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Bay Area Chinese Evangelicals Respond to Da Vinci Code

SAN FRANCISCO- A few evangelical Chinese pastors in the Bay Area have challenged the content of the Da Vinci Code from a Christian worldview during a special press conference Wednesday.
( [email protected] ) Jun 01, 2006 04:37 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO- A few evangelical Chinese pastors in the Bay Area have challenged the content of the Da Vinci Code from a Christian worldview during a special press conference Wednesday.

Hosted by the Traditional Family Coalition (TFC) and Great Commission Center International (GCCI), a press conference with the theme "The Respond of the Christian Church to Da Vinci Code" was held Wednesday at 2: 00 p.m. at the GCCI office in Sunnyvale, California.

Worried by the great impact of Da Vinci Code on many young Christians, Tam witnessed many believers are tested by the controversial claims of the movie. Some of them, who are young in faith, have even started to doubt the Christian teachings and fell away. Therefore, the aim of the Conference is to offer an opportunity for Chinese pastors to clarify about the lies behind Da Vinci Code and defend the biblical truth.

Professor for Pastoral Ministries at the Christian Witness Theological Seminary (CWTS) Rev. Andy Ching, also a pastor from the Crosspoint Chinese Church of Silicon Valley, pointed out that the Gospel has been recognized by the Early Church in A.D. 1 as a revelation from God written by Jesus’ disciples or his close relatives. Not only had the Church recognized the manuscript of the Gospel at that time, but also the Gospel has been quoted by many other records composed by the Early Church, the New Testament can even be recovered by gathering all these quotations.

The absolute credibility of the Bible is a very crucial point to attack the claims of Da Vinci Code written by Dan Brown. Ching argued that Brown mainly took reference of the Gnostic gospels, which are written one and a half century after the era of Jesus, therefore the accuracy is very much lower. In addition, Brown has made many mistakes in the "historical" information quoted. For example, not a single document the Dead Sea Scrolls contain any mention of the life of Jesus as claimed in Da Vinci Code.

Ching encouraged Christians to read the books of Gospel in detail, as saying, "The trainees in the bank are able to identify fake banknotes because they are very familiar with the real ones. When they look at the fake one, they can identify it immediately. Similarly, if you are very familiar with the Gospel, naturally you will not easily get confused by something unreal."

Rev Jenny Chu from the San Matwo Community Baptist Church analyzed the relationship between the Church and women as described in Da Vinci Code. According to the Bible, Chu said, Jesus has never handover the Church to Mary Magdalene and there is no mention of her as a prostitute. In A.D. 6, a pope alleged that Mary maybe the women that has committed adultery in the Book of Luke, but actually he just wanted to point out that if Jesus would forgive a prostitute, he would forgive everyone. Chu thus described Brown’s claims about the Church’s suppression and abuse against Mary Magdalene is "groundless".

Concerning the saying that Jesus is married to Mary Magdalene, as Brown quoted the word "companion" from Gospel of Philip which in Aramaic means "spouse", Chu pointed out the errors. The Gospel of Philip is written in Coptic language instead of Aramaic. Also, in Coptic language, the word "companion" simply means "friends" or "fellows" but not "spouse". There is no mention of Jesus’ wife neither in the Bible nor other historical records kept by non-Jewish or non-Christian historians.

Chu attacked the claim about committing adultery in the Holy Temple as suggested by Brown. At that time, the religious rituals are very strict among the Jews, any who committed adultery are prohibited from entering the Holy Temple, and sexual acts could never be regarded as a religious ritual as well. Chu condemned that the idea in the book has showed great disrespect to women. Even though women have very low social status during the time of Jesus, Chu hopes that women can find their hope from the New Testament as both genders are equal in Christ.

The renowned Chinese evangelical and chairman of GCCI Rev. Thomas Wang commented that Brown’s outstanding writing skill has directly challenged the over 2000-year-old Christian faith. However, what he has chosen as references for the book are the fake gospels and therefore caused great confusion.

"The popularity of Da Vinci Code reflected that this is an era of rebellion. As human beings acquire knowledge and technology, they have a stronger will of rebellion against God and they even attempt to replace God. In such an era, the church must be revived to recover the orthodox Christian teachings," Wang lamented.

On the other hand, Wang said, Da Vinci Code has triggered a deeper consideration of Christian culture among the people. He encouraged churches to equip believers on their knowledge of truth- especially about God’s creation, the fall of mankind, God’s salvation and the salvation through faith- believers must have a strong foundation. In conclusion, Wang believes that the challenge brought by Da Vinci Code would lead to a possible impact in the midst of debate, guiding more people to Christ.

Another multimedia seminar about how churches and believers should face the challenges brought by Da Vinci Code will be held on June 11, and it will be conducted in Cantonese at the New Life Gospel Church. All are welcomed.

[Editor’s note: Christina Song in San Francisco has contributed to this article.]