For many people, reading the Bible is a serious challenge, and studying it would be out of the question. The mix of various genres, themes, styles and authors stretches even the most astute reader. Therefore having a simple book that guides one through the Biblical story can be helpful. Elmer Mulhausen bravely attempts to produce just a tool with his self-published, 232-page paperback titled, “Twelve Foundation Stones of the Scriptures.”
The tactic of “Twelve Foundation Stones of the Scriptures” is to endeavor the giant task of retelling the Bible story thematically, from Creation to the Second Coming of Christ. The author uses “twelve stones” – which equal twelve chapters – each stone being a specific theme. Normally Mulhausen catches the main point and works it out in his simple reworking of the story, peppering each page with verses from the “Holy Bible, New International Version” (1984). He also sprinkles into each chapter poems that he and a close relative have penned. There is even a “Responsive Worship Prayer or Litany Prayer” printed on page 69-71.
The author’s style of writing and explanations are very simplistic, which can be a benefit for some readers who find the Bible baffling, but also he can be too unrefined. Mulhausen refuses to be sidetracked by issues like evolution, leaving them wide open with a “whatever!” manner. There are times when his declarations show a deficiency in basic Bible knowledge. For example the author announces that he finds “no descriptions of angels with wings” (11) and completely misses passages like Isaiah 6 verse 2 where angels (seraphim) are described as having six wings, two to cover their faces, two for covering their feet, and two with which they fly. He also has a very naïve view of Israel and the church.
Overall, I am glad that the author took the plunge to try his hand at studying the Bible. And I am pleased he organized his survey to benefit himself and others. I do think he needs to read deeper and for a longer time, keeping to his thematic method, and then return to rethink his book in places. Some readers may find “Twelve Foundation Stones of the Scriptures” by Elmer Mulhausen a helpful initial exercise in trekking through Scripture.
Twelve Foundation Stones of the Scriptures
Reviewed by Rev. Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views (10/12)