Many of my Jewish friends wonder, quite justifiably, why they are so disliked. Of particular frustration is the opposition from mainline Christian denominations. Believe me, it is no mystery.
The human mind has a great capacity for self-delusion, and nowhere is this more evident than in the twisted scholarship of liberal seminaries. If today's television documentaries cast doubt on the Hebrew scriptures, those "scholarly" presentations had a source. The source for many of them was the polluted academic books of the last century.
On my desk is a copy of volume one of The Interpreter's Bible: Genesis and Exodus. Wow. I hardly know where to begin. With an editorial board comprised of George Arthur Buttrick (commentary editor), and associate editors Walter Russell Bowie, Paul Scherer, John Knox, Samuel Terrien, and Nolan B. Harmon, this volume of The Interpreter's Bible is a mish-mash of stream-of-consciousness, anti-Semitism, and rank unbelief. All torturous 1,099 pages of it. It is perhaps a given that the four-color end-sheet is entitled "Palestine in Old Testament Times" (which would have puzzled all the Jews in the "Old Testament" who never heard of Palestine).
By the way, I label part of it anti-Semitic because the tactic of claiming that much of the Bible is Hebrew myth is akin to Jewish conspiracy theories. Nothing is more anti-Semitic than claiming the Bible was made up.
There is also a lengthy list of "consulting editors" including Millar Burrows, Henry Sloane Coffin (whose name is a delicious label for the dead religion spawned by liberal scholarship), and Bruce Metzger - all contributors to a book that painfully, ploddingly hacks away at the veracity of the Bible. Shockingly, William Allbright, the brilliant archaeologist, is included. For balance, one presumes.
It goes without saying that Genesis receives rough treatment from these enlightened men, but it is the examination of Exodus that boggles the mind. The Red Sea crossing, as a real event, cannot be tolerated by enlightened minds.
In a comment on chapter 14, verse 16, the scholar notes: "The dividing of the water by the rod (E) leads on to the later embellishment (P) that the water stood up as walls!"
Get it? The whole scene - a deep body of water being divided on the command of God - is too fantastic to believe. Therefore, it is metaphor, myth, fairytale. Today it would make a nice Disney movie, complete with cute fish and perhaps an Edward G. Robinson starfish that talks to the Hebrew children as they trek through.
The reference to "(E)" and "(P)" is a nod to the bizarre JEPD theory that says anonymous (of course!) editors, separated by hundreds or thousands of years, added to this fanciful tale. Much like if I added to Walter Russell Bowie's biography by insisting that he fought at the Alamo a half-century before he was born.
Further commentary pushes the whole story deeper into myth: "But the great scene at the Red Sea still survives as a metaphorical expression of the faith that God does stand on the side of the unjustly downtrodden and helps them to victory in ways that seem mysterious to both them and their oppressors [emphasis added]."
Sure it does. By the way, this contention, made up out of whole cloth, has opened the door for the Liberation Theology by which the Palestinians have appropriated the Hebrew Scriptures and pasted them onto their own narrative. Another byproduct of unbelieving scholars who pose as Christians and stab at the validity of the Bible.
Keep in mind that the above passages are just quotes from a single page of The Interpreter's Bible. The whole sorry waste of ink and paper has a diabolical purpose; let us not doubt that for a minute.
Think about it: Exodus is a Hebrew myth story designed to make them feel good about themselves, much like the British and Germans in the 19th century, who sent their archaeologists racing across the deserts in order to establish that early man had his real beginnings in Cheltenham or Frankfurt. But, so the critics say, the Bible has no more claim to truth than any other sacred book of any other sacred religion.
This is diabolical, dear reader. If Exodus is not real, then neither is the Ten Commandments. And if the delivering of the Ten Commandments is a plot point in a Disney movie, then why are any of us bound by them? Modern man lies, cheats and steals because he does not accept that God is the first, middle, and final authority for all life. The Exodus story is not true, therefore the Ten Commandments are not a rule for life, therefore I can lie, cheat, and steal.
In large part, we have our present society's rebellion due thanks to the efforts of these genius scholars a half-century ago.
A byproduct of the wholesale unbelief generated by this "study" Bible is a rejection of the Jewish people as the people of the Most High God, forged in the fires of the ancient Near East. If modern Jews have no connection to the ancient Jews, then why should they be allowed to live in the Holy Land? More pointedly for many, why should they be allowed to live?
This spiritual sickness is the legacy of The Interpreter's Bible and generations of seminary graduates, college students, Sunday school teachers - and clever fellows like the Emergent community have bought into the lie.
May God have mercy on our children.