An article published by Christianity Today sparked controversy and drew criticism on social media for insisting that Jesus Christ was Asian.
About the article: The article, titled “How Asian Artists Picture Jesus’ Birth From 1240 to Today,” was written by Victoria Emily Jones and published on Dec. 18, featuring artwork from Asian cultures depicting the Nativity scene.
“Jesus was born in Asia. He was Asian,” Jones began the article. “Yet the preponderance of Christian art that shows him at home in Europe has meant that he is embedded deeply in the popular imagination as Western.”
The writer asserted that the nine artists featured in the article “bring [Jesus] back to Asia — but not to ancient Israel” and “make the birth a local event, translating the story into their own cultural contexts.” Jones claimed such representations conveyed a deeper “theological meaning” of “the universality of Christ’s birth.”
Backlash on social media: The piece was immediately criticized when it was shared to X on Christmas Eve. Social media commentators rejected the premise, with some mocking the evangelical outlet for promoting the article.
“Next can you please do an article with a bunch of AI images of Jesus if He were Rosa Parks,” Joel Berry, the managing editor for Christian satire news site The Babylon Bee, tweeted.
“Please delete your account,” said William Wolfe, who served as a Senior Official in the Trump Administration.
Denouncing the claim: Critics also emphasized Jesus’ Jewish heritage and historical context, denouncing the claim that Jesus was Asian.
“Blasphemy. Jesus is a Jew. 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 savior of the world,” Christian blogger and public speaker Samuel Sey replied.
“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,” Pastor of Western Ave Baptist Church Ekkie Tepsupornchai wrote.
Against the liberal wing: Evangelist Franklin Graham, whose father founded Christianity Today, also criticized the magazine for publishing the article, warning against undermining the authority of the Bible.
“We don’t have to wonder or speculate about this—the Bible gives us very specific details about Jesus’ earthly lineage and where He was born and grew up. We know that Jesus was Jewish…We must be on guard against anything or anyone who attempts to undermine the authority of the Word of God,” Graham tweeted.
This was not the first time Graham called out the magazine. He previously criticized it during Trump’s impeachment, accusing the magazine of aligning with the liberal wing of evangelicalism. In 2019, he wrote on Facebook, “It’s obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.”