Killing Jesus

Killing Jesus:

A Review of Bill O’Reilley’s Book about Jesus’ Life and Death

HAPPY JESUS’ BIRTHDAY EVERYONE!

I decided that it would be appropriate to wait and post this book review on Christmas Day, and I say that for two reasons. First, this book (Killing Jesus: A History [New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2013]) begins with an account of Jesus’ birth; second, the reason Jesus came into this world was to die for the sins of humanity, so it was necessary for the Savior to be born into the world as a human being, and the virgin birth was the vehicle for that amazing event. Jesus’ resurrection proved His power over sin and death, so we must remember that Christmas and Good Friday and Easter are closely connected. More about this below.

But enough theologizing—at least for the moment.

I enjoyed this third book in the Killing series just as much as I did the other two. (See my reviews of Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy in a previous blog. Also, Bill O’Reilley’s website promises another book in the Killing series soon.) But I have to qualify my enthusiasm for this book more than I did the other two. I have divided my views on this book into four categories: (1) the parts I agree with and can commend without reservation; (2) the parts I must question as to relevance, though I have no issue regarding accuracy; (3) the parts that concern me regarding interpretation of the biblical text; and (4) and my concern about what is not in this book that should be.

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Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln: A Review of Bill O’Reilley’s Best Sellers

Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln:

A Review of Bill O’Reilley’s Best Sellers

 It is 12:30 p.m. CST on Friday, November 22, 2013 as I write these words—50 years to the minute after President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas. He died about 35 minutes later. It has become axiomatic, especially among Americans, that those who are old enough to remember this tragedy know exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the President’s death. Although I was in the second grade and had turned 7 just two months earlier, I also remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard. School ended at Sudduth Elementary School in Starkville, MS at 2:45 each day. I had just reached the bus that took me home when I heard an older student say something like, “President Kennedy is dead.” When we all got home, I remember how sad and worried my parents were and that, since we didn’t have a television, my parents stayed glued to the radio listening for updates of the events in Dallas for the next few days. Of course, the fact that our President had been assassinated was bad enough, but no one, not even those in positions of power in America and throughout the world, had any idea what a devastating impact that one man’s death would have on subsequent events in this country and globally.

During college and graduate school I started reading a lot of material on the JFK assassination, many of them delving into various conspiracy theories that have led to lots of questions, speculations, and conjectures over the years, but very few answers. One of the best I read was investigative journalist Henry Hurt’s book, Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation into the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1986). Although well written and meticulously researched, he could not provide any definitive answers. Hurt was honest enough to say that there may be merit to some of the conspiracy theories, which was the main aspect of the assassination he was investigating since he was convinced there was a conspiracy, but there was not enough evidence for him to speak with finality on the subject. Basically he said what everyone already thought anyway—Lee Harvey Oswald was involved and others may have been, though no one knows for sure who or in what way.

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THE BOSTON RED SOX: TEAM OF THE 21st CENTURY…SO FAR

THE BOSTON RED SOX:

TEAM OF THE 21st CENTURY…SO FAR

 Boston won the World Series in 8 games over the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning the last 4 games in a row after falling behind 3 games to 1. The year was 1903, the very first World Series. (Major League Baseball used a best of 9 Series for that first World Series and for the years 1919-21 before settling on a best of 7 Series permanently in 1922.) At the time of their first World Series championship, the team was simply called the Boston Americans (the Braves in the National league were also in Boston at the time), changing to the Red Sox in 1908. They began playing at Fenway Park in 1912, home to all their World Series titles except that first one.

Winning the first World Series set the stage for the Red Sox to win 5 of the first 15 World Series: 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918. (There was no Series in 1904.) The Red Sox won the World Series 4 times in a 7 year span, and won their only back to back titles in 1915-16.

With their 4 games to 2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals this year, the Red Sox have won 3 of the last 10 World Series—more than any other team so far in the first 13 seasons of the 21st century. Two others have won two (the Cardinals and the Giants) with several other teams winning once. (The year 2000 was the last year of the 20th century, not the first year of the 21st century, so the Yankees victory in the World Series that year belongs to the 20th.) This century is beginning just like the 20th century did—Red Sox dominance!! The Red Sox now have 12 World Series appearances (sixth most of all teams) and 8 titles (fourth most).

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Pope John Paul II: Saint or Sinner?

POPE JOHN PAUL II:

saint-or-sinner

Part 1: What Is a Saint?

On July 5, 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had conferred sainthood upon Pope John Paul II (reigned 1978–2005). The Roman Catholic Church (hereafter RCC) has various criteria that must be met before the Pope will confer sainthood upon someone, and not all potential candidates receive it. This practice of the RCC began in the year 993, and the present process (called canonization) was not in place until the twelfth century. The RCC now considers over 10,000 men and women of the past to be “saints.”

I explain what the Bible says about saints below. But for now let’s examine the RCC’s teaching on how a person becomes a saint and what that means to a Catholic. The RCC has several requirements that must be met before sainthood is conferred upon him or her, and Saint is the last of four official titles the Pope confers upon those deemed worthy. But even before one can receive consideration, he or she must have been dead at least five years—although the Pope can wave this criterion if he wishes, as Pope John Paul II did for Mother Teresa in 1999 less than two years after her death. (As of this date, Mother Teresa is Blessed but not a Saint; see below.) Further, the process does not begin until a group of Catholics send their Bishop an official request that someone be considered for sainthood—although, as always, the Pope can bypass this step if he wishes.

Once a Bishop receives a request for consideration, he must review it and, if impressed by the candidate’s piety, he then sends it to the Vatican for the Pope’s personal analysis. If the Pope finds the person worthy, he declares the title Servant of God upon that person. The Pope can then confer a second title, Venerable, upon that person followed by a third title, Blessed, if he considers the person worthy of those titles as well.

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Evangelical Christian writer and professor in Biblical studies