I have a pet peeve: I hate it when people flatly discount the Bible.
I should be used to it by now, but it still angers me when I read of supposedly educated people giving the Bible absolutely no credence. The Bible, as the written Word of God, forms the center of my life and has from my earliest memories. It is no wonder, then, that I take a rejection of the Scriptures personally, as it is tantamount to a wholesale dismissal of my life, my beliefs, and my work. Having experienced this repeatedly, I can understand why hardcore atheists so vehemently defend the theory of evolution: They do not like having their foundation (as weak and ungodly as it is) ripped out from under them any more than I do.
One school of biblical archeology and history questions the Bible's authenticity as a matter of course. Called "minimalists," they are the "squeaky wheels" of their field, and the media listens to and reports on them simply because their theories are so far out of the mainstream. Their voice is far louder than their numbers warrant, and their more moderate colleagues put up with them only because they make their own ideas sound more plausible. The minimalists are the tattered fringe of biblical studies.
A man named Larry Saltzman has just written a book review, "The Bible Unearthed," for the PalestineChronicle.com in which he revels in the fact that the Bible is finally being exposed for what he believes it is: "essentially a work of propaganda weaving, historical fragments, and myths of various Canaanite peoples." To make his point, he uses well-known minimalist, Israel Finklestein, head of the Archeology Department at Tel Aviv University. To quote Saltzman's own words, "A revolution is happening in Biblical Archeology. . . . Finkelstein is one of a group of radical archeologists that is turning the field of biblical archeology on its' [sic] head."
Here are a few of Finklestein's so-called "findings," just for flavor:
· "Israel, Judah and Samaria were simply Canaanite States that arose out of indigenous Canaanite culture and not from the invasion of a mythical people called the Hebrews.
· "Israel was a small Canaanite State that briefly achieved a golden age, reaching its' [sic] height of power and glory in the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The House of David never ruled in Israel it [sic] ruled over the Canaanite State of Judah.
· ". . . David and Solomon were probably tribal chiefs in the hill country that became the Kingdom of Judah [sic] Jerusalem was the Capital of Judah not of Israel. In the time of David and Solomon, Jerusalem was an unimportant very small town with no great Temple.
· "It was under King Josiah that the Bible was finally written and something resembling modern Judaism begins to take shape in the 7th and 8th centuries BC. It is political document [sic] that is designed to glorify the Josiah [sic] and to connect him falsely with the golden era when the state of Israel briefly rose up as a powerful and advanced civilized center."
Where he gets these ideas is open to debate, but Saltzman claims, "Professor Finklestein . . . has simply presented the facts that the archeological record has revealed. Some archeologists still disagree, but . . . more and more prominent scholars in the field are moving to something like his viewpoint, even though they may disagree on the details." He backs this final statement up with the names of zero "prominent scholars."
Saltzman presents no evidence to contradict Finklestein's claims and gives no space to any biblical archeologists with an opposing viewpoint. When we get to the end of the article, the reason becomes apparent. Finklestein's "proof" was necessary to shore up the real motivation for the article: Saltzman's political diatribe against Israeli/Zionist aggression against the Palestinians. Saltzman, a liberal American Jew, could not care less about the truth of biblical history or archeology; all he wanted was a few juicy but radical facts to support his cause.
Protestant preacher Charles H. Spurgeon once wisely said, "Defend the Bible? I would just as soon defend a lion. Just turn the Bible loose. It will defend itself." How true! The Bible needs no authentication from scholars, historians, archeologists, or anyone with a pointy head. The Bible proves itself true every time a sinner turns from his wicked ways to God's way of life. The proof is in its impact on people who are in the process of changing from carnal to spiritual.
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe (I Thessalonians 2:13).
- Richard T. Ritenbaugh