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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Sept. 16, 2007

  • 2007 Sep 16
  • COMMENTS
 

De-Coding the DaVinci Code:

Seizing the Mars Hill Moments

Conclusion Part 5 continued from September 15th

 

 

 

 

What to Make of the Novel?

It is my view that the interest in this novel shows a few things about contemporary culture. There is a keen interest in things related to the origins of Christianity, Indeed, there is a spiritual hunger of sorts out there. However, it is not a very discerning kind of quest. This makes it all the more important that those who teach about early Christian history today know the roots of the early history of Christianity and communicate some of that to their students, who in turn can have informed discussions with their inquisitive neighbors. Pastors need to absorb this knowledge as well.

I have found four types of people responding to the novel. (1) Some treat the novel as fiction and do not believe its claims. Just have a nice conversation with them. (2) Others never having been in the church have heard this for the first time and have no way of knowing whether it is true or not. Just interact with their sincere questions. (3) Others in the church are in a similar position never having been taught about this material. What they need is good information, not an overreaction. (4) Some are looking for a reason, or, for reasons, not to believe. The novel’s information is something they grab onto for support. Be patient in interacting with them. In other words, as you talk about the novel, do so with a calm and confidence that the supposed “facts” the novel presents have missed the mark.

The fact that this book has put this history into the public square is a good thing. Perhaps if people are well equipped to dialogue with the novel’s readers in an engaging tone, then more readers may uncover the real code that opens up the way to life. Those readers may also be in a position to better appreciate the history of a faith that lies at the roots of our Western culture.

Definition TDC:

Dan Brown’s multi-million copy, best selling suspense novel built around the grandest conspiracy of all times is called The Da Vinci Code. This book's driving claim is nothing less than that Christianity is based upon a Big Lie (the deity of Christ) used by patriarchal oppressors to deny the true worship of the Divine Feminine.  Brown has crossed the line between a suspense novel and a book promoting a barely hidden agenda, to attack the Christian church and the Gospel.

 

Top TEN Historical Errors

1.    In his own lifetime Jesus "inspired millions to better lives" (p.231);

2.    there were "more than eighty gospels" (p.231; the number 80 is factual-sounding, but has no basis);

3.    "the earliest Christian records" were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (including gospels) and Nag Hammadi texts (pp.234, 245);

4.    the Nag Hammadi texts "speak of Christ's ministry in very human terms" (p.234);

5.    the marriage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus is "a matter of historical record" (p.244);

6.    Constantine invented the divinity of Jesus and excluded all gospels but the four canonical ones; Constantine made Christianity "the official religion" of the Roman Empire (p.232);

7.    Constantine coined the term "heretic" (p.234);

8.    "Rome's official religion was sun worship" (p.232).

9.    He claims that the motions of the planet Venus trace a pentacle (the so-called Ishtar pentagram) symbolizing the goddess. But it isn’t a perfect figure and has nothing to do with the length of the Olympiad. The ancient Olympic games were celebrated in honor of Zeus Olympias, not Aphrodite, and occurred every four years.

10.   Brown’s contention that the five linked rings of the modern Olympic Games are a secret tribute to the goddess is also wrong—each set of games was supposed to add a ring to the design but the organizers stopped at five. And his efforts to read goddess propaganda into art, literature, and even Disney cartoons are simply ridiculous.

Top TEN Theological Heresies

1.    Calling the Nag Hammadi texts "unaltered" gospels is like reading the official Soviet histories as objective fact--complete with leading figures airbrushed out of the photos.  TDC claims that the New Testament is simply the result of a male-dominated church leadership inventing Christianity in order to control the Roman empire and subsequent world history and then to oppress women and repress goddess-worship. he Nag Hammadi documents are not “the earliest Christian records.” Every book in the New Testament is earlier. The New Testament documents were all written in the first century A.D. By contrast, the dates for the Nag Hammadi texts range from the second to the third century A.D. As Darrell Bock observes in Breaking The Da Vinci Code, “The bulk of this material is a few generations removed from the foundations of the Christian faith, a vital point to remember when assessing the contents.”{12} The Nag Hammadi texts as the real gospels?  Not on your life.  The texts are easily identifiable as gnostic literature peripheral to the Church.  The early Church did not establish the canon (official set of New Testament writings) at Nicaea, though a general consensus was already evident at that gathering.  The New Testament writings were recognized and set apart because of their authorship by one of the apostles and by their clearly orthodox content--in harmony with the other New Testament writings as recognized by the churches spread throughout the Greco-Roman world.

2.    In TDC the heretics are the heroes and the apostles are unindicted co-conspirators.  The Great Satan is Emperor Constantine, who, it is claimed, never even became a Christian, but knew a good marketing plan when he saw it.  Constantine supposedly called the Council of Nicaea in 325 in order to invent the idea of Christ's divinity (and celibacy) and then turn out the heretics, thus burying the real story of Jesus (and Mary Magdalene) forever.  "It's all about power," one character explains. That's why Constantine "upgraded Jesus' status." 

3.    And the Council of NicaeaThere, TDC reveals, the Emperor led the bishops to declare Jesus as the Son of God by a vote.  "A relatively close vote at that," the text elaborates. The real Council of Nicaea adopted a creed in order to reject the heretical teachings of one Arius, who taught that Jesus was not of the same substance as the Father.  Brown weaves fact and fiction with such recklessness that the average reader will assume all these claims to be factual. 

4.    The Council of Nicaea did not "invent" the divinity of Jesus.  This was already the declaration of the Church, claimed by Jesus himself and proclaimed by the apostles.  The council boldly claimed this as the faith of the Church and named Arianism as a heresy and Arians as heretics.  A close vote?  Only two out of more than 300 bishops failed to sign the creed.  Not exactly a cliff-hanger.

5.    Yet it’s Brown’s Christology that’s false—and blindingly so. He requires the present New Testament to be a post-Constantinian fabrication that displaced true accounts now represented only by surviving Gnostic texts. He claims that Christ wasn’t considered divine until the Council of Nicea voted him so in 325 at the behest of the emperor. Then Constantine—a lifelong sun worshipper—ordered all older scriptural texts destroyed, which is why no complete set of Gospels predates the fourth century. Christians somehow failed to notice the sudden and drastic change in their doctrine.

6.    But by Brown’s specious reasoning, the Old Testament can’t be authentic either because complete Hebrew Scriptures are no more than a thousand years old. And yet the texts were transmitted so accurately that they do match well with the Dead Sea Scrolls from a thousand years earlier. Analysis of textual families, comparison with fragments and quotations, plus historical correlations securely date the orthodox Gospels to the first century and indicate that they’re earlier than the Gnostic forgeries. (The Epistles of St. Paul are, of course, even earlier than the Gospels.)

7.    Primitive Church documents and the testimony of the ante-Nicean Fathers confirm that Christians have always believed Jesus to be Lord, God, and Savior—even when that faith meant death. The earliest partial canon of Scripture dates from the late second century and already rejected Gnostic writings. For Brown, it isn’t enough to credit Constantine with the divinization of Jesus. The emperor’s old adherence to the cult of the Invincible Sun also meant repackaging sun worship as the new faith. Brown drags out old (and long-discredited) charges by virulent anti-Catholics like Alexander Hislop who accused the Church of perpetuating Babylonian mysteries, as well as 19th-century rationalists who regarded Christ as just another dying savior-god.

8.    Astonishingly, Brown claims that Jews in Solomon’s Temple adored Yahweh and his feminine counterpart, the Shekinah, via the services of sacred prostitutes—possibly a twisted version of the Temple’s corruption after Solomon    (1 Kings 14:24 and 2 Kings 23:4-15). Moreover, he says that the tetragrammaton YHWH derives from “Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah.” But as any first-year Scripture student could tell you, Jehovah is actually a 16th-century rendering of Yahweh using the vowels of Adonai (“Lord”). In fact, goddesses did not dominate the pre-Christian world—not in the religions of Rome, her barbarian subjects, Egypt, or even Semitic lands where the hieros gamos was an ancient practice. Nor did the Hellenized cult of Isis appear to have included sex in its secret rites.

9.    One last point. We have copies of the four Gospels that are significantly earlier than Constantine and the Council of Nicaea (or Nicea). Although none of the copies are complete, we do have nearly complete copies of both Luke and John in a codex dated between A.D. 175 and 225—at least a hundred years before Nicaea. Another manuscript, dating from about A.D. 200 or earlier, contains most of John’s Gospel.{8}

10.  So, contrary to what’s implied in the novel, it certainly wasn’t written by Mary Magdalene—or any of Jesus’ other original followers.{24} If we want reliable information about Mary, we must turn to our earliest sources—the New Testament Gospels. These sources tell us that Mary was a follower of Jesus from the town of Magdala. After Jesus cast seven demons out of her, she (along with other women) helped support His ministry (Luke 8:1-3). She witnessed Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and was the first to see the risen Christ (Matt. 27:55-61; John 20:11-18). Jesus even entrusted her with proclaiming His resurrection to His male disciples (John 20:17-18). In this sense, Mary was an “apostle” to the apostles.{25} This is all the Gospels tell us about Mary.{26} We can agree with our non-Christian friends that she was a very important woman. But we must also remind them that there’s nothing to suggest that she was Jesus’ wife, or that He intended her to lead the church.

The Real Attack:

 This book's driving claim is nothing less than that Christianity is based upon a Big Lie (the deity of Christ) used by patriarchal oppressors to deny the true worship of the Divine Feminine.  Brown has crossed the line between a suspense novel and a book promoting a barely hidden agenda, to attack the Christian church and the Gospel.

1.  Attacks the Deity of Jesus Christ

2.  Attacks the Plan of Salvation

3.  Attacks the Inspiration of Scripture

4.  Attacks the Authority of God

Those attacks are as old as the Garden of Eden. Satan’s lies were very similar.

Remember the 1st temptation in God's Word ? Genesis 3. Let’s turn there and be reminded of Satan’s 4 spiritual flaws he tries to instill in us! The Four Spiritual Flaws: Satan is in an all out attack to make you and me Think wrongly about God!

SATAN’S FOUR SPIRITUAL FLAWS: (Gen. 3)

·       Doubt God’s Word v. 3a “hath”

·       Doubt God’s Trustworthiness v. 3b “not eat”

·       Doubt God’s Salvation v. 4 “not die”

·       Doubt God’s Deity v. 5 “eyes open”

GOD’S FOUR SPIRITUAL LAWS:

·       TRUST His Word Ps 119:89 “forever settled”

·       REST in His Goodness Rom 11:33 “Of Him, to Him”

·       SUBMIT to His Authority Acts 4:12 “Neither is there Salvation”

FOLLOW His Plan John 14:6 “I am the Way”

 

 

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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