Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amazing Bible Timeline – Review

The Amazing Bible Timeline arrived in the mail packaged in a US Postal Service tube. But, unbeknownst to me, it was also wrapped with no small amount of controversy. I didn’t know this for the first month it sat tucked away in my coat closet. It was just a quiet "little" map with colorful features and an impressively large format (37” by 46”).

The words and graphics provide a visual timeline that documents 6,000+ years of concurrent biblical and secular history. Instead of displaying this history on a traditional linear (straight) timeline, the poster provides an innovative and compact circular format. It allows you to see an overview of both world and Bible history in one place.

When I write a review, I typically don’t read what my fellow Homeschool Crew members have written. I earnestly try to develop original content with my own unique thoughts. As a rule, I do not even gather the opinions of the brilliant Hottie Hubby, as he can sometimes sway me with his persuasiveness. In this case however, I broke both of these rules because of a peculiar, and seemingly defensive, email that I received from the vendor of the Amazing Bible Timeline.

I figure that you read my blog because you have come to either trust my free thoughts and feelings or are entertained by my attempts to resemble a successful blog. So I will state for a fact before I go any further: I know that when I am exposed to another person's thoughts, it INFLUENCES my thinking. It may not define my thinking, but it will influence it. To some extent, this is true for everyone. And so I admit that I have been influenced in writing this blog post, just as the publishers of the Amazing Bible Timeline may have been influenced in creating their timeline.

I applaud all of the people who worked on creating the original version of this timeline in 1931. Oddly enough, I could not find any information about who these original creators were as they are never sited on the map or on the vendor's website.

The current vendors of the Amazing Bible Timeline, Bill and Margaret Agard, claimed to have begun working with the original version of the informative timeline in 1975. The vendor's website states that "1975 was a time when Christians were committed to building greater unity or cooperation among Christian faiths, very different from today's time of Bible bashing and rejection of any Christian whose faith does not exactly match our own."

To some extent, I have no problem promoting a document that many people of various cultures and beliefs can use. I do support offering grace instead of legalism. I prefer not to argue over semantics, or issues that don’t effect eternal salvation.

But I do believe that doctrine matters because I believe there is absolute truth. If a person's doctrine on salvation is contrary to my understanding of Scripture, I don't reject that person. But my love for them compels me to tell them, in love, why I believe their doctrine is flawed. In many cases, flawed salvation doctrine is related in some way to a belief that man has to earn their salvation through their own works. I believe that "it is by grace that you are saved through faith." So when I confront someone over this difference in salvation doctrine, I do so because I want to free them from the bondage of having to earn their salvation and God's love.

I don’t necessarily believe there is a salvation issue at stake by using this map, but I do believe that there are suspicious sources that were used to populate the timeline. I also noticed how their is a disproportionate amount of "real estate" on the timeline to describe both events and cultural beliefs that appear to have a common agenda. The agenda that is seemingly promoted by these items is closely linked to a system of doctrine that I do not support. My concern, should I consider using this timeline, is that I would have to scrutinize every detail printed on the Amazing Bible Timeline. For brevity sake, I am going to avoid listing each of these details. If you would like specific examples of what I am referring to with "suspicious sources" or "a common agenda" please email me and we can dialogue about that. There are also plenty of other blogs out there that list the details.

For me personally, I'm not sure that I would really use the timeline even if there weren't questions about the influences involved in creating it. First of all, my kids are too young to benefit from it (we are only on the Letter E in Tot School). Additionally, the Hottie Hubby has some great Bible software that pretty much supplies a lot of the historical details and extra research sources that he needs when teaching a Bible lesson. Thus we would opt for the search button rather than getting down on our hands and knees to look at the map spread out on the floor, as we don’t have any wall space for this work.

Because of the issues mentioned above I cannot, in good conscience, endorse using the Amazing Bible Timeline in your schoolroom. However, you can purchase the Amazing Bible Timeline for $29.97. In addition, you will receive a downloadable bonus Digital Amazing Bible Timeline and Interactive Maps of the Holy Land, both of which are a $14.97 value. The Amazing Bible Timeline comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

I would encourage you to check into the Amazing Bible Timeline for yourself and develop your own opinion about it. Though this review has presented some challenges, it has been refreshing for my brain to research, dialogue, and draw my own conclusions. I have enjoyed the process of thinking this through.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews on this product

As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given this product to review,
and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post.
All opinions expressed in this post are mine .

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