Monday, May 15, 2006

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

  • Willow Creek and Gene Appel are featured briefly in the Today Show story called 'DaVinci Code' Critics See Bright Side. I couldn't figure out how to link directly to it so if you want to watch you have to scroll down and look for the video bearing that title. There is also a video called Church Split over the 'Da Vinci Code.' No Willow Creek, but I guess it's alright. ;)

Willow Creek, like many evangelical churches around the country, is in the midst of running a multiweek series of Bible studies based on "Da Vinci." The first two Sunday services in the series drew more than 44,000 people [combined attendance], church spokeswoman Cally Parkinson said.

"There's a huge response to this thing, and churches are really seeing this as an opportunity to turn what has wrought so much ill, for good," Strobel said. "There is a segment that wants to boycott, picket and protest. But I turn to Paul in Acts 17, who comes to Athens where [the people] are idol worshipping, and he's pissed off and wants to smash the idols. But instead, he engages them.

"[St. Paul] quotes their books to them! He's read their books! He'd seen their movies, so to speak, and he's speaking their language. So he reasoned with them and used it as a bridge to bring them the gospel. So that's what I'm hoping people do."

The evangelical Christian community's passion for movies is of a recent vintage, said Mark Noll, co-founder of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College, who is widely considered the leading historian of American evangelicals.

Since the massive success of "The Passion of the Christ" -- based in no small part on the support it received from evangelical Christians -- evangelical Christian billionaire Philip Anschutz's "family-oriented" film company, Walden Media, had a smashing success with "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," which it co-produced with Disney.

"The Polar Express," "Gods and Generals" and, most recently, "Flight 93," all have been marketed toward an evangelical audience.

"By way of a long historical comparison, there certainly is just an assumption that it's appropriate to be active in this medium, or about this medium, and that certainly wasn't there before," Noll said.

As recently as the 1950s, most evangelical Christians were decidedly anti-movies, he said. Wheaton College, an evangelical institution, only has allowed its students to watch movies since the late 1960s.

Read the rest of the article here.


Scott said...

Flight 93 was marketed to Christians? How so?

Man, I must be way out of the loop with no TV.

Kim Traynor said...

That was news to me too.

Friar Tuck said...