Dr. Paul J. Dean Christian Blog and Commentary

"The Da Vinci Hoax"

 

One thing is clear about The Da Vinci Code: it is nothing more than mere fiction. That assessment comes from biblical scholars, Roman Catholic apologists, and secular historians alike. Consider Sandra Miesel, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax, and her perspective. She writes, "The sheer falsity and stupidity of The Da Vinci Code would have given me enough incentive to rebut it...As a trained historian, I was outraged to see so many errors between two covers, errors naively taken as absolute fact by vast numbers of readers...Brown drastically misrepresents early Christian belief in Christ's divinity, the credibility of the New Testament, the nature of Gnosticism, Scriptural and legendary material about Mary Magdalene...He routinely fails the desk encyclopedia test by missing readily accessible facts. Brown isn't even familiar with passport laws in the European Union. A man who thinks the Merovingians founded Paris and forgets that 14th-century popes lived in France has no business posing as a scholar." Strong words. Sobering words. Necessary words.

The words are necessary in that millions have already been led astray by a book of fiction posing as fact. No doubt millions more will be captivated and led astray by the movie. Several months ago, it seemed to me that I could not go to any sort of recreational, public gathering and not see someone reading The Da Vinci Code. The heart-breaking thing for me was that many persons whom I know to be nominal Christians were enamored with the book and were asking sobering questions: the kinds of questions true believers grounded in the faith would never ask. The problem here lies in the fact that those individuals are now further from Christ than ever and evangelism will only be made more difficult. God is sovereign in salvation to be sure. Yet, we have a responsibility to plow the ground, plant the seed, water it, and then watch God give the increase. My concern is how tough the ground may now be to plow and in some cases one wonders if it has become too hard. I speak in a human way: nothing is too hard for God, of course.

The Da Vinci Code purports to reveal secrets in the same way the Gnostic gospels make the same claim. These documents are not truly gospels and were penned by heretics long after the apostles died; some of them up to centuries later. Miesel notes that "they describe a 'spiritual' Christ who is neither true God nor true man but a filmy illusion who guides us to recognize our own innate 'divinity.' Salvation comes from gnosis (knowledge), not grace...What they could get out of actually trying to read this material, I can't imagine. But Gnosticism makes no demands concerning dogma or morals, just free-floating spirituality at no cost to the self."

One might expect pagans to search for something more than they have. But, when Christians today in mass numbers engage in the same search, one can only surmise the Spirit of God is moving on. The church is full of dissatisfied individuals looking for Christ plus something else. According to the Scriptures, Christ is sufficient. His word is sufficient. That truth has not landed on some and one can only wonder about their true, spiritual condition. It is not only pagans and nominal Christians who are in danger of chasing secret gnosis. Bible-believing evangelicals are doing the same, as noted, in staggering numbers. Let us be aware, be warned, and be diligent to warn our friends.

Discerning evangelicals won't appreciate Miesel's book or perspective on every issue. She has her own contextualized presuppositions. However, where she deals with the falsity of Brown's claims with particular reference to orthodox theology and well-known church history, we can be thankful. And, we can agree with her completely in her goal. "The lesson we're hoping to teach with The Da Vinci Hoax is: Don't get your facts from fiction. And most certainly, don’t base your spiritual life on a badly written novel." That's an admonition every Christian should heed, not just the committed postmoderns among us.

 

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