Catching Up with the Code

The DaVinci Code is everywhere these days and I will admit I am somewhat behind the curve on it. I remember the hubbub when the book came out, but honestly I never read it. Now the movie with Tom Hanks is about to splash onto the scene bringing along with it a continuing controversy.

I have recently been reading with interest the rebuttals against the book, movie and the man behind it all, Dan Brown. The web is loaded with anti DaVinci sites offering help in telling fact from fiction. It is all a very big deal.

Now I am playing catch-up and asking myself should I be alarmed? Is this book and movie a heresy or is it just a work of clever fiction? Is it leading believers and seekers away from God or is it just giving those opposed to Christ more ammunition? I honestly do not know.

Nor do I know exactly how to react personally. Do I preach against it and advise others to not support it? To be honest it has not generated much buzz around me personally. Folks here are not talking about it all that much. And the people with whom I have discussed it all understand clearly that it is a work of pure fiction and do not feel threatened by it.

What do you think? I would be most interested in hearing your thoughts.

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24 Responses to Catching Up with the Code

  1. Marco says:

    I just wanted to say how good it is to have a preacher that asks other people for advice.

    I’m sure you are an incredible preacher.

  2. CFOURMAY says:

    I haven’t read the book either, but people that I talk to seem to realize that it is fiction. I know a couple of people that think their might be some truth their, but they are pot smokers. It seems to be very addicting to read, but still fiction. To believe the story is like to believe the movie National Treasure. There is nothing wrong in reading the book, but don’t take it to be a fact. It wasn’t taken to be factual I don’t think.

  3. R.J. Morgan says:

    I’ve read the book (well, audiobook), and it is very entertaining… im looking forward to the movie.

    But it is clearly fiction. There is simply no substantial data to back up its claims.

    An an adventure tale, I highly recommend it…. but a bible it is not…

  4. DJG says:

    I have refused to read it. Not sure why, just don’t think I need to.

  5. Larry says:

    There are so many who know very little about God, and I can’t help but wonder if this book, and now the movie, with just a little bit of truth surrounded by a whole lot of fiction, will be a recipe for mass confusion to many people.

    I certainly don’t read books like this; there are a lot of other books of a much higher caliber floating around.

  6. Danny says:

    Thanks for all your comments. I just noticed today on one church web site where they are having a four-week study on the claims made in this book. Interesting.

  7. Gary W. Kirkendall says:

    Danny,

    It is great fiction and presents itself as nothing more. Brown never indicates that he intended his work to begin a religious debate. However, it is great business to stir the stink just before the movie comesout.

    GK

  8. Stoned-Campbell Disciple says:

    Danny, this is Bobby Valentine. Do you remember me from Grenada, Mississippi? I think my sister attends there at Gateway . . . I stumbled across your blog and thought I would comment on this subject.

    I hate to disagree with our fellow former Mississippian, Gary Kirkendall, but I will do so cautiously.

    I have flown from Milwaukee to California, to Dallas, to Memphis, to Atlanta, and a number of places in between and I am constantly running into folks reading the Da Vinci Code. Folks who not only are eating it up but who actually BELIEVE it to be true. Many of these readers are “Christian” folk.

    It is true that the book is published as “fiction.” But it is also true that Dan Brown believes it to be real.

    The book is a great novel. I read it two years and have had to come back to it numerous times because folks even in my own congregation have been struck with it. But it could be that Milwaukee is very different than Pensecola (and no doubt it is in many ways).

    I do not fear the book nor the movie. I will probably go see it on opening nite. I will probably love it on a mindless entertainment level. But I know there will be, and already are, questions about Mary, Constantine, the Trinity, the canon, what about the 80 gospels, and so on.

    Blessings to you and your ministry. It is good to “run into you.” I have started a new blog myself too. Come by and see. It is “Stoned-Campbell Disciple”
    http://stoned-campbell.blogspot.com/

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine
    http://www.sside-church.org

  9. L.E.Meredith says:

    I don’t have any fears that people will be affected over an hour after the movie is over, remember how people were going to rush to Christ after the Passion movie didn’t happen then, won’t happen now. Just my personal opinion but you asked for it. By the way like your blog.

  10. L.E.Meredith says:

    continued— I think we should preach and teach on one book fron the pulpit the bible, I love bible only churches.

  11. Danny says:

    What I am reading echoes much of what Bobby said. I do think the book has and the movie will shape some opinion and thought toward Christ- especially from those who investigate no further. But I also think these people will be in the minority.

    L.E. mentioned The Passion. The Code movie is not only Hollywood’s attempt to exploit the book but also to once again tap into the “Christian” demographic.

  12. Stoned-Campbell Disciple says:

    There is a difference between The Passion and The Da Vinci Code. I would be willing to wager that 90% of those who saw the Passion were already firmly committed to Christ (at least in the USA).

    The Da Vinci Code is not appealing to Christians but to a postmodern “spirituality” that has a bone to pick with Orthodox Christianity.

    Long before Dan Brown came around there was existed a growing love affair with Gnosticism. Elaine Pagels has written numerous best selling books (I’ve read them all):

    The Origin of Satan
    The Gnostic Gospels
    Beyond Belief (which compares the Gospel of Thomas and John and decides for the former)

    In Barnes & Nobles on any display of the Da Vinci Code there will be near by “The Gospel of Mary,” “Lost Christianities (Bart Erhman), “Misquoting Jesus” (Bart Erhman), and a myriad of other books. What Brown has successfully tapped into is a burning hunger for “spirituality” and at the same time that “suspicion” of anything traditional.

    The Roman Catholic Church is a perfect “scapegoat.” In heavily Catholic areas (like Milwaukee) when we hear almost weekly of a new case of sexual abuse and cover up . . . that fits well with Dan Brown.

    There is also opportunity because of Brown. The folks in our pews are HUNGRY for information about how the Bible came together. It is here that many a preacher will wish he paid more attention in that class in seminary that at the time he dismissed as “irrelevant” I speak of “Church History.”

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine
    http://stoned-campbell.blogspot.com/

  13. TCS says:

    Well for my two cents I have seen over reaction to it and no reaction to it. Personally have not read it. But using it to draw attention couldn’t be a bad thing. If nothing else it lets people know that you are aware of an outside world.

  14. CFOURMAY says:

    R.J. is right. There is just not enough evidence to really claim truth to any of this. Why are people willing to put as much faith in evolution, the code, and other beliefs as us Christian put in Christ’s story. You know how Paul says it is better to not ever get married than to marry. Well I always figured that he didn’t get married partially because Christ didn’t and he was trying to be Christ like. Anyway, you can’t believe the book and believe the bible. So what are reasonable people going to believe, a book that has no real proof and nothing to back it up, or a book that has artifacts that back it up and has been tested for 2000 years? What is reasonable?

  15. Hoots Musings says:

    Have not read it, will not see the movie either…Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks?

    Won’t see MI3 because Tom Cruise is weird!

  16. KylerCole says:

    I have decided not to read the book or follow the story. It seems to me that if the story needed to be told and was founded in truth, it would have been found in the Bible.

  17. R.J. Morgan says:

    BTW… the Skyway high school class is taking on this topic… Jeff Sweeney’s teaching it…haha…should be interesting to say the least, wish i was going to be home for it..

  18. Stoned-Campbell Disciple says:

    C4,

    People make decisions every day of their lives that they could never defend on a “rational” basis. This by the way includes disciples of the Christ.

    You said “you can’t believe the book and the Bible.” That may be true. But what Dan Brown, Elaine Pagels, Michael Baigent, and a host of others want to say is that we can be “Christian” without the “Bible.” In fact the “Bible” is a political creation of the fourth century A.D. to “suppress” “alternative Christianities.” Thus our “Bible” only represents was SOME Christians believed about Jesus. But the Gospel of Mary, The Gospel of Philip, The Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Truth, etc preserve what others legitimately held in the early church.

    Now there is just ENOUGH truth in Brown to make his story (nothing new with him however) seem plausible. Constantine really did call the Council of Nicea in 325; Constantine really did order some Bibles; women really did have a more promenient role in the early church than they do in our contemporary settings, etc.

    What Brown will ask you and me is “On what basis to do you accept YOUR books of the bible?” It is a logical and rational question. Most folks have no idea whatsoever as to “why” they accept what is in the Bible or not. I would say that most accept on the basis of tradition and nothing else.

    Strangely enough there are some implications of what Brown says (or calls attention to) to our penchent for patternism in the Churches of Christ. But that is another story for another day.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine
    http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/

  19. Random Rich says:

    I have no intention of reading the book or seeing the movie. This may be over simplistic of me, but I figure God is big enough to handle Himself and His truth and those that choose to spend their time proving and disproving stuff like this should perhaps spend that time digging into scripture and seeking the guidance of God as to the real truth. Was that arrogant of me? I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean for it to be. I just think that some folks major in the minors and vice-versa.

  20. Danny says:

    Great thoughts everyone. I had a men’s retreat this weekend and am playing blog catch-up.

    I tend to agree with Bobby. The book and it’s author is a reflection of post-modern thought which is bascially skeptical about everything.

    This is bad- in the sense that a book like this can make inroads into hearts and deliver a type of subsitute “spirituality” which, like fast food, only satisfies for a short time, but can be addictive and counterproductive to a healthy soul.

    It is good- in that it can open doors of dialog for the Christian message to go through to possibly penetrate the skeptism and replace it with true faith in the God who can fulfill.

    I appreciate you input into this thread. It has been educational and fun.

  21. Danny says:

    BTW, hello Kyler! Good to have you drop in on us from Afghanistan! You remain in our prayers.

  22. JD says:

    Wow…over 20 comments…I’m impressed..and jealous! I need to mention something controversial on my blog!

    John Alan Turner and Kenneth Boa have written a book together on this subject (and others are already on the market). I ordered John’s because I know it will be brilliant.

    I haven’t read the book, but I remember one of our elders reading it a few years ago on the way to Tulsa. I had no idea what it was about.

    Anyhow, questions about the canon and such are difficult questions that most people are not equipped to answer.

  23. Danny says:

    JD, I would like a copy of that book too. Do you remember the name of it?

  24. JD says:

    The Gospel According To the DaVinci Code by john Alan Turner and Kenneth Boa

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