The DaVinci Inquest part "0" - a pre-series message
How Can Christians Respond?
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
May 7, 2006
Acts 17:16-34a (NLT)
For the past few years,
you’ve heard about it. You’ve seen specials on TV about it. It has
become a cultural phenomenon such as few things ever become. The The
DaVinci Code by Dan Brown has now sold over 50 million copies, and it’s
still going strong. When the paperback edition was released, it sold
500,000 copies in the first week! And it really is a compelling novel.
It draws you right in… and it keeps you guessing… and little by little
it reveals facts that are crucial to understanding the truth. And when
the movie comes out on May 19, it’s going to reach an entirely new
audience with this truth.
The problem is, the truth that the book is teaching isn’t necessarily
true. There are all kinds of errors in the book which can have a
drastic effect on people who are questioning God and looking for
Now, really, there are a couple of options we have when dealing with
The DaVinci Code. First of all, we could completely ignore it and hope
it goes away. We could take the ostrich approach, and stick our head in
the sand our butts in the air.
Or, secondly, we could take a real look at it and examine its claims.
We could be prepared for it. We could make the best of it.
“Perhaps a… thoughtful and strategic reaction by Christian people would
be to use the movie as a springboard for conversation and exploration
regarding the roots and foundations of the Christian faith.”
~ George Barna
In fact, in the passage that Chris read for us earlier, that’s exactly
what Paul did in the city of Athens. He got there, and saw all the
idols and was deeply concerned about it. His gut reaction was probably
to smash a few of them. But instead, he used those idols and the
beliefs of the Athenians as a springboard to tell them about Jesus, the
true God, and was able to introduce some of them to Jesus.
A little later, I’m going to show you some video of guy named Lee
Strobel. But right now, let me just show you this quote…
“Dialogue and engagement are much more productive than protesting and
~ Lee Strobel
And since so many people around the world have bought into it hook,
line and sinker, I decided it was important for us to approach it head
on and discuss it here. And it’s important for three primary reasons…
Why is this Series Important?
A. To support
And to show you that
there are legitimate and reasonable answers to the questions the book
B. To prepare
for the critics
For some people,
especially if they already have a negative view of the Church and of
Christianity, this will solidify their views. They will feel vindicated
and they may become even more angry and openly hostile toward the
Church and toward you as a Christian.
But the truth is, you probably won’t encounter many if any people who
become hostile toward you because of this book or this movie. It’s much
more likely that you’ll encounter people who are genuinely seeking
C. To equip for
The book does raise a
lot of questions, and questions aren’t bad. But you’ve got to know
where to go for the answers. I mean, there are lots of answers out
there, but what are the trustworthy answers? This book has the
potential of causing millions of people to explore spirituality. Maybe
they’ve never done it before, but this book will spur them on. And you
will probably know some of them. Conversations will come up, especially
with the highly anticipated movie coming out in about a week and a
half. And I want you to be prepared to give an answer. In fact, read
this verse with me…
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give
the reason for the hope that you have.
Underline the words “give an answer”. And during this series, we’re
going to provide some of those answers. The questions are going to
come, and we have to be ready for them.
“With all the exposure to The DaVinci Code in the coming months, there
is little doubt that our neighbours, colleagues, friends and even
family members will be questioning us about the validity of the
Christian faith. But let’s not be overwhelmed by what possibly lies
ahead, and instead see it as an opportunity to explain why the reality
of Christ’s life and teachings are so important to us.”
~ Today’s Family News May 3, 2006 commentary by Mark Penninga
Katrina? Well, one lady who was rescued during the hurricane was later
interviewed on national television, during that interview she expressed
anger and regret that she had not taken the warnings seriously.
Well, this morning, I’m telling you that a new hurricane is coming. In
fact, it’s already here. The DaVinci Code has taken our society by
storm. Are you ready for it?
Next week we will be beginning our official message series on The
DaVinci Code and I would encourage you to invite all your friends to
it. There are posters and invitation cards on the Information Table
which you can use to do that. And for the next several weeks, all of my
messages will be designed with seekers in mind… those who are
spiritually seeking. But this morning, my goal is to help you as a
believer know how to respond to The DaVinci Code and all the hype
surrounding it. This morning, this is for you.
And we’ve got a lot of stuff to get through, and we’ll probably go a
little overtime this morning, so let’s get to it. How can you
positively respond to The DaVinci Code?
How Can I Positively Respond to The DaVinci Code?
This is kind of a
no-brainer, so I don’t need to spend a lot of time here. But it’s good
to be reminded that prayer makes all the difference. There is power and
direction and courage and confidence and wisdom and understanding, and
it’s all available to us through prayer.
James 5:16 (NLT)
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has
great power and wonderful results.
Pray that we will be able to recognize the issues and understand the
answers. Pray that God will open up doors to spiritual conversations
with our friends. Pray that He would guide our words and our attitudes.
And pray that He would give us the love and courage needed to point
people toward the true Jesus.
For my friends
Pray specifically, passionately, and consistently for our spiritually
lost friends. Pray that they wouldn’t be confused by the The DaVinci
Code, and that instead they will seek answers. Pray that God will open
their eyes to their need for a Saviour, that He would open their minds
to the truth of Scripture, and that He will prepare their hearts to
hear the Good News about Jesus and will draw them toward His kingdom.
This DaVinci frenzy is a sign of spiritual hunger. Our society is
searching for truth. And we have it. And we need to share it. Pray
that, regardless of what the original intent of The DaVinci Code was,
it will spark a revival across our country and around the world as
people search for the Truth.
Secondly, if I am to
respond positively to The DaVinci Code, I need to…
familiar with the book/movie.
In other words, read it.
Or go see it. You’ve got to know what it says. And let me tell you why.
You see, we are missionaries to our society. We represent God and we
carry His message to increasingly pagan culture. We are missionaries,
and the responsibility of any missionary is to learn the language of
the people you’re trying to reach. It’s not their job to learn our
language; it’s our job to learn theirs.
Now let me clarify: If you’re just going to the movie for your own
enjoyment, don’t go. I mean, why would you want to expose yourself to
anti-Christian propaganda as entertainment? But if you’re going in
order to be better educated and better prepared for the questions, then
go. Learn what it teaches so that you can be prepared to respond.
So just to give you an overview, let me show you a video that will
touch on several of the issues. I may be using this same video again
next week, but you need to see it now so you know why it’s important
that we’re doing this series.
Video – The_DaVinci_Code (from Essentials) 4:34
So as you can see, The
DaVinci Code contains several outrageous accusations that cut to the
core of Christianity – and which cannot withstand scrutiny. And yet
because Dan Brown cleverly blends fact with fiction, many people think
these allegations are true. In fact, next week we’re going to focus in
on the first page of the book… the page before chapter 1… the page with
the header in large bold letters: FACT. That’s what it says. It says
“Fact”, and it implies that all of the historical and artistic and
archaeological and religious claims of the book are based on fact. And
so we’re going to examine that next week. But right now, let me give
you some stats…
32 % of all
Canadians who have read the novel believe that the theories outlined in
it are true. (National Geographic Channel)
17 % of Canadians
believe that Jesus’ crucifixion was faked. 8 % of Christian respondents
also believed this. (Ipsos Reid)
53 % of adults who
have read The DaVinci Code said the book has been helpful in their
“personal spiritual growth and understanding.” (Barna)
29 % contend that
movies have had a substantial impact on the development of their
personal morals, values and religious beliefs. (Barna)
People are influenced by the movies they watch and the books they read.
As one DaVinci Code reader said to a pastor; “I will never again set
foot into a church, because now I know the real story.” It’s had a
substantial impact on his beliefs. And that story is not unique. But
the good news is…
66 % of adults say
that in a typical week they dialogue with friends and work associates
about the content of movies and TV shows they have recently seen.
Which means you will have the opportunity to answers some of the
questions and clarify some of the issues, and that can have
implications right on into eternity. So…
3. Be ready
with some answers
We looked at this verse
earlier in the New International Version. Here it is again in the New
1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
And if you are asked about your Christian
hope, always be ready to explain it.
Underline “always be ready”. Now, part of being ready is what we’ve
already talked about… being familiar with the book. And let me add, if
you try to talk with someone about The DaVinci Code, what’s the first
question they’re going to ask? “Have you actually read it? Have you
seen the movie?” And if your answer’s “no”, then boom, there goes your
So the first part of being ready is becoming familiar with the book.
The second part is being familiar with the reasons why its claims don’t
withstand scrutiny. You’ve got to at least know a few of them.
And understand, many of the issues that Dan Brown raises concern Church
history and ancient history and art and architecture. And he uses those
to raise questions about Christianity. So even if you know your Bible,
that’s not going to address those issues. So I’d recommend that you do
a little extra research.
So in your notes… you’ll find a list of books and websites that I’d
recommend you check out. There’s a lot of good material out there… more
than I thought I’d find. And if you just take a half an hour sometime
to read some of that material, then you’ll be much better equipped. And
of course, we’ll be dealing with a lot of this material over the next
several weeks. So if you do go through this material, you’ll have a leg
up on everyone else here because you’ll know what I’m going to be
talking about before anyone else does.
This message series (if you miss a week, read or listen to it at
Cracking DaVinci’s Code by James Garlow
The DaVinci Codebreaker: An Easy-to-Use Fact Checker by James Garlow
Exploring The Da Vinci Code by Lee Strobel & Gary Poole
The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers by Josh McDowell
The DaVinci Code: Fact or Fiction? by Paul Maier & Hank
Counterfeit Code: Answering The DaVinci Code Heresies by James Beverley
in the conversations
complain about how hard it can be to initiate spiritual conversations.
Well, now you’re not going to have to. People are going to bring it up
to you! So don’t shy away from them. This is a tremendous opportunity.
And don’t be afraid that you don’t have all the answers. None of us do.
But if you attend this series or, if you look at any of those extra
resources, you’ll be fine. If someone asks you something that you don’t
know the answer to, then a perfectly legitimate response is to say, “I
don’t know the answer to that. Let me see if I can find out.” Maybe you
could say, “You know, that’s an interesting question. Right now, my
church is talking about this very thing… why not come with me this
I have every confidence that you can handle these conversations. Just
be honest and be compassionate in your response. Back to that verse in
1 Peter with the following verse added on…
1 Peter 3:15-16 (NLT)
And if you are asked about your Christian
hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle
and respectful way.
Underline the words “gentle” and “respectful”.
So people are going to bring up The DaVinci Code, and we can
participate in those conversations with love and compassion. But
perhaps you’d like to take it a step further. Maybe you’d like to throw
a DaVinci Party. You know… get together with a group of people and go
to the movie together, and then afterward go back to your house or to a
restaurant to talk. In your notes are some questions you can use to
help guide that discussion, starting with some lighter ones and getting
into some deeper ones…
Which did you like more, the book or the movie?
Which parts of the movie did you like best and which did you like least?
What did you think of Tom Hank’s hair? (Don’t laugh – that’s turning
into a big deal. Apparently, the studio is upset because audiences that
have previewed the movie have hated Hank’s hair style!)
What did you hear that changed your opinion about history?
What did you hear that changed your opinion about Jesus?
If you could ask God about one issue raised by the movie – and you knew
He would address it – what would you ask?
So throw a DaVinci Party. And if you want to take it even one step
further, then why not invite those people to meet in your home or at
Tim Hortons or wherever, once a week for four or five weeks? I’ve been
working on some material which you could use. You don’t need to be an
expert… it will all be laid out for you. Basically, do the same thing
we did with The Purpose Driven Life. Wouldn’t it be great to see people
discover the true Jesus and have their lives transformed because they
came to your home to talk about DaVinci?
Colossians 4:5 (NLT)
Live wisely among those who are not
Christians, and make the most of every opportunity.
And this is our opportunity. It’s not everyday that a major book and
motion picture catapult Jesus into the center of daily conversations
and media interest. This is your chance to reach your friends who would
otherwise not be interested in having a spiritual conversation.
I think Tom Hanks, who’s going to star in the movie, said something
very true—though perhaps unintentionally—when he said…
“I think the movie may end up helping churches do their job. If they
put up a sign saying, ‘This Wednesday we’re discussing the gospel,’ 12
people show up. But if the sign says, ‘This Wednesday we’re discussing
The DaVinci Code,’ 800 people show up.”
Okay, I want to show you one more video of Lee Strobel. I’ll be using a
few videos of him during the series. This video will be a clip of him
speaking before a group of people, and as he’s talking, keep your notes
handy. There are some blanks to fill in. He’s going to talk about what
you and I can do about The DaVinci Code. He’ll reinforce some of the
things we’ve already talked about, plus a little extra…
Video - strobelT1113_MHow Can Christians Respond to The Da Vinci
Code (6:43) (www.leestrobel.com)
Leveraging The DaVinci Code:
(by Lee Strobel)
1. Dive into
2. Prepare yourself
3. Handle conversations with gentleness and respect
4. Don’t assume anything
5. Partner with your church
Unlocking The Da Vinci Code Simulcast – Sunday, May 21 @ 8:00 p.m.
Not shown on PEI, but will be in New Brunswick at…
Main Street Baptist Church, 211 Main Street, Saint John, NB
Penobsquis United Baptist Church, 27 Church Loop Road, Penobsquis, NB
6. Remember that you are not alone
You know, when I first heard about The DaVinci Code, I wondered what
all the fuss was about. It really didn’t set off any alarms with me. I
didn’t think much of it. But then, as the book sold into the millions
and people started talking about it, I started to worry and I became
defensive about it. And as I started to learn more about it, I started
to become just a little angry… maybe even indignant… about the whole
But now, I’m optimistic about it. I’m excited about how I believe God’s
going to use this. Because remember, He’s the expert at taking a bad
situation and using it for good. Remember in the Old Testament after
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers? And later on he met up
with them again? What did he say to them?
Genesis 50:20 (NLT)
“God turned into good what you meant for
So I’m excited about the opportunities that are going to arise because
of this book and the movie. This isn’t a reason to panic, it’s a reason
to celebrate that people are seeking the truth and that we can show it
Leveraging the Da Vinci Code by Lee Strobel
Plus video clips from www.leestrobel.com