Did your Sunday School teacher tell you lies? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
I often have this tendency to get into debates with people such as Christ mythers who have no clue what they’re talking about, but think they do. It can be fun for a day or so and then it just gets tiring. I think the same drive often gets me to get books like Alexander Drake’s “Lies Your Sunday School Teacher Told You”, particularly when I’m just trying to see what book I can borrow for free for the month on my Kindle.
If I were to go through and give a refutation of all the points that Drake gets wrong, it would require a book about four times the length. The problem in our society today is that the Bible is a difficult and complex book to understand and people expect it to be custom-wrapped from God and be written in a style and language that they readily understand, after all, it’s the “Word of God.”
In that sense, Drake is just like the Christians that he wants to open the eyes of. His work shows no interaction with the scholarly community. Instead, the appeal is far more emotional with questions about slavery, hell, God’s behavior in the OT, etc.
Now if we had just the title alone, even that is inaccurate, but it does point to a problem in the church definitely. The only way you can say the Sunday School teacher is telling you lies is if the following is true. It must be the case that the teacher is teaching you one thing. It must then be the case the teacher knows that what they are teaching you is not true. To teach something that is wrong is not a lie, any more than a child getting the wrong answer on a math quiz is lying. To teach something you know to be wrong is a lie.
Unfortunately, most Sunday School teachers, and for that matter, most pastors today, don’t really do in-depth study of the Bible to be able to handle objections like Drake’s, which are really simple and childish. That Drake found them convincing does not say anything about Drake’s abilities as a researcher, but it speaks volumes about the failure of the church to educate. When people like Drake fall away, they become stronger evangelists for their new worldview and are more than happy to speak about what the church has not spoken about.
Now Drake does think his readers haven’t read the Bible or they’d know it’s fiction. I have in fact read the Bible well over a dozen times straight through. When I get done going straight through, I start all over again doing the same thing. Bible reading is an important part of my life. Also important, is reading the best in scholarship on the Bible from all perspectives.
Reading Drake, one sees very little scholarship, save one can tell he’s read about critical theories such as the JEPD hypothesis. There is no indication he has interacted with Licona, Bauckham, Wright, Evans, Keener, Witherington, etc. The inability of many of these writers to interact with the other side is a disservice they do to themselves and to their readers.
To be fair, there are times that Drake does make some points that he sees as being parallels in the Bible. These are also sad points to think about because it shows that if Drake had done the work, he could have seen even more ways the Bible refers to its own self and how later passages were to be seen in light of earlier ones.
What people with objections like Drake’s need to do first is go and see if anyone else in church history has asked their question, and that will require research. Chances are, you will not come across a new “Bible contradiction” that someone somewhere in church history has not answered. You might think the answer is inadequate, but you owe it to yourself and your audience to show you have interacted with that side. An argument can be seen as easily convincing after all if you only give one side of it.
Were Drake interested, he could readily find volumes written on the interpretation of Scripture and how it fits in with its own culture. A volume coming out soon that would deal with much of what is said would be “The Lost World of Scripture” and I highly recommend any curious reader get it.
That people like Drake are out there who don’t know better but think they do is a tragedy. It is exactly what we can expect though when we see the church failing to do one of the jobs that Christ gave us to do, teach. When the church gets moving and starts educating its ranks, we will find fewer and fewer Drakes in our midst.