Bible Literacy Project Garners Supporters, Responds to Criticisms

The Bible Literacy Project remains widely acclaimed despite recent criticism.

In its first year, more than 85 school districts in 29 states have introduced courses about the Bible using the textbook, and more than 1,000 educators are now reviewing The Bible and Its Influence for use next fall.

Although Scripture or Christian teachings are increasingly being ruled out in public schools, the Bible Literacy Project (BLP) published national reports that revealed 98 percent of high school English teachers and 100 percent of university professors agreed that students need to know the Bible in order to be well educated.

“This text provides an extraordinarily helpful background—the Bible’s impact on literature, the arts, and life. If anyone is looking for a comprehensive academic understanding of the roots of modern civilization, this book is an indispensable resource,” commented Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

In response to a recent criticism, the Bible Literacy Project noted that editorial changes in its textbook’s forthcoming second printing remove the content which it has criticized for.

“When the Bible Literacy Project first released the student textbook in the fall of 2005, we stated that it is standard practice for textbooks to be updated; and that we would be responsive to feedback from schools and faith groups. We have already demonstrated our commitment to excellence by having 40 scholars review the original text, including eminent professors,” said BLP Vice President of Communications Sheila Weber.

Changes in the forthcoming edition include, but are not limited to the following few examples:

  • Language for the Mayflower Compact now includes a fully quoted passage from the original document.
  • A rhetorical question about “whether Adam and Eve received a fair deal” has been removed.
  • A philosophical question asking why God allows evil things to happen has been removed.

The Bible Literacy Project believes that the loss of Bible knowledge amid today's culture should not be taken lightly. “While it is the job of the church and the home to teach the faith perspective, public education does students a disservice if it fails to teach the content of the most important written document of Western Civilization,” said BLP Chairman Chuck Stetson.

According to Stetson, the goal of BLP is to dramatically increase the low 8 percent of public high schools who currently offer a Bible elective course.

The Bible and Its Influence is endorsed by Colson, Joe Stowell, Vonette Bright, and Finn Laursen, President of Christian Educators Association International (CEAI). It has also been widely approved by the general counsel of the American Jewish Congress and the chairman of the Catholic Biblical Association among others.

“Building consensus is essential to reassuring public educators that a Bible course is good for all students,” said BLP’s Weber.

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