On Christmas Eve, I wrote part one of my review of Kurt Eichenwald’s piece, and highlighted not only the substantive and inexcusable litany of historical mistakes, but also the overly pejorative and one-sided portrait of Bible-believing Christians…I appreciate that even Kurt Eichenwald joined the discussion in the comments section.
But the problems in the original Newsweek article were so extensive that I could not cover them in a single post. So, now I offer a second (and hopefully final) installment.
I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history. —H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
Yesterday I drew attention to Michael Kruger’s scathing criticism of Newsweek’s recent major misrepresentation of the Bible. Another New Testament scholar, Daniel Wallace was similarly incensed.
Dan Wallace concludes his critique with this:
I applaud Kurt Eichenwald for stirring up Christians to think about what he has written and to reexamine their beliefs and attitudes. But his numerous factual errors and misleading statements, his lack of concern for any semblance of objectivity, his apparent disdain for and lack of interaction with genuine evangelical scholarship, and his über-confidence about more than a few suspect viewpoints, makes me wonder. I wonder why he really wrote this essay, and I wonder what he hoped to accomplish. The article reads like it was written by a political pundit who thought he might try something clever: If he could just link conservative Christianity with conservative politics, and show that Christians’ smugness about being Bible-based believers was both incorrect exegetically and had a poor, self-contradictory foundation (since the Bible is full of errors and contradictions), he could thereby deal a deathblow to both conservative Christianity and conservative politics. I do not wish to defend conservative politics, but simply point out that evangelicals do not fit lock, stock, and barrel under just one ideological tent. Eichenwald’s grasp of conservative Christianity in America as well as his grasp of genuine biblical scholarship are, at best, subpar. And this article is an embarrassment to Newsweek—or should be!
America’s descent into moral insanity continues at an ever-increasing pace. This is the very current and true story of a florist, grandmother, and Christ-follower: Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington.
On December 23, 2014, Newsweek published a 9,000-word cover-story by Kurt Eichenwald titled “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.” Professor Michael J. Kruger of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte gives it its due this first installment of a response.
My own response to this Newsweek “hit” piece can be seen in the following two comments I made to it on the Newsweek site:
I once held a view practically identical to the author of this article. Then I decided to read and study the New Testament for myself. It didn’t take me long to realize that the New Testament documents made more sense than the view I had held of it.
How does this writer claim to be dealing with the Bible when he fails to deal at all with the central claim of the Bible? That is, the New Testament repeatedly and emphatically declares that Jesus of Nazareth has been made Lord of heaven and earth by virtue of His resurrection from the dead according to the promises of God in the Old Testament. Do you wonder at all why the journalist devotes himself to majoring on minors?
While Dr. Kruger deals with Eichenwald’s errors of commission, I dealt with what I felt was far graver: his error of omitting discussion of the Bible’s central claim.
This Newsweek essay reminds me of how hostile modern culture has become to Jesus Christ. It also reminds me that half-truths are more pernicious than outright lies. Anyone who trusts Newsweek’s opinion of the Bible has put themselves in demonstrably unreliable hands. Do today’s journalists not realize that they have made “journalistic integrity” an oxymoron?
I only recommend that you read Kruger’s critique. Reading Eichenwald’s article is a punishment no one deserves.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
This is why ministers have a hard time accepting that the kingdom of God has come and that true disciples of Jesus Christ ought to be seeking it.
I was a pastor when my extended study of the Bible convinced me that the kingdom of God had come long ago and was in our midst today. As a consequence of realizing this truth and teaching it, I lost my church. This was the greatest tragedy of my life because I wanted nothing more to spend the rest of my life in that occupation. I was losing my means of supporting my family; more profoundly, I was losing the purpose to which I had dedicated my life. However, in losing my church, I found the kingdom. In losing my church, I was finding His church. Just as Jesus had said, “He who seeks to save his life shall lose it, and he who loses it for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). I found another means of supporting my family, and I received a lasting peace from God that I had done His will in this regard.
The moral of this story is: Know for sure that whenever the Lord is calling upon you to give up something for Him, you will not be the poorer for doing so – on the contrary, you will end up far richer in what really matters.