Notice, according to Einchenwald, there is something the article is not meant to do; namely, it is not meant to "advance any particular theology." Yet, what it is meant to do is shed "light on a book" and "comprehend what history's most important book says and...what it does not say." Of course, by shedding light on a book that has been identified as abused is to correct errors, which is to advance a position, and to say what it says and does not say can't happen without advancing a particular theology. The point is not to catch Einchenwald in a trap of his own words--a "gottcha." The reason I point this out is simply to be clear what is actually happening, despite any claims to the contrary."Newsweek’s exploration here of the Bible’s history and meaning is not intended to advance a particular theology or debate the existence of God. Rather, it is designed to shine a light on a book that has been abused by people who claim to revere it but don’t read it, in the process creating misery for others. ...
...It is only through accepting where the Bible comes from— and who put it together—that anyone can comprehend what history’s most important book says and, just as important, what it does not say." (emphasis added)
The theology advanced is one that wants to raise questions about the credibility of Scripture (e.g., "...what biblical scholars now know is that later versions of the books differ significantly from earlier ones—in fact, even copies from the same time periods differ from each other"), the nature of orthodoxy ("for hundreds of years after the death of Jesus, groups adopted radically conflicting writings about the details of his life and the meaning of his ministry, and murdered those who disagreed"), and the actual meaning of Scripture itself (e.g., "he word homosexual didn’t even exist until more than 1,800 years after when 1 Timothy was supposed to have been written. So how did it get into the New Testament? Simple: The editors of these modern Bibles just made it up."). These are just a taste of some of the claims.
What can be said?
The claims made in the article are at the very least very over-simplistic conclusions, if not entirely wrong at times. There is little apparent effort to present a balanced discussion or introduce any of the complexity involved in a historical development of the cannon of Scripture, and as such, the history reviewed is a straw-man. Other than to say this directly about the claims, I would recommend several good resources and responses already available. For the most direct responses, read Dr. Michael Kruger's blog posts in direct response to Newsweeks' article (see here and here); even read the comments on those blog posts, where Eichenwald and Kruger have a few respectful exchanges. For indirect responses to these criticisms, I would recommend reading Dr. Michael J. Kruger's book, Cannon Revisited, and/or a shorter and more accessible book, How the Bible Came to Be, in dealing with questions about the textual critiques. I would recommend Kruger's book, Heresy of Orthodoxy in addressing the questions of various orthodoxy in the early church.
Beyond addressing the particular claims, I think there are two important and related points to make. First, the sum total of these critiques raise one central question: Is this really what God says?. It's the oldest tactic in the book (see Genesis 3:1), but classics never die. This is to say that an attack on Christianity will necessarily have to be an attack on Scripture, for it is where God reveals himself most explicitly.
As such, it might be easy, even reflexive, to entirely ignore such an article as a biased attack on Christianity, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is something worthwhile and important to extract from this piece.
hold some bad theology).
My point is that if we claim to be servants of Christ and by extension to live by the Bible, then read it, study it, feed on it. Take it seriously--as the source of God's Word. The healthiest response to Eichenwald's article is reflect on the truth that it may reveal about ourselves--namely, how serious we take the Bible. If we claim to be servants of God, are we listening to him? How much do we know about the Bible? (Try this quiz).
There are a number of Bible reading plans available; use them. For any flaws or poor critiques in Newsweek's article, it is valuable in its call for greater familiarity with Scripture. We should answer the call.