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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Sept. 12, 2007

  • 2007 Sep 12

De-Coding the DaVinci Code:

Seizing the Mars Hill Moments






The further we go into this pagan culture growing up around us, the more we need to learn to seize what I like to call—those Mars Hill Moments.

In Acts 17, Paul had a "Mars Hill Moment” as he walked through and observed the godless culture of Athens, he discovered something that he could use to relate the truth of God's Word to a pagan, cynical, and unbelieving culture.

We are increasingly finding that we also live in a world that is pagan, cynical, and unbelieving. But it is no longer just the world, our own 'God Bless America' and ‘In God We Trust" America is also rapidly becoming a pagan, Biblically illiterate, and godless culture.

So what did Paul do? He examined the Athenian culture until he found something that reflected an imperfect or improper understanding of God and used that as a bridge to explain the truth. Then he waited to see if anyone would engage him in seeking the truth. After Paul was mocked and derided, God used him to minister to some seeking hearts and a church was born.

TDC (throughout this abbreviation for The Da Vinci Code) offers to us a “Mars Hill Moment”. It is one of those bridges into the world of unbelievers. To explain what I mean, open with me to Acts 17:22-23.

Acts 17:22-23 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: NKJV

Paul walked around and examined the Athenian culture. He did not attack that culture, he examined and found a place that he could make contact with them. This morning may I examine TDC as a reflection of the culture of our world today? And then show you how to proclaim Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen?

Some of you may need to start at the very beginning and get a complete picture of what this whole TDC phenomenon is all about.

TDC is a book that captures much of where our culture is at this moment—people are questioning the very foundational truths of God, God's Word, God’ the Son Jesus Christ and His Death on the Cross. Let me explain the book

The Da Vinci Code is a mystery/detective novel by American author Dan Brown, published in 2003 by Doubleday Fiction. It is a worldwide bestseller with more than 60.5 million copies in print (as of May 2006) and has been translated into 44 languages. (Booksellers estimate that a ¼ of a billion people have read this book at the normal 4 per book readership statistics). Combining the detective, thriller and conspiracy fiction genres, the book is part two of a trilogy that started with Brown's 2000 novel Angels and Demons, which introduced the character Robert Langdon[1]. Now we have the movie. The third books of the trilogy, already written, called “Solomon’s Key” is due out next year. In that 3rd book Brown weaves the Masonic Lodge beliefs, Biblical Solomon and the CIA into another suspense work. Brown actually has the outlines for 12 more of these conspiracy novels already written—so this is just the start of his influence upon the world through his writings.

If you see a copy of TDC the first thing you can observe is on the cover. In big gold letters is the name of the book, and next to it, in very small white letters are two words, A NOVEL! But in the captivating story line in an underlying dialogue that makes constant false allegations and misrepresentations about God and His Word, and His Christ. 

  • The God of TDC is a false representation of the True and Living God.
  • The Mary of TDC is falsely represented and not the humble follower of Christ portrayed in the Gospels.
  • The Jesus of TDC is a false representation of God the Son, Jesus Christ.
  • The Bible of TDC is a false representation of the Holy, Flawless, Inspired Word of the Lord God Almighty. 

At the outset, it must be remembered that Dan Brown's bestseller is just a novel. He and his publisher (Doubleday) agreed on that fact and announced it on the book's cover and title page: The Da Vinci Code: A Novel. They also included the standard legal disclaimed on the book's copyright page: "All of the characters and events in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental." The Da Vinci Code is just another piece of fiction.

Brown is a good writer; for those who have not read the book, there was little profanity and no graphically described sordid sexual liaisons, a refreshing exception to most of today's literature.  

But what is said about Jesus, the Bible and Christian faith? After analyzing it, I would estimate that there were only about 20 pages of material out of the 454 pages that most of us would find offensive as Christians. Most of the objectionable material related to the same old themes of denying Christ's Deity and promoting the Divine Femininity, which is  not new stuff. The book simply popularized theories that a number of scholars have been saying and writing with regularity.

So TDC is Dan Brown’s captivating multi-million copy, best selling suspense novel built around nothing less than the old attacks that:

  • Christianity is based upon a Big Lie (i.e. Christ is not God);
  • Christianity was used by patriarchal oppressors (i.e. the Apostles hijacked the Church and made it male dominated); and that
  • Christianity now denies the true worship of the Divine Feminine/Goddess Worship (i.e. God worship with a plan of salvation focused on the man Jesus Christ's death on the Cross is wrong).   

Let me summarize again for you the basic plot of The Da Vinvi Code.

The Da Vinci Code is based on the assertion that Mary Magdeline was married to Jesus, bears a child to him and that she was eventually worshipped as a goddess. When Jesus is crucified, so the story goes, Mary is pregnant with his child. She flees to Egypt to save herself and to give birth to a daughter, Sarah, the only royal blood descendant of Jesus. Brown draws from a legend that around AD 42, Mary takes Sarah, now twelve years old, to the southern Gaul area of France. Here, according to The Da Vinci Code, Sarah marries into a line of French Merovingian kings who rule until AD 751.

We do not know if Brown actually believes this stuff, or if it is just part of a public relations campaign to extend sales. But Brown, his characters and Da Vinci believe they have the real truth and the rest of us have had it all wrong for centuries (that was the mindset of the ancient Gnostics who taught--we know something you don't!

Here is the Da Vinci Code Doctrine

  • Mary, the "beloved disciple," eventually married Jesus, they had children and their family line continues to this day.
  • Mary as the wife of Jesus, is herself the Holy Grail holding and passing on his royal bloodline.
  • Mary represents the sacred feminine/goddess worship found in all ancient religions that has been suppressed by the church for centuries.

That is the message that Da Vinci passed on to the world in code in The Last Supper.[2] 

So all we have is the same three lies that Eve was faced with in the Garden of Eden. The same three lies that have been woven in various ways, through every cult, every false religion and every denial of Biblical Christianity. 

Satan said those lies first. Remember Genesis 3 and the deception of Eve? These attacks are as old as the Garden of Eden. Satan’s lies were very similar. Satan is in an all out attack to make you and me Think wrongly about God! (Gen. 3)

  • Doubt God’s Word v. 3a “hath God said?”
  • Doubt Necessity of Salvation v. 4 “you shall not surely not die”
  • Doubt God the Son, Jesus Christ's Deity v. 5 “eyes open and you shall be  like God”

To understand why Dan Brown (who grew up in southern New Hampshire, raised in Sunday School and church camps, whose mom was the church organist)—would write such a confusing, attack on the truths of the Bible in his novel, let’s turn from Acts 17 to Romans 1.  

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie..."  (Romans 1:25) 

From the Garden of Eden onward Satan has had a singular goal. Paul captures that goal in the opening chapter of Romans. As you turn with me to Romans 1, let me explain.  

To a lost and guilty human the last thing you would ever want is the God of the Universe to be upset at you. Even worse would be to have Him around as a human, to have Him watching your life that often you don’t even like. And to have Him leave a final authoritative record of His laws and requirements in a book called the Bible--would make you uncomfortable also. 

So God's Word, Christ's Coming, and the Way of Salvation in their pure and untainted form, make most people uncomfortable. So the solution Satan found was in the great exchange. Get people to exchange the truth of God, God's Word, and God’s Son—for a lie. 

Romans 1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. NKJV 

As we examine TDC it is a reflection of our society. Remember one of the common threads that God says will be found in humans is the tendency to exchange their treasures for worthless substitutes. We see this in young people giving up their virtue for momentary pleasures, in older people giving up their honor for financial gain, and in most people exchanging the truth about God for Satan’s lies. 

Actually, none of the concepts of The Da Vinci Code are new; Brown’s novel is a contemporary compilation of legends circulating for centuries. All of these legends are examples of how over the centuries people have exchanged the truth of God's Word for lies that they invent to confuse and obscure the truth. Brown’s modern remixing of fact and fiction is the basis for this current sensational mystery novel about secret heresy encoded in one of history’s great artists, Leonardo Da Vinci, thus the name of the novel[3].

This sermon will be continued tomorrow September 13th as we look at the “Mars Hill Moment”





[2]  Drawn from an article  published in the July 2004 ABR Electronic Newsletter, The Historical Basis of Dan Brown's  The Da Vinci Code by Rev. Gary A. Byers.

[3] Fact and Fiction: Checking the Da Vinci Code History, March 6, 2006, by David Witmer ,


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