A year ago Time magazine's David Van Biema wrote up a short, favorable take on the so-called Green Bible, an edition based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) that placed "green references" in "a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus." But wait, there's more, The Green Bible also includes "supplementary writings" several of which "cite the Genesis verse in which God gives humanity 'dominion' over the earth" and "Others [which] assert that eco-neglect violates Jesus' call to care for the least among us: it is the poor who inhabit the floodplains."
Even though The Green Bible is risible both from a commercial standpoint as a marketing ploy and theologically as a bastardization of the real heart of Christian doctrine, neither charge was entertained as a valid criticism by the Time staffer. Van Biema even hinted that evangelicals, 54 percent of whom "agreed that 'stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost'" might embrace the translation despite strong reservations from conservative theologians.
Perhaps the New York Times is just predestined not to get religion.
Taking on Calvinistic preacher Mark Driscoll's brand of Reformed theology, writer Molly Worthen -- herself a graduate of a formerly Puritan university -- gave readers of the New York Times magazine a skewed picture of what exactly the evangelical pastor's theology teaches about sin and redemption.
In her January 6 article, "Who Would Jesus Smack Down," Worthen -- who studied American religious history at Yale University-- portrayed the founding pastor of Seattle's Mars Hill Church as an edgy hipster "cussing" pastor who chagrins religious conservatives and liberals alike, all while confounding evangelicals with his Calvinistic take on biblical theology.
While there is a grain of truth to the characterization of Driscoll* having critics to his left and right, Worthen betrays her ignorance about Calvinism, starting in the third paragraph of her article (emphasis mine):
Exploring the notion that some Anglican parishes could soon return to full communion with Rome in protest of the Church of England allowing ordination of female bishops, Time magazine writers David Van Biema and Jeff Israely felt it necessary to throw in some loaded language about how English conservative Anglicans are different than their American Episcopal cousins:
Both the special nature of the English crisis and the Pope's possible involvement hinge on the fact that most of the English dissidents this week are not the evangelical, Bible-thumping members of the Communion whose fury at the American ordination of an openly gay bishop has led to talks of schism this summer. Rather they are members of a faction, heavy on liturgy and ritual, that abhors evangelicalism but considers itself very close to the Catholicism from which the Anglican Church originally sprang.
But wait, if conservative Anglicans across the Pond are about to bolt their church because the Bible forbids female bishops, how is that any less "Bible-thumping" than conservative Episcopals in the United States leaving the church because of openly homosexual bishops, a practice that also runs afoul of Scripture?
Here we go again. Another relic pops up of questionable authenticity that one or two experts is saying casts doubts on the unique claims of Christian orthodoxy. So of course Time.com put the story of the so-called "Gabriel's Revelation" tablet in its July 7 top stories lineup (see screencap at right), with the teaser headline, "Was Jesus' Resurrection a Sequel?"
The story by David Van Biema and Tim McGirk breathlessly began by noting how this "revelation" could set some orthodox Christians on edge:
A 3-ft.-high tablet romantically dubbed "Gabriel's Revelation" could challenge the uniqueness of the idea of the Christian Resurrection. The tablet appears to date authentically to the years just before the birth of Jesus and yet - at least according to one Israeli scholar - it announces the raising of a messiah after three days in the grave. If true, this could mean that Jesus' followers had access to a well-established paradigm when they decreed that Christ himself rose on the third day - and it might even hint that they they could have applied it in their grief after their master was crucified.
But then Van Biema and McGirk dialed it down a bit (emphasis mine):