The Da Vinci Code: The Church is Mobilizing! Let’s finish the job
Published: 22 May 2006 (GMT+10)
Across our nations, evangelical churches are mobilizing against a blatant attack on the reliability of the Word of God—Dan Brown’s fictional murder mystery, The Da Vinci Code.
Churches are not just defensive, but launching vigorous evangelistic campaigns to capitalize on the opportunity provided by the film’s release.
My pastor announced a series of sermons on The Da Vinci Code. He has designed the first one to equip our congregation. The subsequent sermons are intended for the ears of our friends and neighbours—whom we would invite along to church, having first accompanied them to watch the movie.
One survey group in the US found 68% of protestant churches planned to respond to The Da Vinci Code with some form of evangelism.1
The Da Vinci Code, which has sold 40 million copies, begins with a murder in the Louvre Museum. A professor, called in for assistance, discovers clues in the art of Leonardo da Vinci that Christianity is based on lies and a cover-up.
The Da Vinci Code says that the Bible got its history wrong: Jesus did not ascend into heaven; he left an heir by his wife, Mary Magdalene; the Bible as we know it was pieced together by a 4th century Roman emperor to repress women in the Catholic Church.
A pastor from Lyttleton, Colorado, quoted an e-mail from someone who had read Brown’ book:
"Is the last 25 years I’ve been a Christian all a lie? Is everything I was raised to believe just made up for the money? … Please help me … I’m brokenhearted."1
(See response to another casualty of Da Vinci)
Churches realize that if people believe The Da Vinci Code they will dismiss the Christian faith as a sham. So churches are powerfully and positively defending the truth of the Bible.
The Sydney Anglicans, an evangelical Diocese in Australia, are providing special Da Vinci resources for congregations on their website.
One church is hosting a dinner for media workers to consider the issues raised by the book.
Focus on the Family in the US has enlisted 3,000 churches to show a simulcast on the issue the weekend the movie opens.
Churches are even advertising their sermons in the cinemas where the film is being screened.
Pastors are discovering that sermons on the The Da Vinci Code need research. They find they have to deal with historical, archeological and theological evidence about key elements of Brown’ conspiracy theory: The Gnostic gospels, the Council of Nicea, the Roman Emperor Constantine, the Priory of Sion. (See our web article published last year and our ‘sneak preview’ of the June issue of Creation magazine—the landmark article by Russell Grigg.)
Does the release of the Da Vinci film mark a watershed in the thinking of evangelical pastors? Instead of concentrating on ‘feel-good’ and ‘self-help’ sermons, pastors are defending the faith and answering the questions thrown out by the culture.
And guess what? With pastors now defending the history of the Bible, people are attending church in droves.
Darrell Bock, lecturer in New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, thinks the The Da Vinci Code is prompting a renewed interest in basic theology. ‘When I go around the country lecturing on New Testament history, I’m pretty excited if I get an audience of 15. But if I say I’m speaking on The Da Vinci Code, I can almost guarantee an audience of 600. And it’ basically the same lecture.’ (See free flyer from Tekton, which is also avalaible in Spanish)
Now that the church is mobilizing and equipping, let’s expose the other fictional histories in our culture that are telling people the Bible can’t be trusted. Dan Brown is just the latest side-kick taking a swipe at biblical history.
Every day at our secular universities, at our high schools, on the television, in the newspapers, our cultural story-tellers are shouting that the Bible’s history is wrong.
According to them, God did not create this world but it evolved by itself; there never was an Adam or Eve but we evolved from apes; we did not fall from a perfect paradise but evolved from a single cell and are still evolving; death is not the result of sin but part of the evolutionary pattern; the world was never judged by a global flood but geological processes worked over billions of years.
The voices of the knockers are never-ending. Is that surprising, when virtually every Christian doctrine finds its origin in Genesis? To compromise Genesis with evolution and millions of years would be like marrying Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with The Da Vinci Code. Why would any Christian do that?
Yet, many Christian leaders have not seen the importance of defending the true history of Genesis, or the damage being done to the church by these false ideologies. Until now they have not bothered to respond to these kinds of threats.
But, now that Christians can see how a belief in a false history destroys the Christian faith, and how an active defence strengthens the church, it time to rethink attitudes. It is time to reclaim the ground.
Now that pastors and leaders understand the need for research, for meaty messages, to deal with questions people are asking, and the power of capitalizing on current attacks, let us now move to defend the authority of the Bible against the attack of evolution and millions of years. If believers are of one mind (2 Corinthians 13:11) on this, what a difference it would make.
- Simon,S., ‘Da Vinci Code’ Now a Tool to Win Christian Converts, <www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-davinci11may11,0,5907831,full.story?coll=la-home-nation>, 15 May 2006.