At the Movies This Month
Wed., May. 6. 2009 1:46am EDT
On May 15, the long-awaited cinematic follow-up to The Da Vinci Code -- Dan Brown's Angels and Demons -- hits the theaters. Although the book was a prequel to The Da Vinci Code, director Ron Howard has said the movie is treated more like a sequel.
Either way, its release means we'll probably once again be subject to the media taking pot shots at the Bible's accuracy and the concept of Christ's divinity. Unfortunately, although Dan Brown's works are classified as fiction, they are written in a style that seems so well researched that many people mistakenly believe much of the information they contain is based on fact.
Worse still, many people are willing to read anything Brown, other famous fiction writers, and the media send their way without hearing the other side of the story. One of the favorite tactics of skeptics is to call into question why there are "only" 27 books in the New Testament and why other apocryphal works were not included. They often portray the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. as some conspiratorial meeting where the Church met to weed out anything that didn't agree with its own theology. Unfortunately, the average fiction reader, moviegoer, or television watcher doesn't have the time or desire to get the facts.
It's ironic that people eat up books about ancient conspiracies involving Christ's disciples, the Church, and secret religious societies, but they scoff at the idea that there seems to be a much more realistic modern-day conspiracy among many activists, artists, authors and actors to discredit the Bible and Jesus Christ.
Our friend Don Venoit, an apologetics expert and president of Midwest Christian Outreach (http://www.midwestoutreach.org) shared the following comments recently:
The underlying premise is faulty and demonstrates either a lack of knowledge about what happened at the Council of Nicea or an intentional misrepresentation of it. I simply don't know which. The Council didn't deal with the canon of Scripture but rather were addressing a doctrinal question.
For the first 4 centuries of the Church it was held that Jesus was fully God and the bulk of their defense was that He was also fully human. This was against Gnosticism which denied the incarnation as they viewed flesh as evil and held that a holy God could not take on evil flesh. Arius arose in the early 4th century and began teaching that not only was Jesus fully human but that he was not God. The primary purpose of this Council was to address this issue and bring unity within the church.
As to the canon of Scripture, writings that were not included (the Gnostic writings) is not the same as removing them after they had been an accepted part of the canon. The canon was substantially completed by the mid 2nd century (AD 170) with some refinements over the next couple of centuries.
For more details, we recommend the following articles, although there are many other excellent resources that also give the facts. These ones are concise and easy to digest:
As for May movies, we're more looking forward to seeing what Star Trek and Terminator Salvation are all about. At least we don't have to be reminded that those movies are science fiction.