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Both Newsweek and Time have Jesus on their covers, and neither article quotes an evangelical scholar in its attempt to narrate how Christians concocted the story of the birth of Jesus.

Newsweek's piece says, "We live in an age of great belief and great doubt, and sometimes it seems as though we must choose between two extremes, the evangelical and the secular. 'I don't want to be too simplistic, but our faith is somewhat childlike,' says the Rev. H. B. London, a vice president of James Dobson's conservative Focus on the Family organization in Colorado Springs. 'Though other people may question the historical validity of the virgin birth, and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we don't.'

A Newsweek poll found that most Americans side with London. It "found that 84 percent of American adults consider themselves Christians, and 82 percent see Jesus as God or the son of God. Seventy-nine percent say they believe in the Virgin Birth, and 67 percent think the Christmas story—from the angels' appearance to the star of Bethlehem—is historically accurate." As Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times, likes to point out, more people believe that stuff than evolution.

Newsweek says they want to find the middle, somewhere between London's childlike faith and severe skepticism. Then, author Jon Meacham goes on to report only what those scholars say who do not believe what the Gospels report about Jesus' birth. "The first followers, we should always remember, believed that the Risen Lord was going to return and usher in a new apocalyptic age at any moment."

But when Jesus didn't return, these followers decided they'd better write down the story of Jesus' life, says Meacham. This Gospel story, Newsweek says, cannot ...

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December 2004

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