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Bible Literacy Project Announces Changes in Forthcoming Updated Edition of its Widely-Acclaimed Public School Textbook 'The Bible and Its Influence'

After 11 months, textbook used in 80 school districts and 27 states;  900 educators consider course for next fall

Contact: Sheila Weber, VP Communications, Bible Literacy Project, sheila@bibleliteracy.org, 646-322-6853

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, Sept. 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- In response to a recent press release from Wiley Drake (speaking for himself and not on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention), the Bible Literacy Project (www.bibleliteracy.org) notes that editorial changes in its textbook’s forthcoming second edition remove the content which Drake has criticized.

Furthermore, the Southern Baptist Convention has not made any statement opposing the Bible Literacy Project, and does not endorse any Bible curriculum for public schools, explains Sheila Weber, VP Communication of the Bible Literacy Project.

“If Wiley Drake had first called to check with the Bible Literacy Project, he would have learned that content changes that address his concerns have already been made  in the recent release (late August 2006) of the textbook’s Teacher’s Edition and the forthcoming second edition of the student version, The Bible and Its Influence,” said Weber.  “When the Bible Literacy Project first released the student textbook in the fall of 2005, we stated that it is standard practice for textbooks to be updated; and that we would be responsive to feedback from schools and faith groups. We have already demonstrated our commitment to excellence by having 40 scholars review the original text, including  eminent professors such as Dr. Leland Ryken of Wheaton College, Dr. Tremper Longman of Westmont, Dr. Paul Borgman of Gordon College, and Dr. Peter Lillback of Westminster Seminary,” said Weber.

Ted Haggard (president of the National Association of Evangelicals), Chuck Colson, Vonette Bright, Peter Lillback, and Joe Stowell, as well as leaders of the American Jewish Congress and Catholic Biblical Association and a broad base of 40 scholarly reviewers, all support the new student textbook, The Bible and Its Influence. “They do so because the textbook does not merely teach the Bible as literature, but also acknowledges the Bible’s role as sacred text,” said Weber.

The textbook fulfills the standards set forth in The Bible and Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide, whose guidelines were endorsed by 21 national groups, including the National School Boards Association.

Changes in the forthcoming edition include the following, along with many others beyond these examples:

  • Language for the Mayflower Compact now includes a fully quoted passage from the original document.
  • A rhetorical question about “whether Adam and Eve received a fair deal” has been removed, even though critics of this question always failed to note that the textbook directed students to find their answer from the text of Genesis 3. 
  • A philosophical question asking why God allows evil things to happen has been removed. 

The Bible Literacy Project believes that the loss of Bible knowledge amidst our culture is not to be taken lightly. “While it is the job of the church and the home to teach the faith perspective, public education does students a disservice if it fails to teach the content of the most important written document of Western Civilization,” said BLP Chairman Chuck Stetson.

“Our national research studies show that 100 percent of top university professors and 98 percent of high school English teachers agree that students need to know the Bible in order to be well-educated. The textbook explains the importance of the Bible in American history, literature, and culture, while the words of the Bible speak for themselves,” Stetson explained.

“Despite the importance of knowing the Bible and the fact that it is legal to offer an academic course on the Bible in public school, educators remain fearful. That is why we created our new student textbook—always used alongside the student’s own Bible—to resolve those fears. Our goal is to increase dramatically the low 8% of public high schools which now offer a Bible elective course,” Stetson continued.

The Bible Literacy Project’s textbook has been widely acclaimed by a wide range of national leaders, scholars and the media for its breadth, accuracy and beauty. After only 11 months, more than 80 school districts in 27 states have introduced courses about the Bible using this textbook, with more than 900 educators reviewing The Bible and Its Influence for use next fall.