The Da Vinci Code Exposed
By Tom Brown
Dan Brown’s best selling fictional book has caused Christians and
non-Christians to question the gospel stories and has ignited world-wide
religious debate about the true nature of Christianity. The book feeds into
the anti-Christian sentiment that is already in the world, and provides fuel
for the critics of the Christian message of salvation. It is not enough that
40 million readers have been introduced to Brown’s theories, but the
upcoming movie is sure to be a blockbuster, and will expose more people to
Brown’s sacrilegious work.
The book is a murder mystery.
Robert Langdon who is a professor of Religious Symbology attempts to solve
the murder of the well-know curator Jacques Saunière
of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Saunière’s body is discovered
inside the Museum naked and posed like Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of
the Vitruvian Man, with a mystifying message written beside his body and a
Pentagram drawn on his stomach in his own blood. As you can imagine from the
title of the book, the interpretation is found hidden inside Leonardo’s
famous works, including Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Langdon’s eventual
discovery is the controversy of the book. Through Langdon’s detective
work, author, Dan Brown wants his readers to believe that he is revealing
the secrets about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, a secret buried in documents
that the Vatican has kept from the public.
The secrets supposedly reveal
that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that she was the true
successor of the church, but the male chauvinist leadership squelched her
role and made Peter the head of the church. The book also alleges that Jesus
and Mary had children and that their bloodline survives to this day. More
importantly the novel claims the true followers of Christ were the Gnostics,
and they exist to this day in secret societies with various names like
the Priory of Sion. According to the book, they
formed these underground groups in order to keep alive the secret that the
Catholic Church is trying to hide from the public.
The secrets supposedly exist
in the works of Leonardo DaVinci’s famous paintings. DaVinci, who is
supposedly a member of one of the secret groups, paints the Last Supper with
the clue that Mary Magdalene was the chief leader. Next to Christ, is
supposedly a feminine character, and Brown claims it is Mary Magdalene. Of
course, anyone who knows the Bible recognizes that DaVinci’s young,
beardless disciple is none other than John, the beloved. According to the
Bible, One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to
him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he
means” (John 13:23-24). DaVinci clearly shows the action of John
responding to Peter’s motion to get his attention. It is not as Brown
suggests, Mary Magdalene. It is easy to draw this false conclusion based on
DaVinci’s portrait of John—after all, from a modern standpoint, John looks
feminine, however, DaVinci drew the portrait of a very young man, and it is
easy to mistake this for a woman. If this is Mary, then we are missing a
Dan Brown’s book goes off
base with these and other wild speculations. The trouble is many people
mistake Dan’s creative conjectures as fact. It doesn’t help that in the
preface of the book, Brown claims that “all descriptions of
artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are
accurate.” He does not claim that his conclusions are accurate, or that
there really is a covert conspiracy of the Catholic Church to keep the truth
about Mary and the Gnostic followers from the public. But naïve people will
not see the difference between these claims. In numerous interviews Brown
keeps defending his theories, yet he should just be honest and say that he
made up the story and has no proof that his speculations are accurate or
even likely to be true. Although Brown’s claims are limited to certain
facets, even scholars have scoffed at these simple claims and have
successfully rebuffed them.
Brown claims the Priory of Sion is a secrete organization supposedly dating
back centuries, yet all evidence points out that the organization is as
young as 1956. It was founded by Pierre Plantard and a couple of other men
in France. This is hardly evidence of a secret organization that is
supposedly keeping alive the lost secrets of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, yet
this group is featured as the chief sect of Brown’s novel.
There was a
group known as the Order of Sion, but this group disbanded and all the
assets were taken in by the Jesuits in 1617. So whether Dan Brown is
claiming a French group or an old medieval order, neither believes nor
believed in the conspiracy that is the bases of Brown’s novel. After all, if
the Priory of Sion has the secret of the real Jesus, why don’t they proclaim
it now? It is because the organization is not about the Gnostics or Mary
Magdalene, but simply an organization that says its members are expected "to
carry out good deeds, to help the Catholic Church, teach the truth, defend
the weak and the oppressed ".1 Notice they promise to help the
Catholic Church. This does not sound like an organization secretly at war
with the conspiratorial forces of the Catholic Church.
The Gnostic Gospels
The Gnostic followers play
an important role in Brown’s conspiracy. The word Gnostic means “secret
knowledge.” According to the novel there are 80 Gnostic gospels that were
burned or buried by the Catholic Church. These gospels give a different view
of Jesus and His teachings. Many have asked me about these supposedly “lost
books of the Bible”. First of all, they are not lost books of the Bible.
They do not belong to the Bible at all; therefore, they are not lost books
of the Bible. These books were known by the fourth century Bishops,
and they excluded them from the Canon of Scripture because they did not meet
the strict criteria to be included. Actually in truth, there are 52
fragmented texts that were discovered in a cave in Egypt on December of 1945
by an Arab peasant. These Gnostic writings are a collection of poems and
myths attributing to Jesus certain sayings and beliefs which are very
different than the canonical Bible.
famous texts are the Gospel of Thomas bound with the book called the Gospel
of Philip. The Gospel of Philip tells how close Jesus was to Mary Magdalene:
companion of the [Savior is] Mary Magdalene. [But Christ loved] her more
than [all] the disciples, and used to kiss her [often] on her [cheek]. The
rest of [the disciples were offended] . . . They said to him, "Why do you
love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them, "Why do
I not love you as (I love) her?" (Brackets are added words not found in the
This text makes Mary more
important than the other disciples, and it is the most relevant text in all
the Gnostic gospels to establish a special relationship of Mary Magdalene
and Jesus. Notice, however, there is no mention of Mary being married to
Jesus. In fact, there is not one ancient text anywhere, Gnostic or
otherwise, that suggests that Jesus was married to Mary. None! The only
famous text of Jesus being married is Dan’s Brown’s book itself. He made it
According to Brown’s novel,
the male hierarchy wanted to keep women from leadership, so they got rid of
the documents which suggest that Mary Magdalene was the head of the church
and that women played an important role in early Christianity. While I agree
that women played a more important role in the first century than later, the
Gnostic writings do not promote the rights of women, in fact, they devalue
In one of the Gnostic
writings Peter complains to Jesus that Mary, because she is a woman, is not
worthy of eternal life. So according to this text, Jesus exclaims, “I will
make her into a male. For every female who makes herself into a man, shall
enter heaven’s kingdom.” I can just hear the women’s right movement cringe
on such a statement, but these Gnostic writers are supposedly gender blind
according to Dan Brown.
the opposite is true: the authentic gospels portray a gender progressive Christ.
In the real gospels, Jesus is teaching the gospel to the woman at the well,
to the disgust of the disciples. But they learned a lesson that all may hear
the gospel and preach it as Jesus commanded the woman at the well to do so.
In the canonical gospels, after the resurrection, Jesus first appears to
Mary Magdalene, and tells her to proclaim the resurrection. To the disgrace
of the Apostles, they doubt her words. I do not see a sexist Jesus in the
gospels, but one who was far ahead of His time when it came to women’s
rights. The apostles struggled with Jesus progressive attitude toward women,
but this struggle in the gospels only show how foolish the apostles were
compared to Jesus wisdom. However, the Gnostic gospels do not portray this
Jesus. They speak of a prejudice Jesus.
What is more
discouraging in Brown’s book is that the ancient heroes are really the
Gnostics, not the church fathers. He champions the writings of the Gnostics
over the writings of the Apostles.
were not unfamiliar with the teachings of the Gnostics. They denounce their
teachings in several New Testament passages.
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.
Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely
called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered
from the faith (1 Tim 6:20-21). The Greek word for knowledge
is gnosis. Notice Paul warns against those who “falsely call” themselves
knowledgeable ones. This is a clear reference to the Gnostics of the first
century. He even says that those who profess this false knowledge have
wandered from the faith.
these Gnostics? Apparently they began by embracing the truth of the gospel
preached in accordance with the apostolic message. However, certain false
teachers began to introduce ideas that were not in accordance with the
gospel. They taught a form of docetism, which is the view that matter was
evil and spirit was good, so they concluded that Jesus could not have had a
body. They believe He was spirit, with something that resembled or appeared
to look like a body. Thus they denied the incarnation.
responds to this so called “secret knowledge” by playing word games with
them in 1 Timothy 3:16:
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a
body…He sarcastically calls this truth, “the mystery of godliness.”
The Gnostic were always claiming to have mysteries and secrets revealed to
them, so Paul in essence is saying, You want to know the greatest mystery of
all? Here it is—God appeared in a body. Thus with one stroke of the
pen, Paul scoffs at the false notion of the Gnostics who denied that Jesus
had come in the flesh.
It was not simply Saint Paul
that came against the Gnostics, but Saint John as well; with strong words,
John warns: Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming
in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver
and the antichrist (2 John 7). It’s clear the Gnostics were great in
number, and threaten the true gospel of Christ. John did not take them
lightly. To help his readers, John provides a litmus test for the true
preachers of the gospel.
Dear friends, do not
believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you
can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not
acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist,
which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world (1
According to the Gnostic
work, Acts of John, it shows them to be the Gnostics that John calls the
antichrists: “Sometimes when I would lay hold on
him, I met with a material and solid body, and at other times, again, when I
felt him, the substance was immaterial and as if it existed not at all…And
oftentimes when I walked with him, I desired to see the print of his foot,
whether it appeared on the earth; for I saw him as it were lifting himself
up from the earth: and I never saw it.”
Contrast those heretical writings with the canonical writings of the real
Saint John, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which
we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have
touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1). Do
you see the importance of the physical senses—he heard, he saw him, he
touched him. In other words, Jesus was no phantom. He was real, flesh and
blood, yet the Gnostic writings portray the opposite. Who are we to believe?
Do we believe the Apostles who were personally selected by Christ or some
imposters who never were eye witnesses of the resurrection, who became
Christians through the Apostles, but later, rejected their teachings in
favor of their esoteric visions and revelations? I choose to believe in the
apostles and the Jesus who chose them.
Dan Brown throws the gauntlet down and, through his entertaining thriller,
challenges his readers to reject or at least question orthodox Christianity
in favor of the Gnostic view of Christianity. According to the record of the
Bible, Dan Brown is just another “antichrist” who is trying his level best
to bring discredit to the gospel of Christ Jesus.
The Gnostic Jesus did not
preach repentance or salvation from sin. Their Jesus was one who taught
against authority, who rejected any form of orthodoxy, who taught that
salvation was found not in the vicarious death of Christ but through
enlightenment of the secret teachings of Christ. Salvation was realization
of who you are! No need to repent, just discover your true essence. It was
sort of do-it-yourself religion, which is quite popular today. This of
course makes Dan Brown’s alternative so appealing to many people. People do
not want to repent, they don’t want to submit, and they would prefer to find
their own way to God. They are ripe for Gnostic philosophy.
Another conspiracy that the
book propagates is the idea that the doctrine of the trinity was made-up by
the Emperor Constantine. One of the characters
is a British Royal Historian named Teabing. As a historian, he should
know the reason for the Council of Nicaea, yet he thinks the Council was
overruled by Constantine who supposedly added the doctrine of the trinity.
every historian knows the real reason behind the Council. The central issue
at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 was not whether Jesus was merely
human or something more, but how exactly his divinity–which even the heretic
Arius acknowledged–was to be understood: Was he fully divine? Was the Son
equal to the Father? Was he a lesser god? What did it mean to say that the
Son was "begotten", as the Gospel of John states in several places (Jn 1:14,
18; 3:16, 18)?
The council finally defined more clearly
the doctrine of the trinity, which Christians held from the very beginning
but heretics undermined. It is poor scholarship like this that brings the
whole book into question. Not only are Brown’s suppositions ludicrous but
simple historical errors like this is comical. Since most people today have
very little biblical and historical education, these glaring omissions are
bypassed by the average person.
the Holy Grail
Another of Brown’s errors involves the myth
of the Holy Grail. According to the Da Vinci Code, the real Holy Grail is
not a cup but the remains of Mary Magdalene plus the set of very old
documents revealing the true teachings of Christ along with Jesus’
genealogical line. Brown says in his book that the Holy Grail is “the most
enduring legend of all time.”2 However, the legend only found its
way in the twelfth century.
How in the world could a
legend about Mary Magdalene that is more than eleven centuries removed from
her life be reliable? Yet, Dan Brown believes this legend is true, yet he
thinks the New Testament that was written in the same century that Christ
lived is not to be accepted. Do you see the ridiculousness of Brown’s
Not only is the legend
several centuries distant from the New Testament record, it does not even
involve Mary Magdalene. The legend of the Holy Grail involves Joseph of
Arimathea who allegedly caught some of the blood of Christ in a cup. The cup
was purportedly taken to Great Britain where he founded the line of
guardians to keep the cup safe. Eventually the cup was lost, thus the quest
for the Holy Grail makes up a great deal of folk lore.
It’s never a joy to have to
speak harshly toward any person or their work, but Dan Brown’s lies cannot
go without being corrected. Do not feel sorry for Dan Brown, he has made his
millions on putting down the Christian church. It is time for the Christian
church to call him on his lies. I have attempted to do this in the article,
because I am concerned for Christians like the one who wrote after reading
The Da Vinci Code:
“Honestly, [reading the book]
shook my whole faith. I realize that the book is fiction, but much of what
he wrote about seemed like it was based on historical facts aside from the
To this reader, and others
like her, I say, “Cheer up!” The book is fiction, total fiction! The gospel
has been attacked by more clever men than Dan, and it has stood the test of
assaults. It will continue to change the lives of people who have
surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Article VII of the articles of the
Priory of Sion.
2 Page 249,
The Da Vince Code by Dan Brown.
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