I had images of the crazy TV series Myth Busters when I read the title of this book; Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions. I was expecting a quirky, paperback version of the TV science entertainment show that questions myths and urban legends, and puts them to the test in a humorous series that endeavors to find out which myths are true and which are not.
What I got couldn’t have been more different. David Croteau is a serious theologian who doesn’t mess around or waste time putting on a show for his audience. This is a well thought through, systematic debunking of some of the most common misconceptions Christians believe from New Testament scriptures. Were the shepherds really social outcasts? Did Jesus really sweat drops of blood? Is Hell really the absence of God? And so the list goes on, covering forty well-known and less well-known scriptural legends many of us believe as “gospel”.
Each chapter starts with the myth clearly set out as if it’s correct with all the nuances that Christians have inferred from the scripture and years of mis-teaching. Coroteau then goes on to give the reader a thorough catalogue of how this legend came into being, including historical evidence and misunderstanding of the original text. Having fully addressed the myth’s origins, the truth behind the text, passage or scripture is revealed to correct our thinking, followed by a thoughtful application section to help readers engage with the correct interpretation in their lives today.
Ten of the chapters have a helpful QR code that allow the reader to watch David Croteau summarize and expand on the chapter, and so arrive at the intended meaning of the passage.
Despite this book not being the light-hearted, easy read that I thought I would be able to share with my kids, I found it helpful, enlightening and thought-provoking. It’s an important book both for teachers and leaders, and anyone who wants to live out the word of God in their day-to-day lives.
You can find David A. Croteau’s book on amazon here