "completely wrong" impression of the creation account. Hagee says the unchanged phrase on page 34 promotes polytheism: "By contrast, some traditions and philosophies see humans as no more or less sacred than other living creatures."
Below is just a sampling of some of the troubling passages in the latest version of "The Bible and Its Influence" that remain unchanged:
"Job is one of the most difficult books in the Bible in that it provides no clear cut moral or answer to Job's situation." (page 161)
"God's help comes with strings attached – commandments or laws that the Israelites must obey in order to keep faith." (page 72)
"The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.' [Job 42:12] This ending, though pleasing in some ways, has failed to satisfy various readers over the centuries." (page 160)
"It is always good to remember not to try to apply current standards to the biblical accounts." (page 50)
"Many students although aware of good and evil, have not thought deeply about it. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God is considered to be good, all knowing and all powerful. Yet this view presents a problem." (page 163)
"Gideon won the battle by a bit of trickery." (page 81)
"The pattern of family trickery and deceit continues." (page 56 speaking of the family of Abraham)
"American writer and reporter Lincoln Steffen's 1926 defense of Leninist (Communist) politics was called 'Moses in Red.'" (page 65)
The text's dialectic method of questioning faith is reinforced on page 13 where it claims William Tyndale, translator of the Bible, "coined such phrases as 'Let there be light,' 'My brother's keeper,' and more. Teachers are instructed to "Devote particular attention to the phrases coined by Tyndale." This creates doubt over the true author of the Bible. Tyndale only translated the Bible, but the Bible Literacy Project implies that he was the one coining the phrases and writing the sentences.
It is obvious why the National Council on Islamic Education has endorsed the guidelines to which the textbook was written. Teachers are instructed "to explain that the traditional Islamic reading of this story [ sic. Abraham and Isaac] (incorporated into the Qur'an) substitutes Ishmael for Isaac; Muslims see Ishmael as the oldest son and true successor to Abraham." In the revised student text, students read "Muslims honor Abraham as the first monotheist, worshipper of the one true God they call Allah." The text further states that "They [Muslims] prize the covenant God made with Hagar when she was abandoned in the wilderness" and quotes scripture supporting the statement. The text never mentions that the Bible states that Ishmael is not an heir to Abraham.
As Dr. Hagee said about the Bible Literacy Project textbook, "distortions, deceptions and falsehoods never produce moral, emotional, political or intellectual health." This is especially true when the Bible is compromised with liberal interpretations, justification of communism, and implications that God's chosen people were deceptive liars. The fact is, the Bible Literacy Project's revisions fall far short of allaying deep concerns about their textbook, "The Bible and Its Influence."