Summary: Separating fact from fiction is not easy but it is necessary when it comes to the DaVinci Code.
Cracking the DaVinci Code:
Separating Fact from Fiction
Rev. Brian Bill
My mom is an avid reader and a member of a book club. A couple years ago she read the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown and was deeply disturbed. She asked me some questions and I couldn’t answer them because I hadn’t read it. I asked if I could borrow her copy and started reading it. The book is a page-turner, filled with mystery and intrigue, murder and investigations. About halfway through, when I was hooked on the characters and the suspenseful storyline, Dan Brown introduces a complicated conspiracy and church cover-up that takes direct aim at the founder and foundation of Christianity.
I understood clearly why my mom was bothered by the book. We sat down and discussed it and I assured her that Dan Brown is not a theologian or a church historian and that he had mixed more fiction than fact in his novel. I pointed out that this book makes direct attacks on the church, the deity of Christ, the reliability of Scripture, argues for goddess worship and is filled with Gnostic nonsense, so it’s no wonder she was unsettled. Albert Mohler has said, “If you thought the Last Temptation of Christ was explosive, the DaVinci Code is thermonuclear.”
The reason why so many people have been confused by this book is because instead of making a disclaimer at the beginning like many authors do, the author actually makes a proclaimer. On the page before the prologue, Brown has written the word FACT in bold capital letters and then describes the “Priory of Sion,” indicating that among other famous people, Leonardo da Vinci was a member. He then describes a group called Opus Dei. According to the research I’ve done, Brown is not totally accurate with these descriptions. Perhaps most insidious of all is the statement made at the bottom of this page: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”
Chuck Colson warns that this book is “effectively affirming the unbelief of nonbelievers, turning off honest seekers, and even confusing and disillusioning many Christians.” With over 40 million copies sold and translated into 44 languages, some estimate that about 1/3 of Americans have read this book. It’s been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 150 weeks, and has moved back to number one with the release of the paperback edition just in time for Easter. Our local Wal-Mart had a huge display filled with these paperbacks but there are not many left. They had been selling on average eleven books a week for the last five weeks. But in the last week alone, they have been selling nine books a day. In Canada, the National Geographic Channel commissioned a survey in 2005 and discovered that 32% of Canadians who have read the novel believe that the theories outlined in it are true.
Once the movie comes out on May 19th, some experts believe that we will see 10 times the interest that there is now. When the three big “H’s” converge – Hollywood, Howard and Hanks – our culture will be inundated with all things DaVinci. And because director Ron Howard (Opie and Richie) has teamed up with good guy actor Tom Hanks (the voice of Woody in Toy Story), this material will become even more believable when it hits the big screen.
You may be wondering why we are focusing on this topic for five weeks. If you think we’ve lost our way, you’ll be happy to know that we’re returning to our verse-by-verse study of Romans in June. I see at least three purposes behind this series.
• To equip believers. I’m excited for the opportunity to teach some theology, chew on some church history and get back to the basics of how we got our Bible in the first place. It’s time to contend for our faith and not be shaken by all the counterfeit stuff like DaVinci and the Gospel of Judas that is appearing today. The words of Jude 3-4 speak right to our situation: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” There is no reason to be afraid. We have truth on our side. Let’s be like the Bereans who “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).