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by Berit Kjos
While church leaders prompt their followers to see the movie, buy their books, and "engage the culture" through dialogue, many Christians question this strategy. But not author Dan Brown! He welcomes the public controversy. He knows that it fuels a useful global dialogue that gradually pulls the diverse readers toward a new "common ground." "The dialogue is wonderful," he tells us. "...the debate that is being generated is a positive powerful force. The more vigorously we debate these topics, the better our understanding of our own spirituality. Controversy and dialogue are healthy for religion as a whole. :"(http://www.danbrown.com/novels/davinci_code/faqs.html)": He is right about the power of dialogue between opposing forces. This public process affects every participant, whether they realize it or not! [See Brainwashing in America] As happened through the homosexual agenda, constant exposure evaporates the shock and disgust of evil. Even those who feel equipped to defend the truth will be pressured to set aside their Biblical "certainties" for the sake of unity. In fact, the ground rules for this dialectic process have already become familiar and normal to believers as well as unbelievers across America. Ponder the effect of these points:Ã‚Â
- show tolerance and appreciation of all contrary views. [See The Mind-Changing Process] don't offend others with your "absolute truth," facts or certainty. be ready to identify with all contrary positions.
- be willing to "seek common ground" for the sake of peace and unity. :"(Small Groups and the Dialectic Process at www.crossroad.to/articles2/04/3-purpose.htm and The Mind-Changing Process at www.crossroad.to/articles2/Reinventing2.htm)":
Remember, the biggest hindrance to this social, political and spiritual transformation is Biblical Christianity. Even "America's pastor" Rick Warren views fundamentalism as "one of the big enemies of the 21st century." and Psychiatrist Brock Chisholm, the first head of the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) called Christian beliefs "poisonous certainties." So how can God's people resist this process? The answer must be based on what He has shown us in His unchanging Word.
1. Renew your mind with His Word. Don't corrupt it with lies.
Busy schedules and tempting alternatives can easily squeeze out Bible study. Then, when floods of "new revelations" crash against our beliefs, we may never recognize the lies. Instead, they may seem more exciting than the truth.Transformational researchers such as Dr. Craig E. Abrahamson, Assistant Professor of Social Work at James Madison University, understands this process well. Despising the didactic (fact-based) teaching of traditional education, he calls for the feeling-based, image-rich unconscious learning so popular among change agents in today's schools and churches. He found that --
"...inspiration, encouragement, satisfaction, and fascination must be integrated with information in order to provide an education that... will have true, lasting effects on that person's life and the society in which he or she interacts. What a person usually remembers the longest is information that has an emotional impact." :"(Craig E. Abrahamson, Storytelling as a Pedagogical Tool in Higher Education)": "There are many means of de-potentiating [ undermining the old] frames of reference.... Any experience of the unrealistic, the unusual, or the fantastic provides an opportunity for altered modes of apprehension. Aspects in a story that create confusion, doubt, dissociation, and disequilibrium are all means of de-potentiating students' learned limitations so that they may become open and available for new means of experiencing and learning...."
Few forms of communication undermine former values more effectively than movies. When Dan Brown concocts imaginary experiences that stir strong feelings, he plants unforgettable illusions in the viewers' minds. As Harvard Professor Chris Dede wrote, "Sensory immersion helps learners grasp [a new] reality through illusion." :"(The Transformation of Distance Education to Distributed Learning. While this and other papers by Professor Chris Dede focuses on education technology, it emphasizes the value of sensory immersion into synthetic environments as a tool to mold minds by instilling a programmed perception of 'reality.' www.gsu.edu/~wwwitr/docs/distlearn/index.html)": A letter from aÃ‚Â visitor to our website illustrates our vulnerability to this mind-changing process:
"I read Dan Brown's novel "The DaVinci Code" recently -- another poor choice. I was curious to see what the hype was all about. It was well written and sucked me into the conspiracy/secret society plotline. Then I was hit with the heresy-posing-as-truth (like 'Hath God Said?' line of the serpent). I am thankful to God that I wasn't convinced, but it sure made me think about things for a while."
To avoid mental turmoil and spiritual confusion, we must know and follow God's Word:
"...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2"take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.... Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:13-17
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ...." 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
2. Guard against deception. Don't be trapped in it
Faced with Brown's blasphemous suggestions, we need to know facts that validate the true gospels. [See How the New Testament Canon Was Chosen] But our main weapon against deception is the Word itself. Without a solid grounding in Biblical truth, we can neither resist today's tempting tales and psycho-social strategies -- nor warn others.Ã‚Â "DaVinci Code undermines confidence in the Scriptures," wrote another website visitor. "You can't eat poison and expect to function well physically. And you can't take in false teaching and expect to function well spiritually.... I know a Christian young man who read 'The DaVinci Code' and afterwards his relationship with the Lord really went downhill. But he never saw any connection between those two things."Lies and truth are incompatible! That's one reason why God's Word is fast becoming intolerable to a "Christianized" world bent on global oneness. God's call for separation from evil is incompatible with today's envisioned solidarity. While the world demands tolerance for everything but Christianity, God tells us to be living testimonies of His peace and victory in Christ:
"For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.... Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate,' says the Lord. 'Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you...."Ã‚Â 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
"...you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine." Leviticus 20:26
Remember, we are in the world, but not of it! "As the Father has sent Me," said Jesus, "so send I you." Jesus spoke the truth in love, but He never participated in the world's decadence. Nor did His faithful followers. [See Who defines the Kingdom of God?]
3.Ã‚Â Follow your conscience. Don't corrupt it!
A conscience trained by God's Word and Spirit will see good and evil from God's perspective. A conscience seared by contemporary illusions will justify human depravity. The natural result of immersion in Brown's occult suggestions and ritualistic sex is a seared conscience -- and few would notice the change. Small wonder, when even "Christians" have learned to love what God calls evil.Ã‚Â That's why God warns us,
"You love evil more than good...." Psalm 52:3
"...even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him." Titus 1:15-16"Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." Romans 12:9
Today's world turns all God's values upside down. "It's sort of like a guilty pleasure, and I don't think there's anythingÃ‚Â wrong with that," :"(David Gramin, 'Bettany relishes Code Role,' San Jose Mercury, 5-18-06.)": said Paul Bettany, a former Catholic who plays the albino monk-assassin in the movie. But there is something "wrong with that," and we need to remember the solution:
"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:6-9
4.Ã‚Â Be humbly alert. Don't minimize Satan's seductions nor your human weakness.
God tells us that "in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons...." [1 Timothy 4:1] Some of those demonic doctrines are simply repackaged old heresies. Remember Paul's letter to the Galatians:
"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ...." Galatians 1:6-8
Since human nature doesn't change, Satan uses the same old tricks again and again. He has now revived those forgotten Gnostic distortions that brought confusion into the early Church. Hidden in secret societies and occult orders through the centuries, they are suddenly permeating popular culture. And since our global education system has so effectively "opened" minds to old myths and perversions, :"(New Emphasis in Schools and Culture at http://www.crossroad.to/charts/emphasis.htm )":Ã‚Â the masses don't care enough to resist. The results are all around us:
"... although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:21-22"...there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed...." 2 Peter 2:1-3
Our response? "Be sober, beÃ‚Â vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith." 1 Peter 5:8-9
5. Remember that God (not man-made strategies) brings the victory
Man-made strategies for drawing unbelievers to God often seem to succeed. After all, the masses are flocking into their fun-filled churches! But more often than not, they are searching for feel-good experiences, not for God and His truth. Finding what they sought, they join churches that don't offend them with unwanted truths. The enthusiastic dialogue surrounding The DaVinci Code fits right in, and it's a win-win case for all but born-again Christians who love God's Word: Church leaders enjoy the rising numbers. Unbelievers can freely claim to be Christians. The surrounding community is well served. And no one dares confront sin or affirm Biblical boundaries. The only enforced limitation deals with the fundamentals of God's Word: don't offend anyone with "negative" truths or facts! But it's not God's way to victory! "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9. Therefore,
"Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret....Ã‚Â Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:8-12, 17
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