Skip to comments.Bill O'Reilly's Book -- 'Killing Jesus' Spiritualizes the Historical Christ
Posted on 10/01/2013 1:00:13 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
In undertaking the noble task of writing a book about Jesus Christ, the popular Bill O'Reilly unfortunately ended up cutting Christ in half. He zeroed in on the historical Jesus, while completely missing the historical Christ.
Bill stated in a CBS interview, "It's not a religious book. There's no religion in the book, nothing. It's all about history." But is that even possible? After all, we are talking here about Jesus Christ. Religion isn't just what you say about Him. It's also what you don't say about Him.
Man has always had a tendency to spiritualize the historical Christ. And O'Reilly went for the bait in what he calls his attempt "to separate myth from fact." Bill's book leaves readers with a "Jesus" who is definitely human, and perhaps even divine depending on your perspective.
In reality, Jesus truly is the Messiah, the Christ, and the Son of God. That fact is a matter of history before it is a matter of faith. It is a matter of history before it is a matter of religion. The Gospel writers understood that reality as they wrote their historical accounts.
If the facts about Jesus are going to get presented, wouldn't you want to make sure to separate fact from fiction? Instead, Bill attempted to separate fact from faith. You cannot do that with Jesus, unless of course you want to end up with a man who may or may not be God in the flesh. That is what Bill inadvertently ended up with in his book. And it is a much different story than the one told by the four Gospel writers.
To spiritualize the historical Christ means to move the Messiah outside of the "historical" category into the nebulous category of "maybe." While that can be a helpful starting point when engaging in Christian apologetics with skeptics, it falls far short when attempting to write a history book about Jesus Christ. And that is exactly why "Killing Jesus" misses the mark. Bill wanted his book to present accurate history, but he left out way too much of the historical record concerning the nature of Jesus.
Imagine writing about Babe Ruth but not mentioning baseball. Or writing about Dr. Martin Luther King without addressing racial prejudice. Or what about writing a history of Mormonism while leaving out the founder of their faith, Joseph Smith. Likewise, if you are going to write about the founder of Christianity, it is imperative that you get Him right. Bill got Him half-right, sort of.
The New Testament is not merely "true if you believe in it yourself." It is true because it presents "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" about Christ. That is the way the Gospel writers presented their historical accounts. On the other hand, O'Reilly's book presented selective facts about Jesus the man, and his death. I guess Bill's favorite "Jesus stories" made the cut. While O'Reilly felt free to challenge the Gospel writers on some issues, he completely spiritualized the nature of Christ by ignoring many key elements of the historical record.
In my mind, it is extremely dangerous for Bill to challenge Luke's account of what Jesus said on the cross as his book attempted to do. But it is even more problematic to completely leave out the facts concerning the divine nature of Jesus and His true mission and purpose. Those details are just as factual as any of the history Bill got right. So why leave it out?
This brings us to the crux of the matter. Bill O'Reilly seems to do what a number of Christians do when it comes to their faith. They separate what they claim to "believe" from what they claim to "know." Fair enough. But that is a radically different approach from how other Christians present the story of Jesus.
The faith of many Christians has grown into a certainty in their mind. They have come to see that the Person of Jesus Christ is exactly who the biblical writers describe Him to be. These Christians have more than faith alone. They have knowledge and certainty that this message is true based on the faithful historical record and the working of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. And when they speak or write about Christ, they present the whole story. They don't cut Christ in half, and they certainly don't spiritualize the historical Christ.
O'Reilly stated in the CBS interview that he feels the Holy Spirit led him to write this book. And he seems to really believe it.
Here is what we can know for sure. The Holy Spirit did indeed inspire Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to write their historical accounts about Jesus Christ. There is no doubt about it. And these men were inspired to present the historical Christ just as much as the historical Jesus. They didn't separate the two natures of Christ into categories of "religion" vs. "history," or "fact" vs. "myth." The whole story was presented as true and factual and historical.
The danger of spiritualizing the Christ of history is that you leave people guessing because you have only presented half of the history. It is only when you present all of the pertinent history that a person can come to a firm conviction that he is standing upon fact rather than wondering about fiction.
I think Bill O'Reilly may indeed grasp the fact that Christ is the only way to the Father and the Savior of the world. It's just that his book omits that essential truth about Jesus. And because of it, the readers of "Killing Jesus" will be left guessing as to the historicity of the Messiah.
There will of course be those readers who already know the history of Christ just as surely as the Gospel writers knew it. The faith of these readers is in the facts and not merely in "religion." Whereas Bill O'Reilly views much of the Messiah's historical record to be a matter of faith, the Gospel writers presented this history to be a matter of fact. Do you understand the difference?
With the way terms like "fundamentalist" and "holy roller" get loosely thrown around today, we could easily pin those labels on the four Gospel writers simply because they claimed to "know" these facts about Jesus Christ. If you claim such knowledge today by combining "religion" and "history," you are perceived by some to be arrogant. It simply goes against conventional wisdom to be such a convinced absolutist. After all, everyone should be able to have his own religious truth, no matter how nonsensical it is to subscribe to that self-contradiction.
This happens to be a dominant worldview in society today. And therefore many people keep the Messiah at arm's length as they relegate him to the mythical category of "religion" rather than the factual category of "history." Unless you combine these categories just as God did when He produced "His Story" in real time, you can end up learning some facts about Jesus' crucifixion, while lacking faith in Christ's death and resurrection for your salvation.
Jesus Christ didn't come to earth merely to give us some information. He came here to save us from our sin. Will you place your faith in the God of history, or will the death of Jesus continue to be nothing more than an intellectual exercise that tickles your mind with curiosity and religious sentiment?
O'Reilly has written his book. But what would your book say if you wrote about Jesus the Messiah? Would you spiritualize the historical Christ, or would you do what the four Gospel authors did? They presented the divine nature of Jesus not simply as a matter of faith, but more importantly as a matter of fact.
Does Bill's "history book" about Jesus rise to their level, or fall far below it? He reports. You decide.
The writer of tis article used to be my pastor in Flower Mound, LCMS Lutheran.. He was defrocked.
Why was he defrocked?
He’s written Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, and now Killing Jesus. When is he going to write a book called “Killing everybody - The story of Mohammed”
I read a story about 2 hardened drunks speaking of religion and one of them suddenly gave a sermon to the other that would bring a church to its knees. The other drunk was smitten in his heart, accepted Christ, sobered up much to the amazement of his wife, went to church, became successful in his business life and became a pillar in his church community. The other guy stayed a drunk and was so the last anyone heard.
I don’t know what the priest was defrocked for but the article was right on the money...defrocked or not.
America has gotten so off track God may very well have to rely on drunks, prostitutes, and defrocked ministers to preach the gospel since the “good people” seem to have lost their footing!
Muhammed was a man of peace who only beheaded, raped and enslaved people when ABSOLUTELY necessary. Bob
I watched as much of the O’Reily interview on CBS as I could, but had to turn it off as I was getting so frustrated at some of the things he said.
He said it was “impossible for Jesus to have said, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ from the cross”. How does he know this? Why, because the way Jesus was crucified would have prevented Him from being able to speak due to suffocation.
Now, Bill somehow has a source that is supposed to show that Jesus was crucified without the foot rest on the cross. Without that foot rest, Bill contends that Jesus could not have spoken more than a couple of words while on the cross. I have been a student of the Bible for more that 40 years, attended a Baptist seminary, read countless apologetic books on the Bible and never once did I see a scripture or a Bible scholar who had definitive proof as to exactly what kind of cross Jesus was crucified on or whether or not that cross had the foot rest.
So, for Bill to assuredly say that it was literally impossible for Christ to have spoken such a thing while on the cross - that’s pure speculation.
Also, when asked about his sources for his book, Bill said that he used sources from all points of view, even using Mohammed’s teachings concerning Jesus. I’m sorry, but Mohammed was not from Jesus’s time, he was not privy to any information other than the New Testament, which Mohammed denies as being factual when it teaches that Jesus was God’s Son.
That was when I turned the TV to something else.
Jesus is a non-neutral person. You have to take a stand on Him. He claimed He was God’s Son, He claimed He was God Himself in human form. He is either who He claimed to be or He was a lunatic or a liar. There is no middle ground.
The Gospel writers were eyewitnesses of Jesus and His ministry (Matthew and John), or who interviewed people who were (Mark and Luke). Either their testimony is credible or it isn’t. You can’t pick and choose - which is exactly what O’Reily did.
O’Reilly is a liberal turd. I read a lot. But I wouldn’t spend one dime or one minute on one of his books.
I don’t think he wrote any of those books. He has “co-authors” who write them. Every year Ted Baxter is hawking a new book just in time for Christmas. Real historians like John Toland, Cornelius Ryan, ans William Manchester spent years researching and writing one book.
Was he a frocker before being defrocked?
If he can do a better job, he should write his own book.
O’Reilly has made it clear the book is about the historical Jesus. I don’t have any problems with that.
I am not an O’Riley fan since his Obama interview in 2008 but people being critical of him without ever reading the book have their own agenda.
I can't understand why liberals hate him. He is one of them.
Add Richard Zachs to that list of real historians. You won’t be disappointed. :)
I just have one question about BO’s book. Who wrote it for him?
I am not an ORiley fan since his Obama interview in 2008 but people being critical of him without ever reading the book have their own agenda.
I have never been a BO fan, he distinctly reminds of the Charles Durning character in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas doing the Side Step song. The big difference is the character in Whorehouse is likable.
He said it was impossible for Jesus to have said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do from the cross. How does he know this? Why, because the way Jesus was crucified would have prevented Him from being able to speak due to suffocation.
Well Billy. Did you ever consider we aren’t talking about your average human being when considering what Christ could or could not do ?
When will O’Reilly come out with “Killing O’Reilly?”
History is a good thing.
When I was in Israel, I was standing on the Mt of Olives and remembered the portion of the Psalm “...lets go up to Zion”
City of David was on my left, up the hill to my right was the remains of the Temple mount.
Suddenly the Psalm made sense. “...lets all go up the hill and worship G*d”
Nothing metaphysical just simple people singing simple songs about things very important to them.
Post #8 above, which quotes O’Reilly’s own description of the book, is enough to ensure I will never touch the thing.
Be careful, Bill. Satan also comes as the Angel of Light... The Holy Spirit will never contradict Scripture and will always glorify the Lord. You would do well to remember that.
(I will NEVER read Bill's book--it is already trash to me.)
I believe the author was "defrocked" from the strict Lutheran denomination because he proposed a more biblical (and less Lutheran) view of the so-called "Lord's supper". You may wish to read his article regarding his recognition that Luther never really shook the remnants of the Catholic (transubstantiation) error and attempted to concoct a "little bit of both" view. Some from his former denom wish to avoid giving this the consubstantiation appelation. It seems, however, unavoidable.
The writer seems dead-on with both O'Reilly and the Lord's Supper. He's probably happy to be "defrocked" by another crazy organization.
Satan will appear as everything you desire.
Luke said he checked all the sources before he wrote.
O’Reilly says that Luke is wrong about Jesus’ words on the cross.
Luke spoke with the people who saw it and wrote about it. O’Reilly spoke to a few scholars a couple thousand years later.
It’s just odd to say that they reporter on the spot is wrong, when you are thousands of years later with zero alternative sources.
More likely that Bill just couldn’t figure out the sayings from the cross, so he had to find himself an out.
Do you understand the difference?
I bought one of these books trying to explain every thing about Jesus fifty years ago and will never buy another one.
The only object in writing the books are to make money.
Without a doubt he’s Fox News resident Obama supporter. Not a day goes by he does not talk about the “hard right” being out of touch with average Americans.
O’Reilly claims he went to Harvard. Does anyone remember seeing him there, can he produce transcripts. Some of the thing he says are like the stuff of a 12 year mentally handicapped kid. He also ends the Jesus book by saying the “body was never found”. Duh!
The most charitable thing I can bring myself to say about OReilly is that he is confused.
I’m waiting for his next blockbuster, Killing Bill O’Reilly.