Monday, December 15, 2008
Do I Give It to the Kids, or Not?
I just got a review copy of the New Testament, and was hoping to give it to the kids for Christmas. At this point, I'm leaning against doing so. The book has an attractive cover featuring pre-teen kids. It has some introductory material describing how the book is put together and talking about memorizing scripture. It has cute color cartoon illustrations. Next, there is an introduction to the Old Testament and then about 40 pages of selections from the Old Testament, mostly from Genesis and Exodus. The translation used is the New Living Translation, which, while I wouldn't recommend it for serious scripture study (and I doubt the authors/publishers would either) is fine for casual reading by its intended audience.
The New Testament section starts with some good introductory material setting the scene. For each book of the NT they list several important words, which they italicise throughout the chapter and put a D next to them to show that the definition is in the glossary. Each book also has introductory material and that material is what I find objectionable about the book. For example, the books of James and Jude are both said to be written by brothers of Jesus. Given that Mary is ever-virgin, we know Jesus didn't have any blood brothers. The Dictionary at the back defines the Lord's Supper/Communion as a ceremony to remember Jesus' life/sacrifice. That's not wrong, but it is very incomplete, missing the main point--that we are commanded to eat His body and drink His blood. It defines salvation as "God's gift of eternal life. People have salvation by believing that Jesus died to pay for their sins and rose again."
After the New Testament is a section on how you can become a child of God today. My kids became children of God when I had them baptized as infants. One of the steps is to say a prayer that sounds a lot like an Act of Contrition.
I know the stuff I dislike about this book is all well within the parameters of the average Evangelical Christian's beliefs, and I know that's the targer audience for the book, but I wish the publisher would put out a Catholic version of this book without the errors, so I could feel good about giving it to my kids, because there is a lot of good in the book.
You can get further information about this book, or order it here.