Summary: Two years ago, author Dan Brown wrote a novel that debuted at the top of the NY Times bestseller list. The Da Vinci Code has sold over 10 million copies, it’s been translated into over 40 languages. It’s a book that has become a catalyst for all kinds of
[This sermon is contributed by Hal Seed of New Song Church in Oceanside, California and of www.PastorMentor.com. Hal is the author of numerous books including The God Questions and The Bible Questions. If you are interested in The Bible Questions Church-wide Campaign, please visit and watch Hal’s video at www.PastorMentor.com.]
The DaVinci Code: Faith, Fact, or Fiction?
With so much information available to us today, it’s not hard to get confused is it?
Two years ago, author Dan Brown wrote a novel that debuted at the top of the NY Times bestseller list. And it has been at or near the top of that list every week since.
So we are going to do something different today than we have ever done. We’re going to discuss this book.
The Da Vinci Code has sold over 10 million copies, it’s been translated into over 40 languages. This Friday’s edition of the USA Today had a two page spread about how every church, museum and chateau mentioned in the book have now become major tourist attractions throughout Europe.
This kind of attention is not unprecedented. Clancy and Grisham have sold as many copies and created as much chatter with some of their works.
But a few months ago, one of our Board members convinced me to talk to you about this book because this book is different.
It’s a book that has become a catalyst for all kinds of questions.
Questions about the church.
Questions about Jesus Christ.
Questions about God.
All of a sudden, lots of Americans, and lots of New Songers are asking questions that I haven’t heard since seminary. Questions about the Bible, about the ancient church councils, about the Gnostics, questions about books like the Gospel of Thomas.
Dan Brown makes some claims about these sorts of things, and he makes some claims for historical accuracy. On page 1 he says:
All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate. – Dan Brown, the Da Vinci Code, p. 1
As you read the book, you begin to wonder if Mr. Brown has more in mind that merely making money and entertaining readers. More on that later.
If you haven’t read the book, you might be interested in knowing that it will come out in movie form next year. Ron Howard and Columbia Pictures are producing it, and Russell Crowe is rumored to be the leading man. So when the movie comes out, you will hear about it. Some are predicting that it will have a wider influence than The Passion.
The Da Vinci Code is a well-written mystery, based on a conspiracy. And though fascinating to read about the unsuspecting Harvard professor, the energetic French policeman, the Royal British Knight, and the Albino Monk-turned-assassin (nod at me if you’ve read the book), and of course the heroine of the book, “Sophie” whose name means “wisdom,” in Greek. As you read you recognize that this is something that is changing the way people think.
It’s a plot about the Holy Grail. It you’ve read it and you’ve seen “Indiana Jones and the Search for the Holy Grail,” you know that Harrison Ford and Sean Connery had it wrong, the Holy Grail is not a cup. It’s a woman. A woman with a huge secret that has been covered up for the last 1700 years.
To understand what the book is talking about, you need some background in three areas. So let me tell you three stories. (I left you an entire blank page on the back of your message notes in case you want to do some free drawing and writing of what we’re about to cover.)
The first story is the story of The Crown, the Council, and the Creed.
Many of you already know part of this story because of our recent series on history.
The story of the Crown, the Council and the Creed is the story of Constantine.
The Crown belongs to Constantine. Constantine adopted Christianity in 312 AD and legalized it for all of the Western Roman Empire.
The Council is the Council of Nicaea.
As he consolidated his power, Constantine found that there were disagreements in his realm about the nature of the Son of God. The problem was that a leader of the church of North Africa, a man named “Arius,” was teaching that Jesus was God, but a different kind of God than the Father.
As a new Christian, Constantine said, “I can help sort this out.” So he paid the expenses for 300 bishops from across his realm to come together and council about what was true and what wasn’t about the nature of the Son of God.
Arius and his followers believed that Jesus was God, but that he was a created God (as opposed to God the Father, who was eternally pre-existent.) – Are you following this? This is a little heady, but we’ll lighten up in a minute.