May 21 Sermon Stuff - Jesus and the DaVinci Code
The texts for this week are John 18:36-38a & Colossians 2:6-9
Let me state some of my presuppositions about this book, the controversy around this book, and how I want to interact with it for this sermon series.
First, I have read the book and am not offended by it. I have also read the author's comments about the book and believe him. This book is not an attack on Christianity, it is not a slur against the Church and is not a slam against Opus Dei. I don't believe the author is an evangelical Christian, though he does claim to be a Christian (see www.DanBrown.com), so why would I expect him to write a book that includes a version of Jesus that pleases evangelical Christians?
The author has the characters of the books make some outrageous claims that cannot be substantiated through historical verification, but the book is a novel, so this is a moot point. Now, if people believe to be true about the Church, about Jesus, about reality, according to what the author has the characters say, then that is a problem, but shame on the deceived believers.
A point of contention that some have with the author is his "FACT" page at the beginning of the book. The Priory of Sion has been proven as a hoax (type Priory of Sion into Google, and go to the Wikepedia site for some info)...did Brown know this before he wrote his book? Many people have already combed through his book pointing out numerous "mistakes" in his statements about art and architecture...is this sloppiness on Brown's part? What can one conclude? Don't believe anything Brown states in the book as fact! Just enjoy it as a novel that uses history and pseudo-history as a launching pad for another world that seems strangely like ours, but factually just is not. IT IS NOT A HISTORICAL NOVEL!!!!! IT IS JUST A NOVEL!!!!!!!
So, what about his claims about Jesus Christ. Did he marry Mary Magdalene? Did he have children and produce a royal line? Was he divine? According to the New Testament, No, No and Yes. Brown "cites" other "gospels" to "prove" his version of the story. But the other "gospels" are not in the New Testament because they are not credible enough (either due to authorship or content, or both) to be recognized as Scripture (the record of God's Word and Work by God's Prophets and Apostles).
Does it matter whether Jesus was married, had children, and was not divine? Yes it matters. Jesus could have married, and could have fathered children, he was fully human, so he had that opportunity and capablitilty, but chose not to do it for the cause of his mission. Jesus was divine, according to his own words. If Jesus said he was divine, and really wasn't, then that makes him a liar or a lunatic. If Jesus wasn't divine, but his followers insisted that he was, than his followes are liars and the message is untrustworthy, which is an approach some take.
Darrel Bock, professor out of Dallas Theological Seminary points out that our faith is known as Christianity, not Jesusanity. We follow Jesus the Christ, the Divine Messiah, Anointed of God, the Deity in the Flesh. Jesus the man was an interesting teacher and inspiring leader, but we trust him and obey him because he is divine, because as the God-Man he is able to reconcile Mankind with God, atoning for our sin and giving us eternal life with God (the good life that gets better and better forever and ever with God). Jesus can't deliver us to the good life unless he is divine.
If nothing else, when you finish reading The Davinci Code you'll be glad that Jesus didn't wed Mary! You'll be glad that the faith handed down to you through the ages is not corrupted by consipiracy, but the songs of the saints! It is interesting to note that at the end of the book, the criminal who gets arrested, the evil mastermind behind the twisted plot generated a church conspiracy out of nothing.
Read the book. Enjoy the novel. Be challenged to deepen your understanding of what you state to believe.