Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book Review: Urban Legends of the New Testament by David Croteau

What is an urban legend? Wikipedia defines it as, "a form of modern folklore consisting of fictional stories with macabre elements deeply rooted in local popular culture. These legends can be used for entertainment purposes, as well as for semi-serious explanations for random events such as disappearances and strange objects." Here is what is interesting, we don't know if these legends are true until someone takes the time to look it up. In fact, if you go around social media, sometimes you will see one that someone just came up with and Snopes has to either verify or deny it.

Believe it or not, that same kind of story telling has come into the church today. This is mostly done through the pulpit or in a Sunday School room. People can make the Bible say what they want but it does not make it Biblical. Dr. David Croteau takes 40 common misconceptions of the New Testment to debunk them, in his book, Urban Legends of the New Testament.

He first takes some urban legends in the gospels then uses the historical context and the original language to deny these legends that have been passed on for decades. A couple of examples, there was no room in the inn for Jesus to be born meaning there was no guest room. People have assumed that Bethlehem was being hospitable, which is not the case as Croteau states. Also the most famous passage of the Bible, John 3:16, may not have been said by Jesus yet in most Bibles, it is printed in red.

Croteau also tackles the urban legends of the rest of the New Testament. He address if Paul was truly a tent maker, did Jesus emptied himself the glories of heaven, and are Christian commanded to tithe. Like he did with the gospels, Croteau uses the historical context and original language to grasp what the scriptures truly say. Throughout book, Croteau uses different Bible translations to show where it falls short or if that translation is right on point.

This is book was a challenge. There were point that I wholeheartedly agree while were some other that I am wrestling with. I am thankful there were a few legends that were quickly debunked such as judging others, tithing, and accepting Jesus into your heart. For any serious student of the Bible, this is a must read. Church leaders, you need to have a copy of this book in your library.

Thanks B&H Publishing Group for letting me review this book.

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