Book Review: Bible Nation (Candida Moss and Joel Baden)

Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby tells the story of the Green Family, their company (Hobby Lobby), and their Museum of the Bible.

The authors set themselves an admirable goal: Though their perspectives are quite different than the Green family, they aimed to write a balanced narrative with empathy for positions other than their own.

They did not succeed.

The book’s few attempts to show empathy generally come across as backhanded compliments. A random example: “To complain about the MOTB organizers’ hope that supernatural powers will act to proselytize museum attendees is rather churlish, especially if one does not believe in those powers” (p. 178).

A substantial portion of the potential audience for a book on the Museum of the Bible are evangelicals who support the museum’s mission. Had this book pursued a balanced, less biased approach the authors could have had a chance to reach out to this audience, find common ground, and still advocate greater academic and procedural rigor.

Instead they adopt a politically and theologically liberal stance. They largely rely on politically and theologically liberal sources to describe conservative positions. The end result will strike conservatives as a caricature—one that is neither gracious nor well-researched.