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Da Vinci Code a Calculated Attack on Biblical Christianity

Written by Prof Johan Malan.

The following excerpts from articles clearly reveal the dangers of deception that are contained in Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code:

 

Attacks on the Person of Jesus Christ

In his article, A Study of the Book The Da Vinci Code, Dr. Errol Wagner says, among others:

“The past few decades has seen the rise of attacks on Christianity in general and on the person of Jesus Christ in particular. These attacks have come from without and within the church... Now we have the book The Da Vinci Code, where questions are raised concerning the deity of Christ and the trustworthiness of the Gospels.

“Here is the opening sentence in the preface of this book: ‘FACT: All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in the novel are accurate.’ In other words, Dan Brown wants us to take his book seriously – it is fiction dressed up as fact. In his book he looks at the Gnostic Gospels, the Council of Nicea, the canonization of the New Testament, the conversion of Constantine and the paintings of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. He analyzes the origin, nature and activities of Opus Dei, a Catholic sect, and the Priory of Sion along with the relationship of Jesus Christ with Mary Magdalene.

“All of these are central to this novel. Many Christians have become confused because of his assertions... Should we take this book seriously? Yes. Even though this book is full of historical, factual inaccuracies, don’t forget we live in a biblically illiterate age and a time when biblical Christianity is under attack. There are many leaders who are espousing a new Christianity that fits in with today’s post-modern, new age philosophy, a new syncretistic religion with a new morality – or better still, a sanctified immorality. It is through books like The Da Vinci Code that this new religion is being promoted...

“As one reads this novel one finds that Brown blurs the lines between history and fiction, giving the impression that they are one and the same thing and that Christianity is based on a lie. What is the proof? A Gnostic gospel and Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper where he contends that the person sitting next to Jesus was a woman, namely Mary Magdalene. What he overlooks in this connection is that there is a long tradition of representing the beloved disciple with fair skin and light or red hair. Let us say, for the sake of argument that the figure is Mary Magdalene, then where is the twelfth apostle? In any case, whatever Da Vinci had in mind, that is irrelevant to what actually happened at the Last Supper, we do not base our understanding of what happened on a painting from the 16th Century.

“Furthermore, it is claimed that Mary's reputation as a prostitute was fabricated by church leaders to undercut her influence, and that of women in general, in the early church. The real story was kept by a secret society called "The Priory of Sion," to which many famous Europeans, such as Leonardo da Vinci, belonged.

“Brown makes other claims about the historic origins of Christianity and its theological developments. The central claim that his novel makes about Christianity is that ‘almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false’. Why? Because of a single meeting of bishops in 325 at the city of Nicea in modern-day Turkey. There, he argues, church leaders who wanted to consolidate their power base, created a divine Christ and an infallible Scripture – both of them novelties that had never before existed among Christians.

“Brown questions the authority of the New Testament as we have it. To support his story, he claims that the canonical Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are not the earliest Gospels. The earliest gospels are the suppressed Gnostic Gospels, like the Gospel of Philip or the Gospel of Mary. This claim is made more than once in this book.

“There is no credible evidence these other Gospels existed before or during the time that the New Testament Gospels were written. The Gnostic Gospels were written late in the second century or even the third century and give evidence of the development of some serious heresies. Since Gnostic thought only became prominent in the middle and later parts of the second century, it is not surprising that the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary did not arise earlier.

“What Brown overlooks is the fact that the human process of canonization had progressed for centuries before Nicea, resulting in a nearly completed canon of the New Testament before Nicea or even before Constantine’s legalization of Christianity in 313. Along with clarifying their understanding of the Person of Christ, the early church fathers asked which documents being circulated and read in the early church congregations could be trusted. For this reason the Gnostic Gospels, when they arose were never even recognized as authoritative either by the Eastern or Western Church.

“In The Da Vinci Code, Leigh Teabing argues: ‘Fortunately for historians…some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950’s hidden in a cave near Qumran …. And of course the Coptic Scrolls in 1945. In addition to telling the true Grail story, these documents speak of Christ’s ministry in very human terms….The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda—to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base.’

“What Brown fails to say is that the Dead Sea Scrolls have nothing Christian in them. They are the documents and library of early Jews who lived at the Dead Sea. No Christian document has been found there – they do not speak of Christ’s ministry at all – a glaring untruth.

“What about the Coptic Scrolls? Although they refer to NT incidents, they do not critique the NT. Thus, these Gospels were not suppressed or destroyed, they were simply not recognized.

“The Da Vinci Code proves that some misguided theories never entirely fade away – they just appear in a different disguise. Brown’s claims resemble those of Arius and many others throughout the history of the church, who have contradicted the united testimony of the apostles and the early church they built. Those witnesses have always confessed that Jesus Christ was and remains God Himself. It did not take ancient councils to make this true; they merely acknowledged and clarified this truth.”

A Resurgence of Ancient Heresies

In his article, The Da Vinci Code: Ancient Heresies for Modern Audiences, Dr. Larry Spargimino says:

“The world has been looking for convincing proof that the Bible is not the Word of God. Scholars, scientists and researchers have been searching for credible reasons to reject the claims of Scripture. The public is ravenously hungry for such information. If the Bible is not the Word of God people are free to choose their lifestyles and behaviours without fear of punishment in this life or the next... Presenting Christ as a mere mortal deity, Brown’s novel, which he claims is impeccably researched and historically accurate, reinforces the claims of heretics and apostates...

“According to a recent Reuters report, The Da Vinci Code has been on nationwide bestseller lists almost continually since it was first published by Doubleday in 2003, including 87 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Around New Year 2005, more than 10 million copies had been sold. Brown’s novel, along with Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, is now molding the thinking and beliefs of millions... Brown’s views will receive even wider dissemination on May 19, 2006, the release date for an upcoming movie adaptation of this best-selling mystery.

“The novel opens with the murder of an elderly curator at the Louvre, the world famous museum in Paris, France. The curator is harbouring a secret that, if revealed, would destroy the very foundations of Christianity. In his dying moments the curator leaves a series of numeric and cryptographic clues that would decode the fatal secret. He dies in symbolic position at the foot of the Mona Lisa.

“The investigation of the murder produce puzzling clues that lead to the Holy Grail. As it turns out, the Grail isn’t the cup that Christ drank out of at the Last Supper, but Mary Magdalene, the true Grail who held the blood of Jesus in her womb while bearing His children. The Church, fearing that the truth would undermine its authority, presented Mary as a prostitute and altered the documents reporting Christ’s marriage to her in an attempt to defuse any claims that Christ has a surviving bloodline and that He was no more than a mere man. The central claim that Brown’s novel makes about the Christian faith is that almost everything we learned about Jesus is false.

“There are several issues raised by the novel. For one thing, it raises the issue of the reliability of the New Testament. Are there books missing from the New Testament? Do we have an incomplete Bible that needs to be filled out by ancient Gnostic gospels that are highly compatible with New Age teachings?

“The novel also raises the issue of the identity of Jesus. Is the Jesus of faith, of whom we read in the canonic New Testament, different than the allegedly real Jesus of history? The novel argues that the historical Jesus was upgraded to the status of the Son of God by the fourth century Council of Nicea...

“Brown’s novel also relies heavily in information contained in the so-called “lost” Gnostic Gospels of the Bible. First off, let it be said that there is not the slightest proof that any gospels have ever been lost, or that some important books are missing from the New Testament. The body of written Scripture which we know as the New Testament existed centuries before any secret, lost Gnostic gospels ever appeared. Though church councils in the fourth century gave official recognition to the canon of Scripture (the list of officially recognized, authoritative writings), the New Testament churches possessed a functional canon by the end of the first century.

“We see evidence of this in the New Testament itself. In 2 Peter 3:16, which is considered by most reputable scholars to have been penned around A.D. 60, Peter calls Paul’s writings ‘Scripture.’ And in 1 Timothy 5:18 Paul refers to a passage in the Gospel of Luke and calls it ‘Scripture.’ We must repeat that in giving the list of New Testament books the councils simply recognized, in an official manner, books that had been used as authoritative Scripture since the first century. No books were added to the canon of Scripture that were not already in use.

“Proponents of the views articulated by Brown—he’s not the only one with these heretical ideas—cite passages from the Gnostic gospels that Jesus had a wife... However, the Bible never says that He was married. The canonical gospels are much earlier than the Gnostic gospels which suggest that He was. There are no irrefutable reasons to accept the testimony of the latter against the former. The Bible never says that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.

“The historical reliability of the New Testament is compelling and convincing. Those individuals who would neglect, or contradict it on the basis of folk tales and Gnostic ramblings show that they are not much interested in truth... In his instructions to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote about religious scam artists who would sell their fairy tales as credible truth: ‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables’ (2 Tim. 4:3-4). The Da Vinci Code is proof that we should ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 3).”

‘Bring it on!’ say UK Churches

Far from being threatened by the book and film, thousands of UK churches are making The Da Vinci Code a strategic part of their Spring programmes. These are the surprising findings from a new survey, sponsored by Congregational and General Insurance, sent out to 4000 church ministers and members before this year’s National Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) to be held at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, UK from May 9-11.

“More than three in four want to see the issues raised in Dan Brown’s blockbuster discussed in church,” said CRE’s Joy Gilmour. “Thirteen per cent are already aware of plans for a Da Vinci Code-orientated event in their own churches. “We are delighted to lead the way by holding what we believe to be the first major national debate on The Da Vinci Code at CRE. Our contributors reflect very different sides of the argument and we expect a heated exchange of opinions.”

A news release issued by Stephen Goddard Associates on behalf of Christian Resources Exhibitions, says, “The Da Vinci Code: Cracking or Cracked? will be hosted by Ruth Gledhill, religious affairs correspondent of The Times (11am, Wed 10 May, Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey). Among the contributors will be Lynn Picknett, a lecturer on heresy and the occult, who will contend that Jesus was besotted with Mary Magdalene and was his chosen successor – not St Peter.”

She was quoted in the release as saying, “The rejection of the earlier Gnostic gospels from the New Testament – or at least the sentiments and beliefs of the Gnostics – does appear to be extreme censorship, if not actual cover-up. In our view, the more people ask questions the better, although the usual Christian attitude towards its doctrines and theology is the fewer questions, the better.”

David Couchman of CRE exhibitor, Focus Radio, will be part of the debate. Focus has produced a special DVD in response to the book. “The Da Vinci Code film is a great opportunity for Christians to get their colleagues and friends talking about the historical facts about Christ,” says Couchman. “Dan Brown himself said, ‘My hope in writing this novel was that the story would serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion and history.’ The debate at CRE is part of this process.”

Sponsored by Congregational and General Insurance, the survey, sent to 4000 church ministers and members, asked: “How best should the church respond to the issues raised in Dan Brown's blockbuster The Da Vinci Code?”

The response was:

  • Seek to ban the book and film – 1.5 per cent.
  • Ignore the book and film – 6 per cent.
  • Discuss the issues raised in the book and film – 76 per cent.
  • Don't know – 16.5 per cent.

The great betrayal

The following is an excerpt of an article by Anton Bosch:

Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Was that the greatest betrayal? I am not so sure. At least he got some money for his dastardly deed. But this last week “Christian” leaders handed over almost two million souls to the Devil. No, this time they were not paid to commit this atrocity, they paid the Devil over 100 million dollars to drag these poor souls to hell! I am referring the movie The Da Vinci Code.

The success of the movie at the box office is almost unprecedented. In the US alone, it brought in $77 million on the first week-end and in the first four days grossed $224 million world-wide. A huge proportion of this money came from Christians who were being encouraged by the “Christian” media and leaders to see the movie in order to “use it as a platform to preach the Gospel”. If half of these viewers are “Christians” (and it is probably more) then it means that in the last four days, “Christians” have paid Hollywood 112 million dollars to attack their faith!

Can you imagine the outcry if the US decided to send Bin Laden $112 million so he can finance his attacks on America! Yet that is exactly what the churches are doing. They are financing the Devil’s undermining of the Bible and the Truth and paying the Devil to rob souls from the Kingdom!

Oh, but it is just a movie and entertainment, I hear them say. Is it? Why does Brown (the author of the book) start by saying that “the facts in the book are true”? The thesis of the book/movie is that the Bible is not true, that Jesus never died on the Cross, that He had a child by Mary Magdalene etc. This is not entertainment. This is a full-frontal and brutal attack against the essence of our faith. George Barna, the Christian researcher says that 45 million people read the book and that “only 5% of them changed any of their religious beliefs” as a result. Only 5%? That translates to two million souls lost for eternity! Only two million people for whom Jesus died burning in Hell? That is many more than will be saved through every message preached from Christian pulpits in many many months.

Jesus said, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). What would Jesus have to say about those preachers who encourage people to see the movie, and as a result, millions are deceived and cast into hell? Could there be a punishment big enough for them? If the book succeeded in deceiving two million to turn from the faith, then the movie will do much more damage. We all know that movies are much more powerful in changing people’s minds than books but even at 5%, this last weekend will have seen another one point eight million people turn from the faith! (And don’t tell me these folk were weak or not really true believers to start with, they remain precious souls that cost an awesome price to redeem)

This is not just another movie that happened to come on the scene. It was written, designed and inspired in Hell. It has one purpose and that is to deceive and draw people from the faith. Nor is it an isolated event. It is part of a strategy and a grand scheme... Of course, the leaders knew that many would be shaken in their faith and that millions of luke-warm “believers” would be shaken from The Faith and that millions more who were considering believing the gospel, would be turned away from the Truth for ever. So why did they promote the book and the movie? I can only guess that they are not for the truth but against the truth and that they are secret agents posted by Satan to work “behind the lines”. What else? “…it is no great thing if his (Satan’s) ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness…” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

And yet it is not the end. The next assault against the faith will be launched in less than a week, on 6 6 06, when The Omen 666 will be released. This movie which glorifies the Antichrist and shrouds the coming world ruler with mystique and power will, no doubt, develop a cult following... Will preachers encourage people to watch this one? I am sure some will.

This is not the end of the matter – it is merely the beginning. The waters have been tested. Hollywood and the spiritual forces behind it have tasted blood – the blood of the saints. Now they know that the church will pay them money and the preachers will send millions of “Christians” to pay so their faith can be destroyed. Off course Hollywood will continue to foment violence and immorality but the real battle has only begun. The stage is being set for the revelation of the Man of Sin and the churches are ready and waiting to crown him and to bow before him.

Why won’t we be satisfied with the simplicity of the faith, with the joy of knowing a personal and real relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and the fulfillment and purpose that comes from living a life of obedience to His Word? Why are we so gullible?

“And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,' and will deceive many… Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:4,5,9-14).

Conclusion

Has the power of delusion already progressed so far that millions of people are interested in obvious heresy? The attitudes and responses determined in a survey in the UK on The Da Vinci Code underscore the fact that most “Christians” do not hesitate to expose themselves to the most blatant forms of heresy. Their criterion for evaluation is not objective biblical truth but the sensation that is stirred up by controversies arising from deception and agnostic thinking. It is a characteristic of postmodern society that people are critical of all forms of tradition, including the non-negotiable Gospel of Jesus Christ which is now readily questioned by large crowds. Many of them even seem to rejoice in the destruction of the old foundations, including the foundation of their faith (cf. Ps. 2:2-3; 11:3).

The message of The Da Vinci Code affords them a further opportunity to question the Bible and reject its message as false and incomplete. It also affords them the opportunity to deny and ignore the deity of the Lord Jesus, as well as His atoning death and resurrection. They are thus liberated to live as they wish, having become the masters of their own destiny. However, their interest is kindled in dark religious conspiracies, and also in a secret order of spiritual leaders that will soon be revealed to humanity.

The Antichrist will exploit this type of thinking to his own advantage as he is “the mystery of lawlessness” that will be revealed to the world to exalt himself above all religious traditions (2 Thess. 2:3-8). His coming will be “according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 2:9-10).