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NCC says 'The Da Vinci Code'
is 'an opportunity to teach'

New York, May 18, 2006 – Critics may be bashing The Da Vinci Code, but every expectation is that millions will flock to see the film in theaters this weekend.

If that happens, a National Council of Churches USA statement said today, "we have some concerns." But the Council also called upon Christian leaders to use the film as "an opportunity to teach about and bear witness to true biblical teachings – many of which have been distorted in Hollywood as well as in our daily lives."

The NCC observed that the film, like the book by Dan Brown, is fiction and it "does not accurately reflect the life and ministry of Jesus or the traditions of the church." The church teaches that Jesus "fed the hungry ... healed the sick and preached good news to the poor (Luke 4:18-19). He cared for creation and called us to stand up for peace and justice in the world."

The Council called upon Christians "to uncover distortions of biblical truths not only in entertainment but in politics and actions perpetuated in our society every day."

The full text of the Council's statement follows:

The National Council of Churches recognizes that the publicity around The Da Vinci Code will prompt millions to go see the movie. The book has been enormously popular but with the release of the film we have some concerns. 

This is an opportunity to teach about and bear witness to true biblical teachings—many of which have been distorted in Hollywood as well as in our daily lives.  This is an opportunity for all Christians to share their faith when friends ask what they think about the movie.  The story of Jesus as told throughout the centuries is compelling. 

Real-life scenarios are present daily that contradict the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Too often it is those issues that have far-reaching affects on people’s lives, and their faith, but they go without any word of protest or rebuttal—issues like war, poverty, racial and economic injustice, the devastation experienced after hurricanes and tsunamis and the negative impact of global climate change, to name a few. Yet in his life and ministry, Jesus cared about and met the needs of the people: He fed the hungry. He healed the sick and preached good news to the poor (Luke 4:18-19). He cared for creation and called us to stand up for peace and justice in the world. 

In the midst of the media frenzy, let us not forget that The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction that does not accurately depict the life and ministry of Jesus or the traditions of the Church. We pray that those who see this movie will want to know more about Jesus Christ. And, we call on our Christian brothers and sisters to uncover distortions of biblical truths not only in entertainment but in policies and actions perpetuated in our society every day. Neither The Da Vinci Code, nor any other work of fiction, will alter the beliefs, mission or work of individual churches or the National Council of Churches. We will not be diverted from the gospel imperative to care for creation, do justice and work for peace regardless of what the distractions of current culture may offer.


Contact NCC News: Daniel Webster, 212-870-2252, or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350

 

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