A Critique of the Archko Library


I. Introduction
 
 It should be said that before coming  to the church this article was originally addressed to, I had never before heard of the Archko Library.
 
 I’m an avid reader with a voracious appetite for theology, but it had never come to my notice. I grew up in Bible-believing, Bible-preaching fundamentalist churches, but it was never mentioned from any of the numerous pulpits I’ve been audience to. I’ve been to Bible College where I was exposed to every Bible commentary imaginable, the works of accredited histories pertaining to the Bible and the spread of Christianity, and there too it was notably absent. Not a blessed word, good or ill. Yet surely such an important historical work should deserve some mention. If its veracity had been established, it should have shared the same popularity as Josephus, Augustine and all the rest.
 
 But not so much as a whisper of the word ‘Archko,’ until now.
 
 I’m a Berean at heart, so my ignorance of the Archko Volume could not go unchallenged.
 
As I began to investigate the Archko Volume, I found that critics consider it to be an apocryphal work at best and a probable fraud at worst! My intent here is to give you the conclusions of my investigation and, yes, why I think the Archko Library is unadulterated bunk and, in the interests of maintaining our intellectual credibility, it should not be quoted from our pulpits where words carry the weight of authority. If fact is mixed with fiction, truth with error, then we would be guilty of building with untempered mortar. Untempered mortar might build a wall for a time, but at the first storm the rain washes the whitewash mortar away and the wall crumbles. It will not stand.
 
 II. Critique of the Archko Volume
 
 II.A. The Archko Volume as Modern Apocrypha
 
The Archko Volume has the general flavor and style of a certain type of apocryphal work.
 
 By way of explanation, an apocryphal work differs from a canonical work in that it does not meet the criteria for inclusion in the canon [the accepted books of the Holy Scriptures]. The canon came together under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Jews had already collected the canon of the Old Testament and had translated it into Greek as the Septuagint 200 year before Christ’s birth. Alongside the canon of the 39 OT Books we know to be the authoritative, inspired, inerrant Word or God were included apocryphal works such as Bel and the Dragon and The Book of Enoch. These apocryphal and pseudoepigraphical works were considered important and were noted to contain much truth, so that Jude even referenced one of these works [Cp. Jude 14-15 with Enoch 1:9. By way of further note, Paul also referenced the pagan philosopher Epimenides during his discourse on Mars Hill. By doing so, Paul was not verifying the authority or veracity of Epimenides’ work as a whole, but noting for the sake of contextualization that this philosopher had made a point similar to the Christian position. Similarly, the quote from Enoch doesn’t vouch for the veracity of the whole book, merely the portion quoted in the context quoted]. Unfortunately, while important and containing truth, they were known to contain errors and, having failed the inerrancy test, were not considered authoritative or directly inspired of God. They were useful as commentaries on the OT Canon, but where they differed from the canon they were acknowledged to be in error. The New Testament was completed by God and acknowledged at the Council of Nicaea. [It should be stressed that the Holy Spirit inspired and collected the Canon; by their vote, the Nicaean Council only acknowledged what God had created.] Twenty-seven books formed the NT Canon, based on orthodox doctrine, inerrancy and apostolic authorship amongst other factors.
 
There were other NT Books written which were not included in the Canon. These apocryphal works fall into 3 categories:

  1.  Orthodox Apocryphal works: Apocryphal books like the Shepherd of Hermes which were of similar character and credentials to accepted OT apocrypha, containing errors but considered important Christian works;
  2. Heretical Apocryphal works: Apocryphal works and pseudoepigraphs written to support heresies like Gnosticism, Docetism, Arianism, et cetera [The most famous of these is the so-called Book of Mormon]; and
  3. Modern Apocryphal works: Apocryphal fakes and pseudoepigraphical hoaxes written by profiteers capitalizing on periods of Catholic zeal in which the Vatican was actively seeking to collect such writings, albeit of the authentic variety, to preserve the Church’s legacy.

The latter sort, apocryphal fakes, all have one thing in common: their doctrine, language and style bear a distinctively Catholic flavor. One even might say a Catholic bias. Jesus is portrayed as the perfect monk, an ascetic who portrays the Catholic ideal of otherworldly holiness. In many cases, these works portray the infant Jesus as talking in complete sentences and doing things passed down similarly through Catholic legends and fables. Another common characteristic is an extra emphasis on the Virgin Mother and speculation about romantic interest between Mary of Bethany and Jesus or Mary Magdalene and Jesus. The conversion of Pilate is another favorite subject. There also appear frequently dialogues which anachronistically speak in theological terms that belong to later centuries.
 
 The Archko Volume bears many of these characteristics. It certainly portrays Jesus in ascetic terms, showing Jesus’ holiness as denial and otherworldliness instead of being totally separated to God, not as a denial of life but in the living of it for Him. He scoffs at and ridicules women who show a romantic interest in him and walks off in mid-discussion with his teachers, lost in high theological thought. This is not the Jesus of the Bible, but it does embody the Catholic ideal of Jesus. The Archko Library also uses out-of-place theological terms and even common words that belong to different times and languages [though it was allegedly copied only from Latin]. Consider the following quote from the Archko report of Caiaphas:

“But when he yielded up the ghost, he proved to all that he was hypostatical (that is, a human body) and the lodi curios had come from the iclandic covenant, and his trinitas unitas was all a sham.”

It also contains a very unflattering description of Joseph [whom the Bible describes as a just man] alongside a glowing description of Mother Mary. And who allegedly pens these contrasting descriptions? Why, the great teacher Gammaliel himself! And since Archko relates a near-conversion of a pious and misunderstood Pontius Pilate; why not convert Herod as well? 
 
 II.B. The Archko Volume as Historical Document
 
Why else? Suppose it bore none of the Catholic biases I have mentioned. Suppose it were a true historical report. What then?
 
Well, it’s not the Canon. So it’s not inerrant. It might be partly true, but it’s not wholly true. The record may contain bias, even propaganda, for it does not claim to be written by orthodox Christians, but by pagan Romans and devout Jews. It will contain errors; that it to say, it will not agree with the Bible on all points. On those points we must throw it out.

For example, the Archko Volume describes the events of Jesus’ Birth and states that the shepherds saw strange lights and heard voices and that they felt afraid at first but then felt a great peace. This sounds similar to the Biblical account, but we are forced to consider upon further thought that bright lights are hardly angels. In fact, bright lights lend more credence to UFOs than angelic choirs. Too, we wonder that the Bible says that the angel specifically said, “Fear Not!” rather than that their fear simply faded away. Strikingly, there is no mention in the Archko Volume that the Babe would be lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes as a sign to the shepherds that they had found the Christ Child. On the other hand, there is considerable emphasis on a priest who seems to comprehend perfectly that Jesus’ birth is a fulfillment of Messianic prophecies and who allegedly defends both the Virgin Birth and Zacharias the father of John the Baptist to the Sanhedrin. As mentioned, the Archko Volume describes Joseph as a mean-spirited man who is “as gross and glum as he looks,” while the Bible Canon records that he was a just man.

Other such contradictions abound. My point is not to nitpick, but to point out that, even if we lump it with orthodox apocrypha, there are errors in the Archko Volume. Since apocryphal works are not inerrant and therefore not authoritative, the Church has always strongly cautioned that one know their Canon well before reading them. If we don’t know the real McCoy, how will we know an error when we see one? That’s the real trick. Bank tellers don’t study counterfeit money to recognize fakes; they get so completely familiar with genuine money that when a counterfeit comes across their plate they immediately recognize that something’s amiss!
 
 But here we have a problem: The Archko Volume has been, in some cases, quoted in Christian literature and from our pulpits without so much as a warning label. Worse still, the Archko Volume  has actually been referred to as an authoritative historical record! It’s being taught right alongside the Holy Scriptures and accredited historical sources [such as The Antiquities of Josephus] as the bona fide truth. The revelation that some of our congregations have been taught a discredited fraud for truth could cause “these little ones to stumble,” or could cause them to willingly continue in error and to propagate it out of scholastic pride.  It could also cause the seeker to discard any serious consideration of the faith; if he were to hear this source quoted from the pulpit and go home to investigate it, how could he put his faith in the word of folks who incorporate rubbish into their discourses on truth? A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Little foxes spoil the vine. And truth will out, sooner or later. A wall built of untempered mortar falls. 
 
But might they not be historical records? Historical documents do not have to maintain the exacting standards of inerrancy that a book of the canon must necessarily have. They can contain minor errors. They can even contain biases and propaganda. That would make them essentially reliable and true, though not inerrant. [Only the Bible is inerrant, after all.]
 
Here we must make an important distinction between an accredited historical source and a questionable source. If a man told you that he had found a book which said that John F. Kennedy could fly and cure the blind, we could rightly call that man’s source into question, for a formidable array of historical sources concern this President [and there are not a few eyewitnesses still living]. 
 
A fact is only as good as its source. So, in all fairness, let’s examine the source. 
 
 II.B.1. The Origin of the Archko Volume  
 
According to the Archko’s own introduction, it began with a pamphlet entitled A Correct Transcription of Pilate’s Court, published in 1879 by Rev. W.D. Mahan, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister of Boonville, Missouri. Rev. Mahan says that he obtained the copy of the Acta Pilati through the help of a snow-bound German scholar, Henry C. Whydaman, from Father Peter Freelinhusen, the chief guardian of the Vatican. Father Freelinhusen provided the Latin text for 35 darics. Whydaman’s brother-in-law, C.C. Vantberger of New York City, translated the volume. It was this he published as the 32-page pamphlet entitled A Correct Transcript of Pilate’s Court. Mahan includes a letter from Father Freelinhusen to Whydaman that certifies the accuracy and authenticity of the book. But the Vatican has no record of any Father Freelinhusen, especially in so prestigious a post. Nor is Whydaman a German name though it is remarkable how phonetically similar it sounds to W.D. Mahan. Nor were darics in use by the Vatican at that time, being an ancient coinage best known from the 4th century work Anabasis by Xenophon. Neither is there any record of a Vantberger in New York City’s directories from 1853 to 1863. It is believed that Rev. Mahan actually got his material from an earlier pamphlet published in Boston, 1842, under the title, Pontius Pilate’s Account of the Condemnation of Jesus Christ, and his own Mental Sufferings. This was supposedly extracted from an Old Latin manuscript recently found at Vienna. According to Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed, who points out these and many other curiosities, contradictions and inaccuracies in Strange New Gospels, this earlier Boston tract is substantially the same as the Rev. Mahan’s document. It also appears to be the antecedent of yet another modern apocryphal work called The Confession of Pontius Pilate. 
 
It should be noted that Reverend Mahan admits that he had to have this alleged manuscript translated from Latin, a language commonly known in that day. This suggests that Rev. Mahan might not have been very educated. Given the other irregularities already mentioned (and the ones yet to come!), it has been suggested that Mahan was the victim of fraud. Further evidence suggests the opposite: that he was the very perpetrator!
 
In 1884, after the success of the Pilate pamphlet, Mahan issued a new volume that contained an expanded version of this report along with eleven other such works, under the title, The Archaeological and the Historical Writings of the Sanhedrin and Talmuds of the Jews, Translated from the Ancient Parchments and Scrolls at Constantinople and the Vatican at Rome. To compile this, Rev. Mahan supposedly traveled to Rome and Constantinople to study the original sources for the life of Jesus. He was assisted by two great, but otherwise unknown scholars, Dr. Twyman of England and Dr. McIntosh of Scotland. From these alleged discoveries, the Archko Library was born. This volume has been reprinted many times under various titles, most often as The Archko Volume or Archko Library.  
 
 II.B.2. Problems with the Archko Volume 
 
The aforementioned Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed wrote a book in the 1930s called Strange New Gospels [the complete text of this work can be found on the Tertullian website at http://www.tertullian.org/articles/goodspeed_strange_new_gospels.htm
] and a later work called Modern Apocrypha, in which he critiqued the Archko Volume. It was possible at that time for Goodspeed to interview people who know the Rev. Mahan to determine if the Reverend had ever traveled to Europe during this time period. The Rev. Mahan was absent from his home of Boonville for less than two months in the autumn of 1883 when he claimed that he was discovering and copying manuscripts in Rome and Constantinople. In fact, he records that Mr. Quarles of the Booneville Weekly Advertiser attacked Mahan’s alleged discoveries, pointing out that Rev. Mahan was back in Booneville on November 6, 1883, yet was supposedly in Constantinople discovering these earth-shattering manuscripts on October 22, 1883. It’s not probable that Mahan could do all this traveling and research in so short a time, given the modes of travel available at the time. According to the people that Dr. Goodspeed interviewed, the Rev. Mahan traveled no further than Rome, Illinois from which he dispatched his correspondence. 
 
There are other curious inaccuracies pointed out by Goodspeed and others:

  • The ‘great scholars’ Twyman and McIntosh never published a single work and are   unheard of outside of the Archko Volume.
  • The supposed references to Josephus’ “Jewish Wars” — “Senect. 15, in brut. 15,   quintil. 3 and 12” — simply don’t exist.
  • That Jesus is referred to over 50 times in Josephus’ Antiquities is absolutely false.
  • The claims that Philo’s works were translated into Greek by a Jewish rabbi named   Simon, that this Simon/Philo often refers to Jesus, and that he began writing in A.D   40 are groundless; Philo ceased to write at about this time.
  • The claim that Tacitus wrote his history of Agricola in A.D. 56 is false; Tacitus was   born in 55, and even if he’d been able to write Agricola’s biography at one year old,   Agricola was only 19 and hadn’t done anything yet.
  • General Lew Wallace, the author of Ben Hur, was the American minister to Turkey in   1883. According to Wallace, No one connected with the American legation in   Constantinople had any knowledge of a visit by Mahan, nor did any American   missionaries at the time, neither did Zia Bey, who was in charge of the library of the   mosque of St. Sophia, know of any Mahan or of any of the manuscripts that Mahan   professed to have seen there.

II.B.3. The Author of the Archko Volume
 
Steve Keohane of BibleProbe.com objects to a rejection of Mahan’s work on the basis of his credentials as a minister, saying:

“Authenticity remains a question because of this and the fact that the Vatican Archives are not ‘open’, and the Vatican has shown a propensity to hide things it does not consider as credible; instead of letting the public decide. One will just have to believe that Rev. Mahan, a minister and Reverend of God, did not carry off such a hoax for profit. Rev. Mahan rightfully points out: ‘Now the reader must remember that there never was anything that created so much excitement in the land of Judea as the preaching of John the Baptist and Christ’ and ‘believing that no event of such importance to the world as the death of Jesus of Nazareth could have transpired without some record being made of it by his enemies in their courts, legislations, and histories, I commenced investigating the subject.'”  

On the other hand, in a reply to the Booneville Weekly Advertiser, dated November 13, 1884, Rev. Mahan wrote:

“Even in its present condition, it is paying us about twenty dollars per day… You are bound to admit that the items in the book cant do any harm even if it were faulce, but will cause many to read and reflect that otherwise would not. So the balance of good is in its favor…”

The Reverend does not seem to be immune to the lure of money.
 
Of all of the glaring evidences against the Archko Volume’s veracity, the most horrible is in the manuscript called “Eli’s Story of the Magi”. It appears that several pages of this story were copied verbatim from Ben Hur, a famous work of fiction which had just come out in Mahan’s day. In his defense, how could he have known how popular the novel would become? One striking detail is the use of the word anuman, which isn’t a word at all. In the Archko Volume, Eli’s story reads:

“Egypt is satisfied with her crocodiles and anuman, holding them in equal honor.”

Page 272 of Ben Hur has some lines that read:  

” Egypt was satisfied with her crocodiles and anu-
bis, the Persians were yet devoted to Ormuzd and Ahri-

man, holding them in equal honor …
 

The  “anuman”  word arose because a line was skipped when copying this sentence.  

In 1885, W.D. Mahan was summoned before the Lebanon presbytery, found guilty of plagiarism and falsehood, and suspended from his position as a Presbyterian minister for one year based on the evidence brought against him. Mahan promised to withdraw the book, but instead published it again with major revisions, including the chapter stolen from Ben Hur.
 
The evidence is overwhelming: The Archko Volume is the purest fraud. 
 

III. Conclusion
 

Where does that leave us? With untempered mortar.
 
The Archko Volume is of a very questionable source and is, in all likelihood, a preposterous fake.

Were it authentic, it’s still not canonical; it would be utterly useless to study it without a firm foundation of Bible knowledge. Also, as we all well know, there is more than 100 lifetimes of good, true knowledge to study just in the Bible alone! It is one thing to say you’d like to know the rest of the story.  [One day,  I  believe we will know it all, for the Bible says that we will know even as we’re known!]  But why concentrate on the rest of the story, when many in the Church only know part of the story provided to begin with?
 
I am by no means perfect and I don’t know everything. But I am a Berean and the Bible stands.  And as the church is to stand as “the pillar and the ground of truth,” I am hard-pressed to see how we can ethically quote the Archko Library as authoratative. For my part, I am also aware that I must give a personal account before God of what I preach from the pulpit and of how I have or have not earnestly contended for the faith. I consider the matter, concerning as it does purity of doctrine, too important to ignore.
 
 
I Remain Faithfully Yours,

Rev Tony Breeden

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51 Comments Add yours

  1. james irsay says:

    Hi Sirius,

    The Archko Volume is a favorite of mine. Mahan deserves an award for sheer chutzpah in daring to expose his shameless “scholarship” to the world. I am a bit surprised that anyone would take the trouble to actually refute its authenticity in any detail … could there ever be the slightest question? Or am I underestimating the astonishing foolishness of large segments of the English-speaking world? Yes, of course I am…

    My favorite parts by far are the descriptions of Joseph… obviously intended to show that such a man could never have fathered Jesus!

    As for Whydaman… as I pointed out to Roger Pearse just last September, 2007 (online…neonostalgia.com/weblog/?p=340): except for the ‘y’, it is an exact anagram of Wdmahan. Why the ‘y’? Maybe we are not supposed to ask ‘y’!

    Best,

    James

  2. Sirius says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, James.

    I actually began researching the Archko Volume because it was being taught from our Sunday School lectern as historical fact. The above critique did not sit well with the venerable country preacher who’d been teaching it as such for the past several decades. My argument for not citing it from the pulpit was simple: it looks like bunk and it would be taken as bunk by pretty much anyone who investigated it; also, anything taught from the pulpit carries with it the weight of implied authority [why would we preach or teach something we thought questionable?]; anyone who investigated it would inevitably decide we preach bunk. Sadly, in the end, the pastor decided thatb this was just a difference of opinion between two Bible scholars.

    Some accuse Mahan of having invented the Archko Volume; I prefer to say that he wrote down what the Devil dictated.

    –Sirius Knott

    1. I first heard of the Archko Volume watching Benny Hinn it sounded very interesting and I was like uhm why have I never heard of this, so I went to Amazon and found a copy cheap. I questioned its authenticity too. I read it and I enjoyed it. To me it didnt change any of my perspective on the Bible nor did it seem contraditory, I read your contradictions but to me they are minor I suppose its all in ones perspective. You did do your homework on this topic it seems. Not to cause a fuss or compare the Bible to the Archko…but other than referrences from the Bible itself can the bible the authenticated? Can its testimonies inside be confirmed by any source other than itself or various copies or differnet language versions of itself? No……example: they cant even prove what Pharoh it speaks of, as well as the if the flood occuried and Jonah and the wale hows that possible, whats a Levithan… That doesnt mean its not real, also many books were left out from the bible through the discretion of the opinions of those who put it together, Constaintine yada yada etc. Where they true or partially? cant really know that for sure. My point people are gonna belive what they want to no matter what. Is letting people belive this is real any worse than parents telling children there is a santa clause vs. the day is about the birth of Jesus? Or Easter is about the resurection not the pagan practice of fertility goddess and eggs? I usually dont coment on these things but thought id throw in my .02 I enjoy questions and the research and people opinions, so Id love to hear a reply especially if you have any answers to the authenticity besides itsself part, thanks for your Crituque of the archko : )

      1. Chad,

        Thanks for your comments.

        I’m always leary of any statement that begins “to me,” because it implies that one subjective opinion is just as valid as another, or worse that objective truth cannot be known. I hope this is not what you’re implying.

        In any case, I am glad that the Archko Volume did not change your perspective on the Bible, but how is it that you did not find it contradictory to the Bible. Can the Archko claim that Joseph was as gross and an glum as he looked and the Biblical claim that he was a just man both be true? The law of non-contradiction forbids such a situation. Likewise, the Archko Volume contains many blatant historical falsehoods and yet claims to be a valid historical source. Do these things not bother you?

        It is your next comment that worries me the most:

        “Not to cause a fuss or compare the Bible to the Archko…but other than referrences from the Bible itself can the bible the authenticated? Can its testimonies inside be confirmed by any source other than itself or various copies or differnet language versions of itself? No……example: they cant even prove what Pharoh it speaks of, as well as the if the flood occuried and Jonah and the wale hows that possible, whats a Levithan… That doesnt mean its not real, also many books were left out from the bible through the discretion of the opinions of those who put it together, Constaintine yada yada etc. Where they true or partially? cant really know that for sure. My point people are gonna belive what they want to no matter what. Is letting people belive this is real any worse than parents telling children there is a santa clause vs. the day is about the birth of Jesus? Or Easter is about the resurection not the pagan practice of fertility goddess and eggs?”

        My first thought is, who is your pastor, and why has he neglected the teaching of basic doctrine and apologetics? (And, yes, you do need a pastor and a home church. No portion of the body is meant to exist apart from its other members and pastors, teachers, evangelists and prophets are a gift from God meant to equip us for the work of the ministry. (See Ephesians))

        Let’s begin with your statement that people are going to believe what they want no matter what. On the other hand, a Christian is warned repeatedly to avoid false doctrine and the be careful to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints [Jude 3]. The irony is that my investigation of the Archko Volume came out of a church who’s pastor unBiblically claimed that everyone had a right to their own opinion. Yet the Bible warns that no scripture is of any private interpretation… it must be interpreted correctly.

        Furthermore, the Bible condemns bearing false witness [one of the Big Ten, and also noted as one of the things that God hates]. So you may not see any more harm in affirming a fictional historical document than telling kids that there is a department store Santa Claus [as opposed to St. Nicholas who partly inspired the whole thing and who was motivated by his love for Christ], but what does God think of it? Furthermore, I should point out that there is a bit of difference in telling children fairy stories and telling adult believers that a known work of plagiarized historical fraud is a valid historical reference corroborating the Bible!

        As for your charge that Constantine put the Bible together [why do folks repeat such bad lies?] and left out books which had a perfect right to be included, this is nonsense. The canon was recognized, not put together; it was already in use. The books which were left out were largely Gnostic and heretical writings which actually contradicted Scripture. Note that these books weren’t even worthy of being included as Apocrypha [which are acknowledged as important for historical reference, but neither infallible nor canonical]! The reason the Council [not Constantine] was even necessary was because false doctrine and flase history was being promoted through false works, the very issue at stake with the Archko Volume.

        As for the four examples you provide, I answer thus:

        1. Regarding which Pharaoah should be identified with the Exodus, we first note that Egyptian history [put together by Manetho for the Library at Alexandria] included inflated lifespans for pharoahs [to indicate deity] and later scholars who compiled the general chronology we use today ignored Eusebius’ warning that “several kings ruled at the same time… It was not a succession of kings occupying the throne one after the other, but several kings reigning at the same time in different regions.” Using a reduced chronology, taking the Bible’s history and other archaeological sources to calibrate Egyption history, Dr. John Aston and David Downs have proposed that Khufu should be identified as the pharaoh whom Abraham met, Sesostris I as the Pharaoh who appointed Joseph over Egypt [Joseph himself being identified with Sesostris’ grand vizier Mentuhotep], Sesotris III as the pharaoh who oppressed the Israelite slaves at the time of Moses’ birth [and his daughter Amenemhet III as the Egyptian proncess who drew Moes from the Nile], and Neferhotep I as the pharaoh who refused to let God’s people go and subsequentally found himself at the bottom of the Red Sea with his armies, allowing the Hyksos [identified with the Biblical Amalekites] to conquer Egypt without a fight [an historical anamoly explained by this reduced timeline]. See Unwrapping the Pharaohs by Ashton & Downs for more information on this reduced chronology.

        2. Regarding Jonah and the great fish [not whale], there have been unconfirmed reports of men being swallowed by whales and whale-sharkes and even surviving this horrible ordeal. It could have been a type of whale, a whale-shark, an now-extinct marine animal or an as-yet-unidentified marine creature [giant squids were thought to be mere legend until recent times].

        3. Regarding Leviathan, all we know is that it is powerful, heavily armored, utilizes photoluminescence, and can apparently breathe fire. This is not out of the realm of biological possibility [compare with odd abilities such as the electric eel and the bombadier beetle]. Photoluminescence is a quality common among creatures of the deep trenches, which are largely inaccessible to man. Certainly, there have been sea serpent sightings in the past and this creature may yet be identified, if it is not already extinct. In the case of either Leviathan or the great fish of Jonah, being unable to positively identify the creature in question with an organism in known taxa does not invailidate the possibility that they did once or even do now exist. Again, giant squids were once things of mere legend, as were the land-based okapi, the mounatin gorilla and many other creatures.

        4. The fact that you would say that there is no evidence for the flood presumes the fact that billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth can only be interpreted as evidence for long ages and not a world-wide flood. See https://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/darwins-dyke-what-the-fossil-record-actually-shows/ for more evidence for the globe-covering Flood of Noah’s day.

        In any case, even if I did not have reasonable answers for any of these objections [or any others you propose], this current lack of knowledge or certainty would not invalidate the Bible. Only God can claim omniscience; we mere men cannot know all the answers.

        Yet this does not excuse us from determining what can be falsified. The Archko Volume has been falsified based on several lines of evidence. Compare this to the Bible [especially since you ask me to]. Regarding it’s source, we have a ridiculous number of manuscript copies written within a relatively short time of the events described. Other historical documents tend to be written centuries afterward and we generally have few copies of these manuscripts to go on, yet they are considered reliable. Likewise, archaeology and historical writings outside the Bible confirm the Bible’s account of people, places, customs and events described therein. Any time the Bible’s history has been doubted or called into question, later historical/archaeological evidence ends up confirming the Bible’s account. Furthermore, we note that fulfilled Biblical prophecy supernaturally authenticates the Scriptures as alone being God-breathed among all other historical records. Confirmation of fulfilled Bible prophecy written hundreds of years before fulfillment is something only God can do. Daniel’s description of future empires [Daniel 2:37-45] as the then-current Babylonian empire, the subsequent Medo-Persian empire, the Mecedonian empire of Alexander the Great, and the Roman Empire proved quite accurate. The fates of Tyre, Ninevah, Babylon, Ashkelon and many other cities have been accurately forecast by Biblical prophets. The rebirth of the nation of Israel after centuries of exile was prophesied by Jeremiah, Isaiah and Hosea. Much Messianic prophecy was fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ [and the rest will be fulfilled at His Second Coming]. I could go on and on, precisely because a good deal of the Bible is prophecy, much of it already fulfilled! These are verifiable checkpoints of history existing outside the Bible, but written by holy men of old that we might have confidence in the Scriptures and the claims made therein, for God knows if we cannot receive the “earthly things” it speaks of, we will refuse its spiritual claims as well [John 3:12]. The resurrection of Christ himself is a supernatural claim resting on a historical claim, as I demonstrated elsewhere: https://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/defending-christs-existence/

        In short, when we compare the Archko Volume and the Bible, the Bible comes out as supremely reliable, while the Archko Volumes proves an unreliable fraud.

        -Tony

      2. Well I just wasted an hour in my reply to you because when I clicked on one of the links I lost all of my writtings LOL. So Im not gonna retype it all again. It irritates me highly that it happened. ANYWAYS thanks for the reply and links, it wld just have resulted in back n forth I say this you say that we wld differ on some agree on some outside of the biblical points anyways I also by no means hold the Archko in high reguards, or even as indeed 100% factual if 1% even. Besides whats important anyways is that grace of Jesus not our works or opinions saves us. I have accepted him long ago.
        I do wanna hear your take on this: you said the bible speakes of no scripture is up for private interpretation but it must be interpreted correctly. I would agree, but who is to say what is the right interpretation? Who is correct? Isnt that why so many diverse denominations in Christianity exist? TTYL

      3. Chad Reeves,

        The correct interpretation is generally the traditional understanding of the text. We can also say that if the original audience would not have understood the text as we are interpreting it, it’s a fair bet that we’ve imposed upon the text rather than letting it speak for itself in its literal-historical-grammatical sense.

        Our diversity of denominations has as much to do with differences in worship style, organizational preferences and personality cults as they do doctrine. Generally speaking, denominations form because someone deviates from the traditional interpretation and a denomination is formed by either dissenters or traditionalists.

        I still urge you to drop this Archko fake, lest it undermine your credibility and authority as a teacher when your students investigate this fake for themselves and wonder why you passed the purest fraud off as a reliable historical source which corroborates the Biblical accounts!

        -revTony

  3. roger tipping says:

    Dear Brother Sirius,
    thank you for your hard work.
    It will be something I will pass on to those like myself that never really felt comfortable with this book!

  4. Eric Widmer says:

    Hi Sirius,
    I started to read what you had to say, but when you tried to contrast Joseph who was a ‘just man’ with ‘as gross and glum as he looks’, I believe your thinking is lacking as that does not prove anything. Even ugly people can do the right thing.

    I found that the author did a heck of job with one of Peter’s sermons that’s not found in the Bible which at least demonstrates if Peter never preached it, then the author is pretty good at original thought. People can always be critical of others, but let those same people come up with something original of their own and they probably can’t.

    I believe your thinking goes a little further than Joseph’s yeahs and no’s, but let’s see where your original thinking kicks in. Anything?

    What’s important is trying to figure out where the keepers of the libraries did their own tampering and what they left alone.

    Also, is it too difficult for God to save Pilate or the high priest? And you even mock the idea of Herod being saved!?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re a dispensationalist! Yes, that’s worth mocking!!!

    Yes, I’ve been a little bit mean, but that’s what you are as well to a guy who can no longer defend himself!

    Regards,

    Eric

    1. Sirius says:

      Eric,

      You could not be more wrong.

      Regarding your comments about Joseph. You’ve missed the point. The author of the Archko Volume described Joseph as gross and glum in character as he looked, which is a stark contrast to the description of Joseph being a just man from God’s revealed Word. When you find a “source” that doesn’t line up with God’s revealed Word, you chuck it, sir.

      Your comments regarding original works and original thinking are misguided. It’s one thing to flesh out a story with a “it might’ve happenbed this way;” it’;s another matter entirely to preach such fictions as Gospel truth alongside the Gosepl truth! That sir is the real issue: you’re giving the Archko Fiction the same weight of authority as God’s revealed Word.

      It is NOT a matter of trying to “figure out where the keepers of the libraries did their tampering and what they left alone.” If you read any of my critique, you will have noted that the perpetrators of the Archko Hoax were convicted of plagiarism by their own presbytery. He plagiarized Ben Hur. He promised not to publish the Archko nonsense anymore. Instead, he BROKE HIS PROMISE and published a much-edited version. So when you say I am just being mean to a guy who can no longer defend himself, it’s a bit misleading since he DID have the opportunity to defend himself before his church leadership and he was convicted of both falsehood and plagiarism.

      Wake up, sir!

      I don’t care whether you’re mean or not. I don’t care what you think of dispensationalists either. What concerns me is your lack of faith in God’s revealed Word in favor of this fictional work.

      You don’t get to ADD to the Bible. It warns us not to.

      Could God have saved Herod, Pilate or Caiaphas? God can save anyone. But that still doesn’t make the Archko fiction any less of a lie than it is. I strongly urge you for the sake of Christ Jesus our Lord, the ever-living Truth, to rightly divide the revealed Word of Truth and turn from fables like this Archko nonsense.

      Good day, sir.

      Rev Tony Breeden

    2. Tim Leeke says:

      I agree! I am skeptical and suspicious of those who become authorities on anything, especially religion. The Archko Volume reads better and is more inspiring than the Bible, and some such other religious persuasions of any denomination.

      1. Tony Breeden says:

        And yet you present yourself as an authority over those who become authorities, as evidenced by your skepticism. If you think the Archko, which contains historical errors, Biblical contradictions and obvious anachronisms is more inspiring than the Bible, then your religious studies at San Jose State were a waste of time, sir. Besides, in order to make your endorsement of the Archko Volume over the Bible, you have to set yourself as an authority on religion, thus making a mockery of your original statement.

        Think about it,
        Tony

      2. Anonymous says:

        Dear Tony. For you I have a riddle: The Caaba, as you know is a large stone that was presented by the archangel Gabriel to the patriarch Abraham, and preserved at Mecca. The patriarch had perhaps asked the archangel for some bread(?) don’t you think?

      3. Tony Breeden says:

        For what father, when his son asks him for bread gives him a stone instead? Or gives him a snake when he asks for fish? If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Heavenly Father?

  5. Eric Widmer says:

    Sir,
    I don’t know why you’re so presumptuous! As if I have a lack of faith in God’s Word! You potentially have records that bear witness to Jesus and His resurrection from men that witnessed the graves being opened, etc. Probably written in Hebrew and/or Greek, then translated to Latin and more centuries later translated to English making them seem implausible because of modern terminology. Mistakes, you bet! Hold on to the good and let go of the bad! Be discerning, but don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. If not for Josephus, we wouldn’t know what happened to Jerusalem in 70 a.d. Plenty of scholars throw that out because of mistakes.

    Of course, the Bible should be held in higher esteem and it is. I would love to read the letters to the Laodiceans or the first two letters that Paul wrote that he mentions in the Corinthian letters. You’d reject them if somebody discovered those ’cause they’re not in your Canon that was determined by the second generation church and so on. That would be one aspect of adding to the Word of God.

    As for rightly dividing the Word of God, I have. That’s why I’m not a dispensationalist. They have added and taken away from the book of Revelation for decades and seemingly have gotten away with it as the plagues have seemed to never hit them. They always apply current events of the day to fulfilled prophecy decade after decade. They think they’ve got the doctrine right on, just applied them to the wrong events. It rarely occurs to anyone that maybe the whole doctrine needs to be overhauled because it is WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Not to be mean, but maybe when the dispey teachers such as Chuck Smith, Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, et al pass away, maybe some will start thinking.

    Since we both have the right foundation in Jesus, I know we’ll continue to grow up in Him, since He’s the one building the House. I know that I’ll continue.

    Regards,

    Eric

    1. Sirius says:

      Eric,

      Um, wow. Let’s see if I can sort this out for you…

      “I don’t know why you’re so presumptuous! As if I have a lack of faith in God’s Word!”

      I’m not being presumptuous. I’m making an assessment based on what you’ve written.

      “You potentially have records that bear witness to Jesus and His resurrection from men that witnessed the graves being opened, etc. Probably written in Hebrew and/or Greek, then translated to Latin and more centuries later translated to English making them seem implausible because of modern terminology. Mistakes, you bet! Hold on to the good and let go of the bad!

      We’re not talking mistakes here, though there were plenty of those [and not just minor ones, but gross historical errors and obvious anachronisms]! We’re talking plagiarism, forgery, fakery, falsehood. He was convicted by his church leadership for copying Ben Hur and trying to pass it off as a piece of this Archko business. He was commanded never to publish it again and he agreed that he would not, but he then broke his word and began publishing an edited version without the Ben Hur portion.

      We’re not talking a potential historical verification of the Bible’s history any more than the ficticious Ben Hur would be a verification of the Bible events. Works of fiction can flesh out “what-ifs” but must never be mistaken for certainties. And that’s why this issue is so critical.

      As I wrote above in the Critique:

      “…in the interests of maintaining our intellectual credibility, it should not be quoted from our pulpits where words carry the weight of authority. If fact is mixed with fiction, truth with error, then we would be guilty of building with untempered mortar. Untempered mortar might build a wall for a time, but at the first storm the rain washes the whitewash mortar away and the wall crumbles. It will not stand.

      As for your next statement…

      Be discerning, but don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

      But the Archko is all bathwater, so I’m throwing out the bathwater but keeping the Bible!

      “If not for Josephus, we wouldn’t know what happened to Jerusalem in 70 a.d. Plenty of scholars throw that out because of mistakes.

      Of course, the Bible should be held in higher esteem and it is. I would love to read the letters to the Laodiceans or the first two letters that Paul wrote that he mentions in the Corinthian letters. You’d reject them if somebody discovered those ’cause they’re not in your Canon that was determined by the second generation church and so on. That would be one aspect of adding to the Word of God.

      You grossly misunderstood how the Canon came together. No one determined the Canon – they acknowledged it. In Rev. 22:18-19, we’re warned not to add to or subtract from God’s Word. Matt. 24:35 gives us equally important principle: “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” This applies to the Bible in whole and in part. And it means that God providentially preserves His Word throughout history. When we put these two principles together, it becomes obvious that there are are no “Lost Books of the Bible.” God has not lost any. He has not allowed man to exclude any by vote. Nor He allowed man to interject any. He gave us exactly what He wanted us to have, which is why we say the Bible is sufficient and complete.

      Thus, it would be inaccurate to say that I would reject the Letters to the Laodiceans or any other “lost book of the Bible.” I would not reject them; they’re already rejected.

      As for rightly dividing the Word of God, I have. That’s why I’m not a dispensationalist… yada yada yada

      Look, when I said I didn’t care what you had to say about dispensationalism, I meant it. Save the hate screed for someone who cares.

      “Not to be mean, but maybe when the dispey teachers such as Chuck Smith, Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, et al pass away, maybe some will start thinking.

      Whether it’s mean or not [and you’re definitely coming off as a hater], your assessment isn’t very realistic. Dispensationalism didn’t begin with these guys and it probably won’t end with them.

      “Since we both have the right foundation in Jesus, I know we’ll continue to grow up in Him, since He’s the one building the House. I know that I’ll continue.”

      You want to grow in Him? Ditch the junk food. Ditch the stuff that’s not of Him. Chuck that Archko nonsense and concentrate on His revealed Word, the Word as He intended it for us.

      -Rev Tony Breeden

      1. Tim Leeke says:

        I have read Tony Breeden and his inspired, for lack of a better word–discernments. Many of his wrods are offensive in tone and delivery–certainly not Christian in nature, or Christlike. His agnostic leaning approach to religion can be healthy, but when preached dogmatically becomes rancid in the telling. Lighten-up Tony and just enjoy the story of Christ in the Archko Volume despite the characteristics of the actors, but more so what was said on page 126, said most beautifully and endearing for all time. With Blessings, Tim Leeke

      2. Tony Breeden says:

        Tim Leeke,

        If you suppose that I am not Christian in nature or Christlike because many of my words are offensive in tne or delivery, I wonder what you make of Christ Himself, who called people play actors [hypocrites], snakes, white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones? What do you make of Christ who fashioned a weapon and drove the moneychangers out of the Temple? Apparently Christ Himself would not be Christ-like enough for you are comparing me to a stained-glass Christ of your own imagination rather than the Christ of the Bible.

        Your comment about my “agnostic leaning” approach to religion makes no sense. I’m not agnostic in anything. Quite the contrary; I suppose we can know the truth with certainty and that it will set us free.

        Get a bit more serious and zealous for the true Word of God and throw the fraudulent Archko Volume in the trash where it belongs, Tim! It doesn’t matter how beautiful you think it is if it is false and yet being promoted as if it were an authentic historical work. Grace AND Truth came by Jesus Christ, Tim… the same Christ who said He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore and who said He is the Way, the TRUTH, and the life. What does truth have to do with error?

        Or were your religious studies at San Jose State University so whitewashed that you cannot discern the difference between truth and error?

        -Tony

      3. Tim Leeke says:

        Dear Tony. I have concluded we could never debate thoroughgoing descussions because your level of education seems limited to just Christianity, which is Ok for a backwoods bible thumper. You can become more authoritative by educating yourself in literature, plus other religious disciplines. With Blessings!

      4. Tony Breeden says:

        Tim,

        On what basis other than your own egotism have you determined the extent of my education? Just because I’m from Appalachia does not mean I am merely a “backwoods Bible thumper,” you pompous twit.

        By the way, when you insult someone, it is mere hypocrisy to wish them blessings… Have you not read the Scriptures which say, Out of the same mouth proceed both blessing and cursing; brethren, these things ought not to be so?

        God help your pride,
        Tony

      5. Tony Breeden says:

        Oh and by the way, it’s spelled “discussions.”

  6. Eric Widmer says:

    Wow! You have a forehead made out of solid bronze! You will never gain insight!

    You say the Archko is all bath water. That is truly amazing and you say to chuck it. So when it records the high priest, Caiaphas, reporting that the soldiers were excited about what they had seen and that he regretted posting them as guards at the tomb of Jesus because they were helping to establish what he was trying to prevent, you reject that. We don’t have space for all the other good stuff you reject.

    Matthew records that the bodies of many holy people were raised to life and appeared to many people in the holy city. You’ll hang on to that and you should because its in the Canon. But if any of those folks happened to write down what they saw, you’ll reject that as it isn’t Canon. I guess you were there and it couldn’t have possibly gone down as others have said it did.

    So, nothing left for you but to stick your head in the sand and hope nothing bites you in the rear. You probably won’t be able to resist responding to this and carry on about some diatribe. But know this, you are very dull of thinking and very dull of hearing. As for you, be careful how you hear for the little understanding you do have is about to be taken away.

    My words will burn in your ears for the rest of your life. You may forget them for a while, but when you read about rapture teachers, pastors and scholars passing away and many attending their funerals and not getting raptured, you’ll remember me, that I was right.

    Try really hard not to respond! You have to win, right?

    Glad you have the Canon, but wrong thinking is wrong thinking and dispensationalism is error. The funerals will remind you who really won. What you call hate is really directed at error. Try to understand that!

    1. Sirius says:

      Wow! You have a forehead made out of solid bronze! You will never gain insight!

      Um, OK.

      You say the Archko is all bath water. That is truly amazing and you say to chuck it. So when it records the high priest, Caiaphas, reporting that the soldiers were excited about what they had seen and that he regretted posting them as guards at the tomb of Jesus because they were helping to establish what he was trying to prevent, you reject that. We don’t have space for all the other good stuff you reject.

      I’m sorry, I reject it because Rev. Mahan was a con Mahan, er, man. He wrote fictions that tickled the ears of what people wanted to hear. He wrote lies, convincing happy little lies that were exactly what people wanted to hear. So they were easily convinced or duped or however you want to put it. It might be based on a true story, but it was all made up. And he was CONVICTED of falsehood and plagiarism for it and he was removed form the office of clergy. And he promised he wouldn’t print this Archko fiction anymore but he LIED about that too.

      So yes I reject the Archko Volume because it’s bunk, even if it’s what I’d like to hear. Because truth is that important to me.

      As I wrote in this critique:

      But here we have a problem: The Archko Volume has been, in some cases, quoted in Christian literature and from our pulpits without so much as a warning label. Worse still, the Archko Volume has actually been referred to as an authoritative historical record! It’s being taught right alongside the Holy Scriptures and accredited historical sources [such as The Antiquities of Josephus] as the bona fide truth. The revelation that some of our congregations have been taught a discredited fraud for truth could cause “these little ones to stumble,” or could cause them to willingly continue in error and to propagate it out of scholastic pride. It could also cause the seeker to discard any serious consideration of the faith; if he were to hear this source quoted from the pulpit and go home to investigate it, how could he put his faith in the word of folks who incorporate rubbish into their discourses on truth? A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Little foxes spoil the vine. And truth will out, sooner or later. A wall built of untempered mortar falls.

      You wrote:

      Matthew records that the bodies of many holy people were raised to life and appeared to many people in the holy city. You’ll hang on to that and you should because its in the Canon. But if any of those folks happened to write down what they saw, you’ll reject that as it isn’t Canon. I guess you were there and it couldn’t have possibly gone down as others have said it did.

      You’re being facetious and you’re trying to move the goalpoast. Let me unthatch this straw man argument you’ve propped up as my own. If the source [account] were from a credible source, I would happily mention it to my congregation as a nonCanonical source that verifies the Scriptural accounts. But the Archko nonsense does not come from a credible witness. It comes from a convicted deceiver and contains gross historical errors and anachronisms besides. Which is why I do tell everyone that the Archko volume is a postApocryphal fiction that has been almost thoroughly discredited and should not be used as a reference at all.

      So, nothing left for you but to stick your head in the sand and hope nothing bites you in the rear. You probably won’t be able to resist responding to this and carry on about some diatribe. But know this, you are very dull of thinking and very dull of hearing. As for you, be careful how you hear for the little understanding you do have is about to be taken away.

      Wow.

      Beg pardon, but the description of someone with one’s head in the sand… isn’t that generally an accusation we level against those who refuse to look at the evidence? Well, you’ve refused to even consider the fact that you’ve been duped despite all of the evidence, so think about that a bit.

      As for the cryptic warning at the end, sir, God bless you. I do not think it will be as you say.

      My words will burn in your ears for the rest of your life. You may forget them for a while, but when you read about rapture teachers, pastors and scholars passing away and many attending their funerals and not getting raptured, you’ll remember me, that I was right.

      Piffle. And when those who’ve died burst out of their graves and rise to meet the Lord in the air at the Rapture, you’ll remember me. Hopefully, we’ll both be smiling.

      Try really hard not to respond! You have to win, right?

      So….. you do understand this is my blog, right?

      Anyway, I don’t have to win. I’m simply right and I’d like you to be right to. But I full well know that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. What I can’t understand is why the horses who won’t drink still keep coming back tot he waterhole to see if I’ll hold their heads under!

      “Glad you have the Canon…”

      You should be glad as well. You certainly shouldn’t take it for granted.

      “… but wrong thinking is wrong thinking and dispensationalism is error. The funerals will remind you who really won. What you call hate is really directed at error. Try to understand that!

      I’ll try to keep that in mind, if you’ll kep in mind that I don’t [and I’m not just saying this, really] care one whit what you think about dispensationalists or dispensationalism. I’m not interested. At all. I won’t take the bait because I don’t care for it. I hate to be redundant, but how many times does a fellow have to tell you? […and I’m the one with solid bronze forehead!]

      I bid you adieu, as this conversation is by all indications well over and past. I pray you chuck the con mahan’s Archko fiction and find a renewed appaetite for the pure Word of Truth.

      -Rev Tony Breeden

  7. andrew masetta says:

    Dear Sir,
    I was thankful to read your commentary. I had purchased the Archko Volume as a young man, [at the beginning of my saved life]. I never read it through, [though I did read some of it]. Had I known of this deception, I would have never wasted my money. I for one, thank God for dispensationalists, biblical scholars have been most important to my sometimes “wayward walk” in Christ. As for Mr Eric Widmer, it seems he refuses to listen to reason. I suppose rumors and falsehoods will always plague believers, I pray he asks Our Lord for discernment, and quiets his soul enough to carefully examine the evidence. Mr Mahan admitted his writings were false to his elders, there is no other testimony needed!! Credibility is a life-long achievement, and must be guarded with all due diligence, once lost, it can never be fully regained. Mr Mahan lost his, end of story

  8. bd says:

    Thank you for your critique of this work. It was helpful.
    Suggest you delete and ignore the patently irresponsible posts of some. Be constructive and make your point. Accept contrary arguments. But time is to precious to waste on the ornery.
    Thanks again.

    1. Thank you for your compliment and your suggestions. I’m glad you found the critique helpful.

  9. Bruce says:

    Bummer dude! I loved the Archko Volume a lot!
    Does look like old dude made it up and copied Ben Hur though.
    Not cool – even though it might be close to truth – not cool.
    Personally Bible prophecy is such a big faith builder.
    Daniel predicted in advance the passing of the big world
    empires amazingly well. I don’t believe I’ll be reading Archko
    anymore or loaning it out. Oh well.

    1. Bruce,

      I agree that Bible prophecy is a huge faith builder and I strongly encourage folks to delve into that subject. The more you find out about fulfilled Bible prophecy, the more you realize that the Bible is the supernaturally accurate Word of God. I’m glad you found my critique useful. Don’t let the Archko Volume get you down; remember: it is God’s revealed Word alone that stands infallibly true.

      God bless you and stay in the Word!
      Rev Tony Breeden
      DefendingGenesis.org

  10. Curt Kunkel says:

    I just became aware of the “Archko Volume” yesterday on a program called “This is Your Day” featuring Benny Hinn. His message seemed to be fundamentally sound, but I had a little twinge in me when he mentioned the “Archko Volume” at the end of the show, which you can purchase from him for a nominal donation of $50.00! He seems to believe that it is authentic.

    In any case, I decided to follow up on my “twinge” by doing a web search on Yahoo and ended up on Wikipedia and this site. Both confirmed my “twinge”. I agree with the findings and conclusions of your research. As a matter of clarification, “twinge” means “Jesus speaking in my spirit.”

    1. Curt,

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

      I have investigated this matter and you are correct. Benny Hinn is offering the Archko Volume on his site absolutely free for $50 [a significant mark-up from its retail value of $10-$25]. I’ve contacted his ministry by phone asking them if Mr. Hinn is aware that he is promoting a fraud, specifically noting that he was convicted by his presbytery of plagiarizing Ben Hur, and asking them who is publishing his special edition of the Archko Volume [since its cover illustration doesn’t match current editions available on on Amazon.com]. I’ve been assured a supervisor will get back to me, but I’ve not yet received a call back from his organization.

      Interestingly, when I asked [prior to dropping the fraud bomb] the agent who answered the phone if Mr. Hinn had ever read the Archko Volume, she said she assumed that he had or he wouldn’t be promoting it. After explaining to her the nature of the Archko fraud I asked her again if she thought Mr. Hinn had read the Archko Volume. I was assured that he would not be promoting this book if he knew it was a fraud, so he must not be aware of it.

      I’m giving Hinn’s organization a few days to respond to me before I make a post on the subject, but I must comment that this entire situation is most peculiar in a man who claims to be very close to the Holy Spirit, who guides believers into all truth…

      -revTony

      1. Curt Kunkel says:

        I would be interested to know the results of your investigation. I have watched two of Mr. Hinn’s programs, and in both cases, I believed his message to be an accurate interpretation/application of the Word to our daily life. I did not detect any evidence of apostasy or heresy in the two messages that I heard. Hence, my concern/curiosity as to why he would be promoting this book. Thank you for your efforts.

        In Christ,
        Curt

      2. Curt,

        Thus far, I’ve received no return calls or emails. I have continued to press the issue in lieu of waiting simply because I cannot in all good conscience sit by while Christians are being recommended a work of fraud as an authentic historical reference that actually validates the Gospel accounts. Think of how much damage can be done by Christians using false evidence to back the historicity of the Gospels! Think of how much credibility we lose.

        At this point, I’ve been instructed to contact Benny Hinn’s marketing department. Let’s pray they take this matter seriously!

        -revTony

  11. Toni says:

    I got a mail-out from Benny Hinn ministries a few days ago. In it was a pamphlet picturing a beautiful book… the “gift” they would send for “your generous seed gifts” (money). The book was “The Archko Volume.” These are some excepts from the pamphlet:
    1. “This is one of the most unique books we have ever offered to you! In addition to your Bible study, you’ll gain so much from these testimonies by both friends and enemies of Jesus of Nazareth. You will read and reread The Archko Volume , as I have done through the years.” Signed, Benny Hinn.
    2. “You won’t be able to put this book down! I first heard about the Archko Volume when Kathryn Kuhlman read portions of it on her radio program. I’ve read and reread it many times since, including to packed crowds at the Orland Christian Center. This book isn’t Scripture, of course, but the information provides historical data that helps illuminate what happened during the time of Christ.”
    3. “Request The Archko Volume today! You will be amazed, and it will strengthen your faith.”
    4. “To request this life-changing book, return the enclosed reply form… etc.”

    … So, who wouldn’t want to read a book like that? However, having been “burned” more than a few times by these “ministries,” I decided to do some online homework too. As they say, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    To the gentleman who is wondering about the Benny Hinn ministry, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Yes, he can do wonderful Bible studies, but on the other hand he can turn around and present some of the most outrageous doctrines. Some find it hard to believe that he would actually say some of the things that he is “accused” of… however, as I’ve told my own family, I’ve heard him say these questionable, sometimes bizarre, things myself on some of his own broadcasts and as a guest on other TV shows. So be careful… It seems there are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out in public these days. Thank God for opening my eyes. I hope I won’t be so gullible in the future. Remember, even false teachers tell the truth part of the time… That’s the apple, as it were, which contains the poison.

    1. Toni,

      This is just horrible! I’ve contacted Mr. Hinn’s organization several times and have been promised a return contact. The most I have received is a brief and dismissive note that my information has been sent to the appropriate department and a thank you for bring the matter to their attention. In almost all cases, I was told that the matter would have to be brought to the attention of – not Benny Hinn but – the Marketing department! Why is truth and falsehood a matter for the Marketing department? Is Mr. Hinn’s reputation worth more than the truth?

      In any case, their lack of follow-up is most unprofessional. The fact that Benny Hinn Ministries alleges itself as a Christian organization makes this worse, because they have constantly promised me follow-up calls and emails that have never materialized; don’t they know that Christians aren’t supposed to lie? Their utter lack of concern for this issue is disgusting!

      The more I look into his fruit, the more convinced I am that Mr. Hinn is but one fraud promoting another. If he were as close to the Holy Spirit, the Sirit of Truth who guides us into all truth, as he pridefully claims, he’d know to avoid the Archko Volume by a country mile!

      Thank you for bringing thhis information to my attention, and God bless you,
      -revTony

  12. Pastor Ray Stackon says:

    I discovered the Archko Volume in a library in Ft. Smith, AR. I have read it several times. Some of it seemed authentic while some of it sounded felonious. I thank the Lord that you researched it as well as you have. I too am a Pastor and do not want to pass on false information. I never preached a word from it nor would I because it is not from the Bible. There is One Word of God and it stands alone as it has for centuries. I will not say a word about Mr. Hinn, God alone will deal with him and his so-called ministry. Some of us want to teach the Word of God to people and there are those who want only to rape their wallets. Again I thank you for all your work. Pastor Ray

  13. Rick Prince says:

    I read Archko Volumes. And as I understand them they are different letters from different people.
    Could some of the letters be real? Could he plagiarised them from real letters? They made me fall more in love with Jesus. It was nice to read what other people wrote about at that time. I don’t think they are needed for Doctrine.No new doctrine I noticed or remember. The Bible is good for doctrine.

    1. I’m sorry, but the stories in the Archko Volume are obviously fictions.

      The Archko Volume contains anachronistic [out-of-place where history is concerned] theological terms and common words that belong to different times and languages. It portrays Jesus as a Catholic-styled ascetic. It contains gross historical errors. It’s account of Joseph being “as gross and glum as he looks” is a direct contradiction of Biblical revelation [which states that Joeph was a just man].

      The original source documents of the Archko Volume have never been corroborated, nor is there any record of a Father Peter Freelinhausen [who allegedly vouched for their athenticity] nor Drs. McIntosh and Twyman. It was authored by a minister who was convicted of plagiarism [he plagiarized Ben-Hur] and falsehood by his presbytery for publishing the Archko Volume; as part of his punishment, he was defrocked for a year and this light sentence was conditionary upon his agreement never to publish it again. Hypocritically enough, he did publish it again and again, though he did take out the portions specifically objected to by his presbytery. His answer to the charge of whether it was false was dissemblance:

      “Even in its present condition, it is paying us about twenty dollars per day… You are bound to admit that the items in the book cant do any harm even if it were faulce, but will cause many to read and reflect that otherwise would not. So the balance of good is in its favor…”

      So as I concluded in the critique above:

      “The evidence is overwhelming: The Archko Volume is the purest fraud.”

      Stick to the historical truth revealed in your Bible.

      -revTony

  14. James M. Sheehan says:

    Wonderful summary of the debunking of the Archko Library, but why the Catholic slander?

    “The latter sort, apocryphal fakes, all have one thing in common: their doctrine, language and style bear a distinctively Catholic flavor. One even might say a Catholic bias. Jesus is portrayed as the perfect monk, an ascetic who portrays the Catholic ideal of otherworldly holiness. In many cases, these works portray the infant Jesus as talking in complete sentences and doing things passed down similarly through Catholic legends and fables. Another common characteristic is an extra emphasis on the Virgin Mother and speculation about romantic interest between Mary of Bethany and Jesus or Mary Magdalene and Jesus.”

    The book was assembled and promoted by a Protestant minister and such things like the baby Jesus talking from birth and a romantic relationship between Mary and Jesus has absolutely no basis in Catholic doctrine.

    As far as “The New Testament was completed by God and acknowledged at the Council of Nicaea. [It should be stressed that the Holy Spirit inspired and collected the Canon; by their vote, the Nicaean Council only acknowledged what God had created”, let’s remember that there was only one Mother Church at this time – the Catholic Church. All doctrine approved at the Council of Nicaea had and was approved by the Catholic Pope at the time.

    Otherwise, a very fine study by shedding the light of truth on this erronous book.

    James M. Sheehan

    1. Thanks for the comments, James.

      My comments regarding the Catholic slant of apocryphal fakes is not slander. It is simply a hallmark of such fakes that they include Catholic dogma and emphases which is anachronistic to their allegedly apostolic origin.

      I do not agree that the Council of Nicaea or the Pope approved the Scriptures; it is quite nearly blasphemy to suggest that the Word of God needed the approval [as opposed to the recognition of] of any man or group of men.

      Irregardless of the differences in our views on the Council or the Pope’s role regarding the canon, I think we both agree that we should roundly rebuke anyone seeking to add to it… especially such obviously fallacious claptrap as the Archko Volume.

      Regards,
      Tony

  15. The old man says:

    Rev Tony
    I am not defending mahan when I say this but I read your critique and honestly I was disappointed. My disappointment was in your actual personal lack of research outside of the work that others had done. This work you presented as your rejection of the material in question, but you yourself did not ‘turn one shovelful of dirt’ in actual research.
    As for the veracity of the canon of scripture that has been placed before us, I must ask this – which translation; king james, new king james, amplified, etc., can we rely on for truthfulness and faithfulness to the original language in the new testament?
    It has been a proven fact that the king James has several verses which do not exist in the Greek, and contradict both the message of Jesus and Paul – one such verse is Mark 11:26 which was added by the translator for reasons of his own now long past finding out, but which contradicts the covenant established between the Father and the Son, and also Paul’s teaching on the forgiveness of sin. And every other translation and version has parroted this one example and not one has dropped these errant words. So I am left with questions . . .
    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t question everything we read – I think we need to – but we need to carefully maintain both spiritual and intellectual integrity in every communication.
    The old man

    1. old man,

      So you defend the Archko’s veracity and attempt to tear down the reliability of Scripture… Who’s side are you on? Again, you’ve just cautioned us to question the Bible in your efforts to defend the Archko’s authenticity.

      I confess you will have to defend your statements regarding how Mark 11:26 in any way contradicts the rest of Scriptural revelation. Your argument makes little sense; you’ll have to back it up.

      I’m also disappointed that you presume that I did not read the Archko Volume for myself. I did. In fact, it was being re-printed in sections and dispersed in the Sunday School class I mentioned. I was immediately struck by its contradictions to Biblical revelation. Furthwer investigation confirmed my suspicions that it is altogether false. Notably it failed the very same tests of historical relaibility that the Bible stands upon.

      Regards,
      Tony, DefGen.org

  16. Michael says:

    I wish I could say that this was a good critique, but it was hardly a critique at all due to its lack of professionalism.

    1. Michael, are you sure you aren’t just letting your bias color your views here? It’s divided into distinct sections, backed by research, source quoted and contains no personal attacks of any sort., so…for the sake of argument, how was it unprofessional? Because my critique of the evidence didn’t line up with your beliefs about the Archko’s authenticity? Think about it. -Tony

  17. jonatas says:

    Brother. Peace from above be to you and all of the children of the light.

    I read the archko volume in less than one day, 24h. I finished yesterday. I heard about it while watching brother Kent Hovind, on his creation science. He recommended as additional reading, but no mention of its authenticity, or danger.

    Excited I was that it might rest in reliable sources. I am a follower of Jesus, and always want to know more about him. I’m always intrigued about what Jesus did before his ministry and how he behaved. But God didn’t wish to give that information in His perfect book of life.

    I have always been taught the bible, since a baby, and I have read quite a few books about theology. I have made many mistakes with my impatience, ignorance and emotionalism. Believing things fast, until I was ashamed and learned to investigate things throughly. And I still need learning, only too much.

    So today I finally decided to investigate its authenticity (Archko volume). And I am and simultaneously am not disappointed. I am because I hear one more pastor be such a fraud. (Specially since I am Presbyterian. hehehe). And I am not because, Gods knows best, if he didn’t want to reveal what and how Jesus behaved on pre-ministry early years, as well as the other words he said, and sermons and signs. Its for the best, and praised be HIM. He is infinitely wise.

    But thank you very much for exposing facts and opinions as well.
    Keep up the good job, and may the peace of the Father, Son and Spirit rest with you and the spiritual family with you.

    Blessings

    1. Where did you hear Mr. Hovind recommend the Archko Volume?

  18. Mike says:

    Regarding the interpretation of scripture. True interpretation rests with the Catholic church. Two thousand years of history cannot be denied. Why are there so many denominations? Because of the hardness of man’s heart. Man refuses to do as God asks him so he becomes a Protest-ant. Think about it, please.

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      I appreciate your zeal, Mike, and I respectfully disagree that Protestant religion is simply the result of the hardness of man’s heart. Do you not recall that Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door to point out the hypocrisy of the church’s teaching on indulgences? He had much to protest, but the Catholic Church had put itself rather than the Bible itself in the position of infallibility. Respectfully, Tony Breeden

  19. Joseph B. says:

    Excellent piece, Mr. Sirius. Thanks for doing it. I have a friend that has bought into this nonsense and I linked him to your page, not that he will ever read it, or certainly not with an open mind. When you get right down to it, people do not want to obey God’s Word and that makes them vulnerable to such tripe.

    History has some value for learning, no doubt, but it is not trust worthy at best, and pure fiction at worst. One need only to pick up a copy of the New York Times to see what errors await future historians using it as a resource. I have long argued that it is dangerous and unscriptural to use history to explain the bible. This is a very popular practice now days from many pulpits and in the media. History can only confirm what scripture teaches, and even then, should be considered dubious. One example I could give (of thousands) as to why this is anathema; how on earth was anyone to truly understand God’s perfect and eternal word until such history was discovered by a (flawed) man to shed “light” on it, sometimes as much as thousands of years later? In other words; our God is they type of God that lets His people sit in the dark in regards to understanding much of scripture, until some man or group of men come along and shares with us what the “historical context” was, that we might finally understand what God meant. In this scenario, the all knowing God is subject to the sinful, flawed and limited knowledge of man, indeed, dependent on man, to clarify what He meant. Preposterous! 2Tim 3:16-17 states “All scripture is God breathed… that the man of God might be equipped for EVERY good work”. You don’t need history books to understand scripture. All you need is the Holy Spirit. Thank you.

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