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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The DaVinci Code, a personal perspective

Some have asked if I would post my comments on the DaVinci Code that I discussed at the weekend services. Here they are! Please comment if you have additional questions or thoughts.

First, I would encourage you not to boycott the film. There is a time and place to make a statement by non-participation, but I don't believe this is one. I would like for you to be able to dialogue with your friends and neighbors about the content of the movie, in hopes that you can point people to Christ. In order to do this in an educated way, it would be useful to see the movie. WARNING: I cannot vouch for the content! Check out sites such as for helpful, family-friendly movie reviews.

Essentially, the DaVinci Code represents a form of Gnosticism. The early church fought greatly against gnostic heresy for the danger they represent. Basically, gnostics claim to have secret knowledge that God has revealed to them alone, and you can't hear the secrets until you join the club. The secrets in the DaVinci Code are that Jesus revealed to certain people his relationship and subsequent family with Mary Magdalene. The "true gospel" was revealed to this inner group, and the rest of Christianity is oblivious. Now I'll admit: the gospels don't say much about Jesus' personal life and family. We can conclude one of the two things: either he was really married and there has been a 2,000 year cover-up going on, or we can conclude that these things never happened. Unfortunately, some see the absence of information as an opportunity to create legends, but our faith is based on what we do know in Scripture and not speculation.

The most dangerous claim in the book, were it true, is that Jesus never thought of himself as divine. The church later created the divine Christ for their own purposes. I can't think of a more bogus claim! Every book in the new testament refers to Jesus as deity, the Son of God. Once again, either these books have all been altered without public knowledge (highly unlikely), or Jesus really claimed to be divine. In the gospel of John alone, we read Jesus saying, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me," "I and the Father are one," "He who has seen the Father has seen me." Clearly, Jesus believed he was the Son of God. Also, we have surviving accounts of 1st and 2nd century bishops such as Polycarp and Ignatius who went to their death believing that Jesus was the Son of God and worth giving their lives for. You can read their accounts in numerous places today.

Finally, I would encourage you to not dive too deeply into the DaVinci Code itself. Why? Not because I'm worried you'll uncover secrets that will shake your faith, but because our aim is not refute every rabbit trail that a cynical author leads us down. Our aim is to point people to the truth. So don't turn to chapter and page of the DaVinci Code, turn to chapter and verse of the Bible. Take people to John 3:16 where Jesus proclaims, "For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." Take them to John 14:6, where Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me." Take them to John 10:10, where Jesus declares, "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full." Take them to John 11:25, where Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies." Take them to Jesus. Our goal is not to prove how wrong Dan Browne and his DaVinci Code are. Our goal is to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His eminent return. Then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

Journey on!

Monday, May 01, 2006

What's Your Fragrance?

A crucial part of every morning for me is an opportunity to sit down with a good cup of coffee and read...the daily comics. I know, I know; as a pastor I'm sure I'm "supposed" to get up early and be reading my Bible, but my mind usually isn't in gear enough for the deeper things- but the comics seem just about right.

I've enjoyed a story line taking place lately in the "Zits" cartoon. In this sketch, the teenage Jeremy has become obsessed with the suddenly-popular body sprays you see advertised all the time. The strip from today showed Jeremy's mom sniffing the air, and then preparing milk and cookies for Jeremy before he ever walks in the front door. As Jeremy pops his head in the door and sees that his mom has been aware of his coming for some time, he comments, "I guess maybe I do use too much body spray." And Jeremy's mom replies, "Yes, your smell preceded you by five-minutes."

Not only did this comic make me laugh, but it reminded me of a deeper truth. I guess my mind isn't that slow in the morning after all. Regardless of the type of perfume, cologne, or body spray we may use, each one of us gives off a fragrance. It's the type of fragrance that can't be smelled with the nose, but is sensed by the human heart. The kind of person we are, our character, our attitude, and our behaviors, gives off a fragrance that can be easily sensed by the people around us. We face a choice between giving off the scent of grace, love and acceptance, or a smell of criticism and judgment.

As Jesus walked this earth 2,000 years ago, he lived a life of grace. People from all walks of life and all backgrounds felt comfortable; no, welcomed, in his presence. When they saw Jesus coming, the fragrance of grace went before him and drew people to this God-man. And it was out of this love and grace that Jesus was able to call people to a new life and a new way of living. We can be guilty of thinking that people need to know how wrong they are before they'll change. Jesus showed that people need to know how loved they are.

What kind of fragrance do you give off? If you are seeking to make a difference in the world around you, become a person who gives off the aroma of grace. May you discover the wonderful grace of God in your life in order that you may freely offer it to those around you this week.

Journey on.