May 22, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

What's the big deal, anyway? Why are all of these Christians so torqued-off about a movie? Why have they raised such a stink about a book, anyway? I mean, 60 million people can't be wrong, can they? What do they want, some kind of censorship? Isn't this a free country?

If you're a Christian, there's a good chance that you've been exposed to the tsunami called DaVinci. It washed up on the popular shore, as a "novel," about two years ago. From then to now, instead of dissipating, the swell has grown. One book has spawned over a dozen counterpoint volumes... which have not, in their aggregate sales, even begun to touch the breadth of readership that Dan Brown's blockbuster has achieved. He's seen Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life... and raised him 10 million.

Who's reading - or, watching - DaVinci? Catholics ( DaVinci's primary victims), more than Protestants (24% vs. 15%); mainline Protestants more than non-mainline (3:1); college grads who make $60k/year over the downscale high schoolers with half the income (4:1). Another interesting stat: only 5% of the readers (too soon to tell for the moviegoers) report that they've changed their beliefs because of DaVinci. But, are the beliefs of two million people unimportant? If the young movie crowd - who are likely to lack their parents' Sunday School upbringing - changes their religious understanding at the same rate, what will the impact be across America?

What are those beliefs that are under attack in DaVinci? I'm not worried about "ruining the movie" for you; there is little mystery left in the mystery, for people who have had a television on in their home over the last few weeks. What are the underlying plot lines upon which Dan Brown builds the adventure?

His targets include the Catholic Church, as an institution with power to burn, and the New Testament record of history, within which the power of the Gospel is housed. The Catholic Church can answer their own issues; my greater concern is the integrity of the Gospel. What are the flashpoints?

Here's the story, as told by Brown, in a nutshell: Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Mary was pregnant at the time of the Crucifixion. Jesus didn't die on the Cross. Mary had a child (a girl), whose line of descendants are "the Holy Grail" (the bloodline of Jesus). What's the rub?

The story is a dangerous mix of fact and fiction. Claims of authenticity don't offer verifiable truths. The casual reader (perhaps the majority?) would not see the differences...

Here are two chokers. First, if Jesus didn't die on the Cross... then he wasn't buried, as a dead body, in the tomb. No death; no tomb. No tomb; no Resurrection. No Resurrection; no Easter. No Easter; no hope. Proof? Listen to the First Century apologist, the Apostle Paul, who reported a sighting of Jesus from heaven about the same time that Dan Brown says Jesus and Mary were settling into married life: "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. (1Corinthians 15:12-19). The whole deal of salvation rests on the Resurrection...

Second: Jesus had no "sin" gene, because sin passes down from Adam, through the father. He was sinless... and the only potential sacrifice ever born. Any child of Jesus - humanly - would share His sinless state. If He had a sinless child, He is no longer the one-of-a-kind, only candidate for Atonement, God in unstained human flesh Son of God. Dan Brown is not the Evil One... but, he sure makes Satan smile with his deception. Seize the day: in the atmosphere of DaVinci, find a way to speak the truth, in love. People just might listen to the way it really was, if you know the real facts. Brown claims facts; what are your claims?

Bob Shank

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