This article tries to point out the differences in an Evangelical approach and a Fundamentalist approach by contrasting the two museums. For most of the country, it’s all the same thing, but I thought they did a nice job trying to highlight some differences. I had been wondering what the Museum of the Bible would be like and whether it would be the same kind of fare as the Creation Museum or not.
“The ark of fundamentalism is satisfied with preservation, remaining within its comfortable confines. But like Noah’s dove, evangelicalism bursts from these strictures in pursuit of any olive branches it can find … Fundamentalism anticipates God’s judgment with perverted delight, whereas evangelicalism’s covenant mentality pleads for God to show mercy and expands outward in ripples of influence beyond itself.”
I love the way this contrast is explained, though I don’t like what it shows us about some of our worse instincts (desiring confirmation of our own survival more than compassion). I know I have acted much like Jonah at times, just sitting down to watch Nineveh and wait for its fiery judgment. I’m glad that posture is not all there is.
PBS recently aired a very interesting segment on this new Museum of the Bible : New museum aims to get visitors thinking about the Bible. The clip is just over 9 minutes long,
It gives it a fair review, and also discusses the controversies that have dogged this museum. (e.g. Hobby Lobby was fined for intentionally mislabeling artifacts while trying to smuggle them out of Iraq.) So some scholars have been none too happy.
The museum of the bible is much more credible than the creation museum and something I’m very happy about. Its artifacts are documented in their provenance, and the artifacts they have of uncertain provenance (such as some of their dead sea scrolls) are explicitly told to viewers that they are possibly inauthentic. Also, it simply transmits history about the Bible throughout the ages, and contains a number of rare and important items and a program for scholars to study their artifacts. The creation museum, on the other hand, wants you to think there were dinosaurs living alongside Noah and whatnot. Something that would be really interesting is if the creation museum was able to display a stratum that has human bones in the same layer as dinosaur bones.
Thanks for sharing this article. I’ve been following the development of the Museum of the Bible here and there for the past few years, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to visit in the next few weeks.
Did you see the cover story in Christianity Today about the museum? It shows up behind their paywall now, but perhaps you have a subscription. You may also be interested in this Post article from three years ago that really piqued my interest in the museum.
As I understand things, when Steve Green first began planning the museum a decade ago, his idea was for an evangelistic, “the Bible is the perfect Word of God and we’ll prove it to you” sort of presentation. As he interacted with scholars and curators, his vision morphed to a broader, more academic, and non-sectarian approach.
The CT article did mention someone who was involved with the Creation Museum and is influential with the Museum of the Bible, but by all accounts I’ve read, this is a serious museum and nothing like Ken Ham’s folly in Kentucky.
I will check it out. I have electronic access, but my mom has to bring me all the print copies I’ve missed since the summer when she comes to visit after Christmas.
It is an interesting situation, I think I read on Ken Ham’s facebook page that he was at the grand opening festivities.
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