Bishop defends the faith and advocates church history study
THE nearly 70 lay leaders and LCEC chairmen who attended the Bishop’s Lay Gathering and Fellowship Lunch at Methodist Centre on March 25 were updated on vital aspects of Christian doctrine and history when Bishop Dr Robert Solomon presented a talk on The Da Vinci Code.
Noting that Singapore cinemas will soon be showing a film based on the novel by Dan Brown, Bishop Dr Solomon spoke to the 67 church leaders on The Da Vinci Code.
According to the Bishop, there are two critical pillars of Christianity that are under attack – the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and the integrity and authority of the New Testament.
While the book attacks many other beliefs as well, they will fall into place once these two main points are assured, he said.
“If Christ is not God, then our faith is in vain,” he said, echoing to words of the New Testament writers themselves.
And only in the books of the New Testament do we have the direct testimony about who Jesus is. Therefore, it is critical to know that the New Testament books were not just made up or thrown together for the purposes of 4th century political schemes, as alleged by Dan Brown in his book, The Da Vinci Code.
While The Da Vinci Code is a suspense novel, the author asserts that it is based on historic facts about a conspiracy about the true nature of Jesus, that he was only a man and not the Son of God.
The author asserts that the Roman Emperor, Constantine, gathered the 4th century bishops together at the Council of Nicaea in order to suppress Jesus’ humanity, and so limited the New Testament to the books we have today. Such assertions are invalid, according to Bishop Dr Solomon.
There is overwhelming evidence from 2nd century writers as well as from the New Testament writers themselves that early Christians already affirmed the deity of Christ.
In addition, written records from the 2nd century show that churches already recognised the majority of the books in the New Testament as Holy Scripture well before the time of the Council of Nicaea. All that council did was to make official what the churches had already believed.
Even in the 1st century the letters of Peter recognised Paul’s writings as Holy Scripture.
Noting that many of the recent attacks against the Christian faith have occurred before in centuries past, Bishop Dr Solomon encouraged the laity to dig deeper into the roots of the faith to counter attacks on church history and doctrine.
“It is important that Christians take church history seriously so that they know how to respond to these old heresies that have come back in new forms,” he said.
The Lay Gathering is held twice every year and provides an opportunity for lay leaders and LCEC chairmen and their associates a time of worship, fellowship with one another and an airing and discussion of current topics of significance.
The Methodist website www.methodist.org.sg has a FAQ on the key concerns about The Da Vinci Code.
The Rev George Martzen is Minister Attached to The Bishop’s Office.