Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including "The Culture-Wise Family" with legendary entertainer Pat Boone. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.More ↓Less ↑
If you knew someone was about to drive off a cliff, wouldn’t you warn that person about the danger? Wouldn’t that be the loving thing to do?
When Jesus calls His disciples to be salt and light, he was calling for Christians to do two things:
Warn people about their sins.
Show people that the answer to their sin problem is to establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith and discipleship.
The warning about sin is not to condemn people for their sins; that is something only God can do. The warning about sin is to warn people about eternal separation from God, who is the Source of all Knowledge, Wisdom, Love, Joy and Beauty. The call to establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is an attempt to share with people the Knowledge, Wisdom, Love, Joy and Beauty that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will bring.
To be salt and light, therefore, is an act of love to protect people from the destruction that comes from sin and to make people aware of the Light and Truth that come from Jesus Christ.
Thus, when we at MOVIEGUIDE? warn people about the dangers of “The Da Vinci Code,” violent horror movies, or sex comedies like “American Pie,” it is an act of love designed to point people away from darkness and toward the Light of the True, the Good and the Beautiful.
Although these works are fiction, recent polls from the Barna Research Group in the United States and the IPSOS Institute in Europe show that millions of people will change their beliefs after reading or seeing these fictional works. Barna reports that 11 million of the 60 million people or so who have read “The Da Vinci Code” have changed their spiritual beliefs about Jesus Christ after reading the book. IPSOS reports that up to half of the people who have read the book, 30 million people, have changed their beliefs about Jesus Christ. These numbers include people of weak Christian faith and non-Christians.
According to worldwide box office figures, at least 35 million people have seen “The Da Vinci Code” movie so far. This means that the movie may affect the beliefs of an additional 17 million or more people.
The book version of “The Da Vinci Code” is a slanderous, vicious attack on Jesus Christ, His church and the Bible. Unlike the book, the hero in the movie, played by Tom Hanks, makes some positive statements regarding the traditional view of Jesus Christ and His divinity. He then says, however, that it doesn’t matter what the real truth is; it only matters what people believe. Such irrational, anti-historical statements may be even more insidious than Dan Brown’s book, because they lull people into a deadly sense of apathy about the historical, moral and spiritual identity and mission of Jesus Christ.
What makes this even worse is the fact that children, teenagers and young adults, who don’t have the knowledge and wisdom that comes with age and experience, are the most vulnerable to the wicked effects of popular works like “The Da Vinci Code.”
No mater how you cut it, therefore, “The Da Vinci Code,” though a work of fiction, will greatly weaken Jesus Christ’s loving mission to bring salt and light to the human race. Anyone who reads or sees “The Da Vinci Code,” especially those who advocate reading it or seeing it and those who say it doesn’t matter if people read or see it, are taking a stand against Jesus Christ and His Gospel. It is they who are being unloving, not those who warn people about the dangers of such works like “The Da Vinci Code.” It is also they who will be encouraging the entertainment industry to make and market more books, movies and videos viciously attacking Jesus Christ, His mission and the Bible.
This is a culture war that Christians dare not lose. We must win this war and defeat the forces of darkness if we are to follow Jesus Christ’s loving command to bring salt and light to the human race. Only by winning this culture war will we be able to continue baptizing people in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them everything Jesus Christ commands us to do.
The fate of the world hangs in the balance, but God is the ultimate power on whom everything depends. If we remain faithful to God through Jesus Christ, then God will remain faithful to us, for it is ultimately He who will bring the fruit from our efforts to preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is His blessings on our work that will help make this world a better place for future generations, our children and grandchildren.
Let us prayerfully ask God, therefore, to deliver people from the historical, moral and spiritual confusion that comes from such things as “The Da Vinci Code.” Use us, Oh Lord, to bring salt, light and love to our fellow men and women. Fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.