Summary: This sermon is a pastoral response to not just The Da Vinci Code, but all areas of our life.
Note: The first part of this sermon is actually a process that I went through this week in preparing for the message I had intended to preach about The Davinci Code.
Process: Last week, after I announced in the late service in Junction that I would be preaching this week on “The Davinci Code” and someone asked me why Preachers all across the country are preaching on a book that is “fiction”? That’s a great question, and normally I might not, though I do often preach sermons that I believe are timely. After Sept 11th, I responded with a sermon, or two. After the Tsunami; Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita I responded with a pastoral response. In fact, it may the best preaching that occurs when it is timely to our lives. And if preaching isn’t timely, then it probably shouldn’t be preached.
But the question is well taken, “Why preach on a book that is “fiction”? Though I may have used an illustration from it, I have never preached on Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” or “Piercing the Darkness”. I have never preached on any of the books from the “Left Behind” series. And those books too, like “The Davinci Code” are not found in the “religion” or even the “non-fiction” section, but rather they can be found in the “Fiction” section of your Library or Bookstore, or perhaps on the “Best Seller bookshelf”...
So why have I decided to divert from what I had previously planned and embark on a sermon that deals with a book and subsequent movie that was released this weekend. I was all prepared to hammer home my points against The Davinci Code, but in the process of answering this question I was forced to rexamine what I was about to do, but still be faithful to the Gospel. One reason that I was going to preach against The Davinci Code is that the author Dan Brown claims it to be “fact”. (1) On NBC Today, October 10th, 2005 “Dan Brown was asked by host Matt Lauer “How much of this book is based on reality, in terms of things that actually happened?” Brown emphatically replied “Absolutely all of it…is historical fact”. (1) On ABC Good Morning America, December 3rd, 2003 “Host Charlie Gipson said to Dan Brown, “If you were writing this as a non-fiction book, how would it have been different?” Brown responded, “I don’t think it would have”. USA Today reported “Historic fact with contemporary storyline” (1) (Bob Minzheshimer “Code Deciphers Interest in Religious History” December 11th, 2003, p. D1) So it is not that I want to preach about the book, but statements made compel me to address the issue. I also had to ask myself, why did I not respond to this book sooner, but why have I waited so long and now find myself responding to the movie and not the book?
Secondly, I am aware that other pastors across the nation have had pastoral responses on this issue. I am not responding because of someone else’s passion, but I feel myself lead to have a pastoral response to the theological issues “The Davinci Code” addresses. We live in a time where entire generations are un-churched and any “man on the street” interview would reveal people unable to say clearly who Mary Magdalene was, or what her relationship with Christ might be. I find that books like the “Left Behind” series did include fictional interpretation of the Scripture, but the interpretation did not largely challenge the divinity of Christ or what might be called mainstream theology about Him. “There is no doubt that Dan Brown has written a spell-binding novel. We all love a good story. Even more we love a “good conspiracy theory”.” (1) “The Davinci Code”, though an intriguing mystery novel, presents an interpretation that is in (places) direct opposition to core theological teachings.