Responding to Newsweek: Mr. Kurt Eichenwald & Biblical Illiteracy

Well, Newsweek’s article, “The Bible, So Misunderstood It’s a Sin”, surely has caused a Godly zeal to defend the Scriptures within Christian circles. Thankfully the awareness and diligence of a woman in my congregation led me to read the article. I must say, I enjoyed the article. Mr. Kurt Eichenwald gave me unction to re-examine the proof that establishes the inspiration of the Bible. Mr. Eichenwald’s critiques of the Bible were easy for me to dismantle, often wondering if this was a plot to encourage people to see how easily dismantled attacks against the Bible can be dealt with by learned men.

Throughout this article I look to provide information and resources from Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries, Dr. Michael Brown host of The Line of Fire, Professor Daniel Wallace, and Professor Darrell Brock.

The name-calling that Mr. Eichenwald begins with is totally unnecessary. There is no way to “soften” the usage of “God’s frauds” and “religious rationalizers” is reference to any group of religious people. Therefore, right from the start (however can be further revealed through the article), Mr. Eichenwald offers proof that he has an agenda to attack Believer’s (or to whomever he attempted to attack in the article which is not necessarily made clear). This is contrary to his seeking to be ecumenical by saying he has not agenda and that this article was not an attack on Christianity.

However, I completely agree with Mr. Eichenwald on the prevalence of “Biblical illiteracy” that runs amok the world, sadly so within the Christian community. This is not news to the Christian community. We understand the need for various forms of reformation and revival within the Body of Christ. As well as a necessary “dividing line” to borrow a phrase from Dr. James White.

Honestly, I loved Mr. Eichenwald’s wording of a “call out” against those who claim to represent the teachings of Jesus Christ (in all the many forms) as well as every single individual on the face of the Earth. By “call out”, I mean a challenge. Heed this challenge:

“When the illiteracy of self-proclaimed Biblical literalists leads parents to banish children from their homes, when it sets neighbor against neighbor, when it engenders hate and condemnation, when it impedes science and undermines intellectual advancement, the topic has become too important for Americans to ignore, whether they are deeply devout or tepidly faithful, believers or atheists.”

I understand that Dr. James White perceived this as an attack against Evangelicals, and I agree, however I believe this point can be carried further. First off, I think of Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and groups of the like that in different ways carry out “parents banishing children from their homes” as well as other aspects of the quote provided by Mr. Eichenwald. Also, as a Full Preterist, I can tell you my journey, as well any many other Christians who due to calling for re-examination of “end times” perspectives, have experiences “neighbor against neighbor”, being ostracized, and have seen outright the willful ignorance alive within many Christian denominations as well many who claim to be Christians themselves.

In contrast to Mr. Eichenwald’s subtle deceit about his motives, I am willing to admit outright that I have an agenda. My goal in all that I do to expound upon the truth of God, is to walk worthy of “making known the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10), “providing an example for the hope that I have” (1 Peter 3:15), and “demolishing all (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)”.

I must say Mr. Kurt Eichenwald’s immediate attack upon preachers as well as the Bible itself is so disappointing. As promised below I will provide resources to Dr. James White’s refutation of Mr. Eichenwald’s article, as well as others. Rather than attempt to re-account each thing that they provide details for, I would rather call you to be diligent and enjoy their materials yourself.

Dr. James White Youtube Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7yxEjhiiM4

Dr. Michael Brown Written Article: http://www.newsweek.com/response-newsweek-bible-299440

Professor Daniel Wallace article: http://danielbwallace.com/2014/12/28/predictable-christmas-fare-newsweeks-tirade-against-the-bible/

Professor Dariel Bock’s article is here as well, http://blogs.bible.org/bock/darrell_l._bock/responding_to_newsweeks_take_on_the_bible_part_1_on_the_base_biblical_text-_do_we_really_know_what_we_have

I thought Mr. Eichenwald’s usage of the “usual suspect” arguments for ‘Biblical discrepancies’ as well as his attack on the Deity of Christ was all rather ignorant. These issues have been dealt with time and time again, therefore proving that Mr. Eichenwald is depending upon the ignorance of his readers.

As I read through these attacks, I remember when I first came to Christ and how the environment provided great motivation for me to study and know how to defend the faith. I pray to provide that to other Believer’s not only in this blog, but through my ministry in service to God. Both at Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) and online (through Facebook as well as The Power of Preterism Network & Bible Beacon Broadcasts (www.blogtalkradio.com/templetalk). Reading books by Lee Stobel has surely helped (The Case for Christ, especially). Brother Joe Daniels has been an amazing resource in learning about the Deity of Christ. I encourage you to read his articles, as well as the many others provided at TFC Magazine (http://tfcmag.com/Daniels_page.html).

As a student of Scripture, as well as the details surrounding Scripture and a desire to walk worthy as the manifestation of Scripture, I will be the first to admit that it is a difficult topic. I still have questions, areas I disagree with the majority, or even the minority, huge disagreements with other Believer’s about the application of certain passages, and so on. I recognize the complication, however as the ancient adage goes, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”. I say that to both sides. Be admonished, be encouraged. Do not be quick to establish “attacks”, especially before hearing out the other side.

I can understand Mr. Eichenwald’s frustrations with the confusion surround the “Creation Account” and the horror many “Biblical literalists” have done, as well as confusion on the agree ability of Genesis 1 & 2. (I would be careful throwing around the phrase “Biblical Literalists” because I have contrasting views with many who would call themselves that, however I would consider myself a “Biblical Literalist”). Understanding different genres of literature as well as those found within the Bible is vital to even beginning to try to get to the root of all the confusion. Also, some of the concepts developed by ‘scriptura continua’ are important to understand as well.

Many within Christian circles, I immediately think of the concept called “Covenant Creation”, and the book “Beyond Creation Science” by Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn who have called for re-examination of the genre of Genesis as well as the context of ‘Biblical creation’. However, they are not alone. One can go to Youtube and watch videos from Dr. John Walton (and read his books), as well as ponder the things being brought forth by http://www.biologos.org. Be sure to visit http://www.BeyondCreationScience.com

Much of what Mr. Eichenwald brought forth has already been recognized by the Christian community, as well as critical scholarship, and can hardly be used to discredit to the Bible or those who are indeed fallible, yet willing to try and walk worthy of the truth found within the Bible.

It’ ok. I’ll be the first to admit, that being reminded of the seemingly and yet supposed “textual discrepancy between 1 Samuel 17:50 and 2 Samuel 21:19. One thing I love about the information age is that though there is a lot of “misinformation” on the internet, with the proper understanding of reliable research and a willingness to be challenged, you can find great wealth. CARM is a Christian apologetic organization that I enjoy because they do interact with “intellectuals”. Just like any other ‘human organization’, there must be some room for disagreement, however they do a great job of interacting with modern scholarship and what many see as issues with Christianity and the Bible. Here is a link to CARM dealing with this supposed contradiction, http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/joshua-esther/who-killed-goliath-david-or-elhanan

Again, Mr. Eichenburg returns to the issues with homosexuality that are expressed by certain Christians, especially pointing at those in politics. I refuse to deal with “proof texts” provided by many of my fellow friends and co-laborers in the Kingdom, therefore I will not do so here either. Simply put, an much deeper and richer examination of the culture and context of the first century Jews and other nations surrounding them is in order before we began to impose Bible verses. There is so much in our culture that is foreign to the context and cultural details of the first century, as well as the contextual meanings behind the writings in the New Testament.

Instead of going through all the misapplications of Scripture that were provided by Mr. Kurt Eichenwald, I want to urge you to never assume the rightness of position without seeking to understand both sides. It seems such a simple adage, yet we all so often, and sometimes so ignorantly, fail in this regard. I love the Reformed concept of “Semper Reformanda” meaning “always reforming”, the Church has a lot to learn in this regard.

Many simple shake their head at this sort of attack and choose not to give it any attention. Others are deeply offended and either choose to ignore this blasphemy, while others are provoked to respond. I value the difference in how we all respond, and I hope you do as well. Please be diligent to “prove all things” and allow Mr. Eichenwald’s in the very least bring attention to this point he made:

“Instead, Christians seeking greater understanding of their religion should view it as an attempt to save the Bible from the ignorance, hatred and bias that has been heaped upon it, If Christians truly want to treat the New Testament as the foundation of the religion, they have to know it.”

Please feel free to interact with me on Facebook, through email (ChristianityGoneWild@yahoo.com), and well as listen to my podcasted sermons at The Blue Point Bible Church (www.buzzsprout.com/11630), or
tune in on Tuesday Mornings at 10am eastern on Bible Beacon Broadcasts (www.blogtalkradio.com/templetalk).

Also, I have an Academia.edu account under Michael Miano,
a personal blog (www.mianogonewild.wordpress.com), and a collection of articles for TFC Magazine (http://tfcmag.com/Miano_page.html).

In His Service,

Pastor Michael Miano
Blue Point Bible Church, Blue Point N.Y.; The Power of Preterism Network

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