Newsweek vs. The New Testament
- Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Continuing his attack upon the historicity of the Virgin Birth, Meacham explains that "Jesus was such a revolutionary force that both Matthew and Luke sought to make him comprehensible in the context of established Jewish imagery and prophecy." In an act of astounding arrogance and breathtaking audacity, Meacham corrects Matthew in the interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 arguing that Matthew misunderstood Isaiah's prophecy and misused the text as he was inventing the cover story of the Virgin Birth.
Meacham makes extensive use of material drawn from liberal forces and biblical scholars who represent the extreme left in American theological scholarship. There is no attempt at balance in this article, and Newsweek's resident religion expert seems completely unaware that there is an entire world of evangelical biblical scholarship that would be quite ready to provide an answer to his questions and present a scholarly case for the historical accuracy of the New Testament accounts.
As Meacham sees it, Matthew and Luke were "confronted with a literary problem that had to be solved." As he frames their challenge: "They wanted to tell the story of Jesus' birth, but apparently had little to work with."
In other words, Matthew and Luke simply invented their stories, drawing from pagan parallels and casting about for other materials they could use, ranging from Isaiah 7:14 to snippets of ancient mythology.
To top it all off, Meacham argues that we really shouldn't be concerned about whether the accounts are historic in the first place. In a December 7, 2004 appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Meacham cited the authority of the second Vatican Council, which, in his words, "says that the scriptures can be true without being accurate." Christianity, he explains, "is a religion of perplexing contradictions. To live and examine faith, believers have to acknowledge these complexities and engage them, however frustrating it may be."
It is one thing to confront the challenges, but it is another thing to condescendingly reject the truthfulness of the New Testament, while citing the supposed insights from liberal scholarship as adequate intellectual warrant to correct the Word of God and claim, all the while, to be doing so as a believing Christian. This "true without being accurate" nonsense is an insult to the very concept of truth. If the events claimed in the Bible didn't happen, or didn't happen as they were claimed to have happened, the biblical authors are lying.
In Meacham's view of the matter, Christians should simply grow up and get over a concern with whether or not there is a clear historical basis for Christmas, or for any other aspect of Christianity, for that matter. He clearly believes that something happened, and he does not question that Jesus Christ actually lived on earth, but he does subvert and deny the truthfulness of the Scriptures and suggests that the gospel narratives are largely fictional.
Compare Meacham's approach to this statement from the Apostle Peter: "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." [2 Peter 1:16] If the biblical accounts are merely "cleverly devised myths," Christianity falls and the gospel is null and void.
As might be expected, Meacham's approach to the Bible goes far beyond Christmas, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. In a May 6, 2002 cover story in Newsweek, Meacham argued that Christianity should change its convictions about human sexuality, allowing for the normalization of homosexual acts and the possible goodness of homosexual relationships. "For many of us, faith, like history, is an unfinished story, a running argument," he argued. Unsurprisingly, Meacham argued that the biblical passages declaring homosexuality to be sinful "are actually not quite so clear and unequivocal" as the church has believed for twenty centuries. He used the same interpretive methodology he applies to the birth narratives in suggesting that the Bible can be read in such a way as to justify homosexuality. Acknowledging that the Bible does appear to condemn homosexual acts as sinful, Meacham explains that "enlightened people have moved on from the world view such passages express."
Recently on Pastors / Leadership
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content