Newsweek’s Hatchet Job on the Bible
Newsweek and their doleful writer Kurt Eichenwald seem to be allergic to truth, especially Bible truth. This was glaringly true in their article “The Bible: So Misunderstood, It’s a Sin.” Maybe the article wasn’t a sin, but it was a sham and a shame and that’s for sure. It was distressingly unfair, untruthful, and unnecessary–unnecessary unless one is a flaming Bible hater; then they justify it. Truth doesn’t matter to liberals.
Eichenwald would be a little less offensive, obnoxious, overbearing, and outlandish and almost likable if he showed even a small dose of humility. Alas, he does not. He is at war with me and my kind. Worse, he is at war with God.
He charges that there were “no universally accepted manuscripts that set out what it meant to be a Christian,” a statement that is embarrassingly false. From the early days of the church they recognized their manuscripts as the New Testament that we have today. The churches did not vote on it but generally accepted the use of manuscripts that make up our present canon. But Kurt is an unbeliever using his influence to try to dig out the foundations of the Christian church. He attacks the Trinity and the Deity of Christ, declares that Paul did not write I Timothy, and II Peter is a forgery, “an opinion almost universally shared by biblical scholars today.” No, that is only true of most unbelieving scholars.
Kurt declares that Constantine determined what books made it into the New Testament at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.; however there is no historical support for such a charge, a charge made by many with an axe to grind. I have all the extant writings of the Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post-Nicene church leaders and none support that popular fiction.
One of Eichenwald’s sycophants wrote, “Nearly everyone who’s studied the matter agrees the canonical gospels were written no earlier than the early 70s CE (i.e. Mark) making it impossible for them to have been written by anyone who actually knew Jesus.” Not so. Remember, Matthew and John?
One of the main reasons for confidence for the New Testament being completed before 70 A.D. (except the Revelation) is that no New Testament writer refers to the destruction of Jerusalem (and hundreds of villages burned to ashes) and the Temple in 70 A.D. That was one of the most horrific, shocking events in history with the destruction of the famous city and at least a million, one hundred thousand people killed. Plus, the most famous place of worship in the world was destroyed, yet not a word mentioned by the Bible authors. Sure, it is the argument from silence, but it is a silence that is deafening.
Kurt declares that the incident in John 7 and 8 of the woman taken in adultery “simply never happened.” However, Jerome reported on this passage after 400 A.D. and he declares that the Latin and Greek manuscripts did contain the disputed passage, so some manuscripts recorded it and some did not. That is not unusual. Believers believe that God kept His promise and preserved His words.
Many manuscript experts tell us that the passage does not belong there but if that is true why do most modern translations use it? Modern translators know that removing the disputed story would precipitate rebellion, revolution, and ruin in the Bible market. They use the passage because of cowardice and cash. They knowingly use a passage that practically all their experts agree should not be in the Bible. Modern translators have taken a stand like a crippled chicken. If a passage does not belong in the Bible (according to their convictions), they should do the principled thing. Most liberals can’t spell principle but they can spell principal–money.
Conversely, scholars focused on preservation, find the passage in the oldest trusted manuscripts and believe it belongs there. Since God promised to preserve His Words, I believe He did just that. The manuscript issue is about “words.” Jesus said in Mark 13:31, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” And Jeremiah 23:30 says, “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbor.”
Kurt then takes his knife and cuts the last 12 verses from Mark 19. He says they were wrongly added much later by an interpolator; however, Dr. C. I. Scofield tells us, “The passage is quoted by Irenaeus and Hippolytus in the second or third century.” Hippolytus in the years from 170-236 A.D. had these passages in his works. Also Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons in 180 A.D., used these verses in his writings. Since a preacher that close to the Disciples quoted those verses, don’t you think he would have objected if he read corrupt verses in Mark? Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp (Bishop of Smyrna). Polycarp had been a Christian for eighty-six years, was martyred in 156 A.D., and was a disciple of John the Apostle. No, the last twelve verses belong in Mark as the Bible shows. Bible haters are wrong.
Furthermore, it would be very strange for Mark to end his Gospel of good news without mentioning any of Christ’s post resurrection appearances or His ascension; and to close his book with “for they were afraid” is unimaginable. The Good News of the Gospel is to expel our fears.
Daniel B. Wallace is a New Testament professor at Dallas and during a debate with unbeliever Bart Ehrman, Wallace reported that a first century fragment of Mark had been found in Egypt. The same as our common Mark. The traditional ending of Mark is the true ending.
Eichenwald attacks I John 5:7 telling us that the Trinity does not exist in the Scripture and that verse is an interpolation–added by a fanatical scribe wanting to add the Trinity to the teaching of Scripture. However, this verse is in the oldest manuscripts going back to Vaudois or “Waldensians” in northern Italy who were visited by missionaries from Antioch in the 120s. They translated the Bible into Old Latin in 157 and would not change a letter of their manuscript. There is little doubt that the manuscript used was at least a first generation copy of the original, if not the original, and the Waldensian translation was passed down from generation to generation until the Reformation. When Erasmus added I John 5:7 to his third edition of the Greek New Testament it appeared in the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible.
Moreover, leading early church leaders such as Tertullian wrote “which three are one” in 200 AD and Cyprian of Carthage wrote, “And again, of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost it is written: “And the three are One.” Sounds as if they were quoting I John 5:7.
Kurt makes the silly assertion that “The New Testament doesn’t proclaim homosexuality the most heinous of all sins. No, every sin is equal in its significance to God.” He wrote that statement to deflect from sodomy, known today as homosexuality or by those unconcerned with accuracy as “being gay.” Kurt declares that homosexuality is no worse sin than lying, greed, and other sins thereby making perversion, pride, prejudice, and prayerlessness the same in God’s eyes. What insanity. He did not get that from Scripture even with his ability to twist Bible verses like a pretzel. Another thought: while this is no defense of pride, you won’t get AIDS from pride.
Yes, sin is sin as far as eternity is concerned; however, there are present life consequences that are deadly. Non thinkers say that one might as well commit adultery as to think about committing it but that is stupid. Thinking about adultery does not impact others while physical adultery divides families, devastates children, and may destroy health.
The pitiful prose of Eichenwald easily demonstrates a writer who is desperate to prove the impossible. His writing screams desperation: “I have to find some of those Bible contradictions, after all I have to crank out 8,539 words for Newsweek .” He even says the Bible forbids debates so Congress is disobeying God. Christians can’t wear pearls or gold. Public prayer is wrong. He equates criticism of government to resistance to government. The writer evidently knows nothing about proper research, especially biblical research: Who wrote it? When was it written? To whom was it written? What were the circumstances? There are many more examples of his egregious perversion of Scripture.
He declares that his missive was not an attack upon the Bible or Christians but it is exactly that. A poor attack to be sure but an attack without any doubt. And to think they killed a bunch of trees to print such tripe.
An honest, liberal journalist should be willing to look at all sides of an issue. Kurt refused to do so as do most radical leftists.
But then, it’s in their genes.
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