Summary: Part 1 of a 4 part of series on topics that tend to divide people from each other and from God.
THE GREAT DIVIDE - PART 1
“The Da Vinci Code: Is it real?”
The book has sold over 40 million copies, it has been on the best seller list for almost 3 years and is presently the New York Times Best Seller as the #1 paperback fiction. The movie, which I saw last Friday, is expected to pull in huge numbers for it’s first weekend. What makes The Da Vinci Code so popular? I think it’s popularity rests in at least two reasons. And let me say something from the very start, it may surprise you. You will not hear me today try to discourage you from reading the book or going to see the movie. The fact is that the book is a well written, fast paced, “can’t put down” thriller. If you like authors like John Grisham for example, you will enjoy this novel. The movie, starring Tom Hanks is good, it’s long but it makes no overall assertion of facts like the book does. Now, I said that I thought the popularity of The Da Vinci Code rested in at least two reasons. One, it is a good story, but there’s another reason.
The book is very controversial. Dan Brown has managed to do something that is rarely ever done. He has managed to unite both the liberal thinkers, most of them in the art world, and the conservative thinkers, most of them in the religious and history world and has brought them together in condemning his book. And indeed there are a number of reasons why all these groups are upset. We’ll get to that in just a moment.
Let me stop here to explain why we are talking about this topic. We begin today a series of messages we are calling “The Great Divide.” These messages will be about topics that divide believers from non-believers, seekers from agnostics, some of these topics even divide believers, depending on their conservative or liberal theological orientation. It’s true: There are some topics that are central to Christianity and these same topics can form a chasm for people in their faith. So, this series will have two main purposes: 1. To address core values about Christianity that those seeking the truth may wonder about. Hopefully we’ll provide some answers. 2. To help those who do believe address these issues that are often asked by seekers or unbelievers. And so next week we will look at the question, “Is the Bible credible?” Should I trust Scripture and if so what does that mean? In two weeks we’ll ask “Does my faith background matter?” Is the way I was brought up religiously, or is what I believe really critical as long as I believe something? And then we’ll conclude by asking, “Would a loving God really send people to hell?” Aren’t those two things, “loving” and “hell” oxymorons? How could they ever go together?
But this morning we want to start with a culturally relevant and incredibly dividing topic by asking: “The Da Vinci Code: Is it real?” So, let’s get back to today’s topic and start by:
I. SIZING UP THE DA VINCI CODE:
Some of you might be asking, “Tim, what is all the fuss about? What is the Da Vinci Code? Isn’t it just a novel? How could anything in a work of fiction divide anyone?” Well, it’s not because of the characters or even the plot line. It’s because, the author, Dan Brown, asserts that the background for his story is historically accurate. In fact, in a study by Lee Strobel, he has met many who are reading the The Da Vinci Code and are assuming that the claims about Jesus and the church in the book are true. They take it seriously because Dan Brown says that the background for the story is accurate.