This is the 2nd of my two blog analyses of Bill O'Reilly's book, Killing Jesus, co-authored with Martin Dugard. I have been a long-time admirer of Bill O'Reilly's political commentaries, and I appreciate the fact that he brings faith in God into the background of his public service. And while I was very impressed with his research and detail surrounding the events in the life of Christ, I do, however, find some differences in interpretation of Scripture in his book. Some of our differences are simply the fact he comes from a Catholic perspective and I from a Baptist perspective.
One of those "denominational" differences comes out in his explanation on pages 263-265 of the church being founded upon Peter as the "rock." He says that Peter's missionary work eventually took him to Rome, where he "formalized the nascent Christian Church." Although my Catholic friends believe Peter was the first pope, there is no biblical evidence that Peter "formalized" the new church, nor that he was the first head of the church.
In the footnote on that page, O'Reilly confirms what my Catholic friends believe -- that Peter became the "rock" upon which the church was built, from Matthew 16:18. O'Reilly acknowledges that the Greek "petra," is the feminine form for rock, which means a small stone. But he does not then clarify that when Jesus said he would build His church upon this "petros," that Christ meant the rock of a statement which Peter had just made, that "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." In the Greek, it is a play on words.
On page 265, in O'Reilly's treatment of Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, he accurately points out that Mary is referenced in the Book of Acts (Acts 1:14). But he is inaccurate in claiming that she is alluded to in Revelation as "a woman clothed with the sun." That reference in Revelation 12:1 is not to Mary, but to a one of four symbolic women referred to in that chapter -- verse 17 making it clear it is not Mary. (In his footnote on page 265, O'Reilly accurately points out Roman Catholic history which declared Mary's immaculate conception and ascension into heaven -- neither of which are taught from Scripture.)
I was surprised in O'Reilly's account surrounding the death of Christ that his book ignores the multiple miracles recorded in Scripture. On page 224 he records the episode from the gospel accounts where Peter drew a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. O'Reilly accurately quotes Jesus who told Peter to put his sword away. However, the divine healing of the servant's ear by the Son of God, recorded in the gospels, is ignored in this book. It is not mentioned.
Similarly the other supernatural events surrounding the crucifixion are not mentioned in the book -- the sky darkened from noon until 3 PM on what we call Good Friday (Matt. 27:45); the veil in the temple separating people from the Holy of Holies torn in two (Matt. 27:51); the rocks rent and two supernatural earthquakes (Matt. 27:51, 28:2); graves opened (Matt. 27:52); and, bodies coming out of the graves to appear publicly (Matt. 27:52-53).
O'Reilly skirts the issue of the bodily resurrection of Christ on page 259, and he ignores the deity of Christ on page 271. He inaccurately says that Christians "attribute Jesus's popularity to his message of love, hope, and truth but also to his miraculous healings." While this is partly true, most Christians attribute Christ's popularity primarily to His deity and His power to bring a supernatural salvation into the hearts of believers through the Holy Spirit to this day.
Again, a very good book. Well worth reading!