Thank you, Harvey Weinstein — if nothing else, you’ve underscored why people must pay attention to the Bible’s wisdom.
For those willing to contemplate it, there’s compelling evidence that Book is lots more than a mashup of human-generated stories, aphorisms and life-rules; that its provenance, in fact, is decidedly other-worldly. Consider the Bible’s singular record of fulfilled prophecy. Not dodgy, fortune-teller gimmickry or Nostradamus-level word play, but predictions describing future events — and proved tellingly accurate. (See: Isaiah 53 for just one dramatic example.) Holy Writ’s reputation is ongoingly benefiting from fresh archaeological and historical confirmation. Though not constituting a science book, per se, where they express scientific principles yet-to-be-discovered at the time of their writing, the Scriptures have been corroborated repeatedly. The Bible evinces a nothing-less-than-miraculous unity: sixty-six distinct volumes, penned by dozens of unique personalities operating in a plethora of cultural contexts, stitched together over centuries; all of it reverberating with a mesmerizing, overarching theme: humanity’s desperate need and God’s impossible love-solution. The whole thing revolves, prospectively and retrospectively, around the lawless murder of an innocent Savior and His stupendous victory over death.
The mere work of flawed men? Unlikely.
Then there’s this standing headline to consider in the Book’s favor: Bible’s Ancient Wisdom Once Again Validated
The words of the Old and New Testaments ring with a commandingly self-affirming element which is hard to deny. To read them with an objective mind is to encounter something strikingly sui generis, something engrossing, challenging, stirring; truth that works. Biblical teaching’s sensibleness veritably leaps off the pages; and has been relentlessly vindicated in the laboratory of real life; for centuries and in contemporary experience.
Which brings us back to impresario Weinstein. As anyone with a working pulse knows, the movie-industry giant has lately been accused by more than forty women of sexual harassment/rape. Scant weeks ago, the famously successful producer/studio exec was atop the entertainment universe: co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company film studios, Academy and Tony Award winner, scores of movies, including not a few blockbusters, adorning his resume. Since 1966, Oscar acceptance speeches have “thanked” only Steven Spielberg more times than Weinstein. Tied, on that score, for second place with the sixty-five-year-old mogul? God.
All this and serious political juice, influentially rubbing shoulders with high-profile Democrats, squiring about his beautiful, fashion-designer wife (twenty-five years his junior), father of five, fabulously wealthy: in every visible sense a “success”, a Tinsel Town mover-and-shaker.
More recently? Dizzying disgrace. Annihilative scandal. On the heels of the sex contretemps, the board of directors of Weinstein’s eponymous enterprise dumped him. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and British Academy of Film and Television Arts disowned him. The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts rejected his $5 million endowment. Scads of Hollywood top-liners are once again clawing themselves aside to mention his name — in denunciation, this time, not praise.
None of this would have surprised the author who — inspired by God’s Spirit thousands of years ago — supplied insights recorded in the biblical book of Proverbs. Weinstein and his reputation would’ve been directly well-served, probably salvaged, had he perused chapters five and seven of the text; and applied them faithfully to his choices.
Sexual promiscuity? Proverbs’ writer darkly advises: Steer clear of it! In the end, horn-dog habits become “bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword” (5:4). The womanizer will forfeit to strangers, to “the cruel one”, his wealth, honor, labors and years (vss. 8-11).
In case the lesson hasn’t yet landed, a couple pages later he piles on more unvarnished caution: the guy led by his little head rather than his big one is like the ox stumbling toward destruction, the fool on his way to the stocks, the bird headed for the snare. “It [will] cost his life.” (7:22-23)
That passage bluntly specifies: sexual profligacy destroys multitudes. Some translations put it more specifically: “strong men” are ruined when testosterone runs amok.
“Strong men” like the Jewish patriarch Judah (Genesis 38); his descendent King David (2 Samuel 11); that monarch’s legendary scion Solomon who, though world renowned for his wisdom, was brought low, in significant part, by his clearly rapacious libido (I Kings 11). “Strong men” like prominent politicians (Where to begin? Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Anthony Weiner, Mark Sandford, David Vitter …) and weighty media/entertainment honchos of our day (Roger Ailes, Amazon’s Roy Price, recently Mark Halperin). “Strong men” like … Harvey Weinstein?
Yes, the tome Christians have revered as “God’s Word” for millennia –on the mark; affirmed again. As it has been over and over and over and …
We’re not talking about accidental, serendipitous perspicacity; y’know, of the broken-clock-right-twice-a-day variety. No, Judeo-Christian verities are borne out routinely, expandingly as time passes. With stunning consistency, over eons, cutting across careeningly divergent societies, slamming up against every assortment of circumstances and challenges, the substance of this “Book of Books” prevails.
That it is so much more than some religious mob’s randomly assembled scribblings is self-evident. In a palpable sense, these sacred writings are even self-verifying. Jesus Himself announced, “Wisdom is justified [i.e., proven right] by all her children [results].” (Luke 7:35)
I recall finally getting around to watching Martin Scorsese’s controversial The Last Temptation of Christ when it eventually made it to the TV screen. What struck me most, besides the general weirdness of the flick, was the vivid contrast evident in its dialogue: when this arguably blasphemous movie cribbed snippets from the actual Gospel narratives? Those moments maintained a riveting puissance. When it was the scriptwriter’s contributions providing the Son of God’s doings? Pretty thin stuff, indeed, conspicuously lacking whatever was inherent in those other sequences. The literal Word of God shone — even when plunked into an impious piece of cinema.
Just the other day, I came across testimony of a lifelong Jewish man, grandchild to a prominent Sudanese rabbi,
who eventually yielded to transforming faith in Christ. One major key to his conversion? He “was … challenged to read the New Testament, which he found ‘mind blowing’.” How often have I heard spins on that basic plotline? Curious person opens the Bible; exposed to its contents alone, he/she is won over, never to be the same. (How many former druggies started with John the Apostle’s “Revelation” — it reminded them of a “wild trip” — and continued on to meet that scroll’s main Subject Who, thereupon, delivered them from their addiction?)
International delegations flocked to the court of the afore-referenced Solomon to imbibe of his musings (1 King 10). The visitors were so impressed, they straightaway recognized divine involvement behind them. In this regard, that ruler stands as proxy for Scripture in general: to encounter it is to face something of manifestly heavenly origins.
I urge skeptics — so frequently dismissing the Bible without having ever personally and meaningfully cracked it — to take some time and read the Book. Do it with heart and intellect willing to entertain its merits. Then try to tell yourself it’s just another religious-themed hodge-podge.
And for Harvey Weinstein, this luminous hope remains: having helpfully illustrated for an ogling planet the foolishness of disregarding biblical guidance, you can still avail yourself of its lifeline – tossed to all men who, like you, have screwed up their lives: forgiveness, healing, restoration from a merciful God through the One Who has always been the center of the Book.