Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | May 19, 2006

Da Vinci Code: Issues | 03

In posts over the last couple of days, I have looked at some of the issues for the church raised by popularity of the Da Vinci Code, including the massive resources industry generated by Christian publishers and churches in order to respond.

The first two issues relate largely to church education and Christian discipleship:

Today's post touches on a further question that perhaps has more to do with how the truth of the gospel is communicated to those outside the church. How do we present Jesus?

How do we present Jesus?

There are many suggestions as to why Dan Brown's novel is so widely read. By now, the popularity of the book has taken a life of its own and is already a long way past the tipping point when its continued success is assured. However, even before the current media and publishing frenzy began, it was still the fastest selling novel of all time with an estimated 20 million copies being sold. It is certainly a page-turner but is there something more that contributes to its popularity?

I believe one of the reasons is that it portrays Jesus, albeit a fictional Jesus with no basis in fact. Aside from the controversy that this unorthodox views still provoke in the religious world, it seems people are interested in Jesus Christ. Perhaps Dan Brown has tapped into the sometimes unrecognised spiritual hunger that is present in everyone. As the writer of Ecclesiastes put it, God has 'set eternity in the hearts of men' (3:11).

Unfortunately the Da Vinci Code does not present the truth but instead presents a pale, humanistic portrait of the Son of God which in no way captures the powerful reality of the Christ. If this insipid, twisted version of the gospel captures people's attention, how much more should the real thing?

In his earthly ministry, Jesus had no problem gathering substantial crowds to see and hear him. He was welcomed by almost everyone except the religious establishment and was no doubt a popular guest on the party circuit. I guess making 1,000 or so bottles of good wine for a party at Cana one of your first miracles gives you something of a reputation. There was something deeply attractive and compelling about Jesus – a fulness of grace and truth that was reinforced by his powerful and miraculous ministry.

So if we are not attracting people to our message, we have some questions to consider.

  • Do we communicate through our message and our lives, the attractive and compelling nature of Jesus Christ?
  • Do both grace and truth characterise our church and the individual lives within it?
  • Is our ministry in the church and to society hallmarked by the Holy Spirit's power?

"I tell you, look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35)

Previously:

icon_pdf_small.gifDa Vinci Code.pdf| Fiction – it's exactly that!

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Responses

  1. Well the reviews are coming in now. They pretty much all thing it is a poor film, dull and plodding. However thanks in part to the people protesting against it providing the film with free publicity it will still no doubt do phenominally well.

    I have to admit I find it unbelievable that some Christians have yet to realise that telling people something is bad and should be banned only encourages people to go and see what all the fuss is about. I remember a very funny episode of Father Ted where Ted and Dougal are told by the bishop to campaign against a film showing at the local cinema. Thanks to their efforts, a film that originally was only bringing in a handful of viewers ends up filling the cinema.

    It may only be a silly piece of comedy but it demonstrates a very true and accurate point that the protestors seem to be missing

  2. Awesome post, Hugh!

    Lord Jesus our God promised His church that she is destined to do the things that He did – and “greater works than these”! I honestly believe with my whole heart that the time is near and the time is here for the people of God to rise up in His power and do the “greater works than these”.

    Isaiah 60 says, “Arise! Shine! for your light has come! [Jesus our Lord, our God, is our Light!] and the Glory of the Lord will shine upon you!” I don’t have my Bible right here with me, but perhaps I can remember most of it…”Behold, darkness shall cover [the earth], and great darkness the peoples…but the Glory of the Lord shall rise upon YOU…and nations shall come to the brightness of your dawning.”

    He PROMISED – He PROPHECIED – that darkness would cover the earth- this Da Vinci thing is no surprise to our God…but He also PROMISED that His Glory would rise upon His people, and that nations would come to the brightness of our dawning. Perhaps the present darkness confronting us will drive us into the Word, and drive us into the history of Christ’s Body, the Church…and, as darkness covers the earth – as great darkness covers the peoples – the Glory of the Lord will be visible upon us…His Light, His Glory, and His Wisdom. And they will come.

    Hugh, I also belong to a Ministries Without Borders church, here in the states, in St. Charles. My elders are men of vision. They see the coming darkness, but they also see the coming Glory of the Lord. They see the fields white with harvest – and they are preparing us…and there is an urgency. I praise God for Bible-believing elders and leaders, for five-fold ministers and vision casters, who, like the sons of Issacar, discern the times…and are preparing for the Lord a people willing and able to do the work of the ministry. If you are right about that gnawing spiritual hunger that is driving this whole messy thing – and I believe that you are – then we need it, as the Church-at-large…and we need it badly.

    Hallelujah…keep teaching it. =-)


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