Bill O’Reilly is one of those guys who is fun to watch and it really doesn’t matter if you love him or hate him; he keeps your attention regardless of which side of the O’Reilly coin you might fall (I suppose that is why he has dominated the cable news ratings for years). As with most political figures, when O’Reilly opens his mouth and begins speaking about religious-based issues it can sometimes be difficult to watch.
Just today the Gospel Coalition folks (who I am very thankful for) have linked to a video showing Martin Bashir “explaining the gospel” to Bill O’Reilly. Take a look at the video below:
It would appear that Bashir put the smackdown on O’Reilly and handed him a big ol’ piece of the gospel, leaving Bill looking rather silly for his conclusion that Jesus was killed because of taxes. But wait a minute….
I haven’t read the book (it isn’t out yet I don’t think) and I only know about his tax motive theory from this little clip of O’Reilly (which I don’t think I would agree with, but I want to hear his full argument). What I am nearly certain of is this – O’Reilly, in referencing the reason Jesus was killed, was not talking about God’s perspective in which He “was pleased to crush” Jesus (Isaiah 53:10). O’Reilly is talking about why the Romans wanted Jesus dead. I think we can all agree that Pilate, the soldiers, and all the rest did not say, “hey, let’s crucify Jesus so he can be the substitute for a dying, cursed world and be the means by which the eternal purposes of the one true God and His gospel are fulfilled.” The Romans acted out of their own purposes which God had ordained for gospel purposes. O’Reilly, I’m pretty sure, is talking about the former.
So while I am thrilled to see this clear explanation of the gospel portrayed on MSNBC by Bashir, it is not quite fair to say it is an appropriate smackdown on Bill. After all, even the High Priest said “it would be expedient for one man to die for the people”, but he was certainly not talking about gospel salvation. He was talking about saving his own skin.
Ok, enough of that.
*by the way, if O’Reilly’s book comes out and he thinks the only purpose of the crucifixion was to kill someone opposed to taxes, then I am completely wrong. But I just can’t believe even Bill thinks that.