KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP)–Dan Brown’s staggering bestseller “The Da Vinci Code” comes to the screen in May 2006. The downside: Many nonbelievers will take the fictitious story to be truth. The upside: Some will ask Christians questions.
But, are we ready for those questions?
Directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Cinderella Man), the movie version starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Ian McKellen began filming June 30 in Paris and is set to wrap on Oct. 19 in England. It concerns a covert religious organization that will stop at nothing to protect a secret that threatens to overturn 2,000 years of accepted dogma. The book and now the film claim that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had a child in that union, and a clandestine society once headed by Leonardo Da Vinci has protected this information for centuries against a threatened Catholic hierarchy.
According to “Cracking Da Vinci’s Code” by James L. Garlow and Peter Jones, many of the assertions about Jesus in the book come from a fictional character named Leigh Teabing.
“Leigh Teabing is an expert in the ancient trail leading to the Holy Grail,” Garlow and Jones write. “A former British Royal Historian, Teabing moved to France to personally search through churches for clues leading to the Grail.”
The Da Vinci Code narrative reads as if it were, well, gospel. At one point in the book, Teabing says, “[A]lmost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.”
So, is this film a threat to the Christian community?
“The real threat of this heresy is not so much on the Christian community as it is on the lost world,” Jim Melrose, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Tonganoxie, Kan., said. “Those who reject the truth seek out a lie to cling to…. Sadly, it will impact many carnal and immature Christians who are not grounded in their faith.”
Patrick Moody, pastor of Northwood Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., concurred. “It will simply cloud the issue and confuse those who are ignorant of the facts,” Moody said.
But are the disputable topics dangerous to the faith?
“In Romans 14, Paul talks about those who are ‘weak in the faith,'” Melrose said. “[In Ephesians 4:14] Paul also mentions those who are ‘tossed about by every wind of doctrine’ and he mentions that this is caused by the craftiness of those whose intentions are to lead astray. There is no danger to him who has built his house upon the rock.”
Said Moody: “Actually, Christianity’s legacy is persecution. But this too shall pass. History is the great corrector of misinterpretations.”
Well then, how can Christians prepare themselves for the onslaught of theological queries?
In light of the “Da Vinci Code,” Christian shepherds are warning the flock to know God’s Word and to study the history of the Christian faith.
Billy Graham reported in his syndicated newspaper column, “I know of no reputable Bible scholar or historian (Christian or non-Christian) who would agree with its claims about Jesus or take it seriously. There simply is no historical evidence to support its alleged ‘discoveries’ about Jesus: nor is there any evidence at all that Christians have ‘covered up’ the truth about Jesus.”
Graham added, “In the last days before Christ’s return, according to Paul, people ‘will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths’” (2 Timothy 4:4).
There are several books that deal with the specifics of Dan Brown’s controversial book while pointing out factual Christian heritage. Though this is not an endorsement of each of the following publications — as I have not read every one of them — they are available through most Christian bookstores. Ask your pastor for recommendations.
— “Cracking Da Vinci’s Code: You’ve Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts,” James L. Garlow, Peter Jones.
— “Breaking The Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone is Asking,” Darrell L. Bock.
— “De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code,” Amy Welborn.
— “The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing Errors in the Da Vinci Code,” Carl E. Olson, Sandra Miesel.
— “The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Challenging Response to the Bestselling Novel,” Richard Abanes.
— “Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code,” Bart D. Ehrman.
To read the first article in this series, go to www.moviereporter.com and click the column button.
Books on “The Da Vinci Code” are available at www.LifewayStores.com by entering “Da Vinci Code” in the search function.