Christians who read Kurt Eichenwald’s Dec. 23 cover story might have been reminded of a well-known line from a comic strip:
“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
The words, written by Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly, weren’t about Bible-believers coming face to face with an article claiming to debunk some really famous stories. But read through the Newsweek article, paying particularly close to the pictures, and it might be difficult not to squirm in your seat or look over your shoulder.
We have met the enemy—or, at least, we know who Newsweek thinks it is. It’s us.
As Southern Seminary President Al Mohler and others have pointed out, the first two paragraphs of Eichenwald’s article read like an attack: “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.”
And those are just the first two sentences. What follows is mostly about the Bible, but tinged with the same hostility toward Christians, which also has been noted by numerous leaders and scholars. Mohler called it “one of the most irresponsible articles ever to appear in a journalistic guise.” Michael Kruger, president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, said Eichenwald deserved a “slap on the journalistic wrist.”
But even for those who can’t counter every one of the anti-Bible arguments in the article or don’t care to debate its journalistic merits, if you can get past Eichenwald’s angry words, his piece can bring some valuable introspection. Because as soon as you realize you’re his enemy, you scroll past a photo of a protest by members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Or controversial TV preacher Pat Robertson. Eichenwald lumps all Christians together, like it or not.
What else would you expect from a non-Christian, one might ask? It’s a good question, but the better question is, What is this non-Christian asking of us? Near the end of the article, Eichenwald puts forth two pleas:
Christians, know the Bible, he writes. (His stinging criticism suggests many of us “seem to read John Grisham novels with greater care” than God’s Word.) That’s good advice, even from a source that proved less than empathetic in his previous 8,500 words.
“And embrace what modern Bible experts know to be the true sections of the New Testament,” Eichenwald writes. “Jesus said, Don’t judge. He condemned those who pointed out the faults of others while ignoring their own. And he proclaimed, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.’”
To that we would say Amen, and we’re glad Eichenwald acknowledges some biblical teaching is worthy of embrace. But there are plenty of modern scholars who believe the whole Bible is true. He should talk to some of them next time.