Thursday, May 11, 2006

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

'Da Vinci Code' Now a Tool to Win Christian Converts:
Some churches think book and new film are offering a perfect chance for Bible lessons
by Stephanie Simon of the Los Angeles Times.

Though angry [about the errors in the book], Christian leaders say they have nothing to gain by organizing pickets outside movie theaters. That would make them look closed-minded and defensive, when what they really need to counter the power of the film is "a very positive, wholesome, winsome" response, said Josh McDowell, a Christian writer and evangelist in Richardson, Texas.

Besides, "it's probably going to be an awesome movie," said Garry Poole, a pastor at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. Poole drew 22,000 to a sermon about "The Da Vinci Code" last month. He hopes that those who came for the sport of hearing a minister take on a bestseller will return this Sunday for another round. Over time, he hopes they will find truth and comfort in the church and develop an abiding faith.

(Garry Poole has not actually delivered any messages in this series yet, I don't know if he will or not, but he was the co-author with Lee Strobel of Cracking The Da Vinci Code.)
In recent years, evangelical pastors have shied away from such dense sermons, preferring to preach practical self-help messages instead. "The Da Vinci Code" has prompted a renewed interest in basic theology — to many scholars' delight.

Simon picks up on one of Strobel's points - that the evangelical community as a whole is not up to snuff on it's history and theology lessons. Hopefully this will help pastors and laymen alike see the value of a basic, working knowledge of these subjects.

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