Cloverdale resident and biblical scholar Gary D. Collier has published a new book that may raise the blood pressure of some long-time Bible readers.
But he insists that "Scripture, Canon & Inspiration: Faith in Pursuit of Conversation," released in May by CWP Press, is no attack.
"Actually," says Collier, "this is an attempt to make a sensible 21st century case for a very old book."
According to Collier, "The Bible has been under a lot of attack, and this is going to increase. Christians and churches sometimes play 'hide and seek' with such things -- as though the status quo is both 'beyond question' and 'too big to fail.'"
"This is just not so," Collier said. "Actually, many people might be more open to the Bible itself if they could separate it from what some churches do with it. My book, attempts to take a step back and offer an approach that is both sensible and respectful of faith.
"I hope it is something that both believers and those who are more skeptical can consider."
Collier explained that his book "makes a positive and reasonable contribution from a standpoint of faith. It won't make everybody happy, but that's not its purpose. The book looks at what we now know about the origins and nature of the Bible."
Collier insists that this is a significant cultural topic for everybody, since the Bible has historically been so influential.
"The question is," he said, "what is its future? It is a mistake to think that past answers are all we need."
This new book attempts to be one voice in the conversation.
A former college teacher of biblical literature and languages, Collier left college teaching to found and direct "The Coffee with Paul Classroom," an internet-based educational program headquartered in Cloverdale.
The program is in touch with people from every state in the US and from 92 countries around the world, offering some free educational classes online, as well as other classes and materials.
Collier's new book has garnered praise from university professors, church leaders, and other interested readers from across the continent, including Southern Methodist University (Texas), Acadia University (Nova Scotia, Canada), Oklahoma Christian University, Houghton College (New York), and numerous other locations.
In an effort to give something back to the community, a special July 4th drawing will be held to give away up to 10 free autographed copies of his book to local residents. For details see http://CoffeeWithPaul.com/worldtopics.