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.
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!
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.
Find below some comments of mine after I had the joy and er privilage of looking at some of the nonsense broadcast recently about Jesus. The budget and the volume of material increases every year, it is truly appalling.
I might just sqweem and sqweem and sqweem until I’m sick. I have been looking at some programmes about Jesus that air at this time of year. The latest was Jesus -The man behind the myths.
What distinguishes Judaism and Christianity on the one hand from, say, Buddhism and Hinduism on the other? It is the formers’ reliance on history and the latters’ detachment from it.
Thus those Christians who want to say that it doesn’t matter whether history actually occurred the way the Bible said it did (e.g. Adam and Eve, Noah’s Flood, the Exodus, the resurrection of Christ) are cutting their faith loose from the historical moorings that God has provided. They would be making Christianity more of a philosophy than a faith.