From The Cross To The Church: The Emergence Of The Church From The Chaos Of The Crucifixion, by A.C. Graziano
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
If you take the bogus infiltration theories of Finkelstein and the equally bogus New Testament higher criticism of Bart Ehrman  and the rest of the Jesus Seminar crowd, take away the charm and replace it with a smug and self-superior attitude of woefully misplaced confidence, you get something like this worthless excuse for a book. Where this book goes off the rails is with the author’s insistence that he comes to the text of the Bible as a judge putting God in the dock, and is entirely unaware of the fact that the Bible account puts him in the dock as a defendant standing before God. Given that the author has some ulterior motives in seeking to attack Christendom through by attacking the validity of the scriptures, even when the author gets matters right like a criticism of proto-Orthodox and proto-Catholic churches, he does so from the point of view not that original Christianity is something to be followed, but from the point of view that in the multiplicity of various options like Gnosticism, there is a great deal of freedom for people to live without any fear of there being a single unified legitimate authority that can enforce doctrinal or behavioral uniformity . Even when this book gets something right, it gets it wrong.
It would be hard to imagine of a book that could manage to squeeze so many wrong-headed ideas about the Bible in the attempt to pass oneself off as an authority on the scriptures. The author manages to deal with chapters like Jesus Christ was a Jew, Paul was a Jew, and Peter was a Jew and then to totally fail to draw correct conclusions. After a while it became pointless to address the faults of the book, like the author’s fallacious claims that Paul didn’t cite any New Testament gospels (see, for example 1 Timothy 5:17-18) , or the author’s adoption of bogus views on the authorship of NT books or holding to the documentary hypothesis or his view that the theology of various NT books was adoptionist or any host of other errors. After a while, one simply has to realize that the author doesn’t know what he is talking about because he is citing as authorities other people who don’t know what they are talking about and failing to address the scripture as it is. To make the author’s claims even more risible, the author notes himself that higher criticism can go off the rails because of the flights of fancy that people can commit and fails to realize that in this book he is doing precisely what he notes as a danger of higher criticism. Perhaps the author means that one goes of the rails by taking the Bible seriously at its words and as legitimate, because nowhere does the author cite anyone who would be a reputable student or critic of scripture, because the author is not interested in obeying God or learning from His word, but rather debunking it so that he can live as he wishes while suppressing his conscience and denying any external authorities on his life.
So, ultimately, this book is exactly where it should be, an obscure self-published effort that is likely to be read by few people. The author wishes to add his voice to the demented chorus of voices raised up against the Word of God, and in the process beclowns himself. Let us hope that few copies of this book find themselves to any reader, as any wood pulp used to make physical copies of this book would be better used to make toilet paper. This book stands as a cautionary tale to writers about the Bible, that those who presume to possess knowledge and insight about the scriptures when they do not are likely to embarass themselves particularly strongly in print. We would all do well to write a bit more prayerfully, in the knowledge that what we write can and will be used against us–this book, for example, shows that the author needs to move from the chaos of higher criticism to the cross and repent of his unbelief and seek restoration to God before he can pick up his pen and presume to teach anyone else about the Bible.
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