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"Discussing The Da Vinci Code"
by Tom Goodman
April 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Code is a great way to start a conversation about faith, so let’s have one.

A third of all Americans have read the book, and it has been adapted for a film release in May.  In the novel, Dan Brown makes the claim that the traditional Christian view of Jesus was a fabrication of early church politics.  But instead of being threatened by this claim, believers should see this as a unique opportunity to discuss our beliefs.  Because of this story, millions of people are asking questions about three things important to Christian faith: the reliability of the Bible, the nature of Jesus, and the credibility of the church.  I want to prepare you to join in that conversation.

In interviews, Brown says he believes the conspiracy on which he bases his fictional story:  Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a daughter named Sarah.  After Christ died, the male disciples opposed Mary and she fled with her daughter to the south of France where a royal bloodline still exists that can be traced back to Jesus.  Brown claims that the church later concocted the whole idea of the divinity of Jesus and invented a Bible to promote this notion.  A secret order has protected this truth to this day, he says, an order whose members have included a number of famous men like Leonardo Da Vinci, who hid clues to the truth in his own paintings.  And the church Brown describes in his novel is a church willing to do anything, even engage in murder, to keep this truth from being exposed.

Lots of people are taking the book seriously.  In a National Geographic poll, for example, 32% of Canadians who read the novel believe its theories are true.

But Dan Brown gets three things wrong in his novel.  He does not think the story of Christ as we have it can be trusted, he does not think the nature of Christ has been accurately communicated, and he does not think the community of Christ (the church) is a credible source of truth.  We’ll spend three weeks with these important subjects.

Enlist some friends to join you for this biblical response to the story that everyone’s talking about.  We begin this Sunday, at our 9:30 “Bold” service and our 10:45 “Smooth” service.  Adults who attend the first service can stay after the service and discuss the topic at our new “Common Ground” coffee fellowship.  Check it out!


Important Notes:

The Power of the “Forward” Button!  Want to invite someone to join you for our response to The Da Vinci Code?  Just click the “forward” button on your e-mail program and send this e-newsletter to them!

Thanks for Your Help This Easter!  Thanks to you, we had a wonderful start to our new Sunday morning schedule.  I received great reports on the services, the new arrangement for G-Force, and the launch of the “Common Ground” Bible study fellowship.  If you have suggestions for improving our Sunday morning schedule, write me.  I will have more information in this Thursday’s LeaderLines (subscribe here or read it next week in the archives).

Do You Still Have Questions About Our Sunday Morning Schedule?  If you’re wondering what to do with the kids, click here.  If you want to know how the schedule impacts middle school and high school students, click here.  If you have a question about adult Bible study, click here.  For all other questions about our new Sunday morning schedule, click here.  If these web pages don’t answer your question, write me.

Discover Hillcrest!  Our next “Discover Hillcrest” class will be held Sunday, April 30, from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m.  LUNCH IS PROVIDED!  The class is for those who want to become members, and for those who just want to learn more about Hillcrest.  While I teach the adult class, BJ teaches "Discover Hillcrest Kids" for children ages 8-12, and Jim teaches "Discover Hillcrest Youth" for students in grades 6-12.  Childcare is provided for children under the age of 8.  Pre-registration is encouraged but not required.  You can register by contacting my Ministry Assistant, Jami, by e-mail or phone (345-3771).

Deacon Nominations.  This Sunday is the deadline to submit suggestions for whom we should consider as new deacons.  Write Paul Waldo with your suggestions.

Find Your P.L.A.C.E. of Service!  Herb Ingram has led hundreds of people to discover how God has designed them for service.  Join him for a two-night P.L.A.C.E. seminar on April 30 and May 7, 5:30-7:00 p.m.  For more information, see Herb’s article online.  Write Herb and let him know you’ll be there.

Show Kids Christ’s Love!  Speaking of a place to serve, take a Sunday with the little ones in our nursery.  As the song says, they are “precious in His sight.”  See BJ’s article online for more information and write BJ to let her know you want to serve with her.

Interesting Links:

Why do those with a pro-life ethic see a difference between embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research?  C. Ben Mitchell helps you sort it out.
Darrell Bock explores The Jesus and Judas Papers, a look at recent claims about Jesus that have been made in light of Gnostic explanations of Jesus from the late-second century.  Bock reminds us that there is an agenda at work in the interest these Gnostic works are getting.
See how churches are tackling the persistent problem of low male attendance in the article, “Men welcome here.”  Thankfully, Hillcrest has a great representation of men who are passionate about Jesus and His church.  Still, the article reminds us to stay on track.
You’ve heard me use the word “evangelical” to describe what we are.  The New York Times ran an article on Easter Sunday about the word: “Evangelicals Debate the Meaning of ‘Evangelical’.”  Has the term become too loose to serve as a useful label?

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