Issue 3: Mission
What is God saying to us through The Da Vinci Code?
By Andrew Wooding
Dan Brown’s best-selling thriller, The Da Vinci Code, has been a phenomenon, selling more than 30 million copies worldwide. That figure is sure to increase this May with the release of the big budget movie adaptation, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Oscar-winner Ron Howard.
To coincide with the release of the movie, Church Army’s word-on-the-web ministry will be sending its subscribers seven days of biblically-based e-mails looking at aspects of the story of The Da Vinci Code, in bite-sized 300-word chunks. Ideal for fans of The Da Vinci Code, for those who are looking for truth, and for Christians who want to be informed about the story and how to use the book and film in sharing their faith.
Much has been made of the conspiracies, cover-ups, theories about Jesus and accusations against the Church at the heart of Dan Brown’s novel. Other Christian ministries have looked at these in depth and written excellent critiques on the so-called facts presented in the story, using historical evidence and archaeological research (see www.cpo.org.uk/dvc).
However, word-on-the-web will be taking a different stance. Rather than critiquing the book and the film, we will be using the Bible to try to see what God might be saying to us through the popularity of the book.
Why do 30 million people want to read it? Is there anything in it that might be a genuine challenge to Christians? And just who was this Jesus person anyway? Might Dan Brown unwittingly be telling us some truth about him?
Subscription to www.word-on-the-web.co.uk is free, but to receive the seven Bible studies based on The Da Vinci Code you need to sign up before Friday 19 May 2006, the release date of the film. To do this, visit www.word-on-the-web.co.uk/signup/signup-form.html.
The seven e-mails will be sent daily from Saturday 20 May 2006. Once they have finished, subscribers will continue to receive the regular word-on-the-web daily Bible studies.
- Andrew Wooding is a Church Army Evangelist, author and broadcaster
Giveaway: 10 copies of Coded Messages: Evangelism and The Da Vinci Code by Steve Hollinghurst
This booklet looks at how The Da Vinci Code taps into a conspiracy culture distrustful of authority and organised religion. It explores how the issues raised by The Da Vinci Code can be used to build bridges with those outside the Church, and set up related discussion events to explore things further.
Church Army has 10 copies to give away. Visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/grovegiveaway before 25 May 2006 to be in with a chance of winning a copy.
- To buy a copy (Grove Books, £2.95 + P&P) e-mail email@example.com or call 01223 464748.
How do we reach people with the Christian message these days?
In our non-book culture, people may not work their way through a two-month Bible study booklet; they may not even feel comfortable in a church - but they will regularly check their e-mail or surf the web.
Sunday 7 May 2006 has been earmarked as Internet Evangelism Day and in churches all over the world, Christians will be encouraged to find new ways of using the internet to share their faith, as well as supporting organisations that already have an online presence. See www.internetevangelismday.com
If you are wondering what you could do to highlight the value of the internet - encourage your church to log on to www.word-on-the-web.co.uk for a free web and e-mail resource from Church Army.
Internet evangelism is nothing new for Church Army who pioneered the idea through word-on-the-web online since 2000. This ministry sends short challenging Bible studies each day to around 9,000 subscribers in more than 100 countries. These studies have been written by people such as Luis Palau, rock bands Delirious?, thebandwithnoname and Yfriday, and representatives from a wide range of Christian organisations including Oasis, YFC and YWAM.
An important part of word-on-the-web is New to Christianity, a course aimed at new Christians, or those who want to know more about the Christian faith - which could be described as the Alpha of the internet. It consists of six weeks’ worth (42 days) of short, daily e-mails that introduce people to Christianity.
Evangelist chip K, of thebandwithnoname, is a big fan of New to Christianity: “This stuff rocks! A basic, crash course in what it means to be a follower of Christ, condensed into a format perfect for today’s internet generation. I highly recommend it.”
As well as New to Christianity and the daily Bible studies, there is also the word-on-the-web website which contains up-to-date film reviews, Christian CD reviews, a monthly competition, interviews with Christian musicians and much more.
One of word-on-the-web’s writers, the Rev Dr Rob Frost, comments: “This is an accessible, approachable and appropriate way in which Christians can relate to the Bible for everyday life. In a generation which is increasingly computer literate, it's exciting to see that God's word can be communicated in ways that most people can relate to. I think it's great!”
Of course the most encouraging comments are those that come in regularly from word-on-the-web’s users. These include this e-mail from a 24-year-old subscriber: “I went through a period of not picking up my Bible or even praying. In a search of the web I came across your site, and at first I just read the devotionals every so often. Eventually I started to feel like praying again, and now I take some time each morning before work to read the verse and notes and pray.”
And there’s this message from an enthusiastic teenager: “I love this website! I signed up for the daily e-mails. It was such a big help and taught me so much about God, and yesterday I was baptised along with four of my friends from the church!”
For more information on how word-on-the-web can be used with your youth group or church call 020 8309 3570, mail firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.word-on-the-web.co.uk