An excerpt from this article was published in the front page story "Is Seeing Believing" by Michelle Bearden in the May 16, 2006 issue of Tampa Tribune. The excerpt is given below.
Autar Kaw, 46, said theologians will have to work with historians to set the record straight, but "one's faith should always stay intact."
"The Bible has stood the test of time, and salvation by grace and resurrection of Christ will continue to be its unique tenets," said Kaw, who attends Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church in New Tampa. "Faith cannot be deduced, and if it could be deduced, then it is not faith."
Many preachers in Tampa will be devoting their Sunday, May 21 sermon to dispelling myths propagated by the book – The Da Vinci Code. The book has been on the bestseller list for 162 weeks, and now the much-anticipated movie based on the book is opening on May 19. Many books have already been on the market discrediting The Da Vinci Code, while preachers have been attending short courses to learn how to talk to their congregations about the popular book. I find this to be unsettling as The Da Vinci Code is a piece of fiction – just look at category in which it is listed.
It is my belief that the church is paying unnecessary attention to the book because it is easy to discredit a fictional novel as it’s just that - a piece of fiction. The biggest threats to the future of Christianity are other missionary religions, cults, and not in the least our own false teachers.
What is going to be challenging for the Church in the coming months is how theologians and historians will work together to treat four of the top twenty best nonfiction sellers.
These books include 1) The Gospel of Judas where Judas is being viewed as the best apostle because he betrayed Jesus as he was supposed to, 2) The Jesus Papers which claims that Jesus survived crucifixion, 3) The Lost Gospel which is another book about Judas, and 4) Misquoting Jesus which claims that changes and mistakes were made when the Bible was compiled.
Even with these historical books in the market, one’s faith should not be shaken. Faith cannot be deduced, and if it could be deduced, then it is not faith. The Bible has stood the test of time, and salvation by grace and resurrection of Christ will continue to be its unique tenements.
If Martin Luther could change how the Bible should be interpreted more than 1400 years later, we as followers in the 21st century with advances in archaeology and technology should not simply take the short cut of discrediting these books by considering them as the latest fad or attack on Christianity.
Two other books are going to present a bigger challenge to conservative Christians. A historical book Jesus the Dynasty claims that Jesus did not want salvation to become the core concept of the religion. This claim is reinforced further in the salvaged parts of the Book of Mary. Both books conclude that Jesus wanted us to be enlightened by following his teachings. Say the word “enlightenment” in the conservative Christian world and you can be accused of blasphemy.
However, I believe that this claim of enlightenment is not dichotomous with what we already accept from the Bible. As the Bible says - Faith without works is dead: James 2:20. Therefore, works are a necessary condition for faith and hence salvation. The difference with other religions such as Hinduism is that good works are considered a sufficient condition for salvation (in Hinduism, complete surrender to God leads to “moksha” – freedom from the cycle of rebirth and becoming one with God). However, who are we to judge the level and quality of works Jesus expects for our faith to stay alive. Most of us doubt our faith, especially during times of trial and tribulation; ironically, this doubt is what strengthens our faith.
PS. One other thing is clear – the Church should stop calling Mary Magdalene a prostitute and treat her with the respect she deserves. Nowhere in the books of the Bible is she called a prostitute. After all, she was the first one to see the resurrected Christ. Why choose her for such an important revelation if He did not know that she held a special place in spreading His message?
Autar Kaw, "The DaVinci Code is Not a Threat to Christianity", Personal
View, The Tampa Tribune, May 16, 2006, last accessed at