A recent news media interpretation about the birth and origin of Jesus set off a social media firestorm just as the world was celebrating Christmas. The ideas put forth in the article undermined established Christian doctrine and promoted alternate views of Jesus.
The article referenced the opinion of the source as a more representative interpretation of Jesus’ birth and life. The ideas were met with immediate backlash from around the world.
Christianity Today published a story entitled, “How Asian Artists Picture Jesus’ Birth From 1240 to Today,” that argued, “Jesus was born in Asia. He was Asian.” The article was met with harsh criticism.
From Fox News:
Senior pastor of Western Ave Baptist Church Ekkie Tepsupornchai also responded to the article writing, “I am Asian. Jesus was not. Nevertheless, Jesus is my Lord. And His sacrifice granted me the right to become a child of God. That is all that matters to me.”
The article featured photos of artwork from Asian cultures depicting the Nativity. The author claimed that by representing Jesus as Asian artists could portray a deeper “theological meaning.”
“By representing Jesus as Japanese, Indonesian, or Indian, they convey a sense of God’s immanence, his ‘with-us–ness,’ for their own communities – and for everyone else, the universality of Christ’s birth,” the author explained. “The artists in this photo essay bring him back to Asia – but not to ancient Israel. These nine artworks ‘proclaim the expansiveness of Christ’s kingdom.'”
That argument didn’t hold up to commentators across social media.
“Blasphemy. Jesus is a Jew,” Christian blogger Samuel Sey fired back. “It’s necessary for our salvation that he is a son of David, from the tribe of Judah, and born in Bethlehem. Stop this nonsense. He isn’t European, Asian, Palestinian or black. He’s a Jew – the king of the Jews and therefore the saviour of the world.”
Jesus’ origin was also at the center of a CNN news piece that featured Father Edward Beck making a controversial claim. Beck claimed that Jesus was a “Palestinian Jew” and He came from an “occupied” country.
“What I’m so struck by is that the story of Christmas is about a Palestinian Jew – how often do you find those words put together?” Beck stated. “A Palestinian Jew born into a time when his country was occupied, right?
Wrong, according to Christian commentators who quickly responded that Beck’s statements were false.
“Palestine was not even a creation of the Roman Empire at the time of Christ’s birth,” said radio host Erick Erickson. “Pushing a political agenda like this, using Christ, reflects poorly on the network.”
“Father Beck has to stop watching Al-Jazeera and start reading the New Testament,” said Hussain Abdul-Hussain, research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Bible experts respond with facts after media outlets made false claims about Jesus.
- Christian magazine claimed Jesus was Asian and liberal priest claimed He was Palestinian.
- Controversial interpretations faced immediate and harsh backlash from Christians.