I came across this essay recently. It’s from the out of print book, Mesopotamian and the Bible, edited by Mark Chavalas and Lawson Younger. The essay is by Chavalas, a scholar of biblical studies and ancient Mesopotamia:
The essay is about the use and abuse of Mesopotamian literature and archaeology by non-specialists. This tension and problem — “seeing” the material from Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, and Babylon as behind most everything in the Old Testament, especially the early chapters of Genesis — became known as “PanBabylonianism.” That arose in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the wake of the decipherment of cuneiform texts in the 19th century. It is the lifeblood of much of the “research” and “discovery” of self-anointed teachers (Christian or otherwise) one finds foisted upon unsuspecting readers on the internet and listeners on shows like Coast to Coast AM. their “findings” are hopelessly outdated and wrong in a myriad of ways as subsequent decades of scholarship has demonstrated. But no matter. It gets the paleobabblers on talk shows and gives them the attention they crave.
Chavalas ends his essay with this quote from Finkelstein (underlining is my own – it describes the paleobabble researchers well). It’s blunt but still encourages scholars to responsibly educate the public.
It’s a post by Jake Mailhout of Lexham Press about my new book, The Bible Unfiltered: Approaching Scripture on Its Own Terms. While blogging about the post is a bit awkward for me, I hope it encourages you to buy a copy — or several — for yourself, friends, and family. Truth be told, the content of the book was written on company time, so I get no royalties. But I don’t do what I do to go to Tahiti. I want it to sell — a lot — because people who care about Scripture need such books. We can’t complain about lay people (and even pastors) not having a good grasp of biblical content if (a) scholars don’t write for them, and (b) people don’t buy the books and read them. This is a book with solid “Heiserian” content written for people who want more Bible but who are frightened by Christian Middle Earth. The same goes for its earlier companion, I Dare You Not to Bore Me with The Bible.
I’ve given my theory of Christian Middle Earth (CME) so many times that I can’t remember who’s heard it and who hasn’t. So I thought a post on it was long overdue.
In over-simplified terms, Christian Middle Earth is that realm between actual biblical scholars (people with real credentials who write for peer review — and mostly write for themselves) and the largest realm, the local church, where serious biblical content is like a Bigfoot sighting. CME is home to the prophecy teaching circuit (think John Hagee or Jonathan Cahn, or Planet X nonsense), charismania (think Bill Johnson or Benny Hinn), Christian conspiracy talk (aliens, nephilim, and UFOs are part of the end times; the Catholic church is hooked up with the Illuminati), Bible codes, Christians who believe in a flat or hollow earth, etc., etc.
Christian Middle Earth has a lot that’s wrong with it. Three-quarters of what gets taught there doesn’t have a prayer of being correct. But it has one important thing going for it. It’s filled with Christians who desperately want content — so much so that they venture out to teach themselves via the Internet and YouTube. They haven’t quite the faith or trying to learn Scripture. CME is all they know since the real scholars aren’t producing material for them in a deliberate way. I admire them, but CME is often soul-crushing for a scholar.
I first coined the metaphor and spelled out the theory on Canary Cry Radio, hosted by CME “traffic cops” Gonz and Basil. Here’s a 12-minute audio segment (MP3) from that episode that helps explain the metaphor. Enjoy!
The giveaway ends midnight, Oct 3 (Pacific time). Submissions received after midnight will not be considered.
On Friday, October 6, 7 pm Pacific, we’ll have a live drawing of the 6 winners on my Facebook / YouTube livestream. You have to follow me on Twitter (@msheiser) or on Facebook, or my personal YouTube Channel to get alerts for the livestream.
This is embarrassing. It shames Christ and tarnishes all those who sincerely try to understand Scripture and get people interested in it. There’s just no other way to put it. Lord willing after nothing happens on Sept 23 David Meade will just quietly disappear. But I doubt it.
Here’s a quotation from Meade — it isn’t difficult to see how uninformed this man is:
Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God to the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible],” Meade told The Washington Post. “It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I’m talking astronomy. I’m talking the Bible … and merging the two.
Elohim mentioned 33 times? Has this guy ever heard of a concordance? (That’s a rhetorical question).
Elohim occurs thousands of times in the Hebrew Bible. Here’s a list (the file is 250 pp). Here’s a more narrow list — all the places where elohim occurs as the subject of a singular verb (denoting it refers to the lone God of Israel; only 71 pages).
So where does this put Mr. Meade? Our choices are that his comments are ineptitude (he’s really a terrible researcher) or that he’s counting on his followers to not question his teachings (he’s a false teacher and a manipulator). Nice choice.
Instead of ignoring folks like Mr. Meade, the serious Church should call him out. He’s an embarrassment to Bible study and Christian ethics. The same can be said for others who teach the same sort of nonsense that weren’t interviewed by the Huffington Post.
The only question now is, after nothing happens on Sept 23 will he apologize and repent or just lie about a contrived fulfillment?
Some people believe that aliens exist, but is it okay if Christians believe the same thing? The answer is “no,” according to Dr. Danny R. Faulkner of Answers in Genesis.
By JB Cachila www.christiantoday.com 6-3-17
“The thought that aliens might be living on other planets may sound innocent enough. But lurking underneath are some deep theological dangers,” he wrote on their website.
Faulkner said Christian belief about extraterrestrials is no trivial matter. He noted though that the Bible makes no mention of “ETs or flying saucers.” If there is life on other planets, then that must mean God made them, too.
“From the Bible, we know that this is not how life came about on the earth. Rather, God especially created life on this planet,” he said. “It would be inconsistent to believe that God created life on earth but that life arose naturally on other worlds.”