The 'truth' would have been lost except for the Priory of Sion who found, and protect to this day, the documents which the Catholic Church is desperate to destroy.

The difficulty for many Christians is that while they are pretty certain that the claims of The Da Vinci Code are incorrect they have no idea where to begin in discussing these claims with their friends.

This is because they are not exactly certain which pieces of The Da Vinci Code are wrong nor are they exactly certain how to defend Christian beliefs such as the reliability of the New Testament. The result is that most Christians feel ill-equipped to adequately discuss the truth behind The Da Vinci Code.

If you find yourself in that category don't despair; help has arrived!

Despite its fictional character The Da Vinci Code has made quite an impact on our society. Why has this book become so popular?

In the preface to his book, The Gospel Code, Ben Witherington III summarises the situation. 'Western culture is a Jesus-haunted culture, and yet one that is largely biblically illiterate. Almost anything can pass for knowledge of Jesus and early Christianity in such a culture.' (2004, 11)

Many people, dissatisfied with traditional Christianity and without the ability to discern what is truthful from what is false, resonate with the assertions made in The Da Vinci Code that Jesus was just a great man and that original Christianity was more open and inclusive than its modern counterpart.

It supports what they want to believe about Jesus and the Church and lets them off the hook of seriously considering the claims of Jesus and Christianity.

It is therefore increasingly important that Christians get in touch with their past in order to be able to recognise true and false statements about Jesus and the Church.

It is also important that Christians be able to gently challenge the easy and uncritical acceptance of claims such as those made in The Da Vinci Code.

Many other books have been written in the past couple of years exposing the errors in The Da Vinci Code.

This booklet is different in two ways.

First, its primary aim is to provide you with the information you need to stimulate discussion about the accuracy of Dan Brown's claims with those who hold The Da Vinci Code to be gospel truth.

Second, it has been written with the ordinary Christian in mind. By this I mean the Christian who genuinely wants to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by The Da Vinci Code to talk to their friends about Jesus but isn't interested in reading several books about the novel in order to do so.

We will confine our investigation to the claims made about Constantine, the New Testament and Jesus. If, however, you find that you do want to do more reading I have included a short bibliography of recommended books with a brief review of each.