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Summary: That’s what we’re going to find out in this new series on The Da Vinci Code. Garry Poole and I traveled to Europe to investigate the sites of Dan Brown’s story, but our biggest surprise occurred in Lincoln Cathedral. That’s where director Ron Howard filme

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Cracking the Da Vinci Code

Part I: Do the Winners Write History?

Lee Strobel

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[Note: This message was immediately preceded by the video segment from Session 1 of the Discussing the Da Vinci Code DVD, available at www.outreach.com]

That’s what we’re going to find out in this new series on The Da Vinci Code. Garry Poole and I traveled to Europe to investigate the sites of Dan Brown’s story, but our biggest surprise occurred in Lincoln Cathedral. That’s where director Ron Howard filmed scenes for the movie because he had been denied admittance to Westminster Abby.

We walked through the massive front door and down a corridor, opening a creaky door and seeing some impressive artwork. From a distance, one piece really caught my eye – a beautiful marble statue that could have dated back from the 16th Century.

But as I examined it more closely, something was amiss. I reached out and picked it up – and it was as light as a feather! It was made of Styrofoam! It turns out that Ron Howard had left behind some of the props that he created to make the inside of the cathedral look like the interior of Westminster Abby. I looked at a beautiful fresco painted on a stone wall in the room – but when I touched it, it turned out the fresco and the stone wall were both painted on canvas! I knocked on what looked like an 18th century monument – and it was made out of plywood.

Ron Howard had been doing what Hollywood does best – creating illusions. This was merely movie-making trickery to fool movie-goers into thinking these props were real artwork.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this sort of Hollywood illusion. But Dan Brown claims in The Da Vinci Code that there’s a more insidious illusion that has been perpetrated for centuries by Christians.

You heard me describe on that video some of the biggest allegations made by Brown. To sum it up, one character in the book says, “Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.”

The book claims you can’t trust the four Gospels in the Bible – and we’ll deal with that in the second part of this series. It makes the sensational allegation that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that she was supposed to have run the church and that Christianity has systematically suppressed women through the centuries – which will be the topics of the third installment. And it says Jesus never claimed He was the Son of God and, in fact, wasn’t considered divine until he was “upgraded” to a deity in the 4th century – which will be answered in the final week. These four weeks correspond to the Discussing the Da Vinci Code curriculum that many of you are using in your small groups.

Some of you might be wondering, “Four weeks? Why are you devoting all this energy to refuting a novel? Come on – it’s just fiction!” But the truth is, The Da Vinci Code is more than just another novel. For one thing, it’s one of the biggest-selling novels in history, with 45 million copies in print. And, frankly, it’s a skillfully-written page-turner that keeps readers glued to its pages. But more importantly, Brown mixes fact and fiction in such a clever way that people don’t know where reality leaves off and fantasy begins.


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