One of the things that really bothers me as a Christian is seeing other Christians attempt to explain away the troubling passages of Scripture. This past Saturday, I had the privilege of hearing Paul Copan speak about his book Is God a Moral Monster. I’ve been very slowly reading through Mr. Copan’s book for some time now, so I was looking forward to the opportunity to hear this particular presentation. My hope was that hearing him in person would alleviate some of the concerns that I had developed while reading his book. Unfortunately, that hope did not come to fruition.
One of the greatest concerns that I have for Mr. Copan’s thesis is his apparent lack of consideration for the context of some of his proof texts. A good example of this flaw can be found on page 171 where Mr. Copan uses the accounts of the Anakim to prove his claim that Joshua was using “ancient Near Eastern hyperbole” whenever he spoke of utterly destroying some particular foe. Here is the quote from that section of Mr. Copan’s book which I find to be so troubling:
If you want the local church to engage in apologetics, then you have to make it both affordable and accessible. That has been my experience over the past several years. If I tell the average Christian layman that he should attend a particular apologetics conference or purchase a DVD set from one of the various apologetics ministries, I usually get some sort of half-hearted promise that he will "look into it." But if I invite that same Christian layman to a free Saturday conference, then he becomes very interested.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)