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September 2002

March/April 2004
Volume
A Publication of 2|
LivingNumber
on the Edge 5

notes
A Publication of Living on the Edge

The Bible vs. Vignette from Leonardo da


Vinci’s The Baptism of Christ.

The Da Vinci Code


H
eresy or history? That’s the question swirling • Jesus married Mary Magdalene. After his death,
around one of the hottest-selling books in she fled to France with their child, where their
America, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. bloodline still exists.
Although a novel, the 450-page thriller claims to contain • The truth has been kept for centuries by a secret
“facts”that demolish the foundation of Christianity. society that has included painter Leonardo da
The book’s allegations include such bombshells as these: Vinci, who encoded the story via symbols in his
• The four Gospels were frauds imposed on the most famous works of art.
church by the Roman emperor Constantine and Too crazy to be believable? Guess again!
a circle of power-mad theologians at the The Da Vinci Code has been number one on
Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. These Gospels Amazon.com, a New York Times bestseller for 32 weeks,
replaced the true written accounts of Christ’s the subject of positive media coverage such as an ABC
life and doctrine, which were systematically News special, and has been purchased by Sony for a
hunted down and burned. major motion picture to be directed by Ron Howard.
• Jesus was not, and never claimed to be, God. And the “unbelievable”is being believed. Non-
There was no resurrection. The virgin Christians have been drawn to the theory like a magnet,
birth and resurrection were borrowed from and even large numbers of Christians say their faith has
pagan mythology. been shaken or that they don’t know how to respond.

CRACKS IN THE CODE


with Chip Ingram

Because the mission of Living on the Edge includes


transforming “how America thinks about God”and
“how individual believers live out their faith,” we want to
equip you with some facts about The Da Vinci Code.
You need to have intellectual confidence in your
faith to weather the trials and challenges of life. If the
Bible is erroneous about Christ, then maybe it’s wrong
about sex, marriage, prayer, life after death, heaven, hell,
and God’s love, right?
Frankly, The Da Vinci Code is too crowded with
errors to begin to cover all of them. But here is some
information to help you decode the deception and
fortify your faith.

Q: Is The Da Vinci Code thesis supported, as


it claims, by well-accepted historical and
art authorities?
A: Just the opposite. Brown, not a scholar or historian,
cites no accepted historians or New Testament scholars
to back him up. But a long line of scholars—Christian
and non-Christian, conservative and liberal—has
dismissed the book’s allegations.
Brown does cite in his favor a handful of
conspiracy theorists as if they were reputable sources,
(continued inside on page 2)
notes
The Bible vs. The Da Vinci Code
(continued from page 1)

yet none is regarded as an expert or scholar in history. 3) The Gospels are extensively quoted by the
One of them has even written a book claiming that numerous writings of church fathers in documents
Egyptian culture was shaped by space aliens! dating before the Council of Nicea.
Further, The Da Vinci Code bungles elementary 4) The Gospels harmonized with the theology of
facts, raising serious doubts about its overall reliability: the entire church and letters of the apostles and were
• The famous Dead Sea Scrolls are said to have widely accepted.
been discovered in the 1950s. They weren’t. 5) The Gospels contain specific names, dates,
Brown says • Brown says the Dead Sea Scrolls contained places, and details that are characteristic of accurate
the Dead Sea outlawed gospels that have shed new light on history and eyewitness testimony.
Scrolls “the truth”about Jesus. In fact, it is well-known Scholar Robert Grant sums up the consensus of
contained that the Scrolls contain no material about Jesus. historians when he states that the New Testament
outlawed
Most date to about 200 years before Jesus lived, “was not the product of official assemblies or even
gospels that
and their main significance is that they include of the studies of a few theologians. It reflects and
Old Testament documents. expresses the ideal self-understanding of a whole
have shed
• Brown claims the vote on Christ’s deity at the religious movement . . . united in accepting these 27
new light on
Council of Nicea was “relatively close.” The diverse documents as expressing the meaning of
“the truth”
actual count was 298-2! God’s revelation.”
about Jesus.

Q: Are the four Gospels in our New Testament Q: Aren’t there “other gospels”about Jesus that
reliable, or were they invented at the were suppressed for political reasons?
Council of Nicea in A.D. 325? A: The Da Vinci Code claims there were “at least 80”
A: The four Gospel accounts are considered to gospels that boast more evidence of authenticity than
be accurate histories of Christ because they pass Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
several tests: In reality, there are about 50 other so-called gospels
1) We possess early portions of the Gospels, cited in ancient literature. None comes Most are filled
written mainly on papyrus, including some fragments close to meeting the tests of with bizarre
dating back to almost the first century. authenticity previously mentioned. tales and wildly
2) There are thousands of early copies of the Most are filled with bizarre tales and heretical
Gospels—many even dating before the Council of wildly heretical theology such as Jesus
theology . . .
Nicea—that come from various parts of the old Roman claiming that women must “become
Empire. This indicates that they were widely circulated male”to go to heaven.
and accurately transmitted throughout the international Finally, there is no historical evidence of any
Christian community. widespread destruction of these false gospels. In fact,

Testimonies
from the
losses that I truly sought a relationship with God. And the
overwhelming credit for every guided step taken toward a
sustaining faith is attributed to your teachings.”
Of course, the credit ultimately belongs to God, but we
Listeners Share About God’s Work in Their Lives are thankful He is using Living on the Edge. She went on
to write, “I know there have been several points in your life
he life of faith can be hard. We get a steady flow of
T letters and e-mails from Christians who struggle with
situations that challenge their faith. One of our passions is
at which you yourself went through seemingly
insurmountable crises. . . . It is exactly those intimate
struggles that you have graciously shared that encourage
to make sure these challenges stretch, rather than me the most.”
undermine, their trust in the God who loves them. We’re thankful God used us to guide this woman’s
Recently a woman from New York wrote, “Although I journey back to the center of faith. And we are also
was raised in a Christian home and have attended church thankful for you and every Living on the Edge supporter,
my entire life, it was not until I experienced a number of whose generosity makes such life change possible.

2
the emperor Constantine, who Brown alleges engineered days,” as Brown claims. His comparison is simply false Sources for this article, or to do
further research:
the destruction, disagreed with the key affirmation of the and easily discredited.
Not InDavincible by James Patrick
Council of Nicea—the deity of Christ. It makes little Holding, Tekton Apologetics,
sense that he would suppress a doctrine he believed in. Q: Did Jesus marry Mary Magdalene and www.tektonics.org

appoint her to lead the church? Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene?
by Dr. Darrell Bock, abcnews.com/
Q: Did the early church believe Jesus was God, A: There exists no evidence for either claim and much sections/World/Primetime/da_vinci_
or instead was His status “upgraded”in A.D. evidence against them. In a literary sleight of hand, code_031112.html

325, as The Da Vinci Code alleges? Brown even inserts words in his main “source,” the Deciphering ‘The Da Vinci Code’ by Dr.
Albert Mohler, crosswalk.com/news/
A: Christ’s deity is not only Even pagan discredited Gospel of Philip (which Brown mistakenly weblogs/mohler/1212006.html
mentioned in the four Gospels historians . . .
says was written in Aramaic—in reality, it was Greek), The Da Vinci Code: Is Christianity a
and throughout the New to make it appear to say something (that Jesus kissed Big Lie? by Dr. Mike Ladra
accuse www.fpcsalinas.org
Testament, but also in documents Christians of Mary on the mouth) that isn’t even in that text.
General Introduction to the Bible by
and citations by other writers The earliest, most widespread, most historically Norman Geisler and William Nix
worshipping
dating before 325. Even pagan credible documents—the four New Testament The New Testament Documents: Are
Jesus as God.
historians, also writing before Gospels—mention Mary as a devoted disciple who They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce

325, accuse Christians of worshipping Jesus as God. received an exorcism from Jesus and witnessed His New Testament Evidences by Wallace
Warwick
death and resurrection appearance. That is all we know.
The New Evidence That Demands a
Q: Are the virgin birth and resurrection In summary, The Da Vinci Code is like a Verdict by Josh McDowell
borrowed from pagan myths such as that of gleaming used car whose odometer has been altered Why I Believe (series and booklet) by
Mithras, as asserted in The Da Vinci Code? and its documents falsified—a nice-looking lemon. Chip Ingram

A: Historians who have examined such myths have found Buyer beware. ■
that, in many cases, the myths were
written after the advent of
Christianity (thus, probably borrowed UPCOMING
from Christianity) or that the BROADCASTS
similarities are exaggerated.
Scholars who have read Mithras  March 8–19
literature refute Brown’s claims. They Going Public with
say Mithras was never called “the Son Your Faith
of God and Light of the World,” as
Brown claims. Mithras was also  March 22–23
never said to be “buried in a rock Special Broadcasts
tomb, and then resurrected in three
 March 26–April 8
Vignette from Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
Jesus, Up Close and
Personal
Learn more about the real Christ by
 April 9–12
spending time with Him in His Word. Why I Believe
When attacks like The Da Vinci Code distort the biblical Christ with
 April 13–28
deceptive arguments, your best protection will be to know the biblical
How to Be a Christian
Christ so well that the deception is easily detected and dismissed. That’s
Without Being
why Chip Ingram wants you to have At His Feet.
Religious
At His Feet is a book of 365 daily readings for those who want to go
further in their journey with Jesus—to know Him and His Word so well that  April 29

discerning truth from error will become second nature to you. And in the Special Broadcast

process, you will be instructed, strengthened, encouraged, and challenged.  April 30–May 3
Request your copy today, and become conformed to the image of the House or Home
authentic Christ.
CHIP INGRAM, Teaching Pastor

OUR VISION . . .

Transforming how

The Delight of AMERICA thinks


From Chip to You . . .

Discernment about GOD, how

My natural inclination is to use these But it doesn’t have to be that way. PASTORS think
pages to encourage you by explaining crucial The debunking of The Da Vinci Code
about PREACHING,
elements to make your faith work in real life. we’ve provided here, along with the resources
In keeping with that goal, in this issue of we’ve suggested, are designed to help you not how CHURCHES
EdgeNotes I strongly felt the need to address only see the errors of one book, but to help you
think about their
the current attack on your faith contained in go after the treasure of knowing God’s Word so
The Da Vinci Code. well that you can’t be shaken—not by COMMUNITIES,
Let me point out that this is not an ivory- deception and not by the trials of life.
tower issue. This is, in fact, about a crucial You don’t need to have a Ph.D. But you do and how individual
element of making your faith work. It’s the need to do some basic work to dive into God’s BELIEVERS live out
element of discernment. Without discernment, Word “so that no one may deceive you by fine-
you’ll never really be secure in your beliefs. sounding arguments” or take “you captive their FAITH at home,
With it, your faith will become strong and you through hollow and deceptive philosophy”
school and work.
will delight in the security that it gives you. (Col. 2:4, 8).
When I say “delight,” I’m not exaggerating. You see, the challenges to the veracity of
EdgeNotes is a publication
In an age of doubt, uncertainty, and stress, Christianity will keep coming. Old heresies will of Living on the Edge with
there is no deep-down joy that can compare to be repackaged and dangled in front of you Chip Ingram.
the satisfaction of knowing what life is all constantly, in new books, movies, TV
Please feel free to contact
about, both here and eternally. documentaries, and every possible medium. us with your comments
And that’s precisely why I encourage But when you know your Bible, these challenges and questions, and for
you—more than ever—to spend time in God’s will be a springboard to strengthening and resource information:

Word daily and to understand its teachings in a reaffirming your faith rather than shaking it. WEB:
www.lote.org
way that fortifies your intellect and nourishes And that will bring you priceless security in
your heart as you draw closer to Christ. every area of life. MAIL:
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