Summary: Are you going to believe Brown or the Bible? This sermon focuses on the facts of how we got our Bible and why we can believe it.
Cracking the DaVinci Code: Can You Trust the Bible?
Rev. Brian Bill
Note: All of our sermons are also available as audio files and downloadable manuscripts at www.pontiacibible.org.
It’s easy to get confused about the Bible. Listen to how some children answered questions about Scripture:
• Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt during the day, but a ball of fire at night.
• The fifth commandment is to humor thy father and mother.
• Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the Battle of Geritol.
• The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.
These responses are funny but as we’ve been learning in our series called, “Cracking the DaVinci Code,” there’s nothing funny about the claims that Dan Brown is making in his book. Two weeks ago we pointed out that one reason the book is so dangerous is because of this statement found on the very first page: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” The pages that follow attack the very foundations of our faith. Last week we looked at how our Savior is demeaned; today we’ll study how the Scriptures are denied. Dan Brown does not just get confused like kids sometimes do; the characters in his book distort and even despise the Bible. Let’s remember that this is a novel with a lot of novel ideas, or as one pastor described it: “As a fictional mystery book, it’s a page turner. As a factual history book, it’s a fictional mystery book.”
I’ve been pleased to see that people are starting to see the truth behind the fiction. This past week, the Pantagraph ran a front page story with this headline: “How true is Christian history in ‘DaVinci’?” (5/1/06). The article quoted both conservative and liberal scholars who are asking questions like: “Why didn’t he get his facts straight?” and have pointed out that Brown has “wildly misinterpreted” early Christianity. CNN.com did a great job exposing more errors, including ones that deal with the divinity of Jesus, the reliability of the New Testament, and even exploded the “Magdalene myth” that Jesus was married (5/1/06). This past Sunday night 60 Minutes investigated Brown’s claims about the secretive Priory of Sion and concluded that it was a “magnificent hoax” and “pure invention.” This is critical because Brown has built his case on Leonardo DaVinci being a member of this secret society, which according to 60 Minutes, wasn’t set up until 1956!
I’ve been asked several questions this past week. I’m going to wait until next week to answer the ones that have to deal with Mary Magdalene but I will tackle two today.
Q: Why is the painting of the Mona Lisa on the cover of the DaVinci Code book?
A: The book opens with the murdered body of a museum curator lying near this famous painting. According to Brown, this painting also contains secret codes left by Leonardo DaVinci. Art historians doubt this claim.
Q: Should I read the book before going to see the movie?
A: You might not like my answer but here goes. I’m not sure most of us need to do either. The more I study this material the more I’m convinced that it is deceptive and dangerous. I’m not recommending that you read the book or watch the movie unless you are properly prepared and sense that that is what God wants you to do. One idea I heard this week is that we should “othercott” the film when it opens in 12 days. Instead of seeing the DaVinci Code, go and watch another movie that opens that same weekend, like Over the Hedge. That will get Hollywood’s attention.
A friend of mine that I’ve gotten to know at Champion Fitness taped a National Geographic special for me called, “Unlocking DaVinci’s Code.” He’s been listening to our sermons on tape and I’ve been watching the specials he tapes for me. I sat down and watched this two-hour expose this week and applauded as one claim after another was dismantled by art experts, historians, and theologians. I did come away however, with the feeling that Dan Brown really believes the stuff he wrote. He says that he started out as a “skeptic and now is a believer in Mary Magdalene and the holy blood.” I also heard him say that the stories in the Bible are partial and edited and can’t really be trusted.
Friends, the battle over the Bible is nothing new! Today we’re going to ask and answer the question: Can you trust the Bible? When it all comes down to it, are you going to believe Brown or the Bible? Before we tackle this topic, I’d like to recommend one more resource. A couple PBC members have donated about 120 copies of Josh McDowell’s new book called, “The DaVinci Code: A Quest for Answers” and are making them available free of charge. It’s written as a dialogue between three people and in vintage McDowell fashion, is filled with footnotes and references for further study. It would be perfect to give to a seeking friend. I highly recommend chapter two if you’d like to do further research on our subject today.