In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown implies that the Christian Church rests on a shaky foundation, and that the Church—by which he means the Roman Catholic Church—will actually commit murder to keep certain things secret. He means things which could shake its foundation to the very core—things like Mary Magdalene was
Christ's secret bride. Again, if there were some strong evidence to come to light that Christianity was untrue, I would renounce it. The fact is, the Christian Church rests on a firm foundation—despite the criticisms of so many "Bible scholars."
C. S. Lewis, the great scholar of Oxford and Cambridge, once said:
. . . when you turn from the New Testament to modern scholars, remember that you go among them as a sheep among wolves. Naturalistic assumptions . . . will meet you on every side— even from the pens of clergymen.92
Naturalistic assumptions—the idea that the supernatural is impossible—is the foundation of much unbelief in the Bible. If a "Bible scholar" begins with the assumption that miracles are impossible, then how can they believe the Scriptures? They will find later dates for the books of the Bible, with exact prophecies fulfilled, not because of the manuscript evidence, but because they assume it could not have been written before the event.
Such scholars assume that the supernatural cannot happen. Thus, they reject a priori (as a beginning assumption) that the parting of the Red Sea never happened. They assume that Jesus was not virgin born. They assume that since men don't rise from the dead (which they don't), then it was impossible for Jesus to have done so. Therefore, they throw out the very cornerstone of the Christian faith, the bodily resurrection of Christ, despite the testimony of eyewitnesses, a testimo ny they sealed in their own blood. The problem here is not the Scriptures; it is the anti-supernatural assumptions of the so-called Bible scholars.
Jesus believed the Scriptures to be the Word of God. When the devil came to tempt Him to abandon His mission and to seek personal power and glory, Jesus quoted Scripture (Matthew 4:1-10). One passage He quoted speaks directly about His total reliance upon Scripture: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3).
After He rose from the dead, Jesus confirmed that Moses was the writer of the first books of the law, and that the prophets spoke for God. "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27; John 5:46-47). In John 10:35, Jesus declared that "the Scripture cannot be broken." In Luke 16:17, He stated, "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail."
Jesus believed every word of the Old Testament, even the miracles. In Luke 17:29, He talked about the supernatural judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, where Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. In John 6:32, He spoke of the miracle of the manna from heaven, which fed the Israelites for forty years in the wilderness. In John 3:14, He recalled how those who had been bitten by snakes were cured instantly when they looked on Moses' brass serpent. In Matthew 12:39-40, He likened His death and resurrection to the miracle of Jonah being swallowed by a big fish for three days.
Theologian and author John R. W. Stott says Jesus' view of Scripture is the ultimate apologetic for its veracity. He writes:
The overriding reason for accepting the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture is plain loyalty to Jesus . . . . If Jesus endorsed the Old Testament, setting upon it the stamp of his own approval, he also foresaw the writing of the Scriptures of the New Testament, parallel to the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Indeed, he not only foresaw it, he actually intended it, and he deliberately made provision for it by appointing and authorizing his apostles.93 Stott's argument is not circular, but linear.94 He begins by assuming nothing. As he reads the historical first-century eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the Gospels, he sees that Jesus held the Old Testament to be the Word of God, and that He clearly predicted and made provision for the New Testament. Stott sums up:
The argument is easy to grasp, and we think impossible to refute. It concerns the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. He endorsed the Old Testament Scriptures. He made provision for the writing of the New Testament Scriptures.95 Furthermore, we believe Jesus because He rose from the dead—thus giving veracity to all His other claims, including that of the Scriptures being the Word of God.
The apostles also proclaimed their belief in Scripture. Paul described the Scriptures as the "oracles of God" (Romans 3:2). Hebrews 4:12 speaks of Scripture as a powerful weapon: "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Writing to Timothy, Paul gave the clearest and most comprehensive definition of Scripture found in the Bible: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
The early Church held the apostles in such high esteem that no book found its way into the canon of Scripture unless it was penned by an apostle (including Paul, who was called late in the process) or was the direct by-product of an apostle's input (such as Mark, which is widely believed to have received tremendous input from Peter). In the year 200 a.d. or thereabouts, the North African Christian Tertullian wrote, "We Christians are forbidden to introduce anything on our own authority, or to choose what someone else introduces on his own authority. Our authorities are the Lord's apostles, and they in their turn choose to introduce nothing on their own authority. They faithfully passed on to the nations the teaching which they had received from Christ."96
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