Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Da Vinci Deception

I had a chance to finally read the Da Vinci Code a couple weeks ago over my vacation. The reason I made time to read this silly book is because this Spring The Da Vinci Code movie will be released and could cause quite a stir.

Every year the Central Coast Evangelical Pastor's Network tries to do something together to demonstrate our unity and to reach our community. A couple years back we all preached a series related to the Passion movie. Last year, we all did a series on Heaven rooted in Randy Alcorn's book. In 2006, we decided to do something related to answering questions that have arisen from the Da Vinci Code.

So, we've arranged to bring to the Central Coast Dr. Erwin Lutzer, who is the Senior Pastor at Moody Bible Church, outside of Chicago and the author of The Da Vinci Deception. Dr. Lutzer will be addressing misconceptions that arise from the Da Vinci Code regarding the reliability and historicity of the New Testament documents. He'll be speaking on three nights, once in the North County, once in the South County and once right here at Grace in downtown SLO. We hope and pray these evenings will be helpful in equipping believers to answer and address questions/issues raised by the Da Vinci Code book and movie.

By the way, I thought the book was a real page turner. Fun conspiracy theory stuff like the movie National Treasure. The scandalous chapter that directly challenges the historicity and reliability of the New Testament documents is chapter 55, but I guess there is an implicit challenge throughout. I thought Mr. Brown was just parrotting the standard higher criticism liberal intellectualism of most secular univesities. This is standard Jesus Seminar stuff that we see on the newstand periodicals every Christmas and Easter. Anyone who actually examines the historical data shouldn't fall for these lies. Dr. Lutzer should help us do just that.

I also have taught a series on the reliability of the New Testament documents. We'll post the written notes in PDF format soon on the website.

Anybody else read the book? What did you think?


Brian Wong said...

I read the book upon hearing questions about it's authenticity from a number of friends. It also got Pastor Steve's qualified recommendation with the understanding that I was reading it to--like you--be able to address the upcoming stir from the release of the movie. I'm excited to hear Dr. Lutzer speak. One thing you didn't mention is when he's coming here.

Personally, I thought the book was just OK. It was certainly a page turner, but Dan Brown never gave his readers a break. I felt like he tied up all of the loose ends at the end of the book, but it felt rushed. I thought it was disingenuous of him to lure readers into the book with the conception that it was about a code in Da Vinci's works when it was really an outright attack on Christianity. I thought the book was pretty great, on par with National Treasure, up until chapter 55.

My question is this: Do people really believe this stuff outside of having read the book?

Bill Lindahl said...

Read it awhile ago, and I think it high-lighted my ignorance of the nitty gritty details of church history. Some web browsing has helped remedy this, but I still feel I have so much to learn... it's hard work! Anyhow, I felt like Brown gave up at the end (from a story line point of view).

I think anytime people spend time learning the facts about important issues is great. I know (from previous experience discussing the book) that emotions can run high... I guess my two cents would be for us to remember that enlightenment can be achieved gently, without the competitiveness of having to be right; particularily when we're really stumped. This may be many unbelievers first glimpse at Christian behavior, so let's not confirm their suspicions... :)~

Andy Gibson said...

"My question is this: Do people really believe this stuff outside of having read the book?"

Absolutely. There are some people out there that took the meat of this book and believe it to be the "absolute truth." "How dare anybody argue with the book because it was so convincing."

Just some thoughts from conversations with those that have read it, both who love it and hate it. Dr. Lutzer coming to visit us will be a powerful thing.

Josh Mock said...

I think the reason one could be convinced that the historical evidence in this book is true is because Brown very smoothly ties in true history with made-up history. He quotes historical facts that people are aware of, as if to gain credibility, and then pushes into lesser known historical facts that aren't facts at all. Because he's already got the reader's trust, they may be likely to believe the made-up "facts."

However, to be quite honest, I have yet to talk to someone who has actually taken Brown's fictional history as truth. It's quite possible that I don't have a good perspective of the issue, but the only ones I hear saying that people are believing Brown's "lies" are the ones writing books to debunk his work of fiction. Of course, it's important that we make sure to make the truth known, but I'm curious about how necessary this Easter campaign idea is. Have any good statistics been published about people's beliefs after reading The Da Vinci Code, or is it possible that we may be trying to convince those who don't need convincing when we could be spending our time more wisely?