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Reinforcing the Congruency-of-Scripture Argument
by Daryl E. Witmer
The following dialogue is based, in part, upon an actual exchange conducted via e-mail in January of 2000 between a self-described skeptic and a friend of AIIA whose responses we were able to fortify with the material included here.
BELIEVER: You’ve asked why any-one should accept the Bible as being of Divine origin. Let me give you five reasons: 1) its record of fulfilled prophecy; 2) its consistent theme and congruency; 3) its endurance; 4) its confirmation by archaeology; 5) its unparalleled circulation.
SKEPTIC: What do you mean by “its consistent theme and congruency?”
BELIEVER: Consider the fact that the Bible is comprised of 66 Books written over a period of about 1,600 years by over 40 authors from all walks of life, with all kinds of personalities, and in all sorts of situations. It was written in three languages on three continents, and it covers hundreds of controversial subjects. Yet it fits together into one cohesive story with an appropriate beginning, a logical ending, a central character, and a consistent theme. It does all of this without error or contradiction. How does one begin to explain such historical, structural, prophetic, doctrinal, and spiritual congruency apart from the fact that it’s real author was Divine?!
SKEPTIC: I don’t buy that. So there’s a little commonality among three dozen religious writers. So what?
BELIEVER: Have you ever tried to get a committee of even just three to agree on something? And keep in mind-many of the writers of Scripture didn’t even know each other.
SKEPTIC: Sorry, but it just doesn’t fly. Virtually all of these men had access to, or were familiar with, the previous material. The fact that they could agree on a theme is about as revolutionary as the fact that all James Bond movies center on a common theme, despite having been produced by dozens of different producers, directors, writers, and actors. And as far as agreement, that’s not really the case either. There are at least 15 books of the Bible that were removed from the original collection by second and third-century monks. These books were removed solely because it was decided that they did not agree with the main theme. It’s rather easy to claim that all Bible books follow a strict theme if you are allowed to write off all of the ones that don’t.
BELIEVER: Well, if my argument regarding the unified theme of Scripture doesn’t “fly” for you, your analogy about the common theme of James Bond movies doesn’t even “taxi down the runway” for me. I realize that no analogy is perfect, but this one doesn’t even register. It’s cute, creative, and clever. But it’s also misleading. It indicates to me either a real misunderstanding of the history of the Biblical canon, or James Bond movies, or both. Consider the following:
• The Biblical canon was formed over a period of 1500 years. They’ve been making James Bond movies for all of 39 years now.
• Approximately 40 men were inspired to record the Word of God. They had no e-mail, no faxes, no phones. Imagine trying to pull together a project like this over a 1500-year period. In contrast, the producers of the 19 official James Bond movies had not only met, but fully corroborated in developing what became known as the ‘Bonded Line,’ the true pedigree of an official Bond film. Other films that have the character James Bond in them aren’t considered a part of the continuing series. They don’t feature the official trappings of the original bloodline, i.e. the gun barrel graphic opening, John Barry’s jazzy theme music, and so forth.
• The Bible portrays an incredibly consistent picture of the Messiah throughout all 66 of its Books. But try lining Sean Connery up beside David Niven. George Lazenby was so unconvincing in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), that they gave the role back to Connery in 1971. And then there was Timothy Dalton. Talk about variance.
• James Bond is a fictitious figure, able to be bent (to an extent) to suit the producer’s fancy. Jesus was/is a recognized historical figure. Biblical characterizations of Him, in order to be credible, have/had to conform to the accounts of unbiased historians.
• The James Bond fans that you refer to are just that-fans-in it for the fun of it. Not exactly analogous to the followers of Jesus who all alike laid down their possessions, their homes, and even their lives to attest to the veracity of the Biblical record.
• Contrast the alleged contradictions in the Biblical record with the well- established contradictions in the James Bond story, i.e. the “movie” Bond attended Cambridge University where he studied Oriental languages (You Only Live Twice), at clear variance with the James Bond in the novels.
• The 40 authors of Scripture never sat down to script fiction for profit, which is exactly what the producers of the James Bond movies did.
• Contrast the historic harmony of the Biblical authors with the James Bond screenwriters who once (Dec 1997) actually sued the producers of the 007 films over film-related issues.