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Cracking Da Vinci’s Code
Authors: James L. Garlow & Peter Jones
Publisher: Victor
Pages: 252
"What’s the big deal about The Da Vinci Code?" a Christian friend once asked. "Isn’t it just fiction?"
I once overheard a conversation between a bookstore employee and a customer that went something like this: "Have you read this book?" the customer asked, referring to The Da Vinci Code (DVC). "No, I haven’t," the employee replied. "There’s a lot of truth in this book," the customer said excitedly. 
If the book was accurate, Christians would be forced to acknowledge what could not be denied. The problem with Brown’s book is that he blends "limited facts with some grossly exaggerated claims…these claims are placed in the unfolding plot in real locations and times to provide sufficient plausibility. The result is a stunning and effective propaganda piece that moves its readers to a skewed perception of reality." 
The author, Dan Brown, considers himself a teacher. "When you finish the book, like it or not, you’ve learned a ton," he said in an interview with Bookpage magazine. Brown wants readers to gain a new mindset.
What is he teaching? He uses an exciting fictional story to discredit many foundational teachings of the Christian faith. He calls into question the divinity of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, and much more? He makes the Church look like a harsh oppressor interested in maintaining power and suppressing the truth, while his protagonists seek to uncover what has been kept hidden.
People are buying it, and not just literally. An April 2006 newspaper article stated that since its release in March 2003, the book has sold more than 40 million copies, including 12 million hardcovers in the United States. In early April of 2006, it was released on paperback and quickly sold more than 500,000 copies. 
Some of the source material for Brown’s book came from the 1982 nonfiction book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. One of the authors of that book, Michael Baigent, just released a new book titled The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History. It no doubt seeks to capitalize on the success of Brown’s book and shows the popularity and longevity of these ideas.
The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. The attacks against the authority of God’s Word today parallel the serpent’s questioning in the Garden: "Has God said…?" 
The DVC suggests that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were sexual partners that had a child together. According to Brown, this is the Holy Grail, the secret kept hidden by the Church, which if exposed would destroy Christianity. 
The authors of Cracking Da Vinci’s Code deserve credit for not responding with a mean-spirited attack. Rather, they systematically examine the claims (citing quotations and page numbers) by using historical research and a careful analysis of Scripture to present the facts. They don’t gloss over or cover up where the Church or individuals have been wrong. They acknowledge failures.
The book is extremely well-written and serves as a wonderful apologetic. It’s an easy to read defense of the historic Christian faith that anyone can understand. The authors have crafted a captivating fictitious story of their own, which extends through the book and introduces in a compelling way the material covered in each chapter. It deals with a wide variety of contemporary issues: sex, women, the person of Christ, Mary Magdalene, Goddess worship and the sacred feminine, Gnosticism and its writings, mysticism and the return to paganism. 
Sadly, by the end of Cracking Da Vinci’s Code it’s apparent that Dan Brown has embraced a new form of paganism. The authors write, "readers of Brown’s novel need to realize that his commitment to Neo-Pagan religious assumptions also color his choice of ‘facts’ and everything he affirms through his characters." His book "is a reader-friendly, airbrushed version of a spirituality that denies the essence of biblical faith and, in particular, the biblical revelation of God."
This book is a valuable resource for any Christian and suitable for giving to non-Christians. The material here could be adapted for Bible study, a series of sermons or for a discussion group. A list of study questions for each chapter is included. 
The DVC provides an opportunity to defend and reveal the real truth. Some people will need answers to questions raised by the book and movie. What they learn from Dan Brown’s book can be an impediment to their receiving the gospel. Cracking Da Vinci’s Code is an extremely helpful guide in understanding the new spirituality that people are embracing. 
The subject matter, organization, clarity and thorough research make this one of the best, most important, and fun books that I have read. 
Michael Dalton
July 22, 2006



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