Biblical Archaeology Review 37:1, January/February 2011

Biblical Views: Is Hershel Doomed to the Lake of Fire?

By Adela Yarbro Collins

I recently received a telephone call from BAR editor Hershel Shanks. He had just returned from a trip where he had stayed at a hotel that was also hosting, quite by chance, a convention of Gideons, the organization that distributes millions of Bibles in hotel rooms worldwide. (In the United States it is the entire King James Version; elsewhere it is the New Testament plus Psalms and Proverbs.) Shanks got into several conversations with Gideons, as they refer to themselves, and enjoyed their company, although he and they differ in several respects. They are an exclusively men’s organization of evangelical Christians; Shanks is Jewish and would prefer organizations that admit women as well as men. Nevertheless, “I do respect other religious traditions,” Shanks told me, “including evangelical Christians.”

“I was not offended when they urged me to become a Gideon. I could continue to be Jewish, they told me, as long as I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I was secure enough in my own tradition that I knew I was not about to change, but it was in this context that I accepted their application to become a member.”

The application asked whether the applicant recognized the Lord Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God and as the applicant’s personal savior, and whether the applicant believed that the Bible was the “inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God.”

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.