In keeping with a time-honored liberal tradition, during the very season in which Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus (or his death and resurrection), Newsweek publishes a cover story devoted to attacking conservative Christians and their Bible. Is anyone surprised?
As noted by New Testament Greek scholar Daniel Wallace, “Every year, at Christmas and Easter, several major magazines, television programs, news agencies, and publishing houses love to rattle the faith of Christians by proclaiming loudly and obnoxiously that there are contradictions in the Bible, that Jesus was not conceived by a virgin, that he did not rise from the dead, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.”
And that’s why Dr. Al Mohler entitled his Dec. 11, 2012, article, “Newsweek vs. the New Testament – It Must Be Christmas.”
By publishing yet another Bible-bashing, gospel-mocking, faith-questioning article at this time of the year, Newsweek is just being true to its colors. Can anyone take this seriously?
To give just a few examples of this secular media trend, in April 2011, right in time for Easter, Time magazine published an article questioning the existence of hell, based on the writings of Pastor Rob Bell, while one year later, in April 2012, the carefully timed article was devoted to rethinking heaven.
Also in April 2012, one Newsweek cover story was penned by gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, who urged readers to “Forget the Church” and “Follow Jesus” (a hipster Jesus, no less), drawing a cynical remark from Pastor Rick Warren, who questioned the timing of the article.
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper, Warren said, “I think it’s disingenuous that magazines like Newsweek know that their circulation goes up at Christmas and Easter if they put a spiritual issue on the cover, but it’s always bait and switch. They never tell the stories, never tell the stories of what the good – what good the church is doing. Never. It’s always some obscure scholar, who’s debating something that kind of supposedly disproves this or that, or Andrew Sullivan – I don’t consider Andrew Sullivan to be a religious authority, OK?”
Later in the same year – December, to be precise, just in time for Christmas – Newsweek featured a story by New Testament scholar and famed agnostic Bart Erhman entitled, “What Do We Really Know About Jesus?”
You can be sure that this article was not meant to build up the faith of its readers.
But Newsweek’s latest article, written by the decidedly non-biblical authority Kurt Eichenwald, takes the cake, to the point that Fox News journalist Todd Starnes commented, “At first glance, I thought Mr. Eichenwald’s essay was a failed attempt at satire. However, by the end of the first paragraph, I realized it was meant to be a scholarly work. By the end of the second paragraph, I was overcome by the fumes from this steaming pile of stink.”
Really, the only redeeming way to read this article – 16 pages long, at that, with accompanying photos, and posted on Dec. 23, just one day before Christmas Eve – is to read it as a commentary on Newsweek and secular liberalism.
In truth, the article tells us nothing of substantive interest about the Scriptures or today’s devoted followers of God’s Word, but it does tell us much about the ideology of its author and, equally, of the ideology of its publisher.
According to Eichenwald (and in words that are surely to be re-quoted and re-posted in lasting online ignominy), conservative, evangelical followers of Jesus “are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers – fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.”
And then there are lines like this, which would be more fitting for publication in the National Enquirer, just after a story of how Michael Jackson is alive today and was last seen on Mars. Eichenwald states, “No television preacher has ever read the Bible. Neither has any evangelical politician. Neither has the pope. Neither have I. And neither have you. At best, we’ve all read a bad translation – a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times.”
Where does one start in refuting such misleading drivel?
Perhaps we could start by pointing out how remarkably well the Scriptures have been preserved and how much careful scholarship has been devoted to translating and understanding those Scriptures, based on the original languages. Perhaps we could even point out that when he speaks of “the Bible,” he’s already referring to a clearly defined body of inspired literature whose existence he goes on to downplay and deny.
What is it that drives Newsweek’s animus? Starnes rightly noted that, “in the minds of Newsweek’s esteemed editors, most evangelical Christians spend their weekends dancing with snakes and picketing gay nightclubs.”
Lest that charge sound extreme, Starnes cites Eichenwald’s own words: “They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnation of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshiping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation.”
But what is most striking about this quote is that the last line is actually true: We do gather in large stadiums and pray for our nation, and that is precisely what Eichenwald and Newsweek fear the most: the entrance of God into the lives of Americans, based on the Word of God.
For making that abundantly clear and for reminding us of the depth of secular liberalism’s rejection of God and his ways, we should all give Mr. Eichenwald our heartfelt thanks – not to mention wishing him a (belated) Merry Christmas and a truly blessed New Year.
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