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The Hard Sell

I read The Da Vinci Code and enjoyed it as a fairly good read, but knew there would be many questions related to faith that would arise. This is a good thing overall. While there will be those folks—as many as half a million by Barna’s calculations—who will make major adjustments to their belief system based on this work of fiction, far more will take this opportunity to consult the facts, experts, and wise counselors regarding their faith and conclude it is rock solid.

Jesus Christ is a person of history attested to by Josephus and many other authors outside the biblical canon of writers. This is important. Not only does the Bible affirm the message it delivers, but the texts of antiquity by non biblical authors confirm its message is legitimate and its veracity attested to by many readers.

It is critical that we understand that Jesus is a historical person whose life and teaching are as conveyed in Scripture. Further, His divinity as the Son of God was not speculative as Dan Brown writes. On the contrary! His divinity was established before His crucifixion and was never in serious doubt. Granted, there were those groups who asserted he was "just a man"—and there are groups still voicing this opinion—but they are a small minority and have to date been discredited convincingly by the historical record. Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God. Of this Jesus’ disciples were convinced, as were the early Believers, and the early church fathers.

The fact that Jesus lived and breathed and walked the dusty roads of the Middle East as God incarnate dictates that we assess Him by what He claimed to be, not what a novelist puts in his poorly researched book. If Jesus Christ were nothing more than a figment of the imagination, then our faith would be baseless and we would be lost. If He were proven to be insane, then we could dismiss Him as a lunatic. If His claims had turned out to be false, then we would safely classify Him as a liar. But on the other hand, if He is the divine man history with whom the entirety of human history turns, then He must be determined to be God, the Lord.

Miracles were never the point, although phenomenal. World domination was never His goal. A political statement ranked low, low on His priority list. He came to convey to us the heart of God and display the essence of God’s Kingdom while rescuing mankind from certain separation from God through the initiation of a new and lasting covenant.

Dan Brown is neither the first nor the last man who will question the divinity, lineage, and person of Christ; he is simply the most recent. (You may recall, Time recently reviewed a false gospel, "The Gospel of Judas," in a feature story in the magazine as though it were a new revelation casting doubt upon Jesus’ final days on this earth. Never mind that Irenaeus reviewed and dismissed "The Gospel of Judas" almost 1800 years ago. Time failed to mention that minor point in their story. Neither were they the first to do this, nor will they be the last).

Will Dan Brown or Time magazine be persuaded through a letter to the editor pointing out their failures? Hardly. Although I’ve heard stories to this end, I have never seen anyone argued or convinced into the Kingdom of Heaven.

What will come from articles like Time featured and books like The Da Vinci Code is an educated and confident Church, secure in their salvation, and at peace with their place in the hands and heart of God. As a result, their lives will be further transformed to match the transformation that has transpired through their salvation. While books and articles and movies might generate interesting conversations at the water coolers and copier rooms of corporate America, a changed life consistently reflecting the grace of God is impossible to argue with, and most of the time, a word of testimony is not even necessary to deliver a compelling argument for faith in Jesus.

There are a number of Believers who have written fine works of apologetics on our faith: Josh McDowell, Lee Stroebel, Paul Little, et al. You would be wise to review these works, not for someone else’s theoretical benefit—should they ask you—but more for your own. Like Paul Little says, you should know what and why you believe.

Bless you my friend. Keep thinking. Be on guard, your enemy is hungry for a piece of Christian meat. And by all means, turn your eyes to your Father who has revealed to you His heart through the light of His Spirit.

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.