LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Christians must know their Bibles so they can counter and correct popular false teachings such as those in the popular novel-turned-movie “The Da Vinci Code,” R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in the current edition of Decision magazine.
Scripture is the absolute authority for the Christian and should be studied diligently, Mohler said in a question-and-answer article in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association magazine’s July-August issue examining the authority of Scripture.
“Christians need to speak with humility but also with absolute courage and clarity in pointing people to Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible,” Mohler said. “In the end, we are left with only two options — either we believe in the Christ of the Bible or we leave everyone with the ability to create an imaginary Christ of his or her own wish. If the Bible is not our authoritative source, there is no authoritative source.”
There is widespread biblical illiteracy in the church, Mohler said, and while the majority in earlier generations knew many basic biblical facts about God and Christ, many modern churchgoers have little clue as to the central message of Scripture.
“They know it’s about God, and some know it’s about Christ, but beyond that, they have no real understanding of what the Bible is and how they are to obey it and know it,” Mohler said. “I think the biggest issue here is the failure of the church to teach its own people.”
An eclipse of expository preaching and sound teaching in churches is largely to blame for the loss of biblical knowledge, Mohler said, and this has left many Christians susceptible to false teaching such as “The Da Vinci Code.” The fiction novel, written by Dan Brown, portrays Jesus as being married and asserts that there are other authentic gospels in addition to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
“There has been a sidelining of expository preaching and solid Bible teaching in many churches,” Mohler said. “After successive generations that seem to know less and less about more and more, we now have Christians who have only a vague awareness of the Bible. This is to our shame, and if we do not recover the centrality of the pulpit and of the Bible-teaching ministry of the church, the situation will go from bad to worse.
“I am not at all surprised that untold numbers of secular readers of The Da Vinci Code find the novel interesting. I am greatly saddened beyond that to know that many regular church attendees know little about how to counter arguments presented in Dan Brown’s book.”
When speaking of the truth of God’s Word, Mohler reminded that Christians must assert clearly that the Bible is objectively and eternally true for every culture and every generation. This is particularly important since the present culture largely denies the existence of objective, transcendent truth, he said.
“When we talk about the Word of God, we must be clear that we understand it to be objectively true,” Mohler said. “It’s not just a matter of our subjective reading and application to our own lives. It was true before we read it and it will be true after we’ve dead. Its truth is eternal, and its truth is not rooted in our own verification process or our personal affirmation — it is rooted in the very character and existence of the God who speaks.
“That flies in the face of postmodern ideas that all truth is socially or individually constructed. When we are reading the Scripture, we are not constructing truth — we are being addressed by truth.”
Mohler pointed out that cultural phenomena such as the The Da Vinci Code create important opportunities for believers to discuss the Bible and its teaching with those who have read the book or seen the movie. He urged evangelicals to learn the Scriptures so they are ready to respond to falsehood with the truth of God’s love to sinners through Christ.
“This is a great opportunity for Christian witness,” he said, “because as a result of a Hollywood movie millions of people are going to be talking about Christ and why He came. We need to be ready to give an answer and to clarify and to point to the truth concerning Christ.
“We need to be ready to say, ‘The truth of Jesus and His Gospel is far more exhilarating than anything one would find in a conspiracy thriller.’”