Actor Tom Hanks, Pastors Believe Church is Place for ‘Da Vinci’ Talk

The summer blockbuster is coming, but it might have effects beyond the local cinema. On May 19, “The Da Vinci Code” arrives on the big screen, and churches across the country are gearing up for the film’s release. The catch is, they’re not planning boycotts or protest marches. They’re seeing it as a tool to spread the gospel.
A recent poll by Leadership, a popular magazine for pastors, revealed that 53 percent of the churches surveyed are planning sermons, classes, or seminars in response to the film. Many of these discussions will focus on the real truth of the gospel and consider the historical and biblical background of the novel and movie.
“The trend that started with the release of The Passion of the Christ in 2004, whereby churches used a movie for evangelistic opportunity, was refined with the release of The Chronicles of Narnia last year,” Eric Reed, Leadership managing editor said. “Now, with The Da Vinci Code movie, the challenge for church leaders is to encourage meaningful theological discussion rather than waging war on a film that refutes basic truths of the gospel. Christians boycotted the last major film that alleged a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. With this film, it appears many pastors are preparing to turn a negative portrayal of the gospel into a faith-sharing event.”
Even the star of The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks, sees potential for church outreach amidst the movie’s controversy. “If they put up a sign saying: This Wednesday we’re discussing the gospel, 12 people show up. But if a sign says: This Wednesday we’re discussing The Da Vinci Code, 800 people show up,” Hanks told Entertainment Weekly. “I think the movie may end up helping churches do their job.”
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