by Richard Mansel, managing editor
In the “Da Vinci Code,” Dan Brown weaves a tapestry of lies. He claims Jesus was a
“mortal prophet” until Constantine and the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. voted to make him divine. Moreover, the Council “shrouded [him] in an impenetrable cloak of divinity” in order to assert their power over the pagans. Constantine commissioned a new Bible [especially the four gospels] that agreed with their view that Jesus was divine and they hid the rest of the eighty gospels that denied the divinity of Jesus./1
Dan Brown has woven quite an impressive safety net. He claims his information is from secret documents and that the Bible is full of lies. And since the documents are secret, nobody can prove him wrong. Yet, refutations of his lies are easily accomplished.
The Bible has more manuscript documentation than any ancient book./2 “The number of our New Testament manuscripts is vast, about 5,000 in all.”/3 John Warwick Montgomery said that “no documents of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as the New Testament.”/4
The early church fathers were men who wrote in the second and third centuries. They quoted extensively from the New Testament. Geisler and Nix report that there were 32,000 citations of the New Testament prior to the Council of Nicea./5
Irenaeus, a second-century writer, already had the four gospels in his writings. He said in his “Against Heresies” that,
“so firmly established is this position in the Gospels that the heretics themselves bear witness to them.” He referred to these heretics and describes, in part, the heresies that Brown teaches such as Jesus being separated from Christ. Irenaeus explains why there can only be four gospels. He said, “That these alone are true and firm, and that there can be no more Gospels than have been mentioned before, nor any fewer.”/6
Origen, who lived from 185 to 254 A.D., wrote, “Nevertheless, among all these we have approved solely what the church has recognized, which is that only the four gospels should be accepted.”/7
These early church writers were already refuting Gnosticism in the second century. Brown has exemplified a gross ignorance of church history. But, as the adage says, controversy is money.
Pollster George Barna writes, “Among the 45 million who have read ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ only 5 percent, which represents about two million adults, said that they changed any of [their] beliefs or religious perspectives because of the book’s content.”/8 Yet, two million people is just from the book and is still a troubling number. People are powerfully moved by film, so that number may very well increase over time.
The ways to defeat the lies from “The Da Vinci Code” are the same ways that we battle Satan every day. The Bible must be studied in depth and proclaimed. Churches must be educated on the truth and the evidence that verifies the validity of God’s Holy Word. The next generation must be given the way to a resolute faith and armed with the knowledge required to maintain their faith in a cruel, unspiritual world. Finally, prayer must be our constant companion.
The kingdom of Christ will never be stopped (Matthew 16:18) and the Word will never be destroyed (Isaiah 40:8). Yet, it can be forgotten (Judges 2:10). Clark Pinnock said, “An intelligent Christian ought to be able to point up the flaws in a non-Christian position and to present facts and arguments which tell in favor of the gospel.”/9 If only more Christians were able possessors of this knowledge, the church would be so blessed.
1/ Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday, 2003), 231-234.
2/ Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 32-38.
3/ Neal Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible (Austin: Sweet Publishing, 1962), 1962.
4/ McDowell, 36.
5/ McDowell, 44.
6/ Cyril C. Richardson, editor, Early Church Fathers (New York: Collier, 1970), 381-384.
7/ Darrell L. Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 120.
9/ McDowell, xxxii.
Did The Council of Nicea Create a New Bible?