|Christian Responsibility and the Da Vinci Code|
(By Chris Long 5/19/06)
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (text is at the end)
With all this Da Vinci Code controversy, I have seen and heard a few familiar themes from some well-intentioned Christians, which I would like to take the opportunity to talk about today in the light of God's word.
The first theme is one of "what's the big deal? It's just fiction and it is billed as such."
The second theme is one of "well, the movie/book may be wrong, but I would just like to see what the hype is about - and it may even help me witness and share the real facts to those around me."
Let's spend a few moments today addressing these.
We'll start with the first one. There are plenty of people (including Christians) who see no problem with the Da Vinci Code. These are the same people who likely have no problem with any number of movies/books/you name it that promote any number of things. They believe it's "all in fun" and not to be taken seriously. While I'd love to agree with this position because it sure would make Christianity a lot more "fun" by world standards, I can't. For the same reason I have to take adultery seriously, murder seriously, homosexuality seriously, abortion seriously and on and on the list goes. I have to take it seriously because God takes it seriously, whether I want to personally agree or not. How do I know? Because it's in His word.
Anyone who has ever spent the time to read through the Bible (and not just pick out a favorite chapter) knows that God views sin very seriously. And the Bible defines sin. There are many accounts (with the ultimate account being with the flood) where God wiped out large numbers of people for their sin. (See 1 Corinthians 10:1-13). He takes it seriously. So should we. If a movie/book/song, etc. openly flaunts sin, there is a problem and we need to take it as seriously as God does.
The Da Vinci code goes a step further though. It actually attacks Jesus Christ Himself. As a Christian, the idea that Dan Brown has attacked the deity of my Lord and propagated lies to millions and millions of people is both angering and saddening. It should be for any follower of Jesus Christ. Because if you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you need to know that the Da Vinci Code is aimed to try to knock holes in that belief.
The thought goes from some: "well, it's just fiction and I know it's just fiction, so no harm done." Again the same argument gets used for lots of other things from violent video games to t.v. shows to other movies, etc...The "it's not real, so it's ok" argument. There is one major problem with that argument - it neglects basic understanding of humanity. As humans we take in and process all sorts of information - even as a new baby, we are constantly taking in and analyzing information. The information that goes into our brain is analyzed. This information forms our beliefs.
If you put junk (read "sin") in, you're going to have a belief system formed around what you put in. Jesus says in Matthew 15: "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'..."
It is usually subtle - it's not usually just one movie or one song, but many things. The Da Vinci Code, no matter how nicely packaged as an exciting story (though I hear the movie is fairly boring compared to the book), at its core makes several claims which directly attack Jesus Christ. They attack Him as the needed Savior for the world. I don't care if you are the strongest Christian that has ever lived - if you open the door to that false information, you are giving the enemy an opportunity to plant doubt into your mind, no matter how small or how subtle.
Hence the problem. As Christians, we've got enough lies, enough sex, enough foul mouths, enough evil that we are bombarded with just living in the culture we live in. We've got enough to deal with just with stuff that we DON'T seek out. We've got enough stuff to attack us as Christians as-is. Why play with fire by SEEKING OUT to read something, watch something, listen to something, etc. that is going to attack our beliefs further?
For one to say that as a Christian I should read a book or see a movie that is clearly from the enemy under the pretense that I can use this to debunk the inaccuracies and share Jesus with others is very dangerous. Doing something like this is ALWAYS dangerous regardless of spiritual maturity because it opens the door for the enemy to work in MY life and tempt me and cause doubts in my own mind. A truly discerning and spiritually mature believer would be in a better position here, but it still is dangerous. It really is no different then someone who says something like: "Well, I should read xyz CULT's book so I can better understand their beliefs so I can debunk them" or "I should go to a wiccan church so I can better learn how to debunk wicca and evangelize to wiccans"....It's dangerous because it gives the enemy a chance to have a foothold in our own life that we should not be giving Him. And when we think we are strong is when we should be most on guard (see 1 Corinthians 10:12). [Additional clarification 6/2007: All of the above is true, but there are some for whom they might do this as a ministry to the body of Christ at large. For instance, Focus on the Family reviewed and debunked the myths of this movie. This is great, but it requires someone with the grace of God and power from God. The average Christian, unless genuinely called to this type of apologetics ministry, should instead rely on those that ARE, rather then opening themselves up to the devil's influence]
Wishy-washy Christianity is at an all-time high right now in America and is a chief reason why we have a great many of the problems that we do. We are called to love people with Christ's love and to share Him with those around us. But we are also called to proclaim what is right and denounce what is wrong, as revealed by God in His word. There is a wave of very paper-thin Christianity in America right now of millions who proclaim to be Christian, yet have very little idea of what they believe or why they do or don't believe it. The level of apathy in the Christian church is appalling; "Tolerance" is the big word. A whole bunch of people calling themselves Christians who take no stand on anything - they don't stand up for what is right - and they don't stand up for what is wrong.
Some people may have been bothered that I labeled the Da Vinci code a "tool of satan" and that spending money on it was essentially promoting satan's work. They feel this sounds real harsh and spreading outrage, rather then love.
But here's the reality: Jesus Christ is NOT behind The Da Vinci Code because it tries to take people AWAY from Jesus, not towards Him....This means it is from the enemy. Therefore any dollar that is spent by a believer towards this film or book is ultimately serving to further satan's work, NOT Christ's! Obviously as I said earlier you could make the same argument against any number of other movies and books as well, but this one is one of the unique ones in that it has generated a large amount of publicity, is extremely popular, and is polarizing between 2 different world-views (one where Christ is God-incarnate and the needed Savior of the world, and one where He's not) - kind of like where we were with The Passion 2 years ago (which is why I mentioned it) If this message spreads outrage against the movie and book, GREAT, because I don't believe Jesus is all too happy about it Himself.
As with most things though there are different extremes in Christianity. One extreme is being so about Christ's love and grace that sin is not called forth as such. Another is being so focussed on sin, that we neglect the love and grace of Christ. God is about balance and the Bible showcases this balance from Genesis to Revelation. And this applies to this whole Da Vinci code thing too, just as it applies to the realm of homosexuality and abortion and a whole bunch more. Hating sin - but loving the sinner. The danger comes in when we start hating the sin so much that we lose sight of Christ's love for the sinner. Dan Brown is a person who desperately needs to know the love of Christ in His life and to bow his knee before Christ, for Jesus loves him every bit as much as He loves you and me. Jesus died for Dan Brown and Tom Hanks and Ron Howard too. I admit to being deeply saddened that Ron Howard (little Opie for goodness sakes) and Tom Hanks got wrapped up in this. But they did. Without Jesus in their life, they are going to have to answer to God for it too. But I pray that Howard, Hanks, Brown, and all others involved will realize the error of their ways and turn to the very One they attacked - whether intentional or not - and realize their need for Him to cover their sins (including this one), so that they might live forever with Him in Heaven. Will you join me in this prayer?
Love in Christ,
P.S. - Many churches are taking the opportunity to discuss the fallacies in the Da Vinci Code (akin to what I did yesterday by providing this link: http://www.go.family.org/davinci/ ) and to instead proclaim the TRUTH about Jesus and who He really is. I applaud this effort and believe that we do have an opportunity here to "step up to the plate", shed our paper-thin Christianity, and share the truth of Christ and His love to the confused and hurting world we live in.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NIV):
"1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
6 Now these things occurred as examples[a] to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."[b] 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did - and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did - and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."