This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

 
Issue Features
Reason and Revelation Volume 17 #4

Book Review: The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart

by  Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Peter J. Gomes is a Baptist clergyman who preaches for Harvard University’s Memorial Church, and who also teaches at the university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The cleric professor has created a maelstrom of controversy recently with the publication of The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (1996). The design of this book is to neutralize the Scriptures of their doctrinally demanding thrust, thus accommodating the ancient volume to the inclinations of modern society.

Gomes argues, for example, that the Bible does not condemn abortion. He contends that the biblical term “murder” refers only to the premeditated destruction of human life “outside the womb” (p. 45)—a distinction that is arbitrary, and which, in fact, is at variance with Exodus 21:22-23.

Further, Gomes, a self-confessed homosexual, alleges that the use of the Bible to condemn homosexuality is the product of simplistic interpretative methods that reflect a failure to comprehend the context in which the Scriptures were written. Such proceduralism he calls “textual harassment.” These sort of charges flow easily, of course, from those who reject the plain testimony of the Bible in the interest of their own personal agenda. For example, the author makes an artificial distinction in types of homosexual relationships. One moment he contends that Paul, in his various letters, merely was condemning the “debauched pagan expression” of homosexuality; then, he alleges that the apostle hardly can be faulted for his ignorance, because he knew nothing of “the concept of a homosexual nature” (p. 158). He also suggests (p. 25) that there was a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan—a notion not reflected even remotely in the Old Testament narrative regarding these great men. Gomes obviously is desperate for some semblance of support for his aberrant lifestyle.

The professor charges that the New Testament itself is anti-Semitic. One chapter is titled: “The Bible and Anti-Semitism: Christianity’s Original Sin.” It is hardly anti-Semitic, however, to contend that the Jews’ salvation is to be found only in Jesus Christ, when the same condition prevails for the Gentiles as well. No one can read Romans 9:1ff., where Paul’s heart throbs with love for his brothers in the flesh, and charge the apostle with hatred and racism.

This volume is filled with reckless charges, sweeping generalizations, and invalid arguments. It is utterly bereft of scholarly acumen.

Of late, Gomes has been a frequent guest on the talk-show circuit, and his book has received laudatory reviews in the popular press. This is to be expected from media that disregard the authority of the Bible, and seek justification for hedonistic lifestyles.

REFERENCES

Gomes, Peter J. (1996), The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (New York: William Morrow).



Copyright © 1997 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558

http://www.apologeticspress.org

Web Store

Valor & Virtue (Issue 3)

Throughout the course of human history, some of God’s most valuable and courageous servants have been teenagers. V2 is a new resource designed to provide teens with exciting evidences that will strengthen their faith.

Featured Audio

Listen

Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio