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  1. The Da Vinci Code Why Should Christians Care, Critique, and Converse?

  2. What is The Da Vinci Code? • The Da Vinci Code is a novel by Dan Brown, published in 2003 by DoubleDay. • A movie based on the book was released last Friday (May 19th) by Columbia Pictures.

  3. What is the basic storyline of the book? • “A renowned Harvard symbologist is summoned to the Louvre Museum to examine a series of cryptic symbols relating to Da Vinci's artwork. In decrypting the code, he uncovers the key to one of the greatest mysteries of all time…and he becomes a hunted man.” – Dan Brown • The “greatest mystery of all time” is that Christianity is a big lie… a cover up to hide the real Jesus and the real message of Christianity.

  4. Why should we spend time on a fiction novel? • It is a tremendous cultural influence • The book has sold over 40 million copies in hardback, and over 6 million in paperback. The book (either in hardback or paperback) has been in the top three of the New York Times Bestseller lists since the book’s release in 2003. • The paperback currently holds the #1 slot for paperback fiction. • The movie has made over 77 million dollars in the first week since its release. • TimeMagazine recently named Dan Brown “one of the world’s most influential people.” • The book has been translated into 43 languages

  5. Why should we spend time on a fiction novel? • Though it is called “a novel,” its message is not exclusively fiction • The first page of the book begins with the heading, “Fact:” and follows with this statement: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” • Dan Brown himself said in an interview that, “All of the history in Da Vinci is factual… everything except the characters and the story is factual history.” (Interview with John Walters on New Hampshire Public Radio, June 21, 2004). • When Dan Brown was interviewed by ABC News he was asked this question: “What would you change about the book if you were writing non-fiction?” Brown answered, “Nothing.” In setting out to research the novel, Brown describes himself as becoming a “believer” in the story he presents.

  6. Why should we spend time on a fiction novel? • Fiction is a highly influential genre of literature • The fact that The Da Vinci Code is fiction does not mean that its message will be totally discounted and that it will have no cultural influence. In fact, the exact opposite has happened since its release in 2003. • Because the book claims to be historical fiction, there are many aspects of the book that claim to be historically true. The reader is expected to be able to discern the difference between the historical truths and the fictional characters and storyline.

  7. Why should we spend time on a fiction novel? • The essential claim of the book is that Christianity is a big lie. Most seriously, the book directly refutes: • The Deity of Jesus Christ • The authenticity of the New Testament • Monotheism – the truth of one, true God • The book and movie has brought Christianity and the above issues to the public square. It presents a unique opportunity for Christians to defend the faith and preach the true gospel to those in the cultural who are already asking questions about Christianity

  8. Why should we spend time on a fiction novel? • It is a timely reminder for the church that church history, and particularly the history of the formation of the New Testament canon, is absolutely essential in order to uphold the faith, and “make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

  9. What are the basic teachings of the book? • Jesus Christ was really just a good moral teacher, who was not God and did not rise from the dead. • True Christianity is really about goddess worship, or a restoration of the “sacred feminine.” True religion has both male and female deities. Jesus Christ is called “the original feminist” (p. 248). • Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and she became pregnant before he died on the cross. • Mary was selected by Jesus to be the leader of the church.

  10. What are the basic teachings of the book? • The Roman emperor, Constantine the Great, was the one responsible for making Jesus deity. He did so as a political move to unite Rome under Christianity. • Constantine purposely chose the four gospels (out of 80 possible gospels) because they promoted Christ’s deity instead of his humanity, and suppressed the teachings of his marriage to Mary and her role in the church.

  11. What are the basic teachings of the book? • The choosing of the New Testament books and the “vote” which canonized them took place at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. It was there that the deity of Jesus was “invented.” • Since that time, the church has been deceived about “real” Christianity, the New Testament, the person of Jesus, and Jesus’ relationship with Mary and her role in the church.

  12. What are the basic teachings of the book? • Ultimately, the church has been deceived about the nature of true religion: which is the worship of the sacred feminine. • A sect of the Catholic church, called Opus Dei, is responsible for keeping the “truth” a secret.

  13. 4 foundational questions about Christianity: • How was the New Testament canon formed? • Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene? • What is the true nature and message of Christianity?

  14. Footnote about the book and movie: • Use the book/movie as a evangelism opportunity without unintentionally promoting it. • Not a family-friendly film or book. • Not recommending you read the book or see the movie… but to be familiar enough with the issues it raises to refute the historical errors and defend the Christian truths that it attacks.

  15. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55 “And everything you need to know about the Bible can be summed up by the great canon doctor Martyn Percy.” Teabing cleared his throat and declared, “The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven.”   “I beg your pardon?”   “The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.”

  16. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55 “Jesus Christ was a historical figure of staggering influence, perhaps the most enigmatic and inspirational leader the world has ever seen. …“More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John among them.   “Who chose which gospels to include?” Sophie asked.   “Aha!” Teabing burst in with enthusiasm. “The fundamental irony of Christianity! The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” … In 325 A.D., he decided to unify Rome under a single religion. Christianity.”

  17. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55 “Constantine needed to strengthen the new Christian tradition, and held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicaea.” … “At this gathering,” Teabing said, “many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon—the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course, the divinity of Jesus.” … “until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet… a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”   “Not the Son of God?”   “Right,” Teabing said. “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.”  

  18. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55 “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?”   “A relatively close vote at that,” Teabing added. … By officially endorsing Jesus as the Son of God, Constantine turned Jesus into a deity who existed beyond the scope of the human world, an entity whose power was unchallengeable. …    “It was all about power,” Teabing continued. “Christ as Messiah was critical to the functioning of Church and state. Many scholars claim that the early Church literally stole Jesus from His original followers, hijacking His human message, shrouding it in an impenetrable cloak of divinity, and using it to expand their own power.

  19. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55 “The vast majority of educated Christians know the history of their faith. Jesus was indeed a great and powerful man. Constantine’s underhanded political maneuvers don’t diminish the majesty of Christ’s life. Nobody is saying Christ was a fraud, or denying that He walked the earth and inspired millions to better lives. All we are saying is that Constantine took advantage of Christ’s substantial influence and importance. And in doing so, he shaped the face of Christianity as we know it today.” … “Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling His life as a mortal man.

  20. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55 “Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned.” … “Fortunately for historians,” Teabing said, “some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. … The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert. And, of course, the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hammadi.

  21. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55 “…these documents speak of Christ’s ministry in very human terms. …The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda—to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base.” …   “What I mean,” Teabing countered, “is that almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.

  22. How was the New Testament canon formed? • The establishment of the New Testament canon was one of recognition, not selection. • The Bible teaches that the writings themselves are authentic and inspired (“God-breathed”) – 2 Tim. 3:16. It was not the selection process that made the books authoritative. • So the process of establishing the canon was a process of identifying or recognizing the authentic, inspired writings from the unauthentic, non-inspired writings • The Bible is a collection of authoritative books, not an authoritative collection of books.

  23. How was the New Testament canon formed? • The books of the New Testament were completed by 95 AD. • 70-170 AD: Period Circulation • During this time, books were copied and circulated around various churches. Following the pattern of the Old Testament, the establishment of a NT canon began to take place. • By the end of this period, the NT canon had established the four gospels as authentic.

  24. How was the New Testament canon formed? • 70-170 AD: Period Circulation • Church fathers like Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp contributed to the process of this period.

  25. How was the New Testament canon formed? • 170-303: Period of Separation • During this period, the bulk of the process of recognizing the authentic from the unauthentic books took place. • Unanimous support was gained for 20-22 of the 27 NT books, the “disputed” books being: Hebrews, James, & 2 Peter (because of authorship) and Jude, 2-3 John (because of their brevity).

  26. How was the New Testament canon formed? • 170-303 AD: Period of Separation • During this period, no “other” gospels (other than the four) were considered. • By the end of this period, all apocryphal books (those outside the 27 NT books) were excluded from the canon, having been shown to be unauthentic. • Men like Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria were key figures during this period.

  27. How was the New Testament canon formed? • 303-397 AD: Formal Ratification • This period of history includes the “formalizing” of the canon already established in the last period. • The church historian Eusebius (270-340), after enduring persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian, was commissioned by the following emperor Constantine (upon his conversion in 313) to make 50 copies of the NT (though some of the books were still disputed)

  28. How was the New Testament canon formed? • 303-397 AD: Formal Ratification • Athanasius completed the task of defining the canon in 365 AD when he published the current list of 27 NT books. • The first church council to deal with the canon of Scripture was not Nicea in 325, but Laodicea in 363. But this council merely pronounced that “psalms [songs] composed by private men must not be read in the church, nor books not admitted into the canon, but only canonical [books] of the New and Old Testaments.” • But Laodicea did not list the books in the NT canon.

  29. How was the New Testament canon formed? • 303-397 AD: Formal Ratification • Later, the Council of Hippo (393 AD) formally discussed and (presumably) established the canon of Athanasius. • And finally, the decision of the Hippo council was reaffirmed at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD.

  30. How was the New Testament canon formed? • Summary: • The process of the formation of the NT canon was one of recognition, not selection. • The NT canon as we know it (27 books) was essentially established by 300 AD (just 200 years after the NT was completed). What was left was to answer questions about the few “disputed” books. • The apocryphal books were easily rejected because of their false authorship, late date, and obvious theological problems. • The four NT gospels were established early on (by 170 AD) as the only authentic gospels. No others were ever considered after this time.

  31. The Da Vinci Code claims: “The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.” • Reflects a misunderstanding of inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20-21) • “evolved” is misleading. While there have been a variety of translations over the years, some of which contain some variations or mistakes, the huge number of manuscripts available and the science of textual criticism have made the original reading obvious with an exceedingly high degree of certainty. • The last statement is just flat out wrong.

  32. The Da Vinci Code claims: “Jesus Christ was a historical figure of staggering influence, perhaps the most enigmatic and inspirational leader the world has ever seen. …“More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John among them. • “80 gospels” – this is just patently false. Of the 45 gnostic books found a Nag Hammadi (central Egypt) in 1945, only 5 of them were called “gospels.” The date of these gnostic or “apocryphal” books range from the mid 2nd century through the 5th century. In other words, the four NT gospels were already established with no rivals before most of the gnostic books were even written. • None-the-less, the church fathers easily dismissed these writings because of their false authorship and late date. • “Chosen for inclusion” – reflects a misunderstanding of the whole process of canon formation.

  33. The Da Vinci Code claims: “Who chose which gospels to include?” Sophie asked.   “Aha!” Teabing burst in with enthusiasm. “The fundamental irony of Christianity! The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” • The Roman Emperor Constantine actually had very little to do with the formation of the canon. Furthermore, the Council of Nicea had nothing to do with the formation of the canon.

  34. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? “Constantine needed to strengthen the new Christian tradition, and held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicaea.” … “At this gathering,” Teabing said, “many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon—…and, of course, the divinity of Jesus.” … “until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet… a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”   “Not the Son of God?”   “Right,” Teabing said. “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.” “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?”   “A relatively close vote at that,” Teabing added

  35. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • The Council of Nicea did involve the deity of Christ, but the concept certainly was not “invented” at this meeting nor did it relate at all to the formation of the canon. • The Council of Nicea was called because a bishop named Arius was claiming that Jesus, because he was “begotten” of God, was not of the “same substance” or “essence” as God. • The meeting resulted in the establishment of the Nicene Creed, which states that Jesus is “the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father before all the ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father….”

  36. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • 318 overseers (elders or bishops) attended the council. Only three (including Arius), did not sign the statement. This is hardly a “relatively close vote”! And as far as we can tell, Constantine did not even have a vote!

  37. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • Constantine did commission and finance 50 copies of the NT, but the books that were included in this NT were chosen by Eusebius, not Constantine. “Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling His life as a mortal man. … “Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned.” … “Fortunately for historians,” Teabing said, “some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. … The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert. And, of course, the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hammadi.

  38. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • There was no embellishment of the four gospels by Constantine since they were known and established before Constantine was even born! • And furthermore… “Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling His life as a mortal man. … “Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned.” … “Fortunately for historians,” Teabing said, “some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. … The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert. And, of course, the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hammadi.

  39. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • The Dead Sea Scrolls relate only to the OLD Testament, not the New. In fact, the most recent scroll in the collection probably predates the birth of Christ by at least 50, but probably 150 years (150 BC).

  40. The Nag Hammadi Library

  41. The Nag Hammadi Library

  42. The Nag Hammadi Library

  43. The Nag Hammadi Library

  44. The Nag Hammadi Library

  45. The Nag Hammadi Library

  46. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • The Nag Hammadi collection of 45 books, 5 of which are considered “gospels,” are all written by gnostics. The reason this is significant is that the gnostic “gospels” (as they are called), took issue with Jesus’ humanity, not his divinity. Gnosticism taught that the material world (including the human body) was inherently evil, so their gospels reflected a Jesus that was more divine, and down-played his humanity. The Da Vinci code states just the opposite! “…these documents speak of Christ’s ministry in very human terms. …The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda—to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base.” …   “What I mean,” Teabing countered, “is that almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.”

  47. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • Because the gnostic writings were written later, written by gnostics (instead of Apostles), and are several generations removed from the events they describe, they are the ones suspect when it comes to fabrications and historical problems, not the NT books. “…these documents speak of Christ’s ministry in very human terms. …The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda—to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base.” …   “What I mean,” Teabing countered, “is that almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.”

  48. Was the deity of Jesus Christ invented in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea? • Furthermore, the earliest writings (the most reliable as to original Christianity) are the NT writings, which teach that Jesus was God and was worshipped as such from the beginning.

  49. Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?

  50. The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 58 “As I said earlier, the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is part of the historical record.” … “The Gospel of Philip is always a good place to start.” Sophie read the passage:And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?”   The words surprised Sophie, and yet they hardly seemed conclusive. “It says nothing of marriage.”“Au contraire.” Teabing smiled, pointing to the first line. “As any Aramaic scholar will tell you, the word companion, in those days, literally meant spouse.”