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January 19, 2020 9:00 am
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Hey you know were all aware that Dan Brown's book, the da Vinci code has been a marketing sensation and the movie has brought in over $315 million in the first two weekends now one of the amazing things go is the tremendous amount of literature that has been generated against this book and against this movie, writing an article in the Washington Post several weeks ago. One reporter said and I quote hundreds of churches are using debunking kids and at least seven television specials in which historians, theologians and archaeologists take issue with the da Vinci code are scheduled to air this month.
The reporter went on to say whether Brown's thriller deserves to be taken so seriously by religious leaders is unclear." Well it's not.
Unclear to me.
You see friends by undermining the public's confidence in the integrity of the Bible by planting doubt in people's minds about whether the Bible presents a true and accurate picture of Jesus Christ by saying the Christianity as we know it today was the product of a bunch of power-hungry bishops that twisted Christianity into a male dominated religion that suppresses and represses women Dan Brown by doing this is attacking the very foundations of the Christian faith. Because of this, I believe it's imperative for us is the true church to stand up and to confront the lies of Dan Brown would biblical truth and to do so without timidity and without compromise. And so that's why were finishing up today a three part series entitled cracking the da Vinci code.
In part one, we talked about the integrity of the Bible in part two we talked about the true nature of Jesus Christ. Today we want to go on and finish the series with part three, and in part three. We want to look at this idea by Dan Brown that in 325 A.D. a bunch of male chauvinist bishops twisted Christianity into a religion that devalues and represses women the title of my message today is Christianity is the best friend of women ever had. Now what is the issue here. Well, the issue is a Dan Brown in his book make some pretty tall claims he claims number one all early human religions were centered around women.
The sacred feminine as he calls it, including Judaism. He claims number two that all early human cultures were matriarchal he claims third that this was all a threat to the power of the male bishops who led the early church and therefore number four. He claims that these bishops twisted the story about the garden of Eden in Genesis chapter 3 to make Eve look like the bad guy and then they use this to create a new Christian religion that glorified male leadership and subjugated and repressed women volunteer Dan Brown saying himself showing and I quote he says the earliest Jewish tradition involve ritualistic sex in the temple, no less. Early Jews believe that the holy of holies in Solomon's Temple how the not only God but also his powerful female equal Shekinah men seeking spiritual wholeness came to the temple to visit priestesses with whom they made love and experience the divine through physical union with the sacred feminine for the early church. This sacred female presence, posed a serious threat to the church's power base so powerful men in the early church propagated lies that devalued the female and tipped the scales in favor of the male. It was man, not God who created the concept of original sin whereby Eve tasted of the Apple and cause the downfall of the human race day, the bishops did this because the power of the female posed a threat to the rise of the predominantly male church. Finally, Dan Brown says Constantine and the bishops successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity and then use this to subjugate women."
You might say.
While that's a mouthful yet is the fact there is so much error in this error. Historically, theologically, sociologically and archaeologically. There is so much error here that is hard to know where to even start dealing with it, but let's try okay. We have four questions we want to answer today. Based on this theory of Dan Brown question number one did the original Judeo-Christian faith worship, the sacred feminine number two were all early human societies matriarchal and did the leaders of early Christianity change this in a cheap grab for power. Number three did the early Christian bishops twisted the account of the garden of Eden. In the book of Genesis to denigrate Eve and thereby vilify women and finally number four, and most importantly, does Christianity devalue repressed and subjugate women.
Now you guys got still with me. Yeah, okay, drop a lot of hay on the horses.
He announced the already are your go first question did the original Judeo-Christian faith really worship the sacred feminine.
Let me remind you a Dan Brown said and I quote the early Jewish tradition involve ritualistic sex in the temple, no less. Early Jews believe that the holy of holies in Solomon's Temple.
How does that not only God but also his powerful female equal Shekinah men seeking spiritual wholeness came to the temple to visit priestesses with whom they made love and experience the divine through physical union with the sacred feminine" now this claim by Dan Brown is so preposterous and so outrageous that I question whether it was even worth dignifying what he said with a response, but so that no one here things that there is any truth to his claim. Let me say this a the Shekinah. Other Dan Brown mentions here is a Hebrew word that refers to the glorious shining of God when he would appear in the temple. It does not refer to a female goddess be. Let me say that even the most radical enemies of Judaism in the Bible have never suggested that ritualistic sex was carried out in the temple or anywhere else in Jewish history, and finally see, let me say that there has never been a female goddess in Judaism ever friends from the point of view of history. Dan Brown's claims about the original Judeo-Christian faith worshiping the sacred feminine is utterly baseless.
Which leads us to question number two what about his claim that all early human societies were matriarchal and that the bishops in 325 A.D. changed the world into a patriarchal world so that they could subjugate and repressed women. What about that well let me remind you a Dan Brown says and I quote he said for the early church. This sacred female presence poses a serious threat to the church's power base so powerful men in the early church propagated lies that devalued the female and tipped the scales in favor of the masculine Constantine in the bishops successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity and then use this to subjugate women." Now were all early human societies matriarchal in character as Dan Brown claims they were and is there any historical evidence to indicate that in the fourth century A.D. there was a radical shift in the societies of the world to patriarchal societies that was carried out in codes with the church with the answer is absolutely not. No evidence Dr. Steven Goldberg, chairman, Department of sociology, city College of New York, and I quote, authority and leadership are and always have been associated with the male in every society, and I refer to this when I say that patriarchy is universal and that there has never been a matriarchy. He continues theories that hypothesize the matriarchal form of society at an earlier stage of history made a certain sense until the findings of the past 50 years, failed to include a single shred of evidence that such matriarchy's had ever existed and that evidence demonstrated the inability of all such matriarchal theories to deal with reality." Many of us here know who Margaret Mead was perhaps the most famous anthropologist of the modern era, Dr. Margaret Mead said and I quote all the claims so glibly made about society is ruled by women Arnon we have no reason to believe that those matriarchy's ever existed." In other words, the entire premise of Dan Brown's theory. The power-hungry bishops in the fourth century A.D. use Christianity to convert the world from matriarchal forms of government to patriarchal forms of government so that they could put down women and control women friends to put it kindly. His theory is anthropological and sociological rubbish, and I said that so right question number three did the early Christian leaders twist the garden of Eden story in the Bible in Genesis 3 so that they could denigrate Eve and vilify women well remember what Dan Brown said and I quote he said it was man, not God who created the concept of original sin whereby Eve tasted of the Apple and cause the downfall of the human race day. The bishops did this because the power of the female posed a threat to the rise of the predominantly male church."
In other words, would Dan Brown's really saying is that in the fourth century A.D. at the Council of Nicaea. The bishops went back and rewrote chapter 3 of the book of Genesis to give the events of Genesis chapter 3, a decidedly masculine bias. They went back and made Eve look like the bad guy.
They went back to made Adam look like the hero so that they could, according to Dan Brown and I quote devalue the female and tipped the scales in favor of the masculine."
As a possible these folks have gone back in the fourth century A.D. and change Genesis chapter 3 will the answer is absolutely not and I'll tell you why.
The reason why is because we have copies of Genesis chapter 3 that are centuries older than the Council of Nicaea and in every one of those copies. Genesis chapter 3 reads the exact way it does in your English Bible today. For example, from 250 BC. We have the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament from somewhere between 50 and 100 BC. We have two copies of Genesis chapter 3 from Tay four in Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls and from 110 A.D. we have the Targum on colossal Targum was an Aramaic translation of the Old Testament so people could read Hebrew anymore could read and understand it.
An Aramaic and all three of these documents predating the Council of Nicaea by centuries have Exodus chapter 3 exactly the way it is in your Bible with Eve being tempted first and succumbing to the enemy first based on archaeology.
My point is, it is absolutely indefensible to claim that anybody in 325 A.D. could have gone back and rewritten the book of Genesis that brings us to our last question and really the most important and that is does Christianity devalue, repress and subjugate women. Dan Brown, let me remind you what he said one more time. The early church. He said devalued the female and tipped the scales in favor of the masculine. The early church subjugated women because they posed a threat to the rise of the predominantly male church woman was now the enemy" reference. Is this true. I mean, is there any truth at all to this well the answer is categorically no. First of all, the Bible is clear about how God wants women to be treated.
Listen to some of these verses. Galatians 328 in Christ there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. In Ephesians chapter 5 God instructs husbands how to treat their wives. He says husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her verse 28. Husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies in first Peter chapter 3 verse seven men.
The Bible says are to grant women on her because they are equal heirs of the grace of life and if you go God says your prayers will be hindered without equivocation. The Bible is clear. It calls for women to be treated with dignity.
It calls for women to be treated with respect.
It calls for women to be treated with tenderness and equality and esteem a. The Bible is clear on and may I say second of all, that when we look at our world we find without fail that those cultures in our world were Christianity has been the dominant religious force in society. These are the cultures where women have had the greatest opportunity the greatest protection and the greatest esteem and conversely, we find that those cultures were Christianity has not been the dominant religious force in society that these are the cultures where women have suffered the greatest amount of repression abuse, violence, and devaluation, a process that continues right up to this very day in certain societies in our world is there while Anna saw as a big statement you just made. Can you back that up. Can you prove that when you bet your big PR tannin on the door right now, here we go, let's go back in history back to ancient Greece and ancient Greece is held up as a paragon of democracy, equality will listen. It might've been that way for the men in ancient Greece, but it was not that way for the women in ancient Greece and ancient Greece, Greek wives were not permitted to leave their home unless they were accompanied by a male escort of her husband's choosing Greek women were not allowed to own property. They were never allowed to speak in public.
They couldn't even eat dinner with their guests, their husbands, dinner guests, she could fix the meal. She does one allow the common and even there was all a whole host of other restrictions on Greek women. According to Dr. FA Wright in his book feminism in Greek literature. He says and I quote the average Athenian woman had the social status of a slave." Now let's go to ancient Rome friends in ancient Rome before Christianity became the dominant religion, women were utterly disenfranchised, utterly disrespected. Cicero, the famous poet and senator said and I quote our fathers in their wisdom. Consider that all women because of their innate weakness should be under the control of a male guardian."
Women in Roman society before the entity took over as the state religion. They had none of the rights that men have in society. They could not own property.
There was a whole host of other rights that were denied them husband had the right to divorce his wife for any reason he could beat her in public and if she were accused of adultery, he could kill her in public and there was absolutely no judicial penalty at all. And then there was the practice of paterfamilias in ancient Rome.
This is when a daughter was born. A father had the right to go thumbs-up or thumbs down for the little baby that had just been born and if he went, thumbs down a slave would take that little baby girl out and drown her in the river and there was absolutely no jurisprudence.
There was actually no culpability. He was never charged with a crime.
As the father but if he did that to a baby boy. He was taken to court for murder, intelligent girl, no problem. Do not kill a boy paying ancient Hindu culture.
Things were worse. If you can believe that if a wife left the house without her husband's permission and ancient Hindu man had the right to cut off her nose and her ears if the bride's dowry was too small Hindu man could burn her at the stake to death if a woman was accused of adultery in the ancient Hindu culture.
She was made to walk to blazing fire, and if there was the slightest trace of burns on her after she did that will draw how you walk to burning fire and there wouldn't be any trace on you if there was it proved she was guilty and they murdered her right on the spot and then there was the custom of soup T that's the custom that when a husband died. His wife was expected voluntarily to climb onto his funeral pyre and be cremated along with them.
And when women weren't willing to do that voluntarily they were tied up and thrown on the funeral pyre where they liked it or not about ancient China were all familiar with the foot binding that the Chinese did the little girls but I don't think any of us understand the violence in the awfulness of that practice.
Howard S. Lee, the writing in his book Chinese foot binding said and I quote the flash often became too crescent infected during the binding and portions of the foot often separated from the surrounding tissue of the soul. Sometimes one or more toes dropped off frequently. Gangrene set in, leading to leg amputation or even death.
This practice went on for thousands of years until Christian missionaries were successful in getting China to end this practice in 1912, and why did they do this to these poor little girls. One reason only friends because the cost Chinese women to walk in a way that was erotic to Chinese men. That's why they didn't let's move into our modern world, showing to tribal African culture today. Today in the tribal countries of Africa, there is the practice of female circumcision. This is an unspeakable degradation and unspeakable abuse of women in which a young girl's genitalia or cutaway to make sure that she can never experience sexual pleasure in her life. It's often done by the girls own parents who taught her down and do the deed with a razor blade in this horrific custom is still practiced today in 26 tribal African nations in our world today. Finally, we turn to the Islamic culture in the world today, whether it be fundamentalist or moderate Islamic cultures women are treated like dirt in both in fundamentalist Islamic societies you know this women are not allowed to reveal any part of their body.
They have to wear black robes head coverings even in the heat that goes over 100° in Afghanistan under the Taliban.
Women accused of adultery were dragged in the stadiums of cheering men crowds of men forced to their knees with their arms tied behind them and routinely shot in the head without a trial.
In fact, couple years ago I was sitting home one evening watching the Discovery Channel about the Taliban and their on this channel.
I was horrified.
They had an actual film record of these women being dragged by their hair into the stadium on sickness watching on TV put on their knees blindfolded and some guy walked behind them casually boom boom boom Sudanese women in the head from behind, sitting home in my chair horrified I'm like oh my God, this can happen is to be modern. The modern world will yes it was then their honor killings, Islamic society is when a woman who dishonors her family in any way, usually by adultery. These women are killed by male relatives and it's not just a right that male relatives have is considered a duty that they have, to kill your sister and in fact there was just a case of this in the West Bank and Israel in one of the Islamic towns just a couple weeks ago were some young lady 19 years old did something to dishonor her family and her brother took throughout the street and stabbed her to death in front of witnesses, and nobody raised her hands and did anything and he was never prosecuted by the Islamic authorities in moderate Islamic cultures women are discriminated against in every phase of life. I was watching PBS's religion and ethics last week and Bob Abernathy reported that in Saudi Arabia today. Modern Saudi Arabia textbooks that are used in the public high schools of Saudi Arabia have this quote in the textbook and I quote the life of a woman has only a fraction of the value of the life of a Muslim man." That's in Saudi Arabia today. That's what they're taught in school that friends may I go back and repeat for emphasis what I said a few moments ago. Look at all the societies today were women are treated with dignity and where they are allowed to be all they can be and you will find that every one of these societies has been shaped by the influence of Christianity and the Bible. And conversely, look at all the cultures in our world today were Christianity and the Bible has had little or no influence, and you will find societies where women are disenfranchised where they are abused where they are disrespected, repressed and treated like dirt to repeat my main point for this morning Christianity is the best friend women on this planet have ever had. Now let's conclude our three-part series by saying this over the last three weeks we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of Dan Brown's three most outrageous theories relating to the Christian faith theory number one that the bishops at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. rewrote the Bible for devious personal motives theory number two that the bishops at the Council of Nicaea reinvented Jesus Christ as a divine being, in order to solidify their own human powerbase and theory number three the bishops at the Council of Nicaea converted the world from matriarchy patriarchy and then use that to subjugate women and after careful examination of the evidence over the last three weeks we've looked at the historical evidence the archaeological evidence the anthropological evidence the sociological evidence and the theological evidence. After evaluating all of the evidence we discovered that all three of Dan Brown's theories are total and complete rubbish. So let me conclude by saying this. Dan Brown may be a good writer but he is a bad historian.
He is an ill-informed sociologist. He is a terrible archaeologist and he is a miserable theologian. In short, he's just plain wrong.
So please don't let anything you read in his book, or anything you've seen in his movie negatively affect your confidence in the Bible and what the Bible tells you about Jesus Christ and the integrity of the Christian faith folks.
I'm here to tell you that he's wrong, pure and simple, and the evidence proves nice and will lawn can any good thing come out of the da Vinci code. Well yeah maybe you know Dan Brown is set on numerous television and radio programs at one of the reasons he wrote the da Vinci code was so people would begin exploring their faith again and asking questions about God again.
All right, maybe you're here today and you've actually started doing that maybe the da Vinci code was something I got to thinking again about Jesus Christ and God in the Bible.
Well, if that's true, let me say that you won't find the answers to those questions in the da Vinci code that you will find the answers to those questions and the word of God friends. Let me just say in closing, the Bible is trustworthy. The Bible gives us a true picture of Jesus Christ and finally Christianity values not only women but Christianity values men Christianity values young people disabled people, poor people, black people, white people, yellow people, green people. We value all and you know why one simple reason.
Jesus died on the cross for all people and that gives all people, and inherent dignity and inherent value and worth in the side of Almighty God, that no church and no person can ever take away and that's the truth and I hope you'll take these three CDs were to put a middle album and I hope you'll use this album as an evangelistic tool or somebody ever comes up to you and says hey.
I saw that movie or I read that book and I'm really confused. I hope you will be able to say who have high got something for you. I got some for you and I hope you give them those three CDs and we can use this to spread the real truth about Jesus Christ. Here in Washington DC. Let's close in prayer. Heavenly father, thanks for real truth today truth that will stand up to the most intense examination of the evidence. We thank you that the Bible is trustworthy. Jesus really is who he says he is the Christianity is not a religion that suppresses women or anybody else. Father I pray that you would take this truth and help to use it here in Washington DC to lift up Jesus Christ, so that he may as he said draw all men and women to him. If he is lifted up. Lord help us be that shining light that lighthouse here in Washington that place that lifts up the true and risen Christ that people might be drawn to a life changing relationship with you.
We commit this series to you and pray would be used in a mighty way in this town to help people understand the real truth of God. We pray this in Jesus name God's people said amen