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Monday, March 20, 2006

Lee Strobel: DaVinci Code an Opportunity

DavinciLee Strobel has a question for the American church:  "What if churches and individual Christians took advantage of the hoopla surrounding the forthcoming movie to reach out to their friends, colleagues, and neighbors with the real story about Jesus?" he said in a released statement. "Wouldn’t it be ironic if the book that sought so fervently to discredit Christianity ended up spurring countless seekers on a spiritual journey that ultimately took them to the authentic Christ?"

Best-selling author Dr. James L. Garlow saw the upcoming film release, which is scheduled for May 19, as an evangelical opportunity with his own written tool.

Garlow's The DaVinci Codebreaker, to be released early April, helps readers sort fact from fiction - what even Christians have largely been confused on. With Brown's repeated statements on his book being "fact" and media buzz that has yet to die down, Garlow, co-author of New York Times best-seller Cracking Da Vinci's Code, saw a crucial need for a glossary.

The nearly 200-page book is a glossary of terms, documents, artifacts and people that includes explanations that are "historically and theologically correct," as Garlow stated in his book, and a "must have" when the movie releases in May.

Rather than protesting or avoiding the anticipated film, Garlow, much like other Evangelicals, suggests Christians, armed with the facts, to see the film with friends, churched and unchurched.

More at The Christian Post.

FOR DISCUSSION:  Is YOUR church doing anything to pick up on all the public interest of the DaVinci Code?

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March 20, 2006 in Outreach and Evangelism | Permalink

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I've just picked up the original book, already have Garlowe's, and am hoping to see Garlowe when he's in SD next week.

I wasn't going to bother with it, but after visiting with the manager of our local bookstore, found that people from our area are reading it.

So, in the desire to be better prepared to discuss it, I'm going to read it and go to the movie.

Brian

Posted by: Brian La Croix | Mar 20, 2006 2:09:15 PM

I am encouraging churches to follow a 4 Phase Strategy:
1. RESOURCE PHASE - read Dan Brown's book (if they have not) and get the proper books/DVD's to refute his false claims
2. PREPARATION PHASE - do a 4 week Bible study - studying "the 6 key things every believer should know between now and May 19th"
3. MOVIE PHASE - go to the movie with an unbeliver
4. DISCOVERY PHASE - throw "Da Vinci Code Parites" - repeating Phase 2 above -- but this time, make it an investigative Bible study.

People knew Hurricane Katrina was coming. Many did not prepared. The regretted it.

Hurricane "Da Vinci Code Movie" is coming. And we know the day (May 19th). Prepare. If you don't, you will regret it. If you do, will be glad.

This is a great evangelistic opportunity for the church.

Expectant,
Jim Garlow
www.jimgarlow.com

Posted by: Jim Garlow | Mar 20, 2006 2:45:38 PM

(Re-sending with correcitons)
I am encouraging churches to follow a 4 Phase Strategy:
1. RESOURCE PHASE - read Dan Brown's book (if they have not) and get the proper books/DVD's to refute his false claims
2. PREPARATION PHASE - do a 4 week Bible study with believer (to equip them) - studying "the 6 key things every believer should know between now and May 19th"
3. MOVIE PHASE - go to the movie with an unbeliver, a "seeker"
4. DISCOVERY PHASE - throw "Da Vinci Code Parites" - repeating Phase 2 above -- but this time, make it an investigative Bible study, with primarily unbelievers in the group.

People knew Hurricane Katrina was coming. Many did not prepare. They regretted it.

Hurricane "Da Vinci Code Movie" is coming. And we know the day (May 19th). Prepare. If you don't, you will regret it. If you do, will be glad.

This is a great evangelistic opportunity for the church.

Expectant,
Jim Garlow
www.jimgarlow.com

Posted by: Jim Garlow | Mar 20, 2006 2:49:23 PM

We're using the two CCN broadcasts, the first a training event, and the second an outreach event.

More info on the first of those at this url if any of you all have the CCN dish.

http://www.ccnonline.net/programming/event/evt_28mar06.htm

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Mar 20, 2006 4:14:33 PM

Great comments and way to go being proactive! I think if we did more of this kind of thing, we could really have an effect on our culture.

Blessings,

Posted by: Pastor Al | Mar 20, 2006 4:43:47 PM

I have the privilege of serving under Jim Garlow.

I am on staff at Skyline as the small group pastor. We have around 150+ groups that I have oversight over and we are very excited about the opportunity before us.

I want to encourage everyone to take full advantage of what this movie brings. The media is going strong in promoting the book and movie. The trial with Dan Brown received huge coverage, and I am sure with the actors and directors involved in the movie that turn out will be high.

With all this attention there will be an interest within your congregation. This in turn will allow you to speak to the truths of what we find in Scripture verses what Da Vinci code book describes.

Skyline has produced some material that you can download and use within your congregation. There is no cost and I wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to get it. This is what we will be using in our church with our groups.

If you have any suggestions or questions contact me. And the link to the material is at the end of this comment…

Download the small group info…it is free…
http://www.jimgarlow.com/cdvcode/study.pdf

Find me here…
http://pastorphill.typepad.com/phillip_longmire/

Posted by: phill | Mar 20, 2006 8:03:38 PM

Tell me they are not spending money on this...

http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/davincicode/site/home.html

Posted by: phill | Mar 20, 2006 8:10:09 PM

I am always an encourager... And I am totally agreement with him. However, this is a REAL Challenge for the Church today.

I know because I am facing this issue here on the internet with a young lady who does believe that Jesus and Mary Magdaelen where married and had childern together.

I posted a thread on her comment.. AND I WAS NICE... I told her. Dear Friend, I just wanted to tell you that there is no physical evidence in scripture or apart from scriputre that Jesus was ever married and had childern.

I went on to tell her that Jesus was and is God's Son, and although he was a human and living here on this earth, that he was pure and holy. His entire mission on this earth was to die a crucified death, buried, and rise again the third day for you and me. To give us life and victory over sin and death.

Whew...... What a nerve that struck dudes and dudette's... That old poem Little girls are made of sugar & spice & everything nice, that is what little girls are made of. Brother, the person that wrote that would have changed their minds and re-wrote that thing after meeting this young lady. Because her reasoning was that Jesus was all about love and loved everyone. We could have went on for several days about that one. But after being on this blog for awhile you learn how to avoid the unavoidable. Sorry Todd if that was not acceptable...

HOWEVER... I REPLIED BACK TO HER.. I want to thank you for your comments. I also want you to know that I love you and God Loves you.

God has opened a door for me and this young lady to become friends and we talked for a long while the other night. I have not mentioned the bible or religion to her. Because she already knows where I stand on that issue and I want to be her friend.

She is constantly in my heart, on my mind, and in my prayers.

Thank you Lord Jesus that she is going to be saved soon...

Posted by: Clairvoyent 1 | Mar 20, 2006 9:53:03 PM

At our workplace, we had a local Christian "expert" come in to lead a discussion group on "The Da Vinci Code." It's an example of how to do outreach. You can watch the video's, here, free:

http://www.professionallyspeaking.org/DaVinciCode/index.htm

The powerpoint presentations are also available for free download.

...Bernie

Posted by: Bernie Dehler of FreeGoodNews.com | Mar 20, 2006 11:58:04 PM

The timing of this movie release is great. We are excited to offer short term elective classes using the Strobel material. We think newcomers who come for Easter will be excited about these non-threatening entry door opportunities to connect with our church. We hope to "seed" the classes with people who will try to make some early connections with those who are new or have heretofore been "unconnected.”

I must say that I’m surprised there has been such unanimously positive responses to this thread (not soliciting dissenting views though). Curious why using the release of the DiVinci Code to invite (lure) the unchurched in isn’t perceived as merging the church and the world. Is it because this seems like such an obvious opportunity to intentionally orchestrate some spiritual discussions? If that is the case, couldn’t we apply the same principles to things that we sometimes disagree about here? What is it about these resources that is makes it less objectionable to use things from pop culture which people are reading, discussing, watching, listening to for the purpose of engaging in them spiritual discussions?

Wendi

Posted by: Wendi | Mar 21, 2006 1:19:26 AM

Hi Wendi-

The difference is that no one is saying that we should show the movie in church or encourgae people to read the book. The message is to tell leaders to read the book and be familiar with the content, for the purpose of being ready with a defense. The Da Vinci Code is a major offensive on Christianity.

...Bernie

Posted by: Bernie Dehler of FreeGoodNews.com | Mar 21, 2006 9:58:56 AM

Bernie,
That link you provided looks excellent, been looking for something like this. Thanks!

Wendi, point well made.

Posted by: bishopdave | Mar 21, 2006 10:34:15 AM

Phil,

Not sure what you're saying. Are you saying you can't believe money is being spent to make the movie or that you can't believe Christians are spending money to produce materials to counteract it?


Brian

Posted by: Brian La Croix | Mar 22, 2006 9:01:06 PM

Bernie says [The Da Vinci Code is a major offensive on Christianity.] In a sense, I agree, but some of that, I think, is only because of its popularity and our reaction to it. Anybody read it? It's a mediocre novel (with a fast pace and interesting story, I admit) with made-up history that can be refuted SO easily, even though the author "claims" (just to sell books maybe?) that all the historical facts are true. That's why it's a great opportunity... If it was better written, better researched, and more carefully done, that would be another thing...

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Mar 23, 2006 8:09:40 AM

I appreciate Jim Garlow commenting here. Thanks, Jim! BTW, did anyone see Jim on Scarborough Country on MSNBC last night? He did a great job defending Christianity and talking about the DaVinci Code. Great job, Jim!

Todd

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Mar 23, 2006 8:37:03 AM

I forgot to mention that I'm going to do a sermon series on this after Easter. In fact, I'm thinking of actually starting the series on Easter.

I'd love suggestions for how to approach that. I'm hopeful that hearing Dr. Garlowe next week (I got the week wrong on my first post...) will give me some great ideas.

Dr. Garlowe, if you're still reading this, I would love to pick your brain for a few minutes in Sioux Falls...

You are busy, so if you wish to contact me at YOUR convenience, feel free to email me at P_B@aberdeenwesleyan.org.

I'm looking forward to hearing you!

Brian

Brian

Posted by: Brian La Croix | Mar 23, 2006 10:21:37 AM

Brian
Would be happy to connect with you when I come thru Sioux Falls on Friday...and speak on (you guessed it) Da Vinci.
My final version of the 4 phase strategy for local churches was finally updated & put on my website - www.jimgarlow.com - last night if someone wants to check it out.

The enduring issues (after Da Vinci Code is forgotten) are the "twin erosions" that Dan Brown "gave" popular culture: (1) loss of confidence in the person of Christ, and (2) loss of confidence in the reliability of the New Testament.

Look at the back cover of the #5 bestseller (The Last Templar)where it says, "It has served us well, this myth of Christ" - attributed (by the author of that book) to Pope Leo X of the 16th century.

We have our work cut out for us. But, this war is winnable!

Blessings,
Jim Garlow

Posted by: Jim Garlow | Mar 29, 2006 2:38:40 AM

Any desire to turn the release of The Da Vinci Code into any kind of evangelistic effort is as naïve as those who said the same thing about The Passion of the Christ.

There have been scores of books and articles written over the last couple of years, hoping to reveal the falsities of TDC - not much of an effect so far. Everyone seems to want a piece of the pie...

If Christians would simply read TDC for what it is - fiction - maybe they would understand that the nonchristians aren't buying the apologetic approach anymore. Ad hoc reasoning is a turnoff.

Brent

Posted by: Brent | Apr 27, 2006 6:53:06 PM

Maybe for some, Brent... but to put everyone in the same boat as you (just because you believe that way) is just as wrong.

Todd

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Apr 27, 2006 7:46:56 PM

Hey all... I was setting here eating my opossum grits and listening to the Goo Goo Dolls.... It doesn't get any better than that.
As I was chilling out. I was reading over some of the comments from today before I hit the hay. Then I seen the post on this one.
For starters I want you to know that I am not trying to start anything. I am only trying to help shed a little light on this subject.
I just wanted everyone to know that I have AOL and they posted an article on this subject about the DaVinci Code and Mr. Brown that wrote the the book.
I made a post on the Blog that AOL had on this subject. You would not believe the number of people who are falling for this. And the pathetic about and that broke my heart was not the number of non-Christians who believed in this book and Mr. Browns Writing but the number of Christians who also believed it. This is the things that I was told that night.

1. I was called a bible thumper who was full of _________ and I needed to shut up.
2. I was told that there is no God at ALL by 7 or more.
3. I was told that God was Dead.
4. I was told that there was no Jesus.
5. I was told that the bible was fake and so was this book.
6. I was told that once you die your dead.
7. I was told to mind my own business.
8. I was told by not 1 but many, I lost count, that Jesus did have a family because he was all about love.
9. I was told what was wrong with Jesus and Mary having a relationship.
10. I was told to stop judging and to leave Mr. Brown alone, because he had the right to believe however he wanted.
11. I was also told by 5 or more that when they die they are going to spit and s*** in God's face, grab him by the shirt and beat the H*&^ out of him/her.
12. I also received not 1 but 9 death threat's.
I was on this talking to them from 6 PM that night until 2 A.M. During that I time I had only 5 Christians who stood with me and emailed me and prasied me for standing up for God.
This is nothing more than the spirit of the Anti-Christ. This is that seducing spirit that John talked about.
This book is a book from the very pits of hell itself and it is doing just what the devil wants. To seek and destroy.

Posted by: Clairvoyant 1 | Apr 27, 2006 9:36:23 PM

I am taking some "Da Vinci Tracts" from www.livingwaters.com to the theaters in Birningham and Jasper.

Posted by: Franklin Reeves | May 2, 2006 11:37:47 AM

I have read the book and discussed it with many of my unbelieving, skeptical friends. They are not as openly concerned if the fiction novel is true or not. What I am finding is that this book validates the feeling of mistrust of the church - especially among women. People outside the church are there because they don't care for, don't trust the church as an organization - organized religion. In the studies I'm reviewing, the messages I've heard, I'm not hearing us address the issue of our reputation with the world. Why are they looking for conspiracy? I believe it is partly because they know things are not as they should be. The love isn't there, or wasn't when they needed it the most. We have damaged our reputation with the world over the years. People have been hurt by people and they are looking for validation in that mistrust and skepticism - The DaVinci Code gives them that.
What about the issue of Mary is hitting a hot button among women? Is it really if Jesus was or was not married? I don't think they care... what they do care about is the way that they are treated as women within the church.
For these issues there are no quick easy answers. It is something I think we, as the Church, cannot afford to miss. This book and movie provide us with a huge opportunity.
It is good to provide facts to counter the suggestions made by Dan Brown. That also provides opportunity for seekers to really dig in. (which is one of Dan Brown's stated purposes for the book.) We can't miss that this book validates something in the mind of unbelievers that we need to pay attention to.

Posted by: Juli Reynolds | May 3, 2006 5:54:56 PM

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