Decoding the DaVinci Code: Part 1 – Decoding the DaVinci Code – Part 1: Transcript & Outline



Part 1

Ben and Ed Young

June 19-20, 2004

ED:  We have a special treat today.  I want to welcome my brother, Ben Young.  Ben, great to have you here at Fellowship.

BEN:  Thank you.

ED:  Yes, sir.  Ben is a noted author (he’s written many books), lecturer, pastor, father—By the way, Happy Father’s Day—

BEN:  Same to you.

ED:  …husband, and Ben is also one of the best Christian thinkers out there.  He’s been on PBS; he’s been on a number of talk shows.  He’s written a lot of stuff about what we are going to talk about over the next several weekends.  I’m very, very excited about this series.  It’s kind of a unique series, Ben, because basically we’re talking about “The DaVinci Code,” this book so many people have read.  In fact, how many of you have read “The DaVinci Code”?  Lift your hands if you’ve read “The DaVinci Code.”  Wow!  Okay.

Maybe you have seen the special by Peter Jennings, for example, like “The Search for the Historical Jesus.”  Or maybe you have heard wheels-off comments from someone like Bill Maher.  Or maybe you saw an article entitled “Books Banned from the Bible.”  Maybe you’re a believer and you say, “What do I say?  How can I respond to this?”  Or maybe you’re a skeptic today; maybe you’re here asking questions about Christianity.  And I think this series will help a lot of people wherever they are in their pilgrimage.

BEN:  Sure.  I think there are always folks who are either directly or indirectly attacking the Christian faith.  And I think as believers we need to be able to respond to these attacks, hopefully in a winsome and humble way.



Part 1

Ben and Ed Young

June 19-20, 2004

ED:  We have a special treat today.  I want to welcome my brother, Ben Young.  Ben, great to have you here at Fellowship.

BEN:  Thank you.

ED:  Yes, sir.  Ben is a noted author (he’s written many books), lecturer, pastor, father—By the way, Happy Father’s Day—

BEN:  Same to you.

ED:  …husband, and Ben is also one of the best Christian thinkers out there.  He’s been on PBS; he’s been on a number of talk shows.  He’s written a lot of stuff about what we are going to talk about over the next several weekends.  I’m very, very excited about this series.  It’s kind of a unique series, Ben, because basically we’re talking about “The DaVinci Code,” this book so many people have read.  In fact, how many of you have read “The DaVinci Code”?  Lift your hands if you’ve read “The DaVinci Code.”  Wow!  Okay.

Maybe you have seen the special by Peter Jennings, for example, like “The Search for the Historical Jesus.”  Or maybe you have heard wheels-off comments from someone like Bill Maher.  Or maybe you saw an article entitled “Books Banned from the Bible.”  Maybe you’re a believer and you say, “What do I say?  How can I respond to this?”  Or maybe you’re a skeptic today; maybe you’re here asking questions about Christianity.  And I think this series will help a lot of people wherever they are in their pilgrimage.

BEN:  Sure.  I think there are always folks who are either directly or indirectly attacking the Christian faith.  And I think as believers we need to be able to respond to these attacks, hopefully in a winsome and humble way.

ED:  Yeah!

BEN:  And that’s what we are about.  I think so many times the church has been, probably correctly, accused of being very closed-minded and not listening to people, not willing to be patient enough to answer questions.  So this is what this series about—answering questions.  It’s about answering questions.  It’s about equipping people to give answers.

ED:  We talk a lot over the phone, and I know a while back we were talking about “The DaVinci Code.”  And you had read it and you kind of laughed at it because, historically, it’s wheels off.  It’s kind of a bunch of bunk.  Yet, as this thing grew, people began to read it and people began to believe the stuff.

So we decided to do some talks on it.  I know you’ve done some talks on it, and I was thinking about it.  So I thought, “Man, I’m going to invite you up so we could do this together.”  So that’s how this whole thing kind of happened.

BEN:  Yeah, I really was kind of drug into it because at first his [Dan Brown’s] claims were so out there, I kind of laughed it off.  But then it started to gain some momentum in our culture.

One story stands out in particular.  There was a lady in our church who was in our home and she told me that she saw a friend of hers from college who she’s not seen in many, many years, and she was in town visiting.  This lady was dropping her friend off at her hotel and right as she was about to get out of the car, the friend turned to Susan, the lady from our church, and said, “Susan, I don’t believe there is a God anymore.”  Susan said, “Well, why do you believe that?  I’m sad that you feel that way.”  And her friend said, “Well, have you read “The DaVinci Code”?  And Susan said, “No, I have not read it.”  She said, “Well once you read it you’ll understand.  Because in that book Dan Brown explains how what we believe about Christianity is false and that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, he’s not God in the flesh, that Jesus Christ was really not single.  He was married to Mary Magdalene.  They had children and they [Jesus’ descendents] live in Europe now.  You’ll learn all these things.  And in case you didn’t know….”

And again, this lady who was saying this is a very sharp, smart person.  But she had bought into “The DaVinci Code.”  I think a lot of people are kind of buying into some of the claims that Dan Brown makes in this novel.  And other people, it’s kind of causing to question their faith.

But I think there is a lot of good that’s come out from the book.  We talked about that.  The great thing about “The DaVinci Code” is that we’re talking about some issues that are so vitally important to Christianity and to really dialoging with friends who have questions about the faith.

I mean, he [Dan Brown] brings up issues of church history.  He brings up issues of how we got the Bible anyway?  A line in the book says that the Bible did not arrive by some divine acts from heaven.  And he’s accurate when he says that.  So, it opens up a lot of channels so that we talk about some very important issues, some issues you normally wouldn’t talk about on Sunday morning in church.

ED:  If so many Christians, Ben, know some of the basics, but we don’t know some of the stuff about church history, about doctrine, we don’t know how to answer some of these questions that people lob our way.  And it’s time that we understand and apply and live out these things.  It’s time that we understand how to articulate these things back to people like that.

BEN:  Right, exactly.  And there’s a great passage in 1 Peter 3:15.  If you brought a Bible you can turn there, and if not it will be up on the [side] screens.  And it says this, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.” 

So, it’s not optional.  We can’t say, “Well, I’m going to leave that up to Ed.  I’m going to leave that to someone else who can give an answer.”  God commands us to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask questions.

So this series, this morning and next Sunday morning, has really kind of a two-fold purpose.  First of all, we want to give, we want to equip those here who are Christ followers to be able to give answers to friends and family members and co-workers who are asking questions.  It may not be about “The DaVinci Code,” but other things that are in popular culture that are attacking the Christian faith.

Second of all, I know that here, this morning, there are many people who have read “The DaVinci Code” and maybe you are a skeptic.  And you are asking questions about the Christian faith.  Hopefully, today and next week we’ll give you some answers that you are looking for.

ED:  Ben, what would you say to the people today, I mean, what are some things that we can take home when we are confronted by something like “The DaVinci Code,” when someone has a different opinion, and they began to say this or that about Christianity?


BEN:  I think the first thing we need to do, we need to listen.  Listen to their story.  And for too many years…

ED:  So don’t brow beat them.  Don’t try to jam it down their throat.

BEN:  Yeah.  The first thing you should do is simply try to understand where they are coming from.  I think Stephen Covey phrased it really well in his best seller 7 Habits [of Highly Effective People].  He said, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”  And that’s a great tip for marriage to you guys, by the way.  Anyway, that one was free.

That’s so important, again, when you are talking to someone that says, “Well, I don’t believe the Bible is the word of God.  How do we know that it’s true?” and, “Man, have you read that book ‘The DaVinci Code’?  What about Jesus being married?  Why does the church try to cover that up?”

You know, how do you respond to that person?  The first thing you need to do is ask them some questions.  Understand where they are coming from.  And that’s what I’ve tried to do with this work, “The DaVinci Code.”  I’ve tried to understand, what is Dan Brown’s world view?  What is his perspective?  What are his religious beliefs that he is trying to communicate in this book?

Because if you read the book, you know that he is not on some atheistic rant.  He’s not like Carl Sagan or the famous atheist from England, Bertrand Russell, or Gould—he’s passed away—the Harvard professor who has had some evolutionary naturalistic rant against the Christian faith.  They say that all that exists is matter in motion.

No, Brown has a different type of spirituality that he is talking about.  And here’s a quote from Dan Brown’s web site, he says this, “Two thousand years ago we lived in a world of gods and goddesses.  Today we live in a world solely of gods.  Women in most cultures have been striped of their spiritual power (except in Islamic countries).”  That last part was a joke!

ED:  [laughing with crowd] This crowd’s a little slow.  About 2-3 seconds, then they get it, Ben.

BEN:  I understand.

ED:  It’s different in Houston, I know.

BEN:  Right.  I wish.

ED:  Houston never would have gotten that!  There’s so much humidity down there, plus…

BEN:  Sweat dripping off these notes here.

ED:  Yeah, I know.

BEN:  Anyway, let me finish Dan’s notes here.

The novel touches on questions of how and why this shift has occurred and what lessons we might learn from it regarding our future.  So obviously, Dan Brown is not just telling a murder mystery thriller, though it’s a great page turner if you’ve read the book.  He has an agenda.  And his agenda is this whole type of spirituality that emphasizes God is worship and worship of what he calls the “sacred feminine.”

And again, it’s important when you are dealing with this type of work or you are looking at an exposé that may be attacking Christianity, seek first to understand their perspective and then to communicate your world view perspective.

ED:  Ben, you had something happen to you in a coffee shop in the Houston area that illustrates this really well.

BEN:  Yeah!  I was at a Starbuck’s and I was sitting by this guy I did not know.  He was a stranger.  I was on my phone and he was reading this book about Frederich Nietzsche, the great German philosopher.  I put down my cell phone and said, “Hey, man, what do you think about Uncle Freddie?”  And he goes, “Well, I don’t know.  I just started getting into it; I’m just reading this.”

I said, “Well, he had some interesting claims.  I kind of agree with what he said.  He [Nietzsche] said, ‘If God is dead then anything goes.’”  And the guy said, “Well, man, I don’t believe in that.  I believe in God.”  And I said, “Really?  Well, tell me about this God you believe in?”  And the man started talking about his philosophy of life, which was basically relativism—that there is one God and that all roads lead to that same God.

And I said, “What are you trying to do for people?”  “Well, my main philosophy is try to make people happy.  I want to make them happy and put a smile on their face.”  And I said, “That’s great.”

And so we started talking, a dialogue.  We got into world religions, world views, I got into [the question of] where he gets his ethics from.  So we went round and round for about an hour.

After we had done that, I kind of sat up like this and said, “Hey, man.  Let me tell you what the deal is really.  We could talk more about philosophy and I can refute these things I believe, but the bottom line is that you want to run your life.  You want to continue living together with the girl you’re living with, without guilt, and you want to call the shots.”

I said, “If you really want to be happy, if that’s your philosophy of life, then what you need to do is after we have finished talking today, when you go home, get down on your knees and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and forgive you.  And second of all, get down on your knees again and ask that lady you are living with to marry you and promise that you will be with her for the rest of your life.”  I said, “Then, not only will you be happy, but your wife will be happy, and your two kids you’ve had together will also be happy.”  I said, “If you really want to make people happy, you go do these two things.”  And he said, “Well, I don’t need a piece of paper to prove I’m married.”  And I said, “Whatever, man.  You know, have a good day.”

So, in other words, in that conversation with a person who was a stranger, again, I didn’t just come out and say, “Hey, you are trying to run your life.”  I first wanted to try and understand where he was coming from and what his perspective was, and then share some truth with him from God’s word about, “If you want to be happy, that’s the way.”

ED:  A great example of that would be Christ’s interchange with the woman at the well.

BEN:  That’s right.  Yeah, that’s great!  Because he was kind of talking to her about, on one level, about spiritual things.  And she was talking about physical things.  And then, after a while Jesus, as you said, called her to the carpet.

ED:  So Ben, what else would you say?  Anything else about listening to someone’s story?  Anything else?

BEN:  Yeah.  I would say, too, when you are trying to listen to someone’s story, you are trying to understand where they are coming from.  In the case of “The DaVinci Code,” what is the author trying to communicate?  What is his world view perspective?  What is his agenda, if you would?  Brown’s agenda is obvious.  He says it’s about this feminist theology, the worship of a scared feminine.

Now, also, I am also trying to understand why this is catching on.  Why is “The DaVinci Code” connecting with so many people around the world?  I think it’s because he offers in the book this type of designer spirituality.

ED:  Now, what is that?

BEN:  Well, it’s like going to Luby’s today.  I mean, you go to Luby’s and you have all the options, “I want some enchiladas.  I want a steak.  I want some fried cod and tartar sauce and green beans and all that.”  You can have this very eclectic meal.  Dan Brown seems to be doing that in his world view in the book.  You know, “I want a little bit of monotheism.  I want a little bit of paganism.  I want a little bit of Christianity.  And I’m going to mix this up together in this religion, because this makes me feel good and it helps people.”

And so, that’s very appealing.  That way you can—as he says in the book through one of his characters—you can think for yourself.

ED:  Sitting on the throne of his life.

BEN:  Of course.  You’re calling the shots.  You’re master of your own destiny, captain of your own ship.  And it’s very appealing, especially to us Americans who value individualism so very much, which I’m now downing individualism.  But again, he’s appealing to that and playing that card.

ED:  You know, when we think about God, Ben, and the implications of a holy God, that makes me a little uncomfortable, knowing that he’s watching me and checking me out.  You know, a lot of people don’t want to deal with that.

BEN:  I don’t think any of us do.  The idea that there’s an all-knowing, all-sovereign God who’s perfect and we’re going to have to give an account to him for our lives, that’s…

ED:  So it’s easy for me to watch a Peter Jennings special or to read a little novel and go, “Yeah, this is a bunch of bunk!  It’s no big deal.  I can live my life and do what I want to do my way and try to live this guilt-free existence.”


BEN:  Yeah, but you can try and try to live guilt free, but it has a way of creeping back up on you.

And that leads up to the second point as far as application.  How do you engage people who are coming at your faith, especially “The DaVinci Code”?  The second thing you need to do is point out problems in their story.  So you listen to the story, and as Scripture says in 1 Peter 3:15, gently and respectfully point out problems in their story.

ED:  Speak the truth in love.

BEN:  Exactly.  Romans 1:18-20 says this, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

This passage means that God has revealed himself to every person, every place.  God is constantly spewing forth communication about who he is through our conscience, because we are made in the image of God, through creation, the created order.  And what do we do with that knowledge?

It’s just like we’re in that swimming pool this summer and we have that beach ball and we’re trying to sit on it, you know, in the water.  It’s kind of tough to do.  What do we do with it?  The Bible says we take the knowledge of God and his holiness and his attributes and we try to suppress it.  We try to run from that.  But just like that beach ball, it eventually is going to pop up.  And God is a God who is always pursuing us.

So as I look at “The DaVinci Code,” I would simply say that it is simply another creative way that he [Dan Brown] is suppressing the truth of who God is.  And I would point out problems that I see that he makes about the Christian faith.

ED:  For example?

BEN:  Well, one big problem is this premise.  The premise of “The DaVinci Code” is that Jesus was really not single, that he was married to Mary Magdalene.  And they had children and there are still relatives of these kids who live in France and in England.

ED:  Our friends in France?!

BEN:  There you go.  And so, that’s what he says.  And that the church has known this truth for two thousand years, and they tried to hide this truth.

ED:  “Church” being the Catholic Church.

BEN:  The church, in this case being the Catholic Church, has tried to hide this truth.  And certain intellectuals, like DaVinci and others, were part of this secret society, and DaVinci tried to communicate this truth through his paintings.  I know it sounds far-fetched, but that’s what the book says.  That’s the story.  And he believes that.

He really took all this stuff from a conspiracy book that was written in the 80’s called, I think, “The Blood, the Grail, and Money.”  And so he kind of stole a lot of the ideas—not stole, he gives them credit for it in the book.  But that is what the premise is about.

His agenda again is “worship the sacred feminine.”  So in the last page of the book he says that true spirituality is to kneel at the bones of Mary Magdalene.  And so throughout the whole book he is trying to suppress who Jesus is and elevate Mary Magdalene as some goddess of some lady whose worthy of our worship.

Now, the reason that premise is contradictory is because throughout the book he is trying to destroy the divinity of Christ.  So what makes Mary Magdalene holy and sacred and worthy of worship unless she is somehow connected or married to the divine?  Take away Jesus’ divinity and you have a Jewish carpenter who’s born and lived in a small town in a small country in the Middle East.  And then Mary Magdalene is simply a sweet Jewish girl who was married to a sweet Jewish guy.  But she is definitely not a goddess or worthy of worship.  So it’s kind of ironic.

ED:  Yes, it is.

BEN:  It doesn’t make sense.  Why is he destroying the divinity of Christ?  The very thing he needs to build up this edifice of the worship of the sacred feminine and the worship of Mary Magdalene?  So, I mean this whole premise is contradictory.  Therefore, how can anything else he says make sense or be true?

ED:  What else would you say?  How about his whole deal about the Bible?  And specifically, let’s talk about the deity of Christ first.

BEN:  Okay.  Is Jesus God?  He’s going to shed some serious doubt about that because he pretty much says that from A.D. 33 (that’s the resurrection of Jesus) until the Council of Nicea (that’s 325 A.D.), in that hunk of time, he’s saying, no one really believed in the deity of Christ.

That’s right.  He said this through one of his characters on page 233 in the book.  He said, “At this gathering (the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.), many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon: the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the sacraments, and” he says, “the divinity of Jesus.  Until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet.  Jesus’ establishment as the Son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicea and a relatively close vote at that.”  That claim of historical fact is fantasy file on a good day!

I don’t know how late he’d stayed up trying to meet the deadline of this novel or how much coffee or what brand he was smoking that day, but that is simply not…  I mean, Dan Brown is a sharp guy; he’s a smart guy.  He’s an English professor.  I’m not doubting his intellect.  But that is absolutely, historically inaccurate.

First of all (as I’m sure he really knows) then the Council of Nicea was not about the divinity of Christ.  The Council of Nicea was convened in 325 A.D. to refute a heretic by the name of Arius.  Arius claimed that Jesus Christ was made and not eternally begotten.  That’s what Nicea was all about.  And at Nicea, they simply affirmed what the church had already believed for 250 years.  You have all the disciples, and you have Paul, and you have all the early church fathers from, as you said, A.D. 33 to A.D. 325.

ED:  And the early church fathers are simply the disciples of disciples.

BEN:  Right.  And so these guys had been worshiping and following Jesus as the Son of God for 250 years.  So by the time Nicea was convened in 325, the doctrine of the divinity of Christ was well established.  They didn’t have time as Christians and church followers to sit down and write a systematic theology because they were getting killed and tortured.  So, they had more pressing needs at hand.

And so with the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D., when they issued peace towards Christians in the Roman Empire, Nicea was convened for the purpose of refuting Arius.  And the vote to receive the creed was 300 bishops in favor of it, and two against it.

ED:  That’s pretty close.

BEN:  Relatively close vote.

ED:  In Florida!

BEN:  Yeah, so anyway, that’s a problem that I see in the book; that I see historical inaccuracies that he makes.

ED:  You see people read it, Ben, and say, “It’s written.  It’s published.  Surely it must be factual.  And I’d rather read a little novel than really do some homework and study the historical data.”

BEN:  Yeah, they would.  And I was on a panel discussion on PBS in Houston a few months ago to talk about this.  There was a scholar there who teaches religious studies at Rice.  And she is not a Christian, but she was talking and kind of joking about some of the historical inaccuracies in “The DaVinci Code,” and she’s not even, if you will, on our team or in our camp.  So, again, some of his claims there are totally “out to lunch.”

Now he does mention some interesting things talking about the secret gospels, the Gnostic gospels.  And he says these Gnostic gospels shed more light on who Jesus is than the historical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  He also says that the whole idea, like you said, of Jesus Christ being the Son of God is simply something that was completely fabricated.  And we’ll talk more about that next week.

ED:  Okay, give us the Cliff’s Notes on the Gnostic gospels.  Because for example, one Gnostic gospel some of you might have heard of is the Gospel of Thomas.  Well, one would think, “Wow!  Thomas wrote that.”  But Thomas didn’t write that.  Our boy Thomas was in India at the time as a missionary sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.  The Gnostics, though, put Thomas’ name on their gospel to lure Christians into Gnosticism.

BEN:  Right.

ED:  What is Gnosticism?

BEN:  Gnosticism comes from the word “gnosis” which means knowledge.  And Gnostics believed in some type of secret knowledge that got you in touch with the divine.

It was basically the early church’s New Age spin-off.  And you can see this in many western religions.  You have in Christianity today a spin-off, a heretical spin-off, of the Christian faith—the New Age movement.  And in Islam the New Age spin-off is called Sufism.  And in Judaism the New Age spin-off is Kabala.  So you see many western religions.

ED:  Okay, Ben, for instance Kabala.  I know Madonna is involved in this and she is preaching this stuff.  Why would someone like Madonna be interested in something like Kabala?

BEN:  I think because Madonna realized, finally, that the material girl is actually a spiritual girl as well.  And she wants some type of spirituality in her life.  It’s interesting how she promoted all this sexuality out there, but now she’s married and she has kids and she’s preaching the virtues of marriage on David Letterman—to him!  I mean, that’s just ironic.

ED:  Yeah.

BEN:  But again, I think that simply shows that we’re all spiritual beings.  You can try to run and shake your fists at the church all you want.  But we are made in the image of God.  We’re created for Him.  And Madonna is just like we are.  And she wants spirituality like we all do.  But she wants to be un-tethered to a type of tradition morality.  And Kabala supposedly offers that to her.

ED:  Are you saying that Gnosticism would be…what?

BEN:  Gnosticism is like that.  Just like, if you would, the Kabala of the early church.  And so there were certain Gnostics who wrote a Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary Magdalene or the Shepherd of Hermes.  They have these different accounts, and they are kind of eclectic sayings that mix some New Testament quotes in with these crazy funny stories.  And these new scholars today, these completely objective, unbiased scholars [sarcasm by Ben – Ed laughs] are unearthing these Gnostic gospels and saying we should listen to them and not listen to the New Testament.

ED:  We’ll talk more about that next time.


BEN:  Yep.  Okay, so I’ve got to listen to someone’s story in love.  I need to point out problems with the story.  And what else would you say?  The last thing, I think, we have to tell is the one true story.

ED:  Tell the true story.

BEN:  Yeah, because what the gospel says in Romans 1:16-17—it’s one of my favorite’s passages of Scripture—“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed.” 

And that says that we have good news.  The gospel is the proclamation of good news, the good news about what God has done for us.  You see, we are all truth suppressors.  We’re all rebels without a cause.  We’re all running from God.  But the good news of the gospel is that God is running to us.  As the song says—I’m sure you guys sing it—“and here it’s God chasing after you.”  And God’s chasing after us, he’s pursuing us with his love, trying to wake us up so that we will see how holy he is, how sinful we are, how we can be forgiven and cleansed and adopted into his family if we’ll simply turn from doing our own thing and trust in what he has done for us.  When we do that, he gives us what we need so desperately.

And it has to be covered, a righteousness from God.  This righteousness is not our own; it’s the very righteousness of Jesus Christ.  And it doesn’t matter who you are.  It doesn’t matter where you’ve been.  It doesn’t matter your economic status, your educational status, your race, your creed, whatever.  In Christ, when we receive him, we are all equal and we’re all children of God.

And that’s the beautiful story.  That’s the one true story everyone needs to hear.  And that’s what will wake them up and bring them out of their slumber and bring them out of their suppression.

ED:  That’s what so cool too, Ben.  That God’s placed those of us who are believers around certain people and we have influence.  That’s why we should pray this high risk prayer for them.  Because as we pray for them, God will open up opportunities for us to get into dialogue with them.

That’s what I love about churches like Fellowship and many others where we welcome people who question.  We welcome skeptics here.  That keeps me at the top of my game as I’m talking to people—like the guy you were talking to in the coffee shop—where I’m sharing my faith or talking about what Christ has done in my life.

BEN:  Sure.  And again, we need to realize that a lot of times people are in process and it takes them a while not only to trust the message, but to trust the messenger.

The good news is when you are talking to someone and they’re just mad and angry at you or mad and angry at Christianity, sometimes it’s good to wait for the right time.  Other times it’s great to share the truth and reality of who God is and what he has done.

You can’t change their heart.  You can’t.  You can’t convert them.  And you know what?  That’s not your job.  We’re simply messengers.  We’re simply beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.  And we found bread because of God’s grace and mercy in our life.  And we are simply sharing that with everyone that we can when it’s appropriate.  And then the spirit will open their heart or not open their heart.

ED:  Well, Scripture says too, Ben—you said it in the last service—the Bible talks about the power of the gospel.

BEN:  Yeah.  The power is in the gospel message itself.  George Whitfield, I think it was during one of the first great awakenings, was a great speaker from England.  He was a good friend of Ben Franklin, who was happened to be a deist.  He would stay at Franklin’s house when he’d go preach in Philadelphia.  And he was such a powerful speaker, but he had a very particular manner.  Kind of like you, Ed, but effective [laughter].  He was very effective.

ED:  Well, thanks, I really appreciate that.

BEN:  And there would be drunks, you know, that would go see Whitfield preach.  And they would go back into the bars and imitate George Whitfield [Ben does imitation], “Let me tell you the good news of Jesus Christ….”  And people during the Great Awakening actually came to know Christ listening to drunks mimic George Whitfield preach the gospel.

ED:  Wow!

BEN:  So the gospel itself, the message of the gospel is the good news that changes lives.  And again, I’m not saying that’s a new evangelistic technique.

ED:  No, don’t.

BEN:  Don’t go get smashed and imitate Ed preaching the gospel.

ED:  Next weekend we are talking about the issue of the Bible, because people, one of the biggest questions they might have is, “Man, surely the Bible was changed; it was tweaked over the years.  The Bible we have today that is sitting on this coffee table is the same of the ancient days?” That’s a big one.  Or they say, “The Bible has been changed.  And this has been left out,” or whatever.

We’re also going to talk about the deity of Christ next week, get more involved in that, more into the Gnostic gospels.  What else do we have?

BEN:  Yeah, I think that is very important.  That first question is so big because you hear that a lot from different folks coming from a Mormon perspective or Jehovah’s Witness or Islamic.  That’s one of their main claims—that the Bible has been doctored and has been changed, has been passed down during the years.

[They say] it’s like playing a game of telephone.  I tell you one thing like, “Go outside and get in your car.”  And by the time it gets to that third person it’s, you know, “Let’s go find a barrel of lard.”

And so they say the same thing has happened with Scripture.  How it has been passed down and what we have today is not accurate, and that’s why we can’t trust it and what it says about truth and what it says about Jesus Christ.

ED:  And also, on our web site,, you are going to put up six questions.

BEN:  Right.  Yeah, next week, what I call “DaVinci Points”—DaVinci Code talking points and six common questions people are asking about the book and how you can answer those questions in about two or three sentences.

ED:  And I also know we will have these talks available.  But more importantly, too, we will have some great books in our resource center next weekend about these issues.

BEN:  Yeah, there’s a guy who is a professor at DTS [Dallas Theological Seminary] who is a great guy, a top shelf scholar, Daryl Bock, who has written a great book on the subject.

And so there are a lot of good resources that are coming out that are talking about “The DaVinci Code” and how to de-code it.

ED:  Alright.  Well, Ben it’s been great to have you here.

BEN:  It’s been great to be here.

ED:  We look forward to seeing you next weekend, brother Ben.  Thanks, man.