Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The New Catholic (Right and Wrong) Answer Bible, Update
04/14/2009 - James Swan
A few days ago I mentioned some of the problems with the notes found in The New Catholic Answer Bible. Recall, the author, Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong, referred to them as "the notoriously liberal notes for the NAB," written by "heterodox, liberal dissidents." Because of these notes, I felt it would be fitting to rename his book, "The New Catholic Right and Wrong Answer Bible."
Armstrong claims his insert notes are orthodox and Catholic, while the detailed verse footnotes put in by Catholic scholars are heterodox and untrustworthy. Mr. Armstrong has given further clarification: Most Catholics who bought The New Catholic Answer Bible don't read the footnotes. Dave says, "So there are some theologically liberal errors to be found in some of the notes; big wow. That's not why readers have (and buy) the Bible in the first place. Most probably don't even read the footnotes. They want the apologetic notes."
I guess I hit the target again. When Catholics start posting threads like this at the Catholic Answers forums, it warms my heart:
Can I have some examples of why the NAB's footnotes are so bad?
Answer 1: "They are detrimental to Catholic Teaching, inclusive language in almost everyone of them and for the fact that not just Catholics, but Protestants translated it as well."
Answer 2: "They are not bad. They are very helpful. They are compatible with mainstream Catholic theology. If you don't like them that is fine, but I don't think it would be the best use of your time to pursue invalidating them."
Well, these Roman Catholics seemed to be concerned about the notes. Well, perhaps you're the type who doesn't want to get caught up in this tedious debate. You'll buy The New Catholic Answer Bible and ignore the notes. At least you'll have Dave's inserts and Biblical text.... or do you? Do you have a Biblical text you can trust? Ben Douglass, a Roman Catholic, stops by my blog now and then. He left a link to an article he wrote on the New American Bible, which is the biblical text used by Armstrong's New Catholic Answer Bible: Wolf in Calfskin: The Rampant Liberalism of the NAB. Douglass points out:
J'accuse: the NAB, in many places, daringly redacts, rearranges, or otherwise mistranslates the sacred text, and it does so in the service of the modernist critical hermeneutic which is revealed in its "perverse" introductions and commentary. These comments repeatedly contradict or call into question the Catholic dogma of the plenary inspiration and inerrancy of Sacred Scripture, as well as raising grave doubts about the Catholic dogmas of Christology and Mariology. The NAB refuses Scripture the submission which is due to it according to the Catholic saints: "Holy Scripture is in such sort the rule of the Christian faith that we are obliged by every kind of obligation to believe most exactly all that it contains, and not to believe anything which may be ever so little contrary to it." Indeed, it freely confesses that Scripture is wrong in places and freely disagrees. The NAB charges the Bible with contradiction, concerning which Oecumenius may be quoted as representative of the faith of the whole world: "For nothing could be contradictory in the mouth of the one and the same Spirit." Yet more, it seems that the NAB would have our Lord in ignorance and our Lady in doubt of her faith, which can only eventuate in Catholic readers doubting theirs. This Bible is a danger to the faith of Catholics; it is a near occasion for sin.
For those of you considering a purchase of the NCAB, I suggest reading Ben's essay. It appears, you not only have corrupted notes to deal with, but a corrupted translation as well. This leaves you with purchasing the NCAB for only one reason: DA's mystifying "inserts." Now, of course, the information DA provides in these inserts is probably already on his website somewhere for free. But I guess, if you want to plop down twenty bucks for an untrustworthy Biblical text, with notes putting forth "some theologically liberal errors," go right ahead.
Why though would you buy a Bible and not be able to actually use and trust it? Perhaps the right thing for DA to do at this point would be to gather up his mystifying notes, and print them separately in a small volume. The printing of the NCAB should stop, and a disclaimer should be put forth, that the NCAB has theological poison in it harmful to Roman Catholics. Will DA do this? I doubt it. He's more interested in documenting "Why Folks Are Buying the Bestselling New Catholic Answer Bible." He's more interested in praise for his work. Sure a few people might be confused by liberal wrong notes, and a corrupt translation of the Bible... but so what? In every great work, a few must be sacrificed, right?
If it were me adding notes to a Bible and selling that Bible, I would tremble before the Lord at such an endeavor. I could not in good conscience sell a book that actually corrupted God's word and say of it "The New Catholic Answer Bible is your faith's foundation in Holy Scripture and Catechesis." Then I would admit that I'm not worthy to sell God's word with any of my notes, and that task should be left for those whom God has called to be Biblical scholars, not a guy who simply claims to be an apologist. How can Armstrong add stuff to a Bible, collect cash from it, when he doesn't know Hebrew and Greek? That is arrogance. Why would someone knowingly sell a book containing blatant truth and error at the same time? Mr. Armstrong is a theologian of glory. It's all about the glory of DA.'
Recall, according to Mr. Armstrong I have the following attributes: "clueless, ignorant, dense, know-nothing, slanderer, nit wit, anti-Catholic imbecile desperate for attention, liar, and spewer of idiotic nonsense."I would rather be all these things than be the person knowingly selling a corrupt translation of the Bible with liberal notes, claiming the product is something a person should own. A theologian of glory would sell such a product, a theologian of the cross would rather starve.