Newsweek critical cover story on Christianity stirs controversy

(Newsweek cover image)

Newsweek's recent cover story on Christianity is stirring controversy with its examination of the faith stirring some critics to blast the credentials of the reporter.

The piece argues that many in the United States, in particular evangelical Christians have a gross misunderstanding about what the Bible actually says.

Newsweek's latest story, by Kurt Eichenwald and published online the day before Christmas Eve, is headlined "The Bible: So Misunderstood it's a Sin."

It calls out"God's frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch," CNN writes.

It writes that critics have postulated that Eichenwald was out of his depth.

CNN cites RedState editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, who enrolled in seminary earlier this year, said that Eichenwald "displays staggering ignorance to attack Christianity."

Michael B. Dougherty, a senior correspondent for The Week, engaged in an extended back-and-forth on Twitter with Eichenwald on Christmas Day.

Eichenwald told CNNMoney that he had been working on the story "for basically three decades." He said he pitched the idea to Newsweek in October and that personal matters dictated the piece's Christmas publication.

BUSINESS REPORTER Insider wrote that Eichenwald has been primarily known for reporting and writing on business and financial matters, including business scandals.

It states, "When it comes to Newsweek's cover story, "The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin," Eichenwald appears to be far outside his area of expertise and knowledge.

"More to the point, he really does not address the subject of the Bible like a reporter at all. His article is a hit-piece that lacks any journalistic balance or credibility.

His only sources cited within the article are from severe critics of evangelical Christianity, and he does not even represent some of them accurately."

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, blasted the article as a complete misrepresentation of the Bible's words.

Mohler said on "Fox and Friends" the Bible "hit piece," saying it's yet another example of "incredible hostility" toward evangelical Christians.

Insider wrote, "It is an irresponsible screed of post-Christian invective leveled against the Bible and, even more to the point, against evangelical Christianity. It is one of the most irresponsible articles ever to appear in a journalistic guise."

Daily Kos blogger Fokozatos Siker, praised Eichenwald in Desert News National as "one of my favorite journalists because he is one of these rare types in the MSM (mainstream media) who is willing to go after bad people tooth and nail. Usually it's about politics, but today it is about fundamentalist Christians."

Of the Newsweek piece, Siker noted, "this article took my breath away at how aggressive it is."

And Hemant Mehta, the "Friendly Atheist" blogger, applauded Eichenwald's piece for telling "us something we've known for a long time: Many Christians will distort the Bible to say whatever they want it to say."

In the same publication Daniel B. Wallace, a professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, a major evangelical institution, criticized Eichenwald's reliance on certain sources.

"Time and time again the author presents his arguments as though they were facts. Any serious disagreements with his reasoning are quietly ignored as though they did not exist," Wallace wrote.

"Eichenwald is in need of a healthy dose of epistemic humility as well as a good research assistant who can do some fact-checking before the author embarrasses himself further in print."

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