Peter LaBarbera and What He Doesn’t Tell You

For a while now Peter LaBarbera has tried to appear as a minister wanna-be and has tried to make his hatesite appear to be related to Christianity.  The other day Peter looked way back to a writing by a man named Albert Barnes.  Mr. Barnes died in1870 and in 1832 he wrote something called Notes on the Gospels.  So Peter LaBarbera is relying on a Biblical commentary that was written over 170 years ago.  LaBarbera writes of Mr. Barnes:

Below we look at the writings of Albert Barnes (1798-1870), a popular Presbyterian minister and Bible commentator who crusaded against slavery and lived to see it outlawed in the United States. Over a million volumes of Barnes’ commentaries on New Testament books were sold by 1870.

He took his information from Wikipedia.  But what LaBarbera doesn’t tell you is that in the same Wikipedia article Barnes was tried but not convicted of heresy:

He held a prominent place in the New School branch of the Presbyterians, to which he adhered on the division of the denomination in 1837; he had been tried (but not convicted) for heresy in 1836, the charge being particularly against the views expressed by him in Notes on Romans (1835) of the imputation of the sin of Adam, original sin and the atonement; the bitterness stirred up by this trial contributed towards widening the breach between the conservative and the progressive elements in the church. He was an eloquent preacher, but his reputation rests chiefly on his expository works, which are said to have had a larger circulation both in Europe and America than any others of their class.

Being tried for heresy is a pretty serious charge and notice that LaBarbera left that fact out of his glowing description of Mr. Barnes.  What he also left out from his description is this little tidbit (I have done the bolding and underlining):

Of the well-known Notes on the New Testament, it is said that more than a million volumes had been issued by 1870. The Notes on Job, the Psalms, Isaiah and Daniel found scarcely less acceptance. Displaying no original critical power, their chief merit lies in the fact that they bring in a popular (but not always accurate) form the results of the criticism of others within the reach of general readers.

I am not surprised that someone like LaBarbera would ignore the fact that there was no ‘original critical’ thinking in the writings of Albert Barnes, nor the fact that Barnes was not always accurate.  It was written for Sunday school teachers–not those who study the bible (not that there is anything wrong with Sunday school teachers–my argument here is that this is not an academic book written by a biblical scholar to be used by biblical scholars).  Hmm. I guess Peter LaBarbera isn’t interested in telling the whole truth (I, for one, am not surprised).

Peter LaBarbera also asks:

Ask yourself: what is the justification for discarding the historic Christian view laid out by Barnes against what the King James Bible calls the “vile affection” of sodomy?

Well, if he had bothered to think about the rest of the Wikipedia article he had quoted, he could have answered this himself.  What Barnes wrote in 1832 was simplistic and in some cases, wrong.  Who would want to put their trust in something like that? 

I’m not going to waste time time more on dealing with what Barnes had to write.  No serious student of the Bible would want to use a commentary that was written over 170 years ago. 

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