Da Vinci Code sparks sales for Christian bookstores

REDLANDS – Even before “The Da Vinci Code” made $224 million in theaters, area booksellers already saw profits from books and materials related to the movie based on Dan Brown’s novel. Although Selah Christian Store in Redlands and the Adventist Book Center in Loma Linda sell religious-themed fiction books, Brown’s book is not among them.

But the stores have sold out of books that address some of the questions raised by the book, which mixes fact with fiction. At the heart of the debate is the claim that Jesus Christ and one of his followers, Mary Magdalene, had a child together – a claim that challenges his divinity and the foundations of Christianity altogether.

“It is portraying what we feel is wrong against Jesus and the history that goes with the Bible,” said Aletha Highsmith, assistant manager at the Adventist Book Center.

The Loma Linda store has sold out of five of the titles they carried. Highsmith said “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” created similar sales of books and information.

But in both of those cases, those movies were embraced by Christians.

“A lot of customers are just curious about the movie,” said Melissa Luna, a sales associate at Selah Christian Store. Selah has carried some of the books for a year. Most of the titles came in two months ago. “Cracking the Da Vinci Code” and “Da Vinci Code, Fact or Fiction” are the two most popular books at the store.

But it’s not just books that the store is selling.

John Maxwell of San Bernardino works in Redlands and frequents Selah Christian store. Three months ago, he began to buy biblical tracts about the truth behind claims made in Brown’s book. He gave them out to some people when the topic came up. Sometimes, he would place the tracts inside copies of “The Da Vinci Code” in bookstores.

The Da Vinci Code

So error-laden is The Da Vinci Code that the educated reader actually applauds those rare occasions where Brown stumbles (despite himself) into the truth. […] In the end, Dan Brown has penned a poorly written, atrociously researched mess.
Source: Dismantling The Da Vinci Code By Sandra Miesel, Crisis, Sep. 1, 2003

So far, Maxwell has distributed close to 500 tracts and he has ordered more. He is waiting for the next order to come to give out at Market Night. He doesn’t claim to be an expert and says he gives out the tracts because “they are written by the experts.”

“I want to give both sides of the story – people are only hearing one side of the story,” he said. “Dan Brown has come out and said, Yes it is fiction, but then he will say it is based on fact.'”

Though he has not read Brown’s book, he has researched it, read works on it and attended the classes that began at Trinity Evangelical Free Church three weeks ago. He is considering seeing the movie and plans to read the book.

Maxwell says the movie “opens the door to talk to people about the Lord” and he tries to be very positive when he talks to people.

“I think Dan Brown is making an assault,” he said. “I don’t hate him, I pray for him because he is in a position that is spiritually dangerous.”

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Redlands Daily Facts, USA
May 25, 2006
C.L. Lopez

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday May 26, 2006.
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