Hey, Bill! You're my main man when it comes to getting excellent news analysis. Your No.1 cable-rated news show for 13 years running continues running in our home. Reading your books and listening to you over the decade has convinced me that we are joined at the hip. The similarities in our Catholic upbringing, our age, our common experiences with nuns as well as our deep convictions about doing what is principled almost makes me feel that we were part of the same family!
A few years ago, I sent you a copy of my book Clap Your Hands! which helped over a quarter of a million people, primarily Catholics, all over the world understand the gospel and what salvation by grace through faith is all about. I really believe the book will help you since you stated recently that if you fail to attend Mass, then you "fall so far behind in my repentance [you] can never catch up." I know where you're coming from because that is where I was prior to the life-changing experience I shared in my book. Please check it out or read it on Kindle.
Bill, your recent book, Killing Jesus, will undoubtedly be another best-seller. I wish you the very best but I also want to appeal to you about something we as fellow Christians cannot afford to miss when writing a historical book. I'm talking about accuracy with the sacred Scripture. I have known you to be a very teachable man, as you regularly refer to yourself as a "humble correspondent" and repeatedly invite guests to "show [you] where [you're] wrong."
Can I offer you a suggestion?
In your recent promotional interview on 60 Minutes, you told interviewer Norah O'Donnell that Jesus never said on the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." You based this on reasonable conjecture that someone suffocating on the cross would not have enough air in their lungs to make such a statement. Yet you acknowledge Jesus did have enough air in his lungs to say the other statements recorded in Scripture, "I thirst" and "It is finished."
Come again? No big deal?
Actually, it is a very big deal. And as this weekly commentary is called "Here's the Deal," may I humbly try to set the record straight, as you do nightly on your excellent show?
Whenever individuals start to approach the Scripture in a "slice and dice," cafeteria-style manner, they're on dangerous ground. If we arbitrarily delete something from God's Word, who's to say we can't delete more? A Pandora's box is opened, and that's where we find so much confusion in our culture and the church today.
Biblical Christianity and Catholicism starts from the premise that there is a source of truth outside of us. God's Word is truth (John17:17), and faithful Christians affirm it boldly without compromise and in its entirety. The Bible says of itself that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), and Jesus Himself said Scripture cannot be broken. The Catholic saint Jerome stated unequivocally, "Not to know the Bible is not to know Christ!"
Today, in our relativistic world, it takes courage to uphold God's Word in its entirety even when it is unpopular or politically incorrect. If we open the door and begin to compromise, it is similar to what is on the horizon for America if we do not stand strong on covenant marriage between one man and one woman. Once the boundary goes down, the doors are open for any type of partnership, polygamy, polyamory and beyond. This is not a scare tactic but a chilling reality that is already at our doorstep.
Jesus underscored the total exclusivity of Christianity when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6, NKJV). Later, in Acts 4:12, these words are recorded: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Our culture's emphasis on tolerance, diversity and acceptance of all world religions is totally incompatible with what Scripture teaches. If we begin to pick and choose what we deem acceptable, we open the door for all kinds of error. That's what's happened in the church today.
On your television show the day after the 60 Minutes interview, you took issue with individuals who were criticizing you because you said that the Holy Spirit inspired you to write Killing Jesus. You said, "I don't mind the secular progressives, especially in the media, coming after me, but not Christian doctrine."
Bill, I applaud your courageous stand. Yet to be consistent, how about a clear-cut stand for the doctrine of Scripture? We must remain resolute concerning the authority and inerrancy of the Bible amidst the tides of a relativistic and capacious culture. Even unintentioally or innocently removing a verse here and a verse there opens doors for all kinds of heresy and dangerous doctrinal error.
It seems to me the rebellion of humanity started in a garden when a certain diabolical individual tempted Adam and Eve with these words: "Has God really said ... ?" (Gen. 3:1).
The book of Proverbs records these words: "He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue" (Prov. 28:23, NASB).
Bill, I'm not rebuking you, but rather appealing to you to stay on course regarding sacred Scripture. We all know there are certain poetic literary devices employed in the Scripture, but the passionate plea of our Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the cross and recorded by eyewitnesses is not something with which to tamper. Yes, let's take it literally!
Will you receive my humble counsel?
A poor, pregnant woman on drugs was heading on a path to abortion until God brought somebody into her life to counsel otherwise. She heeded the advice and gave birth to a little baby boy. His name? Justin Bieber.
A discouraged baseball player at Vanderbilt University was quitting the team to work a job at McDonald's when a coach counseled him to reconsider. He heeded the advice and became the first draft pick in 2007, an All-Star game starter and Cy Young award winner for 2012. His name? David Price.
The most influential figure in all of human history, proclaiming Himself to be God, willingly and sacrificially laid down down His life for the forgiveness of all mankind. When a medical doctor records the words and communicates them under that same inspiration of the Holy Spirit that directed you, let's embrace them in their entirety and go forth daily to tell everyone this good news!
Remember, the spin stops here!
Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.