Johnny and I shared a conversation this morning as we were preparing for The Lord’s Supper, Communion. He expressed one of my sentiments regarding the variety of opinions about the Da Vinci Code. He remarked, “If the movie gets people to consider who Jesus really is, we should not fear the movie.” Certainly Johnny is suggesting the movie as a basis for conversation about who Jesus is. I agree, if it gets us talking about Jesus, good.
I know the concern some will miscontrue fiction as fact. Stephen Shields has done a good job of compiling internest resources to refute the fiction purported to be fact. One may easily uncover the fact the premise of the book is not only disputed but some consider Brown to have coopted someone elses intellectual property.
Some find it hard that a Southern Baptist abides N.T. Wright. He is maligned by many in the Truly Reformed camps ( Baptist and otherwise). I agree with Alastair Roberts that the stream coming out of the Reformation cuts a wider swath than most acknowledge (I cannot get to the link for his article, “N.T. Wright and Reformation Readings of Romans”)
I happened onto an article by N.T. Wright, Decoding the Da Vinci Code, in the Seattle Pacific Universtiy Magazine, Response. I found the following humorous if not helpful,
It is a well-known feature of todayâ??Ã?Ã´s culture that some people canâ??Ã?Ã´t tell fact from fiction. Stories abound of people who believe the characters in soap operas to be real, including tales of thousands of baby clothes being sent to radio stations after one of the fictitious characters has given birth, and of actors being attacked in the street by people angry about the bad behavior of their screen character. Within a would-be Christian subculture the same thing becomes sinister, as when millions who read the Left Behind series really do believe not only in the â??Ã?Ãºraptureâ??Ã?Ã¹ as a central element of their theology but in the sociopolitical ideologies powerfully reinforced by that series. In a sense, Dan Brown represents the mirror image of LaHaye and Jenkins, reproducing in fictionalized form some of the myths of the postmodern world as LaHaye and Jenkins reproduce in fictionalized form some of the myths of the fundamentalist right.
And for those who wonder about Wright’s commitment to the gospel he notes,
In particular, the resurrection of Jesus was central to early Christianity, though youâ??Ã?Ã´d never know that, either, from Dan Brown or from the many other writers who perpetrate the modern myth in its various forms. And Jesusâ??Ã?Ã´ death was consequently interpreted, from extremely early in the Christian movement, as (a) the fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures, (b) the defeat of all rival spiritual powers, and (c) the means of forgiveness of sins. Early Christianity was not primarily a movement which showed, or taught, how one might live a better life; that came as the corollary of the main emphasis, which was that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had fulfilled his age-old purposes, had dealt with the powers of evil, and had launched his project of new creation upon the world. The early Christian gospel, which was then written up in the four canonical Gospels, was the good news, not that a new teaching about hidden wisdom had appeared, enabling those who tapped into it to improve the quality of their lives here or even hereafter, but that something had happened through which the evil which had infected the world had been overthrown and a new creation launched, and that all human beings were invited to become part of that project by becoming renewed themselves.
The article is worth the read on a number of levels.