The controversy grows with every sale of the bestselling novel. Throughout the contemporary fictional storyline of The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown skillfully weaves “historical” assertions intended to shake the very foundations of Christianity:
CRACKING DA VINCI’S CODE is the long-awaited answer to these and other questions. Authors James L. Garlow and Peter Jones present compelling evidence that Brown’s assertions are not only historically inaccurate, but may also contain a hidden agenda.
THE DA VINCI CODE UPROAR: FACT, FICTION OR FACT-ION By JIM GARLOW
March 2006 Reprint Courtesy of:
Good News Etc.
P.O. Box 2660, Vista, CA 92085-2660
Phone: (760) 724-3075 * Fax: (760) 724-8311
Priscilla greeted me with a sense of urgency that morning. I knew something was wrong. My brother-in-law has just read a book attacking the Bible and Jesus, and he believes the book. What book? I asked. The Da Vinci Code, she exclaimed, continuing, And furthermore it claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a child. I had never heard of the book, though it was just starting to be felt by the novel-reading public. If its a novel, dont worry about it. No one will ever believe it! I was wrong.
First of 3-Part Series
This novel exploded around the world – selling well over 40 million copies in 43 languages, resulting in a major motion picture. More than merely a best seller, The Da Vinci Code became the No. 1 bestselling adult fiction novel of all time.
In the next few weeks following my conversation with Priscilla, I encountered more people who had friends and family that believed the historical and theological concepts in Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code. They reported to me that these people were willing to abandon their Christian faith in favor of the core themes of a novel.
Unsolicited, a call came from a publisher, asking me to author a book responding to The Da Vinci Code. At first I declined, but then agreed – if Peter Jones (professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido) would co-author the book with me. He agreed.
Within a couple weeks, Peter, Jeff (editor) and I met in a hotel room for two days – outlining the key issues to be addressed. A few weeks later, Cracking Da Vincis Code (Cook Communications, 2004) was on the shelves.
What happened next was something neither Peter nor I had anticipated. Suddenly, Peter and I were off to New York City for interviews at CNN and Fox. A front page article on the New York Times opened doors to every major news outlet in the nation — more than a dozen TV appearances, on NBC, MSNNBC, CNN, Fox, etc, – along with countless radio interviews, and interviews with national magazines and several foreign newspapers. Meanwhile our book became No. 17 on the New York Times Bestseller List — Paperback-Nonfiction. While this response indicated the desire to know more about Dan Browns claims in The Da Vinci Code, the book signings were more revealing. As I was signing the book, the recipient would lean over and say, I am getting this book for my… And then they would say, for my son or daughter, or mother, or nephew or niece, or someone. The next phrase was one that I heard hundreds of times: he (or she) believes The Da Vinci Code. That explanation became so predictable, as they explained that their relative or friend believed Dan Browns claims — whether historical or theological. These book signings only confirmed that which had caused us to write the book in the first place.
Radio interviews confirmed the same thing. When talk show hosts opened the lines for questions, once again callers predictably referred to those who believed Dan Browns book. One radio talk show host began chiding me, why on earth did you write a book against a novel ? After he asked it a third time, almost mockingly, I asked him, have you read Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code? Hesitantly, he admitted he had not. That accounted for the fact that he could not understand why I (and others) were writing against a novel.
Dan Browns writing style mixes fact (very little of this) with fiction (much) in such a way that the uninitiated cannot distinguish the two. I call this style of writing fact-ion. After I was interviewed by Linda Vester on Foxs DaySide Show, the guest with an opposing view scoffed at the idea that people could not sort out fact from fiction. Linda Vester, wanting to see which one of us was right, turned to her studio audience and asked, how many of you have read The Da Vinci Code ? Many hands were raised. She looked at the woman near her and asked, could you tell the difference between fact and fiction when you read it? Absolutely not, the woman forcefully responded. My point exactly.
As you read The Da Vinci Code and as you watch the upcoming movie, remember, it is fiction. There is virtually no factual basis — at all. Dont confuuse fact with fiction.
By Dr. Jim Garlow is senior pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa. He is author of Cracking Da Vincis Code and The Da Vinci CodeBreaker.
“THE DA VINCI CODE” MOVIE: HOW TO PREPARE FOR A HURRICANE By JIM GARLOW
April 2006 Reprint Courtesy of:
Good News Etc.
P.O. Box 2660, Vista, CA 92085-2660
Phone: (760) 724-3075 * Fax: (760) 724-8311
One lady who was rescued during Hurricane Katrina expressed anger, during her nationally televised interview, that she had not taken the warnings seriously. A new type of hurricane has come — not Katrina -— but a hurricane named The Da Vinci Code, in the form of a book and a movie.
Second of a 3-Part Series
The Da Vinci Code book and the movie have offered the church a spectacular evangelistic opportunity, if…if…if the church is equipped. 1 Peter 3:15 states, …be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…. We have such an opportunity.
Rarely, if ever, have people asked so many questions about the divinity of Christ or the reliability of the New Testament in the way they have due to a novel and the movie. Church, this is our moment. Let us be prepared!
But the obvious question is how do we prepare? What do we do between now and May 19 (the release date for The Da Vinci Code movie). Allow me to make the case for a four-phase strategy for each local church to follow -— from now till May 19.
Phase 1: The Resource Phase
During the first week of April, I recommend that every believer read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, if you have not already read it. Why read a book that attacks our Bible and our Jesus? The answer is simple. We are missionaries. All of us, as believers, have missionary visas. Missionaries have to learn the language of the pagans. The pagans are not obligated to learn the language of the missionaries.
The Da Vinci Code, though we may not like it, is the language of millions of unbelievers. I have spoken about The Da Vinci Code all over the nation. When I reference the book, I ask how many have read it. My admittedly unscientific survey reveals that only about 3% of evangelical believers have read the book. Yet the unbelieving broader culture seems nearly obsessed with Dan Brown’s writings.
Admittedly most of us don’t have time to read books that attack the core of what we believe. Yet this book’s popularity — and the upcoming movie — have made it the language of the broader culture. And we must speak their language. So get Dan Brown’s book and read it.
The second part of Phase 1, the Resource Phase, is equipping yourself with resources that help you respond to Dan Brown’s attacks. I have co-authored two books on the topic: Cracking Da Vinci’s Code (Cook Communications, Victor, 2004, co-authored with Peter Jones) and The Da Vinci CodeBreaker, (Bethany House, 2006, co-authored with Timothy Paul Jones and April Williams).
Cracking Da Vinci’s Code outlines the six key things every believer should know between now and the movie release.
The Da Vinci CodeBreaker is a dictionary of over 500 Da Vinci Code terms, so that as one reads Dan Brown’s book or sees the movie, you can simply look up the term and get the correct definition. Due to the fact that Dan Brown attacks the authority of the New Testament so aggressively, The Da Vinci CodeBreaker contains many terms and definitions to help one understand the reliability of the Bible.
In addition to the two books mentioned above, there are two superb, professionally recorded DVD’s to assist believers in answering the charges of The Da Vinci Code.
The Da Vinci Code Deception (Grizzley Adams Productions, Colorado).
Exposing the Da Vinci Code (ATI Productions, Los Angeles).
These well done DVD’s feature special menus with tours of some of the well known Da Vinci Code locations. (For information on ordering, go to localhost:8888/jimgarlow.com.)
Phase 2: The Preparation Phase
In getting ready for the release of the movie, Phase 2 is the Preparation Phase (last half of April / first half of May). Organize a four week Bible study using the resources mentioned above. (A free copy of the 4 week Bible Study can be obtained by going to localhost:8888/jimgarlow.com or www.skylinechurch.org or calling 619.660.5000.)
Phase 3: Movie Phase
Phase 3 is the Movie Phase. Go to the movie — but do not go with other believers; go with unbelievers. This will give you an opportunity to begin discussing the key issues that the movie covers.
Do we like to support Hollywood, especially when it is a movie that will likely attack our faith? No, we don’t. However, the evangelistic opportunities that will flow out of this movie make the price of a movie ticket worth it.
(One disclaimer: I have not seen the movie, nor do I know how it will be rated. That one unknown means that discretionary believers will need to determine if they can attend it — once more is known about its contents. At the time of this writing, not much is known about how the movie will handle the more inappropriate portions of the book.)
Phase 4: The Discovery Phase
Phase 4 is the Discovery Phase. Invite unbelievers to participate with you in Da Vinci Code Parties. What is a Da Vinci Code Party? It is a four week investigative study, in which you walk through the exact same contents and topics that you covered in Phase 2. In other words, you will lead a group of unchurched persons in a discussion regarding the six key issues of The Da Vinci Code book and movie. What are those six key issues? I will cover them next month in the final segment of this three-part series.
If you can only host a Da Vinci Code Party for one week rather than four, that can still be a very meaningful time. If you only have time to address two themes, discuss (1) the divinity of Christ and (2) the reliability of the New Testament.
A hurricane is coming. It is called The Da Vinci Code movie. Be prepared.
Free Da Vinci Code Training: May I invite all pastors and Christian leaders to a special Da Vinci Code training, The 6 Key Things To Know Before May 19. It is offered free on Wednesday, April 19 at 9:30 a.m. at Skyline Church, 11330 Campo Road (Highway 94 & Jamacha) in La Mesa. In addition, Skyline is offering a training for all laypersons on Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m. To register for either of these, call (619) 660-5000.
Jim Garlow is pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa.