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Christians Offer 'Word' in Response to 'Code'

2 May, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Faith-based marketing strikes again. A Christian evangelical company May 2 releases a 10-DVD version of the New Testament as a “Christian response” to The Da Vinci Code movie, set to open in U.S. theaters two weeks later.The WatchWord Bible is being sold nationwide by some 140,000 Christian churches through Christian Copyright Licensing International. The DVD also is being sold by The Promise Keepers, a national Christian evangelical ministry for men, and on the Web site www.seetheword.com.

“We feel it is important to be able to open up a dialog about faith that is positive, that looks at The Da Vinci Code as a positive platform for discussion about faith and the roots of our faith,” said David Kirkpatrick, president of Good News Holdings, a Christian evangelical company that is distributing the video Bible.

“Personally, I think The Da Vinci Code is a really good book, a great work of fiction, and it will be a huge success at the box office,” said Kirkpatrick, who prior to being “born again” as a Christian three years ago was head of production at Paramount Pictures from 1989 to 1993.

“But if you look at it as a work of fiction, and if you look at research that finds 52% of believers who have read The Da Vinci Code have come away unsure of their own theology, then something like The WatchWord Bible is worthwhile,” he said. “So many people have become confused after reading The Da Vinci Code, wondering whether it is a work of fiction, and this DVD is The Word, which really is key.

The WatchWord Bible, produced by WatchWord Productions of Sewickley, Pa., features the complete New Testament in both on-screen text and narration. It also features scenic footage of the original Holy Land locations where the Biblical stories take place.

The total running time of the 10-DVD set is 26 hours. Churches keep up to half the $49.95 selling price, Kirkpatrick said, noting that The WatchWord Bible previously has been marketed exclusively through infomercials for $275.

As the May 19 opening date for The Da Vinci Code draws closer, so does the controversy about the film and its supposedly anti-Christian theories. Monsignor Angelo Amato, the No. 2 official in the Vatican's doctrinal office, recently urged Catholics everywhere to boycott the movie, saying it has “offended” the Christian faith.

Kirkpatrick won't go that far, but he does say he believes both the Da Vinci Code book and the movie should come with a disclaimer, identifying it as a work of fiction.

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