Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Recent Read Number 5

"Had Jesus never come and the New Testament never written, the vast majority of humankind would know nothing of The Old Testament. It would just be the sacred writings of a wandering and obscure nation. Instead, because of Christianity, both the Old and New Testaments, with their higher codes of morality, have now gone out into all the world!"

I should have done this review several weeks ago but I kept procrastinating. Soon I will be finished with one of my current books and will have to review that one. OK so a while back I read the book What If The Bible Had Never Been Written? - by D. James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe.

This book was somewhat enjoyable, and very informative, however, it reads like a boring school text book. It has a large notes section at the end with all the bibliographical information on the sources of the facts. Unfortunately many of the references are other works by the authors especially this books companion book What if Jesus had Never Been Born?. The back of the dustjacket has some reviewer quotes and praises for the book. One of them indicated that when confronted with skeptics comments about The Bible not being true and it doesn't matter you can hit back with this book. Unfortunately skeptics who read this book will not be convinced, and probably will ask even more questions or become more skeptical.

Author James Kennedy is a Presbyterian Minister in Southern Florida and his co-author Jerry Newcombe is a senior producer for Kennedy's televised sermons so it is obviously going to have a Christian point of view slant. I think this will help Christians and those seeking more information on Christianity more than it will answer questions from skeptics. The main focus of the book is how the Bible and Christians have influenced society and in many cases contributed to major historical events and scientific break-throughs. Many of the people discussed I didn't know had been Christian or had been influenced by Christian beliefs and the Bible. It also gives a pretty decent history of Christianity so its not a total waste of time. The writing style is very stale, as I said, it reads like a boring school text book.

One section of note is at the beginning of chapter five which deals with how the Bible has influenced politics. When Jesus tells his disciples "You are the salt of the Earth" Kennedy goes on to explain that salt is a preservative to keep good things from going bad. He says "The followers of Christ have in face proved to be, more than anyone else, the preservatives of decency and morality in the world." Many non-Christians may disagree with that, and try to twist it to say the complete opposite.

Well if I had to rate this book I'd give it only a 2.5. I think it works better as a reference book than as a source of entertainment.

What If The Bible Had Never Been Written? - by D. James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe 1998 Thomas Nelson Publishers Hardback (288 pages).

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