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Bible Literacy Project Textbook Clearly States That Jesus was Born in Bethlehem

Contact, Sheila Weber, VP, Bible Literacy Project, 646-322-6853, sheila@bibleliteracy.org


FRONT ROYAL, Va., Dec. 21 /Christian Newswire/ -- Amidst recent misrepresentation of the Bible Literacy Project (BLP) by private critic Wiley Drake, the Bible Literacy Project seeks to clarify that its textbook, The Bible and Its Influence, correctly states on page 237 that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.


On page 238, the intention was to indicate that Jesus’ roots were from Nazareth, as in the phrase “Jesus of Nazareth.” But the word birth was inadvertently used and will be corrected in the second printing of the textbook, due January 2007, to read "the overall theme of a journey from Jesus' roots in an inconsequential town of Nazareth to his death in the capital of Jerusalem."


Furthermore, Charles Haynes is not an official spokesperson, staff member, director or advisory board member of the Bible Literacy Project.  Haynes speaks on behalf of his organization, The First Amendment Center.   Haynes is only one of 40 reviewers of The Bible and Its Influence, which included scholars from Evangelical, mainline Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish faiths to ensure the textbook would be allowable for public school use and accurately represent the views of major faith groups that hold the Bible as a sacred text.  Other reviewers included leading evangelical scholars Dr. Leland Ryken of Wheaton College (IL), Dr. Tremper Longman of Westmont College, Dr. Paul Borgman of Gordon College, and Dr. Peter Lillback, president of Westminster Seminary (PCA).


The textbook is also endorsed by the general counsel of the American Jewish Congress, the chair of the Catholic Biblical Association, as well as Chuck Colson, Joe Stowell, Vonette Bright, and Finn Laursen, the president of Christian Educators Association International (CEAI), among many others.  “Building consensus is essential to reassuring public educators that a Bible course is good for all students,” said Weber.


The Bible Literacy Project has built a broad-based coalition of support to increase the percentage of public high schools offering an elective course on the Bible from 8 percent to 80 percent. In 1999, BLP created a set of guidelines on how the Bible can be taught lawfully in public schools. Twenty-one major national groups, including the Christian Legal Society, the National Association of Evangelicals, Christian Educators Association International, and the National School Boards Association, endorsed The Bible and Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide, which was co-published in 1999 by the Bible Literacy Project and the First Amendment Center.


After just one year, the student textbook and teacher's edition of The Bible and Its Influence are being used in 85 public school districts in 29 states, and has received praise from educators, faith leaders and the media.