Saturday, January 04, 2014

Book Review: The War On Christmas- Bodie Hodge, General Editor

I agreed to review this book from the publisher. I'm running a little late because I've been sick most of the last two weeks.

I'll start by saying this book is written for 21st century American Evangelical Christians. If that doesn't fit you, you might want to move on.

I've been hearing about wars on Christmas for years, so the title is nothing new. This book is written as a series of essays or articles supposedly handling the various aspects of Christmas, what it is, what it isn't, the misconceptions, history, etc.

On my scale of Christian literature, I rank this at the "Beginner" level. It does what many evangelical books do: says it's for believers, then keeps repeating the Gospel over and over again. We're supposed to be already saved. Why do you keep doing that? Ken Ham wrote three chapters in this book that are all essentially just a restatement of the Gospel. I didn't find them to actually add anything to the material of discussion of the book's subject.

The War on Christmas is essentially an Answers in Genesis tract.

As far as the history goes, I've read far better and deeper scholarship on these issues. It barely scratches the surface on history, including the magi, Nickolas of Smyrna, Herod, or any of the other historical elements involved.

On the whole, I didn't learn much new, with a few exceptions. Chapter 17 on "Did Mary Remain a Virgin" delves into an apocryphal book called "The Protoevangelium of James", a work I wasn't familiar with.

I think the editing could have been a lot tighter. There is a lot of restatement in this book, which from my perspective was a waste of time to have to read over and over again. The Gospel is repeated, the Wise Men visiting Jesus are repeated. What I considered a slap in the face is one of the last chapters, Chapter 22, written by Ken Ham, begins "In December, many Christians celebrate a holiday called Christmas." No kidding, Ken? I just read an entire book on the subject, yet you start this chapter like none of your readers are familiar with the subject material?

This doesn't make me eager to read any more of Answers in Genesis' materials.

I found Chapter 21 to be somewhat useful as a discussion around parents using Santa to manipulate their children and a plea to keep things in perspective during the season.

For the most part, if you come across a brand new Christian scratching his head and asking "Have year heard there's a war on Christmas?", point them to this book. That seems to be the intended audience.

If you're a masochist and wish to subject yourself (or an enemy) to this torture, you can buy the book here.
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