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By Eric Barger

 

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

- Matthew 24:11-12

If you haven’t read Dan Brown’s blockbuster bestseller, The Da Vinci Code (DVC) or seen the movie, then you are probably wondering why all the fuss?

Though promoted as a novel, the book persuasively presents an intricate conspiracy theory that is nothing less than a direct attack upon recorded history, the authenticity of the Bible, the deity of Jesus Christ and Christianity itself.

But it’s just a novel, right?

Though Brown has woven a fable - based completely on conjecture and myth – he announces on an introduction page headed “fact” that “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” It is for this reason that concerned Christians must be prepared to answer the assertions of The Da Vinci Code.

Though the book has been vigorously defended as “just a novel,” I suggest that Brown simply cannot have it both ways. The crux of the story cannot be presented as fact, and then, when controverted with evidence, be defended it as mere fantasy.

The allegations leveled in the DVC have set the stage for us. Not only is the door open for informed Christians to set the historical record straight, but Dan Brown’s fantasy has also provided a terrific opportunity to reach the lost with the Gospel. Let’s do it! Now here are some facts you need to know.

FOUR DA VINCI CODE FABLES

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake…Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith…

- Titus 1:10-11, 13b

Entire books have been written on the subject so space will not nearly allow for a complete expose’ of the DVC here. However, the following are some short answers in rebuttal to four fables posed as fact by Dan Brown.

Was Jesus married and was there a cover-up?

After enthralling his readers with suspense, murder and mystery for over 200 pages, Brown suddenly makes a frontal assault on the very core of Christianity. On page 235 Brown’s factious historian-turned-murderer, Sir Leigh Teabing, teaches that “almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.”

In Dan Brown’s universe, Jesus was NOT the savior. Instead, Brown’s version of Jesus fathered a child with Mary Magdalene – who eventually settled in what is now the South of France to raise his offspring, a daughter named Sarah. In so doing, they became the progenitors of the Merovingian kings![1] Brown goes on to equate the so-called “Holy Grail” as actually being the womb of Magdalene, making her the object of goddess worship! (p. 255)

Keep in mind that Brown asserts all of this as “fact” from history. He contends that among other notables, Leonardo Da Vinci was a member of a Catholic secret society called the “Priory of Sion.” The Priory was allegedly formed during the Crusades in 1099 to enforce (with murder, if need be) a massive cover-up concerning Jesus and his relationship with Magdalene. Much of this appeared previously in the 1982 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail.[2]

Contrary to Brown’s fantasy however, no mention of any sort of romantic relationship between Jesus and Magdalene is found in any ancient text. Brown’s “marriage” theory rides completely on two very inconclusive and veiled inferences in the Gnostic gospels of Philip and Mary. Not only is it a monumental stretch to matrimonially connect Jesus and Magdalene through the passages in question, it must be noted that these two documents were examined for inclusion in the Bible but were rejected either because their authorship was in question, or they did not harmonize (i.e., were heretical) when compared against apostolically authored texts.

Obviously, the supposition of such a marriage and the ensuing conspiracy to veil it from the world makes for a whopper of a theory. Furthermore, one has to ask that even if Jesus had married during His earthly life (before the Cross), why wouldn’t it have been a common fact that was mentioned by Paul, Peter, James, Matthew, John and others? Indeed, Magdalene did see the risen Christ after the resurrection, but she was not pregnant with His child then or ever! To believe Brown’s theory, one must completely ignore the four Gospel accounts of the Bible – and recorded history as well.

The Priory of Sion?

On April 30, 2006, CBS’s “60 Minutes” became one of many news organizations that have completely debunked the alleged ancient origin of any such secret society known as The Priory of Sion.[3] In doing so, CBS News and others have demonstrated the complete historical unreliability of the documents that Brown’s entire story rests upon.

The fact is that a Frenchman with a history of pseudo occultic ideas named Pierre Plantard founded The Priory of Sion in 1956! Amidst a corruption scandal in September 1993, Plantard admitted under oath in a French court that he constructed the Priory – along with its forged documents. Plantard later admitted distributing fake documents about the Priory which were used in a 1996 BBC documentary.

Is the Bible complete or are there more books which the
Emperor Constantine ordered suppressed?

Perhaps the most outrageous statement in the entire book is made by Brown’s hero, Robert Langdon, on page 341. Langdon states that there exist "thousands of ancient documents as scientific evidence that the New Testament is false testimony." Really? If this is indeed the case, where are these documents? Only if Brown’s character is referring to the assortment of Gnostic texts and other ancient heretical writings might one be able to boast that the New Testament is indeed false.

Even in this abbreviated examination, we’ll see that Brown’s emphatic assertion that Constantine financed and oversaw the formulation of a “new” Bible is just another Da Vinci Code fantasy. (See p. 234)

First, understand that the letters or books which comprise our Bible were not selected in 325 A.D. The first “canon” (the Muratorian Canon) was compiled as early as A.D. 170-200. It included all of our modern New Testament except Hebrews, James, and 3 John.

Secondly, there is evidence that the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) - exactly as we have them in the Bible - were already the accepted texts even before the Muratorian Canon was derived. This is proven by many sources, one of which is a book authored by a pupil of Justin Martyr known as Tatian the Syrian, before 170 A.D. This well-traveled and widely accepted harmony of the four gospels was called Diatessaron (which means “Through Four” in Greek). It alone gives ample proof that the Gospels as we know them were indeed the Gospel of the early Church.

Was the Council at Nicea (325 A.D.) forced to deify Jesus?

Dan Brown contends that the divinity of Jesus was not accepted by the Church until the fourth century at the Council at Nicea. Brown also surmises that after Constantine legalized Christianity in 316 A.D. great pressure was applied to the Nicean participants to pronounce Jesus as divine and to repress any teaching or “gospels” which said otherwise. (See p. 231-234)

While the soundness of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity is still debated today, we can trust that he had nothing to do with the deification of Jesus or the canonization of the Bible.

Brown claims a vote was taken concerning the deity of Jesus and that it was "a relatively close vote at that…" (p. 233). While a vote was indeed taken at Nicea, the Council actually voted to accept what is commonly known as the Nicene Creed. The Creed, in part, succinctly states the position which the historic Church had always taken – that Jesus was God incarnate.[4] (Concerning the actual vote…it was 316 to 2 – hardly close!!!)

To believe Dan Brown, one must completely throw out the best-kept historical document known to man – the Bible. In doing so, we must ignore the testimonies of Jesus’ divinity given by Thomas (John 20:27-28), Peter (Matthew 16:13-19), Paul (Colossians 1:15-19, 2:9) and Jesus Himself in John 10:27-30! (Also see Revelation 1:8. 17-18, 22:13-16.)

To believe Dan Brown, we must also erase the many statements from the leaders of the early Church, which esteemed Jesus as equal to, and one with God. Men like Tertullian, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome and many others spoke matter-of-factly concerning the divinity of Jesus and with absolute certainty of his bodily resurrection – all before the year 200 A.D. In fact, if Jesus did indeed arise from the grave – which is the very lynchpin of Christianity - then all of Dan Brown’s assertions crumble.

And Finally…

Perhaps the most telling statements I found in doing this research were not in the DVC but on Dan Brown’s official website. In answering critics such as myself, Brown asks: “How historically accurate is history itself?”[5] About his brand of Christianity Brown states: “…we're each following our own paths of enlightenment.”[6] These statements give us an informative glimpse into Dan Brown’s unorthodox predisposition concerning history and his New Age view of religion. Put bluntly, Brown’s philosophy is to disagree with anyone (or any source) who is doctrinally fundamental while at the same time championing the causes of Gnostics, liberals and skeptics.

Attacks, such as presented by The Da Vinci Code, are going to become more pronounced in these end-times. It is my advice and earnest prayer that the Church study (II Timothy 2:15), test (I Thessalonians 5:20-21, Acts 17:11) become avid defenders of the faith (Jude 3-4) and be ready always to give reason for faith (I Peter 3:15). Amen!


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merovingians

[2] Two of the three co-authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail unsuccessfully sued Dan Brown for plagiarism losing their case in early 2006 in England.

[3] http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/27/60minutes/main1552009.shtml

[4] http://www.christianitysite.com/NiceneCreed.htm

[5] http://www.danbrown.com/novels/davinci_code/faqs.html

[6] ibid

Document Revised 5/24/06

 

For more details and documentation exposing The Da Vinci Code
please see the video presentations,
“Exposed! Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Fantasy”
and
The Proof and the Power of the Resurrection

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or contact us at:

Take A Stand! Ministries
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Rowlett, TX 75030
www.ericbarger.com

All Rights Reserved 2006, Eric Barger

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