I knew I was going to have to eventually comment about The DaVinci Code. I've been putting it off like a dentist appointment because there's almost too much conversation about it. But I have a little different perspective to offer about it, so I'm offering it up here. Before I get started, though, check out Aaron's brief, but well said, thoughts on the movie here. He's always more concise than I am. And for those of you usually skip my more lengthy posts, I'd encourage you to wade through this. There are some important issues here that everyone should at least think about it.
Unlike most of these insane Christian Chicken Littles, I've actually read Dan Brown's book. I found the story compelling, reading it through in one night. And I never read fiction, so that's saying something about the book. Now just because I enjoyed reading the book doesn't mean that I buy into any of the theological crap he tried to convince people into believing. Brown isn't the first person to propose that Jesus had children, and he won't be the last. Overall, the story is about action and suspense, displayed in a more cerebral setting, which I found interesting. If I'm able, I'll see the movie but will probably rent the DVD.
But that's not the standard Christian response to this subject. I understand that Catholics will be protesting at theaters this weekend. I've heard people like James Dobson say that it's borderline sinful to have anything at all to do with this book/film. And I've seen churches advertise DaVinci Code sermon series, using marketing tools to reassure the general public that they know everything about it.
My response: It's all hogwash. Don't waste your time.
The only effect all this Christian-focused attention will produce is increased revenue for Sony Pictures. Few people, if any, will be swayed either way on the subject. Yet what I find disturbing is the church's fascination with fighting/discussing The DaVinci Code while they gloss over what is truly the most important issue this movie brings up. It's the most important question anyone can grapple with while on this earth. And that question is:
"Who is Jesus?"
While Christians are ready to go medieval on Dan Brown, there are more serious dangers, from within our own ranks, that are being widely ignored. The most important theological threat that will plague the church in the next fifty years will be the person of Jesus. Who was He? What was His purpose here on earth? For what/who did He die? Did He really resurrect from the dead? These seem like the most basic questions, but their answers make up the foundation of Biblical Christianity. And that foundation is being attacked by people who claim to be Christians themselves.
For example, Brian McLaren is a leader of the Emergent Church, a new wave of younger churches that's gaining popularity throughout the country. In a recent Sojourners magazine article, he offered his two cents on Jesus and The DaVinci Code. He offers, "we need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church."
Let me help Brian out here and answer his question: BECAUSE IT'S NOT TRUE! Throughout history people have transformed Jesus into an image/God that they find acceptable and then claim Him as Savior. Usually it's an emphasis on grace, a denial of God's justice [hell] and a "God loves you just the way you are." I know that sounds nice, and it really preaches well, but it's just not Biblical. If given the opportunity, people will always manipulate the nature of God in order to excuse their own sinfulness.
I don't think I ever understood how serious this issue was until moving to the city. This debate isn't as evident in midwestern suburbs, but it's all over down here. Many mainline denominations are distorting their Christology to downplay sin and emphasize acceptance. True, Jesus is accepting, but He also calls for us to make life-change after responding to Him; it's a sacrificial faith.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that there's only one official version of Jesus that everyone must nail theologically in order to be saved; we'll never fully understand all that His death on the cross accomplished for us. But we also must not fool ourselves into believing that we can fashion Jesus around our presupposed beliefs. The apostle Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 not to be deceived by Christians presenting an unBiblical view of Jesus. And there are more of them out there- doing more harm to our Christian faith- than Dan Brown could ever do.
The DaVinci Code is the least of my worries.