Numerous scholarly refutations have been made of Newsweek and Kurt Eichenwald’s Christmas polemic against the Bible and historic Christianity. Dr. Michael Brown, whose own detailed rebuttal of Eichenwald’s article was published by Newsweek, subsequently invited Eichenwald on to his Line of Fire radio show.
The resulting two-hour programme is exceedingly frustrating to hear for anyone with even a basic knowledge of Christian history and the transmission of the Bible. Nevertheless, Eichenwald’s refusal to concede his fundamental errors of fact is enlightening. Throughout the show, Eichenwald demonstrates his invincible ignorance by evading every opportunity to engage meaningfully with the arguments and evidence against his position.
Dr. James R. White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, has responded to a portion of the Brown-Eichenwald interview in his usual inimitable and sometimes acerbic manner. The relevant segment starts at 47:35 into the audio/video of the 27 January 2015 episode of Dr. White’s Dividing Line programme. It is worth hearing for anyone interested in understanding Eichenwald’s errors.
A debate between White and Eichenwald is clearly warranted, but it seems unlikely that Eichenwald would be willing to expose his arguments to direct examination by Dr. White, notwithstanding White’s exceedingly long track record of engaging honourably in well-mannered formal debate.
Eichenwald is, at least, right about one thing: many self-professed Christians are woefully ignorant about both the Bible’s history and the teaching it contains. Ironically, it is this very lack of knowledge that is exploited by those like Eichenwald who espouse tired liberal unorthodoxy. His article thus demonstrates why Christians need to be informed and educated about their faith, always ‘ready to give a defence to everyone who asks’ (1 Peter 3:15).
In his post One of the Clearest (and Earliest) Summaries of Early Christian Beliefs, Dr. Michael J. Kruger quotes and comments upon a description of Christian beliefs written by Aristides, a converted Athenian philosopher, to the emperor Hadrian around 125 A.D. Dr. Kruger concludes:
This is a surprisingly thorough and wide-ranging summary of core Christian doctrines at a very early point in the life of the church. And it was this form of Christianity that was publicly presented to the Emperor. Once again, we can see that core Christian beliefs were not latecomers that were invented in the fourth century (or later), but appear to have been in place from the very beginning.
James Duncan, long-time observer of Perry Noble and NewSpring, has written a detailed rebuttal to a missing-the-point opinion piece by Mark Woods published on the Christian Today website.
James Hamilton, Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writing on The Greatest Danger Facing the Church:
The greatest danger facing the church is probably not what most of us expect. We expect some sort of direct challenge from without, but it probably comes from within. In our day, it may well come from well-meaning pastors.
How could well-meaning pastors pose the greatest threat to evangelical churches today? Do they deny the truth?
No, the pastors who pose the greatest threat to the church today will confess belief in the right things. They will confess the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, that Jesus saves, and that he is the only way of salvation.
So how can these guys who mean well and make the good confession pose such a threat to the church?
They are a threat because, in spite of their confession, their words and actions treat Christianity as nothing more than the best form of therapy. They treat it as self-help. They treat it as the path to better marriages, better parent-child relationships, better attitudes and performance at work, and on and on.
In a further development of the Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that discern.org has been covering, Phil Johnson has released additional emails exchanged between publisher Tyndale House and Beth Malarkey, the mother of the boy who is the subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.
The emails released in Johnson’s post, More Proof that Tyndale House Publishers Knew the Malarkey Book was a Fraud, are in accord with the earlier report by The Guardian, a national UK newspaper.
In the same article in which he releases the emails, Johnson – who is Executive Director of John MacArthur’s Grace to You organization – also gives a more comprehensive account of his understanding of the background to the present controversy.
Photo credit: Liane Metzler.
National UK newspaper The Guardian has a 3,000 word article on the Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that discern.org has been covering. This section is particularly noteworthy:
Jan Long Harris, a publisher with Tyndale House, was Beth Malarkey’s primary correspondent. She offered to correct inaccuracies in consultation with Kevin, “since our contract is with him”. According to the emails newly obtained by the Guardian, Harris acknowledged that Beth had presented larger issued [sic] with the book, writing: “I realize that your concern about what you feel are inaccuracies is not the only issue you have with the book, but it is the issue that could be most easily addressed.”
Beth replied: “Revisions are not what will restore what has been stolen from my son, who continues to suffer.” She asked if Tyndale House could break its contract with Kevin Malarkey.
Harris, evidently exasperated, replied:
Even if we could make a case for breaking our contract, the book could (and probably would) be back in print with another publisher within a few weeks. So I don’t think that would achieve your goal.
‘If we don’t then someone else will’ does not seem to be a worthy reason for a supposedly Christian organization to publish a book containing known ‘inaccuracies’.
Harris continued to explain Tyndale’s position:
Also, I’m sure you can understand that we can’t break a contract with an author just because someone else – even if the someone else is the author’s spouse – makes accusations about him. We have to give the author, in this case Kevin, a chance to respond.
The question of breaking a contract should not have arisen, as Tyndale should never have agreed to publish the book.
Tyndale House says that it is ‘substantially owned’ by a foundation whose mission is ‘to spread the Good News of Christ around the world’. One wonders how publishing fabrications and false doctrine assists in spreading the Good News of the One who is Truth (John 14:6).
Photo credit: Liane Metzler.
Fighting for the Faith has a lecture by Phil Johnson entitled Why God gave the Law (audio). It’s well worth an hour of your time.