I have watched Bill O’Reilly for some time now and overall I enjoy his show; however, in the area of Christian theology, he leaves a lot to be desired. My problem is when he uses his credentials as a former history teacher and his vast platform (host of the top rated political commentary program on the #1 cable news network) as his “Bully Pulpit” to suggest that he is literate in theology—thus leading many people astray regarding biblical Christianity.
O’Reilly Says There Are Many Ways into Heaven
Let’s take his comment that Christianity is one of many ways to get into Heaven. By stating this, O’Reilly calls into question God’s Word (I unapologetically believe that Jesus is God), just like Satan did in Genesis 3:1 when he said to Eve, “Surely God did not say….”
How did Mr. O’Reilly call God’s Word into question?
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When O’Reilly says that there are many ways to achieve entrance into Heaven, he might as well have called Jesus a liar. Jesus left no room for doubt when He stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). What part of “No man comes to the Father but by me” does O’Reilly not understand?
Let’s Be Even More Specific.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, before He was crucified for our sins, He asked the Father if there might be another way—like O’Reilly asserts—to provide mankind entrance into Heaven and, therefore, not have to drink from the miserable cup of torture and death. In fact, Jesus “…fell on his face, and prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew26:39).
We know what happened. God the Father sent His Son to the Cross to pay that terrible price for our sins. God “…gave His only begotten (revealed) Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). If there were any other way to Heaven other than the Cross, what kind of a God would that be? No, Mr. O’Reilly, there is no other path to Heaven outside of Jesus!
We acknowledge that Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, debuted at #1 and remained there for 52 weeks. Many people said that they came to know Jesus or had their faith strengthened by this book. While I have not read it, I have heard several of O’Reilly’s comments regarding some of its content.
O’Reilly Says the Title of “Christ” Was Added Later
On March 25, 2015, O’Reilly said on his Fox News show that there is no mention of the title “Christ” in his book or film because that was added later. Added later? Perhaps he was referring to letters written by the Apostle Paul in which Paul refers to Jesus as Christ when writing to the various churches (Jesus had already ascended to Heaven by that time); however, in the gospels themselves, the term “Christ” is used not only by others, but also by Jesus Himself before He was crucified.
At the very beginning, when Jesus was about to be brought forth into the world, we read about the poor shepherds:
“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger’ ” (Luke 2:10-12).
However, O’Reilly says that his book/movie only deals with historical facts and not miracles (we will discuss that below), so we must disregard this passage because angels talking to people could be considered a miracle, and O’Reilly limits his book and film to only natural phenomena.
The Bible tells us that around the time of Jesus’ birth, the wise men came to the court of King Herod looking for the promised Messiah:
“When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet” (Matthew 2:3-5).
When Jesus was a baby and taken to the Temple to be presented before the Lord, there was a man named Simeon who was told by God that he would not die until he saw God’s Christ as we read in the gospel of Luke:
“And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to you word: For mine eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:27-30).
So we see with all deference to O’Reilly, the term “Christ” was indeed used from the very beginning of any biblical references to Jesus’ life on earth. Peter also acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ, and Jesus acknowledged that the He was the Christ many times. The very reason for “Killing Jesus” was because He declared He was the Christ!
O’Reilly Says Jesus Was Crucified on a “T”- Shaped Cross
O’Reilly also says Jesus was crucified on a “T”-shaped cross (see the cover of his book “Killing Jesus”) and not the traditional crucifix style which we see in church or wear around our necks. While this is not a salvation issue, Scripture seems to suggest otherwise—that the cross Jesus died on was a “t” because only the traditional cross would allow for something to be affixed above His head. If Jesus had been crucified on a “T”-shaped cross, as O’Reilly suggests (and that’s not to say many people were not crucified on such a cross), then we are faced with a dilemma—because if the instrument of crucifixion was simply a “T”—the only possible thing that could have been above the cross beam would have been Jesus’ head which was supported by His body. There would not have been any place to attach the sign, or did they hang it magically above His head in thin air?
And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
And sitting down they watched Him there;
And set up over His head His accusation written, This Is Jesus The King Of The Jews. (Matthew 27:35-37, Luke 23:38)
Archeology has provided us with one interesting insight: When traditions begin at the outset of an event—with hundreds of eye witnesses and are passed down respectfully through generations—they tend to be based in fact. Could Jesus have been crucified on a “T”-shaped cross? Possibly, but He could have been crucified on an “X” cross as well… Again, while this is not a salvation issue, we will stay with the third choice of Roman instruments of crucifixion—the traditional “t.” For reasons stated, this cross seems to fit better with the description of events surrounding this particular incident as revealed in the Scripture’s commentary and passed down as a fact by millennium of believers.
O’Reilly Implies That the Use of Miracles Are More Mythical Than Historical Facts
On the “Factor,” O’Reilly implies that his reason for avoiding the miracles which accompanied Jesus ministry, is because miracles lend themselves to being more mythical than historical facts, and thereby sets himself up as the judge of what is or isn’t biblical fact—again calling God’s Word into question. To O’Reilly, it seems that Scripture is nothing more than a “Bible Buffet” from which one may either choose or reject the tidbits they want to savor or avoid. Perhaps O’Reilly’s approach to censoring certain parts of Scripture lies in his background as a history teacher. Possibly he was influenced by President Thomas Jefferson who took a pair of scissors to the New Testament and cut out all references to any miracles, leaving what has become known as “The Jefferson Bible.” That is something only O’Reilly can address
Bear in mind the warning given at the end of the Bible in the Book of Revelation which states:
For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).
O’Reilly Thinks He Knows What Jesus Said Better Than St. Luke!
On his television show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly explains why Jesus didn’t say the following while He hung on the cross: “… Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots (Luke 23:34). O’Reilly—who did not interview any eyewitnesses like Saint Luke did and who had the advantage of speaking directly to those who were present at the crucifixion—suggests that because Jesus was dying on the cross He did not have the energy to say that many words.
Oh really, O’Reilly? So you were there and know better than Jesus’ own disciples who never corrected Luke’s documentation?
Again, we have O’Reilly echoing Satan when he challenged what God had told Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:1… “Did God really say…?” It would seem O’Reilly sets himself up as the arbitrator of the Word of God—never mind that while Jesus was fully man, He was also fully God—and if He could walk on water, raise the dead and, through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3, NIV), then surely Jesus could utter those ten simple words which—up until now—has never been questioned by any creditable source!
Consider: The Bible does not say at what point after Jesus was nailed to the cross that He uttered these words, but we know it was at least three full hours before He died (Luke 23:44). It could very well be that Jesus said these words as soon as the cross was raised, meaning He had not been hanging there a long time. We know there was more conversation after Jesus made the prayer of forgiveness with the other men who were being crucified (Luke 23:30-43); that was never mentioned by O’Reilly.
Contrary to the Bible, the “Killing Jesus” Movie Shows Jesus Is Shouting,
There Are No Thrones or Crowns or Nations in the Kingdom of God!
One last observation: We noticed on a preview for O’Reilly’s movie version of “Killing Jesus,” Jesus is shouting that there are no crowns or thrones or nations in the kingdom of God. Perhaps Mr. O’Reilly should read the Bible more closely. In the Book of Revelation, after John is called up to Heaven (Revelation 4:1), he sees:
“And round about the throne were four and twenty thrones: and upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (Revelation 4:4).
The King James translates “seats” for the thrones which the twenty-four elders are sitting on, but in Greek, it is the same word for both (Θρονος or thrŏnŏs i.e., throne); therefore, contrary to Jesus’ proclamation in O’Reilly’s film, “Killing Jesus,” the Bible tells us that in the Kingdom of God (Heaven) there are many thrones and many crowns.
Paul also explained how in this life there are those who compete in athletic events (games) for a crown, but we who are serving Jesus will all receive eternal crowns (I Corinthians 9:25). Lastly, for the sake of space, we share this passage although there are several more passages regarding crowns in the Kingdom of God:
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).
As for nations, the Scripture is not clear, but it does imply that there will be the same people and tribes along with their nations of which the saints will reign over:
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:9-10).
Let me assure you that I am not trying to attack Mr. O’Reilly personally. I do, however, have many problems when he pontificates his vast ignorance of Scripture and the sophomoric way in which he plays the Devil’s advocate by choosing and rejecting those things recorded in Scripture with which he might or might not agree. Please understand that I am basing what I know about his book and film solely on what I have heard him say or the inaccuracy portrayed in his movie trailer.
Based on this information, there is no reason for me to pursue, “The Gospel According to Bill O’Reilly” any further. Nevertheless, it should be noted here that when an authoritative figure like O’Reilly begins reinterpreting Scripture and places himself as the final arbiter of what is biblical or not—be forewarned–this is exactly how cults are formed. In conclusion, if there is any problem, it is not with me since I am only comparing what Mr. O’Reilly has said with what God has stated in light of Scripture.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.