"Jesus answered: 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
"Christianity Today" had, as its cover story in the June edition, a special section about "The Da Vinci Code." It's treatment included "How to Fight the Fever." Inside, CT made the same mistake I think most Christians are making when it comes to dispelling ridiculous notions an unbelieving (and largely unsympathetic) world seems intent on perpetuating.
I'd largely been ignoring the "Da Vinci Code" controversy ... not to marginalize it or anything, but simply because I didn't think it was as big a deal as everyone seems to be making it. It was the same with Martin Scorcese's "The Last Temptation of Christ," (I read the book a few years ago ... I'll admit it was interesting, misguided though it was). Christians boycotted, made the talk show rounds, spewed anger. Guess what? It's years later, "Temptation" is barely a footnote in pop culture history and Jesus is still God's son. Nothing changed.
Now, I understand the furor over "Da Vinci." It's claims are purportedly steeped in fact. And that has a lot of Christians nervous. How can we properly evangelize when so many questions are being raised by the book and film, and in light of the media's fascination with Gnosticism? And it's not just "The Da Vinci Code." There's "The Gospel of Judas," questions about the men who compiled the King James Bible ... all sorts of controversial topics. How should we react?
Well, one mistake we're making is that we're allowing "the World" to frame the argument. CT (and, to be sure, most others) are trying to combat the questions raised by "Da Vinci" by fighting fire with fire. That is, the evangelical strategy seems to be to use science and history to explain how The Bible can be the true, unfallible work of God -- which, of course, it is.
The logic is that if "the World" is using historical documents and scientific data to make spurious claims about Christ's divinity, then we should point to the historical and scientific accuracy of the biblical gospels to do the same. We want to point out, again, using the "world's" system of explanation, how The Gospel of Luke is more accurate than that of Thomas. Or we explain why -- again, using history, carbon-dating, etc -- the Bible ended up being what it is today.
This is a poorly chosen tact. It's so similar to that taken by those in the Emergent Church movement. Sure, their motives -- making the Gospel not only palatable but also interesting to an increasingly jaded world -- are wonderful. But when Brian McLaren and others want to steep it in "tolerance," not to mention dancing around the post-modern notion that truth can't be known ... well, there's a problem there. Again, you are allowing non-Christians to frame the argument, to put the explanation of Christ and His salvation on their own terms, not God's. Truth is knowable. Jesus is Truth.
Back to "The Da Vinci Code." Instead of pointing the reasons why our Bible, scientifically, historically and culturally, is more important than Gnosticism (or any other false doctrine), why are we not relying on our faith? We should be fostering faith -- and any attempts to explain our beliefs without that core value as its cornerstone is doomed to fail.
Start big and work inward. Macro-theology toward micro-theology, if you will. The facts are as follows:
1. God exists.
2. If God exists, then it logical to assume (the World assumes -- we know) that He is omniscient and omnipotent.
3. If God is both omniscient and omnipotent (that is, all-knowing and all-powerful), then is not God, in His divinity, able to determine what specific words make up His Bible?
4. If He can determine what goes into His Bible, then how arrogant are we to assume that man had anything to do with compiling the Bible?
Our mission is to tell others about Christ. We don't get them to trust and believe in Him by explaning His existence historically or scientifically. It's simple. He just is ("I am that I am"). And unless He is accepted in faith, he isn't accepted at all.
Yes, things were left out of The Bible. Yes, other Gospels were written. Yes, there are discrepancies between translations and so forth. But all of those things came as a result of a divine plan. We may never know why God chose to do what He did, but we can know Him.
And knowing Him changes EVERYTHING.
So, do you want to know him? Click on this link, read Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible or e-mail me.