The Da Vinci Code. Everyone has heard of it; without doubt it causes a reaction. For many Christians there is a sense of fear. Many refuse to read the book because it is heresy, and, for the same reason, they won’t see the movie. They know that the book undermines the Christian faith and yet can’t engage with the issues it raises through ignorance of its contents. 

"The challenge lies in our response, the way in which we view the whole issue, and consequently, the manner in which we react."

Certainly The Da Vinci Code presents a challenge. A work of fiction presented in a subtle way as historical fact, a novel which seriously attacks the foundations of the Christian faith. The challenge lies in our response, the way in which we view the whole issue, and consequently, the manner in which we react. If we see it as a threat the tendency is to withdraw, to avoid anything to do with it, and to refuse to engage with the issues it raises. Maybe we don’t want to spend money on either the book or the film, as doing so would merely make Dan Brown richer and possibly be seen as condoning the whole thing. Alternatively, we can embrace the unique opportunity The Da Vinci Code presents, the possibility that we as Christians can intentionally engage with our culture, providing meaningful and accurate dialogue with those who may blindly accept the “teachings” and propositions of the book (and subsequently, the movie). But, to take up this opportunity we need to be prepared. 

Understand What the Da Vinci Code Suggests
Quite simply, we cannot expect to engage with people if we have no understanding of the content of the book. Unless we read the book, watch the movie, or both, we will fail to fully appreciate what it is suggesting. Without this firsthand knowledge our arguments against The Da Vinci Code are from a position of uninformed ignorance. 

As an example, I may wish to engage with the local ballet sub-culture as an expression of my missional mindset. It would not take long before people realised that my knowledge of ballet is limited to say the least. Despite my best efforts, my ignorance would clearly show. However, relating and engaging with those involved in football (the Aussie Rules variety, of course) would be a different matter. From years of involvement and interest I can relate from a position of knowledge and understanding.

We must adopt this approach with The Da Vinci Code. It is necessary to understand what it is all about if we are to effectively argue against the untruths it presents. This necessitates that we either read the book, watch the movie, or both.

"The onus is on us as believers to not only know what we believe, but why we believe it."

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Know What You Believe and Why
It is easy to simply argue that The Da Vinci Code is wrong because the Bible says so. But this type of argument fails to truly grapple with the issues involved. The onus is on us as believers to not only know what we believe, but why we believe it. Otherwise, our words seem empty and powerless, lacking conviction and solid basis. Quite simply, if we are to engage with our culture, a culture in which Christianity and its Bible-based belief system is marginalized, then we must be able to provide logical, reasoned arguments in defense of our faith. The apostle Paul did this when he engaged with the philosophers on Mars Hill. He was able to reason and debate with them, even if he did not convince them outright.

How would you counter the following claims of The Da Vinci Code? Can you give a reasoned answer, or would it be necessary to resort to a standard response such as “Well, I know the Bible says somewhere that...”? How would you respond, for example, to Dan Brown’s assertion that Jesus was first declared divine at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD? I f you are stumped over this one check out Jim Reiher’s article on Sight Magazine! What about his claim that the Gospel of Philip provides evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married? And, as a final example, consider this quote: “Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple housed not only God but also His powerful female equal, Shekinah” (page 309 of The Da Vinci Code). While this appears blatantly ridiculous and unfounded, we need to be able to provide a reasoned argument to counter Brown’s claim. The point of this is not to cause embarrassment or to bring a sense of condemnation, but rather as encouragement to know not only what we believe, but also, why we believe it.

This may entail further study of God’s word. It may necessitate purchasing some resources, or joining a theological library, or forming a study group directed towards the deeper study of God’s Word. Regardless, there is a need for Christians to become more informed and better equipped in order to effectively engage with our culture in the manner Paul was able to do with his some 2000 years ago.

Consider an Apologetic Response
Our issue in this context is one of apologetics. Are we, as believers, equipped, ready and willing to defend the faith which we hold to, prepared to give an account for the hope that is in us? To do so necessitates that we know our faith, and why we believe. "The Bible said it, I believe it" attitude isn’t enough. We need to be able to give a reasoned defense of what we believe, one that is informed and compelling.

Many, many books, articles, and video presentations are available which outline the flaws in The Da Vinci Code. It is not the purpose of this article to refute in detail the incorrect assumptions and propositions of The Da Vinci Code. Rather, the aim here is to encourage and motivate believers to read, learn, and take up the challenge of defending the faith against attack, whether from a book like The Da Vinci Code, or the spectre of political correctness hovering over the church.

"'The Da Vinci Code' provides a unique platform from which we can share the Gospel with those who are searching for answers."

Look for Opportunities
The Da Vinci Code provides a unique platform from which we can share the Gospel with those who are searching for answers. What an opportunity! We don’t even have to hold a rally, or advertise an outreach event but can simply have believers who are firmly rooted in the foundations of the faith ready and willing to interact with others and engage them in meaningful conversations with logical, well reasoned answers.

How might this happen? Last Friday evening I was sitting in a coffee shop near a local cinema waiting to pick up my kids from a youth activity. My attention was grabbed when the coffee shop was inundated with people who had just finished watching The Da Vinci Code. It was relatively easy to enter into conversation simply by asking “What did you think?” By going one step further and watching the movie it would be possible to engage with others over coffee. Consider going to the movie with someone outside the Christian faith - what an opportunity. The issue of Christianity is raised without any need for an awkward, out-of-place question.

Whilst this may not result in an instant conversion, the opportunity exists to proclaim the true Gospel, in contrast to the version according to Dan Brown. The Da Vinci Code, like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, places the Christian faith firmly on the agenda of our culture. Who knows, God might just be able to use you through this, to impact one of your friends, or a family member. Be bold, be courageous, and step out into the world, ready to give an answer to the hope that you have.