Summary: For us as Christians, The Da Vinci Code should spark questions… discussion… concern… but for many of us, I hope it also gives a measure of excitement at the opportunities it creates for spiritual conversation, speaking the real truth about Jesus in
Excerpt From: The Da Vinci Quest
3-Part Sermon Series
By: Josh McDowell © 2006
Josh McDowell’s 3-part sermon series titled “The Da Vinci Quest” was
developed to compliment a collection of Da Vinci equipping resources
released in March 2006.
For more information, visit josh.davinciquest.org.
(Read slowly and dramatically.)
(Pronunciation guide: Louvre=loove; Jacques=zhahks; Saunière=sown-YAIR;
Louvre Museum. Paris. 10:46 pm.
“Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery. He lunged for the nearest painting he could see, a Caravaggio. Grabbing the gilded frame, the seventy-six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Saunière collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canvas.
“As he had anticipated, a thundering iron gate fell near by, barricading the entrance to the suite. The parquet floor shook. Far off, an alarm began to ring.
“The curator lay a moment, gasping for breath, taking stock. I am still alive.”
You might recognize those opening lines from author Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code.
“Minutes later, elderly curator Jacques Saunière is dead, murdered by a massive albino monk in the Grand Gallery of one of the world’s most renowned art museums, the Louvre.”
Without giving away the plot, The Da Vinci Code revolves around three main characters:
Robert Langdon, middle-aged American professor, a Harvard expert in ancient religious symbols and their meanings.
Sophie Neveu (noo-VOH), young French codebreaker who works for the French equivalent the FBI.
Langdon and Neveu are mysteriously brought together to solve the murder of the late curator. As the plot thickens, they seek the help of Sir Leigh Teabing, wealthy Royal Historian of England, who for his whole life has sought to unearth a priceless ancient relic.
The murder inquiry quickly becomes a quest to expose a shocking ancient conspiracy—the greatest cover-up in human history—that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene… fathered a child… left a line of descendants still alive in Europe… and that our traditional, biblical picture of Jesus is wildly amiss from the real truth.
For us as Christians, The Da Vinci Code should spark questions… discussion… concern… but for many of us, I hope it also gives a measure of excitement at the opportunities it creates for spiritual conversation, speaking the real truth about Jesus in a fresh way.
We might disagree about whether to read The Da Vinci Code. Many regard the book as a captivating novel, nothing more and nothing less. Others are angered at what they call “a sackful of lies, an insult to the Christian faith.”
We might find it objectionable to see the movie. We might be reluctant to give support to the author, Dan Brown, or vote with our dollars that Hollywood should make more movies in the vein of The Da Vinci Code.
We might even be concerned that a sermon series about The Da Vinci Code needlessly exposes us to untruth. We fear that the book will sow dangerous doubt and confusion even in our own hearts.
But we can’t ignore this highly significant book and movie. There’s a way we can respond to it—by using it to engage others in spiritual conversation.
Let’s pray. God, help us understand the phenomenon of The Da Vinci Code. Whatever we think about the book and the movie as works of popular art, help us wrestle with how we can respond. Show us how we can even take advantage of this controversy to strengthen our own faith and help others discover the real truth about who Jesus is.
There’s no question that The Da Vinci Code book has engaged our culture— and the [upcoming] movie has rekindled that interest.
Many people judge it to be a spellbinding novel—easy to read, hard to put down, a genuine page-turner involving deep intrigue and endless twists. Some 40 million copies have been sold, with possibly more copies of the book sold in a single year than any work of fiction in history.
The movie is poised for an even wider impact. Tom Hanks, star. Ron Howard, director.
Pop art in the form of a book or movie doesn’t get much bigger. It’s a phenomenon. We’re hooked.
But reasons for concern about The Da Vinci Code are obvious. Couched within an action-packed plot, there’s a philosophy, a set of teachings, a skewed view of our faith and of Jesus that is far-flung from what we know in Scripture.
Within the context of that fast-paced plot, The Da Vinci Code lures us into a mire of imaginative teachings:
…That Christians don’t have the real story of Jesus
…That the institutional church is the enemy of spiritual truth
…That the genuine spiritual facts are guarded by secret societies
…That priceless works of classical art reveal these hidden messages for those who have the special knowledge to decipher them