An Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly :: by Gene Lawley

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

Your books on the deaths of prominent men have been very popular in the last couple of years, and your newest one, Killing Jesus is waiting in the wings for its release in mid-September. You say this one is not written in the religious vein but in a purely historical sense. It puts me to wondering how one could separate the two, in a narrative about the death of Jesus, the Christ.

It is one thing to write about the details of the murders of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy—they stayed dead.  The testimony of the ages, however, is that Jesus Christ did not remain in the grave!  Matter of fact, He told His disciples, recorded in John 10:17-18, that He would lay His life down that He might take it up again, and “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again.”

Quite a declaration, that one!  Perhaps your next writing should be “The Resurrection of Jesus” since the story doesn’t end with the closing of His tomb on that day of crucifixion.

I watched your interview with Franklin Graham several months ago and noted your sharp difference with him regarding his firm stand on the biblical claim that Jesus “Is the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Giving some thought to that, I, myself, recalled Jesus’ telling about the two roads—one, a broad one, leading to destruction, and the other a narrow one that leads to life everlasting (Matthew 7:13-14).

If, then, there are more ways to heaven than through Jesus only, perhaps Muhammad is another way?  That would mean that the God of Jesus—who is Jehovah—would have to contend with another entity, Allah, who is identified as totally different in all aspects.  Exactly how many other ways could there be?  Who has counted them, with the authority to do so?

Actually, Bill, the problem began in the two-person disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. You may have been taught that all of that account is purely allegorical but it is absolutely true. They tried to hide from God because they were guilty of disobeying Him, and they covered themselves with fig leaves, the very first man-made attempt to be okay with God (one of those “other ways”). God took the skins of animals and clothed them, the first symbolical shedding of blood to cover sin. You can see this principle duplicated down through the centuries in the sacrifices of animals in the Jewish temple offerings of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Then along comes John the Baptist, who looks upon Jesus one day, over by the Jordan, and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  And the apostle Paul writes, “He has made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God through Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Paul also writes in Titus 1:2 that “The promise of eternal life was made before time began,” so mankind had nothing to do with deciding how he would get to heaven.  Four prominent persons of the New Testament era have made these declarations (Jesus Himself, and three apostles):

Jesus, in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Peter, in Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…”

John, in 1 John 5:11-12: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

So, it would seem proper, Bill, for you to write the “rest of the story” in a subsequent narrative—wherein the purpose of His life is displayed.

Thanks for your attention, and may your days be good.

Gene Lawley

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