Newsweek, Eichenwald, and the Misunderstood Bible

By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries

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He mentions 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and claims it means that women are not allowed to ever teach or exercise authority over men. I have read a lot of content on this passage, and I have never read an author or commentator who understands the passage that way. Clearly, the context of the passage is the ministry of women in the church.

He interprets Romans 13:1-7 to mean that Christians should never criticize the government. But, the passage commands that we obey the government. It does not even address being critical of the government's actions and decisions. It is possible to criticize the government while still obeying it.

He presents Matthew 6:5-7 as an argument against praying in public. Clearly, though, the passage is speaking against praying in public with hypocritical motives — praying to be seen.

And, in each of these three attempts at Bible commentary, his motives are clearly political. He wants Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann to shut up. He wants Pat Robertson to be damned. He wants Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal to be identified as hypocritical grandstanders. Apparently, the only thing he despises as much as the Bible is conservative politics.

Back to what is Eichenwald's main disagreement with the Bible — homosexuality. I can't tell whether he truly doesn't know or whether he is intentionally ignoring the predominant evangelical Christian view on homosexuality. He spends the majority of his time attacking the views of Westboro Baptist Church, when such views are absolutely an extreme minority position.

Homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin. Homosexuality is not a greater sin than any other sin. Salvation and forgiveness are just as available to a homosexual as a heterosexual fornicator/adulterer. The angels rejoice in heaven when a sinner repents, whether that sinner is homosexual or heterosexual.

Why, then, do evangelical Christians stand so strongly against homosexuality and gay marriage if it is not a greater sin? Two reasons stand out to me. First, our culture is trying to force us to accept and embrace it. Second, as the Bible says, it is an unnatural sin, and many people, Christian and non-Christian, find it completely disgusting. But, again, let it be clear, salvation is available to homosexuals.

I could go on and on. There are many more problems, issues, inconsistencies, misunderstandings, misrepresentations, etc., etc., in Eichenwald's article. There is no need to cover them all. His agenda is perfectly clear.

"The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin" closes with a quote from Mark 12:31, "love your neighbor." Eichenwald also writes fondly of "do not judge." Apparently these are the only words in the Bible the author agrees with (although I imagine there are some conjunctions and prepositions here and there that he doesn't oppose). But, after what he says about the Bible and its origins, why should anyone believe anything that it says?

If the Bible we have today is a fundamentally flawed document, a bad translation, of a translation, of a translation, of a copy made by an inept scribe — how can we even know that the original Bible truly said "do not judge" or "love your neighbor"? If the New Testament was decided upon by "members of political and theological committees," with a clear and devious agenda, how can anything the Bible says be trusted?

And here is the crux of the matter. For Eichenwald, and many others, it is not so much a matter of the process by which the Bible was written, compiled, copied, and translated being flawed. He really doesn't care if the Bible was canonized by a committee and/or is interpreted by a committee. The true issue is this — Eichenwald wants to be in charge of those committees.

Eichenwald will accept the Bible as long as it agrees with him. But, if he doesn't like what it says, the verse or passage must be a forgery, a textual variant, a mistranslation, or a misinterpretation. I do not know if Eichenwald believes in the existence of God. Presumably, if he does believe in God, he would not be opposed to the idea of God revealing truth through a book. What is crystal clear is this — Eichenwald wants to have editorial oversight over said book. Thankfully, God has not given Eichenwald, or anyone else, that authority.

"So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

"The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever." (Psalm 119:160)

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16)

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Published 12-30-14