The DaVinci Inquest part 7
How Can I Know the Truth?
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
July 2, 2006
Ephesians 6:11-18 (NLT)
Well, we’ve come to the
final week in our series on The DaVinci Code. And
over these seven weeks, we’ve covered a lot of territory. We looked at
several of the claims in the book and in the movie, and we’ve tried to
respond to them by simply looking at the facts. And we’ve found time
and time again that the claims Dan Brown makes in his book aren’t just
against Christianity… they’re against historical facts.
Dan Brown claims
that Christianity has oppressed women, but we found that whenever
Christianity has been introduced into a culture, women have been
Dan Brown claims
that Christianity has demonized sex, but we discovered that
Christianity actually celebrates sex, within the marriage relationship.
Dan Brown claimed
that the Roman Emperor Constantine organized the Council of Nicaea in
the year 325 AD, and he says that in a close vote at the Council, Jesus
was declared to be divine. But we saw that Jesus Himself declared to be
divine, his disciples and early followers believed he was divine, and
Christians throughout the first three centuries all understood Jesus
was divine. Whether Jesus was divine or not was not even on the agenda
at the Council of Nicaea. His divinity was already firmly established.
Dan Brown also
claims that Constantine used the Council to collate the Bible and in
essence determined which books were Scripture. But we saw that the Old
Testament was regarded as Scripture centuries before the birth of
Jesus, and that the books which we have in our New Testament today were
treated as Scripture very early on… some dating all the way back to the
Dan Brown says that
there were 80 other Gospels included in the Nag Hammadi library of
Gnostic Texts, which the early Church rejected because they told the
true story of Jesus’ bloodline. But we uncovered that there were
actually only 5 gospels in the Nag Hammadi collection, they were all
written between one and four centuries after the crucifixion, and they
have no credibility as historical documents. And they don’t even say
what Dan Brown says they say.
Dan Brown says that
Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. But we saw how there is
absolutely no evidence to support this. Would make a whole lot of
difference if they were married, but they weren’t. Not even the Gnostic
gospels say they were married, contrary to what Dan Brown claims they
Dan Brown claims
that the Bible we have today is drastically different from what it was
originally, because of revisions, additions and translations. But we
saw that the Bible we have today is incredibly accurate simply by the
wealth of ancient manuscripts we have… some dating back to the first
century. In fact, we saw that the Bible is simply the most accurate
historical book in existence.
Dan Brown lumps the
Gnostic Gospels in with the Dead Sea Scrolls and claims they are the
earliest Christian records. Well, we’ve already said that the Gnostic
gospels were actually written much later. And as for the Dead Sea
Scrolls, they were Jewish writings which pre-dated Christianity.
Those are some of the
issues we’ve addressed during this series. And along the way, we also
touched on mistakes Dan Brown made regarding architecture, and artwork,
secret societies—all of which he claims are accurate—and even the man
the book is names after, Leonardo da Vinci. And if you missed any week
during this series, then you can read the manuscripts or listen to the
mp3s on our website.
But basically, we discovered that even through Dan Brown seems to build
a case for all of his claims and presents them in a convincing way, and
in interviews maintains that they are true, that doesn’t mean that the
claims actually are true. In fact, with just a little bit of
investigation, all of those claims fall apart. As one professor of
ancient history said about The DaVinci Code…
“It’s the only book I know that after you’ve read it, you’re dumber
than you were when you started.”
~ Paul L. Maier, Professor of Ancient History, Western Michigan
So that’s The DaVinci Code. It’s a fictional novel
that’s packed full of literally hundreds of errors, most of which are
obvious if you just take the time to look.
So why all this time dealing with a fictional book? If the claims in
the book really have no substance and can’t withstand even a little
scrutiny, then what’s the big deal? That’s a fair question. And there
are several answers.
First, a lot of people are reading the book and watching the movie, and
they’re not taking the time to check it out to see if it’s true or not.
In fact, one third of Canadians who have read the book believe it. Even
if they don’t believe all of it, they believe some of it. And as a
result, they have been turned off of Christianity and the Church and
may be lost to an eternity in Hell because of it. And I don’t want that
to happen. Do you?
Second, there are a lot of believers who are being confused by all the
issues and they feel unequipped to respond. I was there. There were so
many claims in The DaVinci Code that seemed to come out of nowhere that
I didn’t feel like I was ready to respond. Now I do.
Third, even though these claims seemed to come out of nowhere, they
didn’t. And they’re not going away. The truth is, there’s been a
resurgence of ancient Gnostic beliefs and Pagan religions over the past
twenty years or so, we’re going to see these types of claims becoming
more and more common. We could ignore it all and hope it goes away, or
we could prepare ourselves to deal with it. Which sounds better to you?
And fourth, and this is perhaps most serious, there are more and more
people who look at all the religions and belief systems of the world,
and they’re treating them like a buffet. They’ll take a little of this
and a little of that, and they’ll just leave what they don’t like. Let
me give you an example. Sarah Michelle Gellar who you may know better
as Buffy the Vampire Slayer has said…
“I consider myself a spiritual person. I believe in an idea of God,
although it’s my own personal ideal. I find most religions interesting,
and I’ve been to every kind of denomination: Catholic, Christian,
Jewish, Buddhist. I’ve taken bits from everything and customized it.”
~ Sarah Michelle Gellar, in Christianity Today
Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. Either Jesus Christ is the one
and only way like He claimed to be, or He was a liar and should be
rejected. Those are the choices. Jesus claimed to be the one and only
way to God the Father. Either that’s true for all, or it’s not true at
all. But He cannot be the only way, and then there be other ways, too.
If Jesus was telling the truth, then He alone is the hope for all of
us. He alone is the one and only Saviour. And if that is true, then it
is true whether you choose to believe it or not.
But some people would argue, “There are many ways to God. Whatever way
a person chooses is right for them. It doesn’t matter which road you
take up the mountain as long as you get to the top.” But I would say it
sure does matter if you’re heading up the wrong mountain.
Here’s a great cartoon…
[SPEARTOON – Man climbs mountaintop to guru, who tells man (while
pointing to a distant mountian with a cross) “Hmmm… I don’t know the
meaning of life either! Did you try that hill over there?”]
There are many ways to try to find God, but there’s only one way to
actually find Him, and that way is Jesus Christ.
So in your notes, you’ll find the question…
Isn’t it enough to be sincere in your beliefs,
regardless of what those beliefs are?
And a lot of people are
asking that question in one form or another. You see, we put a premium
on sincerity in our society. We like to think we’re tolerant and
open-minded, and what’s more tolerant and open-minded than saying that
“it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere”?
That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Everyone likes sincerity. What’s
more compelling than sincerity? As long as you’re sincere in your
beliefs, what does it really matter what those beliefs are?
[Light a Candle.] Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to fire.
Fire is hot. If you don’t believe that, then come up here and hold you
hand in the flame for a couple minutes. You’ll quickly discover that
fire is hot whether you want to believe it or not.
There is truth that is true, even if nobody believes it. And there are
lies that are lies, even if everyone believes them.
Was there a time when the earth was flat? Oh, there was a time when
people believed it was flat. But was it really? Of course not. It was
always round, even when nobody believed it. There is truth that is
true, even if nobody believes it. And there are lies that are lies,
even if everyone believes them.
Let’s look at what the Bible says…
Acts 4:11-12 (NLT)
“For Jesus is the one referred to in the
There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of
heaven for people to call on to save them.”
Underline the words, “no other name.” That sound pretty exclusive.
Let’s look at another passage…
1 John 5:11-12 (NLT)
And this is what God has testified: He has
given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. So whoever has
God's Son has life; whoever does not have his Son does not have life.
Those verses make it clear that Jesus is our only hope. And they
certainly aren’t all that concerned about being politically correct.
They don’t say that Jesus is one option; they say He is the only
option. They make it clear that if your faith and hope is placed
anywhere other than in the person if Jesus Christ, then you’re going to
be burned. The result will be tragic. And it doesn’t matter how sincere
you are. In your notes…
You can be sincere… and be sincerely wrong.
So yes, it’s important to be sincere. But it’s also important that what
you sincerely believe is actually true. You don’t want to be so
open-minded that your brain leaks out.
And you need to be able to tell the difference between tolerance and
validation. We live in a pluralistic society where there are lots of
conflicting belief systems existing side by side. We claim to have
religious freedom, and that’s a good thing. We can be tolerant of other
beliefs, and we can even befriend and care for those who hold to
opposing beliefs. In fact, that’s what we should do. But that is very
different from accepting those beliefs or condoning them or validating
them. Everyone has the right to make up their own mind about their
beliefs, and we need to respect that. That’s tolerance. But that does
not mean that their beliefs are true or that we should accept them as
our own or that we shouldn’t share our hope with them.
But the truth is, there are a lot of different beliefs out there. And
many of them are wrapped up in very attractive packages and
enlightened-sounding language. How do you know what is true and what
isn’t? How can you guard yourself from believing in lies? Earlier, the
puppets sang about searching for truth and answers. Where can they be
found? In your notes…
How Can I Know What Is True and Avoid What Is False?
1. Keep your
That’s something we said
when we embarked on this journey through The DaVinci Code. But you
know, God gave you the ability to think. And He gave it to you for a
reason. He doesn’t expect us to turn off our brains when it comes to
matters of faith and belief. Jesus Himself said…
Mark 4:24 (NIV)
"Consider carefully what you hear…"
Underline the word, “consider.” That means, “Think about it. Test it.
Is it really true?”
Or how about the apostle Paul? Paul was an educated man. He was a
scholar. And he often used logic to show people the validity of who
Jesus was. You can see examples of that all through the Book of Acts
and throughout his letters. To the Church in Corinth, he emphasized the
importance of thinking things through logically when he said…
1 Corinthians 14:20 (CEV)
My friends, stop thinking like children.
Think like mature people and be as innocent as tiny babies.
Underline, “Think like mature people.” Again, engage your mind. I like
how The Message paraphrase of the Bible puts this verse…
1 Corinthians 14:20 (MSG)
To be perfectly frank, I'm getting
exasperated with your infantile thinking. How long before you grow up
and use your head—your adult head? … Only mature and well-exercised
intelligence can save you from falling into gullibility.
As a believer, I do not have a blind faith. The truth is, faith has its
reasons. There is plenty of evidence that supports my faith in God, in
creation, in the resurrection, and in the Bible. Oh, there will be
things I’ll never fully understand. But my faith does not go against
logic; it goes beyond logic.
I think a lot of people dismiss God because they think faith in Him is
illogical. And I am convinced that many of them would be forced to
re-evaluate their beliefs if they knew the facts. The sad thing is,
though, that some people are so entrenched in their cynicism that they
will never believe. That's their choice. But if you actually engage
your mind, you’ll see that faith in Jesus makes sense.
By the way, do you know the difference between a skeptic and a cynic? A
skeptic will ask honest questions. A cynic won’t accept honest answers.
A skeptic will ask honest questions, and that’s okay. They have
questions that need real answers before they can place their trust and
belief in something or someone. A cynic, on the other hand, aren’t
looking for answers. They are only looking to complain and attack. And
it doesn’t matter if you give the best answer ever to their questions…
they won’t accept them.
But the fact is, there are real answers. There are real answers to the
honest questions that people have. Faith in Jesus is not blind or
illogical… it is a reasonable faith. We’ve talked about that before.
And if you want to explore this any further, then I’d recommend that
you check out any book by any of the authors that are listed in your
[For further study, check out some books by C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel,
Josh McDowell, William Lane Craig, and Ravi Zacharias.]
2. Check out
Here’s where a lot of
people have made a mistake with The DaVinci Code. They’ve read the
book, they’ve read the claims, and they’ve accepted those claims
without checking out the facts. Dan Brown makes some pretty convincing
arguments in the book. His claims sound plausible. Problem is, they’re
not even remotely substantiated by reality. And just a simple check of
some of the facts would have revealed this to them.
Even in the first century, shortly after the birth of Christianity,
there were those tried to twist the facts and began to preach a message
other than the one that Jesus brought. That was the very beginning of
Gnosticism. And John’s letters were written specifically to address
these false teachers who were deceiving many people. And he instructed
the people to check out the facts. Test what they’re saying against
what you already know to be true. This is what he wrote…
1 John 4:1 (NLT)
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who
claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit
they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the
And that’s still true today. In that verse you can underline, “You must
test them.” And here are a couple verses written by Paul that I
recommend you memorize…
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (NIV)
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid
every kind of evil.
And third, if you want to avoid being taken in by lies, then you need
yourself in the Truth
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Fix your thoughts on what is true and
honorable and right.
The best way to discern what is false is to know what is true. And what
is true? Well, the Bible teaches that God is Truth. That’s a theme
found throughout the Bible. And Jesus, who is God in the flesh, said…
John 14:6 (NLT)
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No
one can come to the Father except through me.”
So if you want to know the truth, you’ve got to know Jesus. You’ve got
to spend time with Him in prayer and in reading His Word. And in
worshipping Him and growing alongside other believers.
John 8:31-32 (NIV)
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you
are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth
will set you free."
Free from what? Free from bondage to lies and the consequences of those
lies. To avoid being deceived by lies, immerse yourself in the truth.
Because when you do that… when you become very familiar with what is
true… it becomes easy for you to identify what is not so true. Paul
specifically told us why he wrote his letter to the Colossians. He
wrote to them so that they could understand the truth and be strong in
their faith. This is what he wrote…
Colossians 2:4 (CEV)
I tell you these things to keep you from
being fooled by fancy talk.
And you know, The DaVinci Code is some fancy talk. It’s intriguing
literature, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be fooled by it.
Proverbs 15:14 (NLT)
A wise person is hungry for truth, while the
fool feeds on trash.
Immerse yourself in the truth. Be hungry for it. Pursue knowledge. And
that will go a long way in protecting you from the lies.
4. Be alert and
ready at all times
Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm
against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting
against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and
authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of
darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the
Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil,
so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your
ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's
righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good
News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need
faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion in
the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your
prayers for all Christians everywhere.]
Earlier, we saw that
video clip which contained the words from Ephesians 6 about putting on
the armor of God… the belt of truth, the body armor of righteousness,
the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and
the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. We don’t have time
this morning to look at each of those individually. But I would
encourage you to read through those verses again later this afternoon
and consider what each part of that spiritual armor means for you.
But understand, we are in a battle. Why else would we need armor? And
it’s not a physical battle; it’s a spiritual battle. It’s a battle
between Truth and lies. It’s a battle against all the tricks and
schemes of the Devil. Check out the first paragraph in that passage
from Ephesians 6…
Ephesians 6:11-12 (NLT)
Put on all of God's armor so that you will
be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.
For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but
against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against
those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked
spirits in the heavenly realms.
And so we need to be ready at all times, equipped with this spiritual
armor. Because the enemy could attack at any given moment. That’s why
Paul told Timothy…
1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Don’t allow for any lies to enter
into your beliefs. Be alert and ready at all times for any spiritual
attack which may seek to destroy you or lead you astray.
You know, we started
this whole journey with The DaVinci Code by talking about truth, and
we've finished up with it, too. On that first week, we even saw how the
trailer for the movie ended with the phrase “Seek the Truth”. And
that’s what we strived to do. We have sought the Truth.
And I hope that you have seen that there are real answers to the real
questions that people have. You don’t need to fear challenges to your
Christian faith, because the Christian faith is real. It can withstand
challenges, because it is based on truth. All you need to do is seek
out that truth.