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Popular TV host Bill O’Reilly has written a new book titled Killing Jesus. But should evangelicals “love this book”?
Well, according to Pastor Robert Jeffress—pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas—they should!
In a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly about Killing Jesus, Pastor Jeffress said, “Evangelicals ought to love this book.” In fact, he goes on to say that evangelicals should “feel great about this book.”
Well, should evangelicals “love” this book and “feel great” about it? I suggest that evangelical Christians should be speaking out against it.
Pastor Jeffress, a well-known pastor, and I are going in totally opposite directions. Why? Well, here is a section of the transcript from the interview Norah O’Donnell had with Bill O’Reilly on the CBS 60 Minutes program:
O’Donnell: You include two quotes from Jesus on the cross, but not the most famous one: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why not?So, should evangelical Christians love a book where the author clearly states that Jesus didn’t say what the Bible says He said on the Cross? And should evangelicals love a book and consider it great if the author really mocks those of us who take the Bible literally and states that “the Bible is largely accurate”? Personally, I’m shocked that such a well-known evangelical pastor would support O’Reilly and his heretical book.
O’Reilly: We don’t put in things that we don’t think happened.
O’Donnell: How do you know?
O’Reilly: Because you couldn’t say something like that, audibly that people would hear. He, you die on a cross from being suffocated. That your lungs can’t take in anymore air. You can hardly breathe. We believe Jesus said that, but we don’t believe he said it on the cross, ‘cause nobody could’ve heard it.
O’Donnell: But, Bill, you know what people are going to say. “The Bible says that Jesus said on the cross, ‘Father forgive them,’ but Bill O’Reilly says that’s not true, so I should believe Bill?”
O’Reilly: Well you believe what you want. If you want to take the Bible literally, then that’s your right to do that.
O’Donnell: But you use as your sources for this book the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But you pick and choose.
O’Reilly: Right, but that’s not our only source. I mean, we use Muslim sources, we use Roman sources, we use Jewish sources.
O’Donnell: So is this the Gospel according to Bill?
O’Reilly: This is best available evidence according to Bill. We believe that the oral history in the Bible is largely accurate but we’re not taking it literally.
But we shouldn’t be surprised at O’Reilly’s book. If you recall, he mocks Christians like those of us at Answers in Genesis who take Genesis as literal history. And some of you may remember my blog post about Pastor Jeffress when he was previously interviewed by O’Reilly and spoke against those who believe in six literal days of creation. Here is an excerpt from that previous interview, conducted earlier this year:
O’Reilly: If you believe in Adam and Eve, there are a number of other things that you have to believe. Incest is one of them because the race had to procreate off the children that Adam and Eve had. Then you have to reject the science of evolution and carbon dating and all of those things—You can read my entire blog post from earlier this year.
O’Reilly: So it’s kind of incompatible with science. Or am I wrong?
Jeffress: No, I think you’re wrong on this one, Bill. You’re usually absolutely right, but I think you’re wrong on this one. The Bible does not contradict true science. It may contradict the passing fads of scientific theory that are always evolving. For example, it used to be thought that the cosmos always existed. But then we had Sir Fredrick Hoyle, who named the Big Bang Theory, that said, “Guess what, the universe had a beginning 13.7 billion years ago.” . . .
O’Reilly: Do you believe that—do you believe that the universe started 13.7 billion years ago?
Jeffress: I think it very well could have been. One of things that fundamentalists Christians mess up on is they try to say the Earth is 6,000 years old. The Bible never makes that claim anywhere.
Now, read some more of the transcript of what Bill O’Reilly said about his new book on 60 Minutes:
O’Reilly: All of the ideas come to me in the middle of the night. And one night, I just woke up and I went, “Killing Jesus.” And I believe because I’m a Catholic that comes from the Holy Spirit. My inspiration comes from that. And so I wrote Killing Jesus because I think I was directed to write that.You can read the entire 60 Minutes transcript and watch the video of this interview.
O’Donnell: You believe the Holy Spirit directed you to write Killing Jesus?
O’Reilly: Yes, I believe that.
O’Donnell: And why would the Holy Spirit choose you?
O’Reilly: You’re asking me to speculate about the deity—
O’Donnell: Well, you are suggesting that you are the chosen one, Bill.
O’Reilly: I’m not the chosen one. I’m just one of many who have been given gifts. I can write. I can bloviate on TV. So I’m trying to use the gifts in a positive way. And I believe that’s all directed. And that’s why I’m here on the planet.
O’Donnell: In the book you don’t refer to Jesus as the Son of God. Why?
O’Reilly: ‘Cause it’s not a religious book. There’s no religion in the book, nothing. It’s all about history.
So, the Holy Spirit directed a man like O’Reilly—who undermines the authority of Scripture and who obviously doesn’t believe in the infallibility of Scripture—to write such a book? And a book where he does not even refer to Jesus as the Son of God.
No way! It certainly wasn’t the Spirit of God that directed O’Reilly to write such a heretical book!
Some verses to ponder:
Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it. (Psalm 119:140)
Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. (Proverbs 30:5)
As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. (1 Peter 2:2)
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32–33)So, what else can I say about Killing Jesus? Personally, I believe O’Reilly comes across as very prideful in this 60 Minutes interview. I assert that he needs to recognize that he is a sinner in rebellion against God and who is making up his own truth. May God’s Spirit bring great conviction of sin and humble him, as He did Nebuchadnezzar, before it’s too late.
Finally, consider this passage:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying, Ken
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1–6)