Summary: This was part of our Da Vinci Code sermon series. We examined the Gnostic gospels, using primary sources and the early church fathers and contrasted them with the New Testament Gospels.
Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code
FCC – May 28, 2006
Introduction: Today we are wrapping up our 4 week sermon series on the Da Vinci Code. Why have we been talking about a book of fiction? Do you know that a week ago, the movie’s opening weekend brought in $77 million…that is second only second to the opening weekend of Star Wars episode III. Supposedly 45 million people have read the book, which makes it the 2nd most read book with a spiritual theme in America. It’s second only to the Bible. Wow. This book and movie are helping shape the spirituality of many in our culture!! So I’ve taking a month to take on the claims in the movie. I know that I have been teaching more than preaching, but I felt like it was paramount to do this.
We have looked at these questions:
o Can we trust the Bible?
o Is Jesus God?
o Was Jesus Married?
And today we are going to answer the question: “Which Gospel?” The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote that there was nothing new under the sun…isn’t that the truth! We are going to look at popular 21st century ideas that are as old as the 1st century. Gnosticism is 2000 years old, and is making an incredible comeback. It is very popular and shows up in modern New Age thinking. Let’s start with some definitions.
A definition of Gnosticism: “a pre-Christian and early Christian religious movement teaching that salvation comes by learning esoteric spiritual truths that free humanity from the material world, believed in this moment to be evil” (Encarta Dictionary).
A definition of Gnosis: The Greek word for "knowledge" used by the Gnostics to mean knowledge gained not through intellectual discovery but through personal experience or acquaintance which initiates one into esoteric mysteries. The experience of gnosis reveals to the initiated the divine spark within. "Gnosis" has a very different meaning in the New Testament which excludes esotericism and self-deification (www.equip.org).
A Brief Description of Gnosticism: Popular opinion often comes from obscure sources. Many conceptions about Jesus now current and credible in New Age circles are rooted in a movement of spiritual protest which, until recently, was the concern only of the specialized scholar or the occultist. This ancient movement — Gnosticism — provides much of the form and color for the New Age portrait of Jesus as the illumined Illuminator: one who serves as a cosmic catalyst for others’ awakening.
Gnosticism as a philosophy refers to a related body of teachings that stress the acquisition of "gnosis," or inner knowledge. The knowledge sought is not strictly intellectual, but mystical; not merely a detached knowledge of or about something, but a knowing by acquaintance or participation. This gnosis is the inner and esoteric mystical knowledge of ultimate reality. It discloses the spark of divinity within, thought to be obscured by ignorance, convention, and mere exoteric religiosity.
This knowledge is not considered to be the possession of the masses but of the Gnostics, the Knowers, who are privy to its benefits. While the orthodox "many" exult in the exoteric religious trappings which stress dogmatic belief and prescribed behavior, the Gnostic "few" pierce through the surface to the esoteric spiritual knowledge of God. The Gnostics claim the Orthodox mistake the shell for the core; the Orthodox claim the Gnostics dive past the true core into a nonexistent one of their own esoteric invention (www.equip.org).