Summary: It turns out that very little of The Da Vinci Code is based on history. This sermon examines only two issues: (1) The Truth about the Scriptures, and (2) The Truth about Jesus’ Deity.
Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, has sold some 43 million copies, making it the biggest-selling adult novel in history. With the release of the movie adaptation of the book on May 19, interest in this controversial tale has risen substantially.
A new nationwide survey by The Barna Group says that the book has impacted millions of lives—but perhaps not in the way that many Christians have imagined.
According to the Barna research, The Da Vinci Code has been read “cover to cover” by roughly 45 million adults in the U.S.A.—that’s one out of every five adults (20%)! That makes it the most widely read book with a spiritual theme, other than the Bible, to have been read by American adults.
The audience profile of the book is intriguing. Despite critical comments from the Catholic hierarchy, American Catholics are more likely than Protestants to have read it (24% versus 15%, respectively). Among Protestants, those associated with a mainline church are almost three times more likely than those associated with non-mainline Protestant congregations to have read the book.
Among the adults who have read the entire book, one out of every four (24%) said the book was either “extremely,” “very,” or “somewhat” helpful in relation to their “personal spiritual growth or understanding.” That translates to about 11 million adults who consider The Da Vinci Code to have been spiritually helpful.
The Barna study also explored whether or not the book caused people to change some of their religious beliefs. Among the 45 million who have read The Da Vinci Code, only 5%—which represents about 2 million adults—said that they changed any of their beliefs or religious views because of the book’s content.
“Before reading The Da Vinci Code people had a full complement of beliefs already in place, some firmly held and others loosely held,” explains George Barna, the author of numerous books about faith and culture. “Upon reading the book, many people encountered information that confirmed what they already believed. Many readers found information that served to connect some of their beliefs in new ways. But few people changed their pre-existing beliefs because of what they read in the novel. And even fewer people approached the book with a truly open mind regarding the controversial matters in question, and emerged with a new theological perspective. The book generates controversy and discussions, but it has not revolutionized the way that Americans think about Jesus, the Church or the Bible.”
“On the other hand,” says Barna, “any book that alters one or more theological views among 2 million people is not to be dismissed lightly. That’s more people than will change any of their beliefs as a result of exposure to the teaching offered at all of the nation’s Christian churches combined during a typical week.”
And so it is for this reason that I would like to address the issue in a sermon I am calling “Responding to The Da Vinci Code.”
This message will not be my normal exposition of a passage of Scripture. Rather, it is a topical message. However, as we begin I do want to begin by reading a passage of Scripture. Please follow along as I read to you from Psalm 25:4-5: