In his new book Shocked by the Bible Kovacs, currently executive news editor for WorldNetDaily.com, questions everything people think they know about the Bible. He says his book is "meant to startle you with truths you did not know were in Scripture, to get you to think with a new perspective. I'm not talking about trivial names and places no one can pronounce. I am talking about major issues, including who God is, who you are, why you were born, and your ultimate destiny" (p. xii, 2008).
Don't expect the party line of the major denominations here. Kovacs subtitles his book "The Most Astonishing Facts You've Never Been Told," and he doesn't just target the biblically illiterate. He seeks to enlighten those who "know [the Bible] well—or at least think they know it well." The book "may even tick you off to the point were you'll want to ‘have it out' with those who taught you—or more accurately, did not teach you—the astounding information you'll find here" (p. xii).
Kovacs makes shocking statements that he backs up with clear scriptures. Some samples:
• "For instance, if asked how many wise men were present at the Bethlehem manger when Jesus was born, most people will likely answer, ‘Three.' They would be wrong. The correct answer from the Bible is actually…zero!" (p. 3).
• "The Bible does not say Jesus died on Friday or rose Sunday morning. If that were the case, then Jesus Christ would have been incorrect (or as some nonbelievers suggest, lying) in twice using the phrase ‘three days and three nights' as the sign proving His true identity as God. Jesus died on a Wednesday, and just as He taught, rose from the dead ‘after three days' on a Saturday" (p. 22).
• "If you think eating a dog, for example, is disgusting, you will be happy to know that God agrees with you. Of course, God expressed the same opinion about pork and shellfish" (p. 105).
• "As shocking as this may sound, the reason we look like God and were made in His image is because we were created to be part of the actual Family of God and live with Him in eternity" (p. 149).
As serious, and as shocking, as all this sounds, Kovacs spices it up with humor and some irreverence. Though I wouldn't agree with everything in Shocked by the Bible, I admit it's the kind of book I would have liked to have written.
I applaud Joe Kovacs for the courage to write a book that exposes many myths and misconceptions that have grown up about the Bible over hundreds of years. I applaud Thomas Nelson for publishing this book, when it contradicts many of the other books they publish (but not their main Book!).
As part of a church that takes the Bible literally (even Christ's command "Freely you have received, freely give" in Matthew 10:8 Matthew 10:8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give.
American King James Version×), I was happy to see a book that takes the Bible at its word. Many of the shocking but biblical things Kovacs discusses, and more, can be found free of charge in the publications of the United Church of God.