A prominent Southern Baptist leader is speaking out against what he views as Newsweek’s recent “hit piece” against Christians after its December cover story took aim at evangelical Christianity and the inerrancy of the Scriptures.
Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article this week expressing disappointment in Newsweek for its decision to run “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin” as it cover story to conclude 2014.
“Newsweek‘s cover story is … an irresponsible screed of post-Christian invective leveled against the Bible and, even more to the point, against evangelical Christianity,” he wrote. “[It] is a hit piece that lacks any journalistic balance or credibility. … What follows is a reckless rant against the Bible and Christians who claim to base their faith upon its teachings.”
The article, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Kurt Eichenwald, asserts in a lengthy essay that the Bible has been mistranslated and distorted by Christians—including its text declaring that Jesus is God, and criticizes modern-day Christians who take a stand against sin or pray openly in the public arena.
“They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school,” he writes. “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.”
“They 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,” Eichenwald continues. “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 word.”
While he contends that his piece “isn’t an attack on the Bible or Christianity,” he asserts that the Bible is loaded with contradictions, that “1 Timothy is one of the most virulently anti-woman books of the New Testament” and that “with a little translational trickery, a fundamental tenet of Christianity—that Jesus is God—was reinforced in the Bible, even in places where it directly contradicts the rest of the verse.”
“The Bible is a very human book. It was written, assembled, copied and translated by people. That explains the flaws, the contradictions, and the theological disagreements in its pages,” Eichenwald concludes. “Once that is understood, it is possible to find out which parts of the Bible were not in the earliest Greek manuscripts, which are the bad translations, and what one book says in comparison to another, and then try to discern the message for yourself.”
But Mohler says that it is instead Eichenwald who had twisted the Bible and is plainly bearing his own hostility toward Christianity.
“Newsweek’s cover story is exactly what happens when a writer fueled by open antipathy to evangelical Christianity tries to throw every argument he can think of against the Bible and its authority,” he wrote in an article entitled “Newsweek on the Bible: So Misrepresented It’s a Sin,” playing off of Eichenwald’s title. “Oddly enough, Kurt Eichenwald’s attack on evangelical Christianity would likely be a measure more effective had he left out the personal invective that opens his essay and appears pervasively. He has an axe to grind, and grind he does.”
“But the authority of the Bible is not the victim of the grinding. To the contrary, this article is likely to do far more damage to Newsweek in its sad new reality,” Mohler continued. “To take advantage of Newsweek’s title—it so misrepresents the truth, it’s a sin.”