Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
January 21, 2004

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Here is this week's WINNING WAYS . . . .

“Don’t Know Much About History”
by Tom Goodman

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code has captured the number-one sales ranking at, camped out for 32 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List, and inspired a one-hour ABC News special.  No doubt most people who’ve read it simply enjoy it an engaging page-turner and ignored Brown’s claims that his story was based on truth.  I mean, after watching Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery in Highlander, how many people believed immortal swordsmen walk our streets?

But several of you have told me of conversations with friends who have read Brown’s book and actually believe that the church has suppressed the “real” story of a non-divine, married Jesus who intended his wife, Mary Magdalene, to lead the early church after his death.

Yep, that’s the belief of the book’s good guys.  In a nutshell, here’s the claimed plot behind the book’s plot:  In order to secure Simon Peter’s leadership, the early church painted Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, and she fled to Gaul with Jesus’ baby.  Four centuries later, the Emperor Constantine ordered the Council of Nicea where the divinity of Jesus was fabricated.  As Brown has one character say:  “My dear, until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet . . . a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless.”  All of these “truths” have been kept alive down the centuries in the Priory of Sion, a secret society whose members have included people like Da Vinci, who included “codes” to the truth in his paintings.  While the “official” story of Jesus can be found in the traditional Gospels, the “suppressed” story was preserved in ancient Gnostic gospels discovered after World War II.


The Gnostic gospels that ignite bored imaginations weren’t written until a couple of centuries after Christ’s life.  Contrast that with your New Testament books, written by eyewitnesses and contemporaries of Jesus.  And the fourth-century Council of Nicea didn’t “invent” Christ’s divinity by an emperor’s edict.  Instead, the Council defended centuries of Christian belief against the heretic Arian, whose beliefs about Christ are kept alive today in groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

We can enjoy The Da Vinci Code as a fun read, but anyone who takes it as factual “don’t know much about history,” as the old song goes.

Either that, or . . . well . . . I’m going to start looking for immortal swordsmen in my neighborhood.


If you’re looking for more information about the historical claims of The Da Vinci Code, Christianity Today has some good material.  Go to and look under the section entitled “Search Hot Topics.”  If you’re looking for more information on the reliability of your Bible, read Is the Bible True? by Jeffery L. Sheler, a journalist for U.S. News and World Report.

Baptism this Sunday.  If you’re ready to take this important step, contact Pastor Tom immediately at 345-3771 or

Discipleship Training.  Our Spring semester of Discipleship Training begins.  Log on to for information about our classes.  You can even register online!  So far, 21 registrations have been received, but only 4 of those are men.  Let me challenge the men of our Fellowship to look for classes that will help you grow as believers!

Suggestions for New Deacons.  Our Deacon Body is looking for a few good men!  At Hillcrest, deacons have two primary assignments:  they serve as a "sounding board" for the pastor and they take care of our congregation's widows and widowers.  As the deacons look for additional men to help them in these roles, they welcome any suggestions from the congregation.  To offer suggestions, contact our Deacon Chairman, Luis Moreno, at

Pray for the Youth Pastor Search Committee!  The committee has asked several candidates to visit Austin in what we hope will be the last stage of our search!


Friend Day in Sunday School, 9:30 a.m.  This Sunday, ask your Sunday School leaders what you can do to help your department and class make February 1st a successful day of outreach!
A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Club, 8:15 or 10:45 a.m.  We’re challenging kids in February to be “At Worship Every Sunday Of the Month, Enthusiastically!”  The A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Club will help kids learn more about worshipping God at Hillcrest.  There are no additional meetings.  Club members are expected to be at a morning service each Sunday in February and complete the pages in a Worship Training book.  That’s it!  If you have questions, contact our Children’s Minister, BJ Linam at
”Getting Along: Eight Solutions to Conflict,” 8:15 or 10:45 a.m.  A new Sunday morning series begins February 1.  Each week we'll look at a different biblical principal for resolving conflict.  Join us and find practical steps from God's Word for improving your relationships!



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