"AS I SEE IT" 

Volume 8, Number 10, October 2005

 

“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”

Job 32:17-21

 

[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org

 

All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only.  Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand.  Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]

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I Remember Noel Smith

 

It was October 17, 1973.  The day was sunny and bright yet the Ozark air was pleasantly cool in Springfield, Missouri, where I was in my last year of Bible college.  And it was my 21st birthday.

 

That semester, I was enrolled in a journalism course.  Among the duties of the class was the production of the small weekly campus paper “The Banner.”  Naturally enough, this included the writing of articles for this publication, and that usually meant coming up with the very ideas and topics to write about.

 

My first appearance on the campus of Baptist Bible College was on September 5, 1971.  I had been called into the ministry only as recently as August 14, less than a month before and had as of that date never even heard of BBC; yet there I was a bona fide student.  In the following two-plus years on campus, I had become acquainted with not a few people, some students, some faculty, who would affect my life for years to come but none would match the impact of a professor that I met my first semester on campus, Dr. Noel Smith. 

 

Smith was one of the Bible professors, teaching both “General Bible Introduction” (a course on how we got the Bible--Smith expressly opposed the “KJV only” nonsense, and highly recommended to us the American Standard Version) and “hermeneutics” (a course on principles for interpreting the Bible).  Beyond this, and more significantly, he was the founder and editor of the Baptist Bible Fellowship’s then-weekly paper, The Baptist Bible Tribune.  Through classes and the Tribune, I came to very much appreciate Smith as professor and writer.

 

I did not hear Smith preach in a church service more than a handful of times, but each one is clear in my memory.  The first of these was in January 1972.  Smith preached on Isaiah 59:1-20 on a Sunday evening at High Street Baptist Church, Springfield, in the absence of Pastor David Cavin.  I was so taken with the sermon that I obtained a copy of the message on tape and listened to it (and the morning message by W. E. Dowell on the other side) so many times that I had the message and the passage memorized (I later loaned, and thereby lost, the tape).  Smith had cast his spell over me.

 

Because of my admiration for this man, I chose in that fall 1973 journalism class to write one of my assigned articles for “The Banner” about him and his work as editor.  This was published in a mid-October 1973 issue a few days before my birthday.

 

After classes were over for the day around noon that October 17th, I did what every student did--I went to the mail room to check my box for mail, returned tests and papers, and whatever else might show up.  Not much in the box this day, just one small white envelope, but the return address said “Baptist Bible Tribune.”  What could this be?  Inside on Baptist Bible Tribune stationery was a note:

 

“October 17, 1973

 

Mr. Doug Kutilek

Baptist Bible College

Springfield, Missouri 65802

 

Dear Mr. Kutilek:

 

            That piece you wrote about me in the Banner is a neat and clean piece of writing.  Thanks.”

 

It was signed with the inimitable signature “Noel Smith.”

 

That indeed made my day.  A most highly prized birthday gift.  I have the letter still.

 

Noel Smith (1900-1974) was, as he himself often noted, a son of Tennessee.  He had grown up in Murfreesboro in the precise middle of the state; his father had been a fireman, a source of endless pride to him in his youth.  He had been led to Christ at 15 in a Presbyterian church by the lady who was also his teacher in the local public school (that we had more such teachers today!).  He had worked as a railroad express messenger, whose job took him to Chattanooga, where his life drifted away, far away, from the God who had saved him, but a Billy Sunday crusade brought him back to God, and transformed his life.

 

He had very limited educational advantages, by our standards. To my knowledge, Smith did not continue in school beyond the 9th grade, typical of the majority of students in his day, and never attended any college; his one experience of higher education was one semester as a special student at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, at the beginning of the 1930s, were he developed a lifelong admiration for the great New Testament scholar A. T. Robertson (an admiration I inherited from Smith).

 

But Smith was a diligent reader of books, newspapers and periodicals, consuming whatever of value he could lay hands on, and by virtue of his life-long self-directed study, became a learned man.  At the time of his death, he had a personal library of something on the order of 3,000 books--and not one among them mere “decoration” or “ornament.”  These were the tools of his trade.  And they were much used, carefully searched and often annotated for the information and wisdom they could impart.  I am delighted that I have managed to acquire a few of his books for my own library.

 

One of Smith’s regrets, which he voiced in his classes, was that he had never mastered a foreign language.  Of course, he did master the English language, and was a master wordsmith in his native tongue.

 

Smith labored for a couple of decades as an evangelist and pastor among Southern Baptists, but withdrew on principle from the Convention in the late 1940s over the rising tides of modernism, top-heavy and domineering Convention bureaucracies and infringements on local church autonomy.  He became associated with the World Baptist Fellowship, which was dominated by the Texas tornado, J. Frank Norris.  Smith became editor of Norris’ paper, The Fundamentalist.

 

When Norris’ heavy-handed tactics compelled the departure of several hundred pastors and churches from the WBF and the formation of the Baptist Bible Fellowship in May 1950 (Smith actually broke his connection to Norris shortly before the split), Smith proposed the founding of a paper for the new movement.  He also proposed its name, The Baptist Bible Tribune, and, naturally enough, became its first and so-far longest-serving editor.  The editorial offices were established in Springfield, Missouri, the site of the newly-created school, Baptist Bible College.  Smith began teaching at the college, in addition to his editing duties, and had been at both tasks for more than 21 years when I first arrived in Springfield.

 

One of my classes that first semester was Smith’s “General Bible Introduction” class.  As with all of Smith’s classes, it met in the long and large classroom on the top floor of the administration building, half a flight of stairs up from the Tribune offices in an adjoining wing.  The room could accommodate at least 150 students, perhaps more, and with college enrollment in those days being over 2,000, the class was full of freshmen preachers-in-training. 

 

Smith as professor (always entering the classroom precisely at the appointed hour, never a moment before) was more an imparter of perspective and philosophy than of details and facts.  His asides and anecdotes were often as instructive as the course material.  The margins of my notebooks for his classes record a good many of these gems.  The one that has impacted me the most was his oft-repeated “Be your own man; stand in your own shoe leather,” by which he meant, “Think for yourself; resist the easy road of hero-worship and mere imitation of someone of repute.”  I have taken this aphorism as a dominant lifelong guide.

 

It was not long after my arrival on campus that I became aware of the Baptist Bible Tribune, and began what was a weekly trek up to the third floor Tribune offices just after mid-morning on Fridays, to secure a copy of the latest issue of the paper, a neat but diminishing pile of which was stacked on the counter.  Like everyone else, I turned first to the editorial page and read with the keenest of interest whatever Smith had to say on whatever subject he was addressing that week.  Only after the editorial was examined did the rest of the paper get a going over.  And so it was, week by week through the first 2 and a half years of my 3 at the college.

 

Though Smith was indeed an “original,” he like every writer of note was influenced by those authors he read.  The attentive reader can find in Smith’s writings echoes of A. T. Robertson (1863-1934) the great Baptist Greek scholar, and of the curmudgeonly political and social critic H. L. Mencken of Baltimore (1880-1956), and of novelist and humorist Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), and others.

 

In the fall of 1973, Smith was obviously and clearly in deteriorating health (as pictures of him from those days show), and was hospitalized for at least a couple of weeks in November at Cox Hospital on Springfield’s north side.  My wife was a nurse there, working second shift, and each night I came to pick her up in our one car.  I came early one of those nights, with the express purpose of stopping in for a visit with Dr. Smith.  I found his room and entered.  He was awake and reading in bed.  I asked how he was doing and he was all compliments about how the hospital staff was treating him.  He inquired about the book I had with me (I anticipated at least an hour’s wait for my wife after the visit and came prepared to make it a productive hour).  It was a commentary on Isaiah, which he commended as a good choice.  I asked in polite chit-chat style if he was keeping busy.  This elicited the somewhat irritated response “I’ve put out two complete editions of the Tribune since I got here!”  Idleness was never to his liking, not even when seriously ill.

 

Smith was released from the hospital and I (and probably most at the college) assumed that the crisis was past and that all things would continue as they always had since the begiing of the creation at the school and at the Tribune.  The second Sunday of January 1974, I was taking my usual Sunday afternoon nap on the floor in front of the heater, while my wife was in the kitchen cleaning up the lunch dishes and listening to the college radio station.  I was close to the stupor of deep sleep when Naomi called almost frantic from the kitchen, “Noel Smith died!”  “What?!”  “Noel Smith died!  They just announced it on the radio!”  I hurried into the kitchen and listened in disbelief until the announcement aired again some while later.  I was stunned. 

 

Just one among more than a thousand, I attended the funeral service later that week.  As the days and months and years have lengthened since that day, I have grown yet more and more to appreciate the singular privilege that was mine to know and hear and be influenced directly by Noel Smith.

 

Noel Smith was the first of the pre-eminent founders of the BBF to depart this life, and, frankly, he was the one most irreplaceable.  G. B. Vick was the organizer par excellence but Smith was the philosopher, the heart and soul of the BBF, and, I must add, the BBF has often slipped its moorings and drifted, sometimes quite badly, since his firm guiding voice was stilled.  And, sad to say, that drift continues.  Can it be 31 years and more since he left us?

---

 

Anecdotes Regarding Noel Smith

 

Anecdotes of incidents involving Noel Smith abound.  Some choice ones were witnessed by me personally--

 

One day, a female “preacher” known to Smith visited one of his classes.  He acknowledged her presence by remarking off-hand: “I have nothing against women being preachers, as long as they are the husband of one wife.”  The class roared.  The woman seemed unmoved.

 

On another day, as he was pointing out to the students something from the Bible, Smith glanced up to see that a man seated far in the back was not looking down at the Bible text, but had his eyes firmly on Smith. “Why are you staring at me?” Smith demanded.  “Why aren’t you looking at your Bible?” 

The man without a second’s hesitation replied, “I don’t have it with me.”

“Well, where is it?” Smith wanted to know.

“At home,” came the immediate and calm reply.

“At home?!  Do you mean to tell me that you are a student here in a Bible class in a Bible college, and you left your Bible at home!?!”

“I’m just visiting the school today.”

Smith seemed, indeed was, genuinely embarrassed, and apologized profusely for his understandable error.

 

On the final day of classes before Christmas break in December 1972, as Smith entered the third floor classroom to teach hermeneutics, the students all stood en masse (as they did when any professor entered a classroom) and as a preacher’s son from Indianapolis began to play (by pre-arrangement) “The First Noel,” the students sang the first verse and chorus with great gusto.  Smith could scarcely keep from busting out laughing.  His first sheepishly spoken words after the music faded away were: “I have no idea where my parents got that name!”

 

In November 1973, there was a special speaker on campus, whether for a single chapel service or a series of week-long lectures, I do not recall.  At any rate, my wife Naomi, who was not a student, came to school with me to hear the speaker.  As we were walking out hand-in-hand after the message, my wife drew close to me, touched her shoulder to mine, and briefly laid her head on my shoulder.  Unseen by us, Dr. Smith was in the slowly moving crowd directly behind us.  He immediately spoke up, and in his gruffest voice said, “We don’t allow none of that around here!”  I knew he was spoofing (and he must have enjoyed it immensely), but my wife was genuinely afraid that I would get into trouble for what she had done.

 

One day in hermeneutics class, a student asked Dr. Smith, “Why do good men like R.G. Lee and W. A. Criswell remain in the Southern Baptist Convention, with all its apostasy?”  With a flash of fire from his eyes, Smith with great intensity answered, “It is because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God!”

 

Another time, a student in the second year class asked Dr. Smith a Bible-related question.  He replied, “I don’t know the answer to your question just now, but next hour, I have a class full of first year theologues and I’m sure they’ll know the answer.  I’ll ask them.”

---

 

Those who did not have the extraordinary privilege of sitting under Smith’s teaching and preaching can nevertheless be touched by the fire through his published writings--

 

Readily accessible is Mrs. Norma Gillming’s compilation, The Best of Noel Smith (480 pages, paperback).  It was published in 1985 and contains a 75-page biography of Smith, compiled mostly from Smith’s own scattered statements about his life, plus some 76 editorials and other writings extracted from The Baptist Bible Tribune during the 23 and a half years that Smith was editor.  Though out of print, used copies of this book are not hard to find, particularly in the used book stores of Springfield, Missouri.

 

Smith’s own selection, There’ll Always be Moonlight on the Wabash and Other Editorials from the First 23 Years of the Baptist Bible Tribune, (68 pp., paperback) which contains 20 items, appeared in May 1973.  Used copies can be met with.

 

Smith also published a number of other booklets, among them Jews, Gentiles and the Church.

 

Original issues of the Baptist Bible Tribune from the Smith era are increasingly scarce, though the first ten years of the Tribune have been archived on CD-ROM by the Baptist Bible Tribune in recent years and are available for purchase.  The mailing address is P. O. Box 309, Springfield, MO 65801.

---Doug Kutilek

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Corrections

 

“To err is human; to forgive is not company policy.”  In the previous issue, we made at least two mistakes--one of the head and one of the hand.  The error of the head was ascribing the remarkable(!) book “88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Come Back in 1988” (or whatever the precise title is) to the wrong author (which by virtue of the nature of that book could be considered libelous).  We attributed it to J. R. Church, when in fact the culprit was Edgar Whisenant.  Our error of the hand was to mistype the date the second time we noted the publication year for Luther’s first complete German Bible translation.  The correct year was of course 1534.

---Doug Kutilek

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“Ye” or “He”: a Notable Variant Reading at Jeremiah 34:16

 

In the middle of Jeremiah 34:16, is the phrase “whom he had set at liberty.”  So reads the old Scofield Reference Bible published by Oxford University Press.  And thus reads the passage in many recent printed editions of the King James Version.  But not in all.  Instead of “he,” some, most notably those published by Cambridge University Press but others as well, read “ye.”  Here, then, is a genuine “variant reading” in KJV editions--either third person singular  “he” or second person plural “ye”-- and when there is a difference in readings, only one of them can be correct, and at least one of them must be wrong (theoretically, both could be wrong, but we will ignore that possibility here).  But how shall we decide?  By what evidence and by what criteria of judgment?  And what are the implications of our decision?

 

One obvious place to begin is with the original, published-in-1611 KJV.  That original edition of the KJV had "yee," the second person plural (as did the earlier Geneva Bible, 1560), spelled, judged by our conventions today, with an extra “e.”  There is good reason for the 1611 KJV to here have “ye”--that is the reading of the Hebrew text on which the translators based their version.  The Masoretic text at this place in Jeremiah 34:16 has a 2nd person plural verb (the pronominal idea is included in the verb in Hebrew and does not need to be stated independently), and therefore reads "ye" as does the Greek LXX, the Aramaic Targum Jonathan, the Latin Vulgate, and the Peshitta Syriac.  So also Luther's 1534 and 1545 Bibles, the 1569 Reina and the 1602 Reina-Valera Spanish versions, as well as the Romanian Bible of 1688. 

 

If the original KJV read “ye,” whence came the reading “he”?  F. H. A. Scrivener in his The Authorized Edition of the English Bible (1611) [Cambridge U. Press, 1884] notes on p. 225 that the original KJV read "ye" (which I confirmed independently), but that this was altered to "he" in the 1629 first Cambridge edition, and remained such in the 1638 Cambridge edition; both these editions were systematic revisions/corrections of the 1611 text (see A. S. Herbert, Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible 1525-1961, pp. 158, 176 for more information on these two revisions.  Of course, I must ask--if the KJV is really a “perfectly preserved translation,” as KJVOnly cultists claim, why would it need revision in 1629 and 1638, and later in 1762 and 1769, and later still in the 19th century?  But I digress.

 

But how this new reading “he” (versus the original KJV “ye”) arose, a reading which permeates many if not most modern KJV editions, I cannot say with certainty.  It is certain that it was not based on the original Hebrew Masoretic Text or any ancient version noted above, nor does it conform to any Reformation-era Bible version I could locate.  Yet it somehow became quickly diffused generally in commonly used English Bibles of the 17th and later centuries.  I find that "he" is the reading found in the Bible used by such earlier English commentators (all without notice of the variant) as Matthew Poole (d. 1679), Matthew Henry (d. 1714), John Gill (d. 1771), and Adam Clarke (d. 1832).  So it is today: commonly but not quite universally, in-print editions of the KJV read “he.”

 

I suspect that “he” arose as a printers’ error or mis-reading of “ye” in the Bible edition which was before the type-setters of the 1629 Cambridge edition, and that from there, it passed to the 1638 and later editions generally where it went uncorrected, all without a shred of support from the original Hebrew or the “original” English.  ("Strain at a gnat" for "strain out a gnat,” Matthew 23:24; and “faith” for the correct “hope” at Hebrews 10:23 are almost certainly similar printers’ errors, though made in setting up the original KJV edition rather than in subsequent revisions).

 

In truth, whether “ye” or “he” is original here is a small matter and in no wise affects the interpretation or application of the text (though the vast preponderance of evidence favors “ye”).  However, in one regard, it is a colossal matter, namely, when considering the claims of KJVOnly extremists who ascribe perfection to the KJV in its translation and its preservation.  They must address, and answer, the question--which reading?  Will they plead for the reading which is most familiar to them today in Oxford University Press and other editions, namely “he”? (note well that the overriding “principle” of textual criticism and translation evaluation among KJVOers and that which trumps all other considerations and all evidence is the hyper-subjective: “which reading is most familiar to me”).  Or will they opt for the true original KJV 1611 reading, namely “ye”, which agrees with the Hebrew and all the ancient and Reformation era versions I was able to check, but not the Bible the KJVOer is likely to have in his hand today?  If the KJVOnly extremists accept “ye” as correct, then almost certainly the KJV they have long used and studied is an imperfect representation of the “real” KJV, and their doctrine of infallible preservation is shot to smithereens (for God most assuredly did allow them to have and use--trustingly!--a less than perfect Bible edition).  But if they insist that the Bible as they now have it and know it (“preserved in the form in which we should have it”) is correct--reading “he” at Jeremiah 34:16--, then they are compelled to declare that the original Hebrew, and all the ancient versions, and all the Bibles of the Reformation, and all English Bibles before 1629, including the original edition of the KJV, were in error and therefore unpreserved Bibles.  This destroys their man-made doctrine of infallible preservation from the other end.

 

For one who is willing to consider facts and evidence and is open to the truth, the correct reading is not the least elusive.  The uniform testimony of all the ancient evidence is that Jeremiah, under divine inspiration, used the second person plural “you” (in archaic English, “ye”), not the third person singular “he.”  And all Bible versions should be corrected to conform to that original reading.

 

But the rigid KJVOer is driven to the precipice and is faced with the (to him) unthinkable conclusion that his man-made doctrine of a perfectly preserved Bible translation is fraudulent and contradicted by the facts.  But will he believe the facts?

---Doug Kutilek

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

The Stars and Their Purpose: Signposts in Space by Werner Gitt.  Bielefeld, Germany: Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung, 2000.  217 pp., paperback.

 

Dr. Werner Gitt is a German young-earth, creationist scientist whose specialty is astronomy, and who at the time of writing was the Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics.  This little book is filled with factual data about the various planets, moons and stars that make up the universe, thereby showing that special creation by a personal God is the only satisfying explanation of the universe as it exists.  The most remarkable place in the whole known universe is planet earth with an absolutely ideal combination of the precise features--atmospheric existence and composition, distance from the sun, status of the sun, nature of earth’s orbit, its satellite (the moon) and a hundred and one other very precise matters that are all essential for the existence and continuance of terrestrial life.  Such a remarkable combination of conditions is virtually excluded on the basis of “chance” and is extremely unlikely anywhere else in the universe, even in all its vastness and complexity.

 

The least satisfying part of the book is when Gitt “expounds” the Scriptures regarding the theme of the book.  Much of his treatment is commonplace, and he drifts into spiritualizing, even allegorizing at times, as well as grasping to discern some Divine revelation (cf. Ps. 19:1) in the zodiac, which I think is a much misguided though somewhat common approach.  But this is not the major portion of the book, and I gladly add this worthwhile treatment to the shelf along side other excellent creationist works on astronomy, including The Earth, the Stars and the Bible by Paul Steidl (Baker, 1979) and The Moon by John C. Whitcomb and Donald B. DeYoung (BMH, 1978).

---Doug Kutilek

---

 

Some quotes from Stars and Their Purpose by Werner Gitt--

 

In the world of astronomy, “All too often vague theories, conjectures, or even plain speculations parade as certain knowledge.  Steven Weinberg, who was awarded the Nobel prize for physics in 1979, honestly concedes that he gets a feeling of unreality when he writes as if he really knew what it was about.” (p. 9)

 

Otto Heckman (born 1901) expressed himself as follows . . .: ‘The ingenuity of man’s mind is definitely not limited, so that a relatively large number of world-views have been produced, so large . . . that the number of cosmological theories is inversely proportional to the number of known facts . . . Observational data becomes steadily less accurate, and eventually it becomes meaningless because of the limited power of our instruments.” (pp. 44-5)

 

Volker Weidemann, a German astrophysicist from Kiel, came to the conclusion that the universe is fundamentally incomprehensible.” (p. 45)

 

“Every year 200 thousand million tons [=200 billion tons] of biomass grows on earth, and human consumption is about 1% of this world-wide production.” (p. 49)

 

Steven Weinberg, one of the proponents of the ‘big bang’ theory, wrote in 1977: ‘The more we understand about the universe, the less it seems to make sense.’ “ (p. 60)

 

“When you look for God in the ideas of the philosophers, you will end up with a phantom-like spectre, but you will not discover the living and loving God whom you can know and worship and to whom you can pray personally.” (p. 61)

 

In the January 4, 1993 issue of Time magazine, there was an article by R. Wright, “Science, God and Man.”--“TIME referred to the admission that all scientists were confronted with an insurmountable barrier concerning the question of origins: ‘If you admit that we can’t peer behind the curtain, how can you be sure there’s nothing there?’ “ (p. 64)

 

Newton, one of the greatest physicists ever, believed firmly that the solar system was created by God: ‘The wonderful relationships of the sun, the planets, and the comets could only have come into existence according to the plan and instructions of an omniscient and omnipresent Being.’ “ (p. 68)

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Answers to the Big Four Questions by Don Batten et al.  Hebron, Kentucky: Answers in Genesis, 2000.  60 pp., paperback.

 

Is there Really a God? by Ken Ham.  Hebron, Kentucky: Answers in Genesis, 2000.  40 pp., paperback.

 

What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs by Ken Ham.  Hebron, Kentucky: Answers in Genesis, 2000.   48 pp., paperback.

 

“Answers in Genesis” (AiG) is one of the pre-eminent creationist ministries in existence today.  These three booklets are among the many excellent publications AiG has made available.  They are committed to a young earth and strict creationism (as opposed to an old earth, theistic evolution or so-called “progressive creationism.”).  These publications, like all others I have read from AiG, are scientifically and biblically satisfying and well-documented, though there is generally an uncritical acceptance of Ussher’s 17th century dating system for early Biblical events, which makes several unwarranted assumptions about Biblical chronology, is wholly ignorant of all chronological findings over the past 350 years regarding the Ancient Near East especially in the 2nd and 3rd millennia B.C., and thereby excessively compresses events in Genesis 1-11 (the true chronology of the early chapters in Genesis is probably 2,000 to 4,000 years longer than Ussher allows, with creation sometime around 6,000 to 8,000 B.C.; see Issues in Biblical Chronology in AISI 8:2, February 2005).

 

The complete catalogue of AiG publications, ranging from simple (for children) to popular to scholarly can be found at www.AnswersInGenesis.org

---Doug Kutilek

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More Da Vinci Code Critiques

 

As Dan Brown’s fictitious, deceptive and dishonest The Da Vinci Code remains (inexplicably, to my mind) on the New York Times’ “best-sellers list” (though not regularly in the top spot as it was for many months), it continues to call forth works critical of its claims to historical veracity (I dealt with these claims and several earlier exposes in “The Da Vinci Code Deception” (AISI 7:9) and “The Da Vinci Code Once Again” (AISI 7:10)--both available at www.kjvonly.org--and also “The Da Vinci Code Phenomenon” in the Baptist Bible Tribune, vol. 55, no. 3 (Nov. 2004, pp. 12-15).  Two additional critiques came to my attention recently, viz., Da Vinci Decoded by Martin Lunn, which is blurbed: “The Disinformation Company delivers the truth behind the controversial # 1 bestseller.”  Whether this Lunn is related to Arnold Lunn (1888-1974), creator of slalom skiing and author of a generally excellent book on the resurrection, albeit from a Catholic point of view, The Third Day, I cannot say.  The other title is Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code by Bart D. Ehrman, a scholar and professor at the University of North Carolina, who is a recognized expert in early Gnostic literature.  This book was briefly characterized as “A scholar offers a revealing appraisal of the blockbuster and debunks many of its myths.”  We noted favorably in AISI 7:10 some criticisms of The Da Vinci Code by Ehrman included in the compilation Secrets of the Code, edited by Dan Burstein. 

 

I have not as yet read either of these books so cannot say more, though I suspect that they will have merit.

            ---Doug Kutilek

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