TV pundit Bill O’Reilly may now be as well known for his books on the murders of famous people as for his top-rated show. His hugely successful tomes on the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy have been followed by Killing Jesus, which remains on bestseller lists after its release last year. Unfortunately, millions of readers may accept as fact some bits that read more like historical fiction than a true record of Christ’s last days on earth.
Putting aside the graphic descriptions of Roman torture and the sex lives of ancient rulers, more troubling is the way Killing Jesus discusses and then deemphasizes the historical accuracy of Gospel accounts of Christ’s miracles (although curiously O’Reilly and his co-author do not deny that His miracles may have occurred).* The book also undermines His full deity, portraying Christ as helpless and undiscerning. (For example, Jesus did not make the “smart move” to avoid the religious and political leaders’ wrath.)
O’Reilly’s interviews about his book have added controversy because he denies the Bible’s inerrancy. (For instance, he told CBS TV’s 60 Minutes that Jesus could not have said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” because crucifixion victims could not breathe well enough to speak long sentences loudly enough to be heard.)
Discerning readers would do better to read the firsthand accounts of Jesus’s life and death, found in the New Testament. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give the facts about His last earthly days and His message of salvation, when the God-man conquered death to provide eternal life to those who believe in Him.
*There are several errors in the book as well, but most are relatively minor. See the book review of November 20, 2013, at www.AnswersInGenesis.org.