May 18, 2006 -- Posted at 12:59 p.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR -- "The Da Vinci Code" is a best selling fiction novel, and now it's been turned into what's expected to be a Hollywood blockbuster film.
Along with the much-anticipated box office release comes heated controversy, with a theme suggesting Jesus and Mary Magdalene were not only married, but conceived children.
Father Richard Cleary, from the Holy Angels Convent of Jonesboro, says author Dan Brown's book is nonsense.
"Surely the New Testament, or the early fathers and writers of Christian truth, would have mentioned Jesus' wife. If there had been a marriage, Mary Magdalene would have been identified as Mary, the wife of Jesus. Jesus was not married, and Brown's book has in a way done a disservice to Mary Magdalene," said Father Cleary.
The book suggests Opus Dei, a strict sect of Catholicism, knew of the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and would go to any length to cover it up, including murder.
"Opus Dei is a recently founded community in the Catholic Church. Their work has appealed especially to Catholics who are in positions of influence in government to try to establish a Christian social order. They are not interested in covering up Brown's myths," said Cleary.
Some feel the book is actually challenging the very core of Christianity, and the sanctity of what the scriptures teach.
It's leading this work of fiction to create real controversy.
Archie Mason is the Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro.
"I try to shepherd them. We say, 'Okay, we believe Jesus was the son of God, and he died on the cross for our sins, and rose again.' Here is how we can prove the things we believe. We can prove historically the documents we hold true to be the inspired work of God. Also, we can look at all of the prophecies that were found in the Bible that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus. This is how we can prove what we feel, and why," said Mason.
Controversy at times creates conversation.
Many people are arguing this movie is creating such a buzz, it's actually giving churches the opportunity to spread the gospel of Christ.
"The bible says there are two things that are going to live forever, one is the word of God, and the other is the souls of people. The word of God will never be stomped out," said Mason.
Father Cleary says the church is used to ridicule, but with guidance by the Holy Spirit, he says the church and true believers, no matter what this movie depicts, will persevere.
"Just as Jesus suffered even crucifixion, the church must experience persecution and suffering, and at times, even death, in certain places. Brown's book will pass rather quickly," said Cleary.
"Always understand this, if you can't defend the Bible, don't worry about it, because the Bible can defend itself," said Mason.