Brown makes a number of other equally unsubstantiated claims, but probably the
most outrageous is that Jesus had sexual relations with Mary Magdalene which
led to her giving birth to a son.  He claims the ?Holy Grail? which Christian
mystics searched for the past two thousand years was actually the secret that
Mary Magdalene had a son.  Brown quotes from the ?Gospel of Phillip? on page
246 of his book:  ?And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene.  Christ
loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth.
The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They
said to him, ?why do you love her more than all of us.?  The gospel of Phillip
is not really a gospel (life of Jesus) at all.  It is also an obvious Gnostic
writing with no connection to the gospel story.  In addition, only the first
part of this quote actually comes from the book.  The best I can tell, Brown
made up the rest of the quote.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:of
fice:office" />

In order for us to accept that Jesus secretly married Mary Magdalene, we will
be required to believe that the apostles were responsible for a massive cover-up
of this scandal.  According to Brown, the early church worshipped the mother
goddess.  It was only the later Catholic Church which suppressed the worship of
the ?holy feminine? and removed all reference to this from the New Testament. 
To quote Brown (p 238), ?The Grail (ie the secret about Mary Magdalene) is literally
the ancient symbol for womanhood, and the Holy Grail represents the sacred feminine
and the goddess, which has never been lost, but was virtually eliminated by
the Church.?  Another quote from Brown, (p. 407) ?My dear, the Church has two
thousand years of experience pressuring those who threaten to unveil its lies. 
Since the days of Constantine, the Church has successfully hidden the truth
about Mary Magdalene and Jesus.?  Again, what Brown fails to do is produce even
a single shred of evidence of this change in teaching at the time of Constantine. 
In fact, he does not produce a single piece of evidence that this liaison between
Jesus and Mary happened at all.

One of Brown?s techniques by which he tries to lend credence to his outrageous
claims is to supply just enough truth to make his conclusions sound credible. 
For example, Brown makes the truthful charge that the Roman Catholic cast very
unfair aspersions against the character of Mary Magdalene.   The Roman church from the
time of Pope Gregory in the 500?s AD charged Mary with being a prostitute. 
They claimed that she was the sinful woman in Luke 7 who wiped Jesus? feet with
her tears and her hair.  The problem with this claim is that it is not supported
biblically.  It appears that Mary of Magdala was a well-to-do supporter of Jesus?
ministry.  She certainly was not a former woman of the streets.  What motivated
Gregory?s false charge against Mary is not clear.  What we can be sure is that
it was not done in order to cover up for the truth that she had a secret relationship
with Jesus, as Brown implies.

Similarly, Brown sprinkles factual information about the Knights Templar, a
militant order of monks who served the Roman church from the 11th century onward,
as well as some factual data about Opus Dei.  This group is a semi-underground
conservative lay movement within Catholicism founded in the 1930?s.  He also
provides some factual information about the Priory of Sion, a shadowy and secretive
sect of Catholic Christianity founded in 1956.  Brown implies that the group
has existed in secret since AD 1099.  He also claims that Leonardo DaVinci, Boticelli,
Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton and other very influential people were involved in
the cover-up of the ?truth? about Mary Magdalene as former heads of the Priory
of Sion.  What he fails to do, of course, is provide any evidence at all that
these groups played the roles he assigns to them.  In his interesting plot,
the Templars hid the evidence of Mary having an illicit relationship with Jesus,
the Priory of Sion hid the actual descendants of Mary and Jesus as well as the truth
about the Holy Grail.  Brown has Opus Dei involved in a murderous plot to steal
the secret of the Grail.  If there is any actual data supporting these contentions,
this author is not aware of the evidence.

What should be the Christian response to the book or to the movie?  Some will
surely protest the opening of the movie.  Others will suggest boycotting the
movie or even attempt to have it banned by local governments.  Experience tells
us that such attempts tend to have the opposite effect of what is intended.   When
Christian groups protested the controversial movie The Last Temptation of the
Christ, their efforts gave a huge boost to the movie.  The DaVinci Code is going
to be such a hit on its own, probably protests will not have much effect on the
attendance.  My suggestion is to go see the movie.  You will probably enjoy
it.  Believers should use the movie as an opportunity to share the gospel with
their friends.  What a great opportunity.  Almost everyone we know will be talking
about the movie and the underlying implications.  It is probably true that some
people will be given a distorted view of Jesus and the Bible from the movie. 
This, of course, is tragic.  However, what we can do is be an antidote to the lies. 
How often do our friends talk about Jesus at the office or the work site?  If
we will do our homework, we will have a great opportunity to share about the
volume of evidence supporting the accuracy of the New Testament text. Maybe
the interest sparked in the movie can motivate a friend to go to church.  Believers
who have a reactionary response will come across as holier-than-thou, and are
not likely to engage non-believers in fruitful conversation.  Perhaps some of
them will.  It is not my place to say what God can or will do.  However, I suggest
we take the whole business in stride and use the great opportunity afforded
us to share our faith in the real Jesus?the one found in the canonical gospels.


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