April 4, 2006
Jonathan and Josh grabbed an hour together in Josh's RV after one of
his teaching sessions. They discussed everything from Josh's Da Vinci Code resources to
evangelism and the Emergent Church. Sit back and relax as we eavesdrop into their
JONATHAN: You've just written a resource
about Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
that we can put in the hands of our teenagers. The timing is perfect because Ron Howard's movie
The Da Vinci Code is probably
going to be fantastic and questions are going to surface... more than we've already seen from the
You've always been good at providing answers to tough questions. Name it:
More than a Carpenter,
Evidence that Demands a Verdict,
Answers to Tough Questions...
Your research and your books have always been a valuable resource to youth workers, especially
for people who have questions or doubts. What started you down the road of answering the
questions of skeptics? That's kind of a unique ministry.
I have always done that. I've always lived in the skeptic's world: universities,
high schools... my whole life. That's where I got started.
JONATHAN: Did you have these doubts growing up or were you surrounded
by people with doubts...?
I wrote about this in More Than A Carpenter
. I set out to write the book
Evidence Demands a Verdict
against Christianity, because I felt Christians had two brains.
One was lost and one was out looking for it. I thought Christians were walking idiots.
I thought the Bible was written years after the time of Christ and full of myths, legend and
fiction. I met these Christians whose lives were different and I said, "Why are you so
different?" And they said, "Jesus Christ." I just laughed at them. But they challenged me to
intellectually examine it. So I did it to refute them. And in the process I became a
Then I spent 13 years documenting why, which became Evidence Demands a Verdict
was selected as one of the 100 most influential books of the last century. Out of that came then
More Than A Carpenter
. I did More Than A Carpenter
in 48 hours. I just sat down
with 12 legal pads, just like this (holding up a yellow legal pad
) and just started
writing. I never went to bed, never went to sleep or anything.
JONATHAN: Talk about your all-nighter!
And more teenagers are reading it now than ever before. This just blows my mind.
There are more teenagers seeking, quote "truth" right now than I've ever seen in 45 years of
I've always dealt with skeptics and I like to deal with cultural issues that potentially surface
the truth. And this is why The Da Vinci Code
is an ideal opportunity. I believe that
The Da Vinci Code
can be one of the most positive platforms that the church has had in
100 years to make truth known if we do it positively, winsomely and wholesomely. We don't dare
to attack it, because that would be like attacking Ron Howard and Tom Hanks and it will
The Last Temptation of
Yeah. It is so easy and yet it's amazing. I mean the negative impact The Da Vinci
has had on people's faith is staggering. And they just printed 5,000,000 of the
paperback because they said the ground swell is so great towards the movie that they are going to
do one of the biggest printings in history... five million copies over night.
JONATHAN: You said the book is having a negative impact on people's
faith. Have you seen this?
It's taking nominal believers—which make up to 90% of the church—and turning them
into skeptics. It's taking honest seekers and turning them away. Because what it does is, it
reinforces your skepticism.
It's like when the young man said to Jesus, "I believe. Help me in my own belief."
Well, what The DaVinci Code
is doing is adding to that unbelief. And the reason is, only
about 5% of it is true. But Dan Brown does a masterful job of mixing truth with imagination and
you never know where one leaves off. And it's smart of him. I commend him for it. I mean it's
But the problem is you can't answer these issues by quoting your Bible. You've got to know church
history. And with all my background and everything, nine months ago, I couldn't have answered it.
I had to do my homework. But then I thought, oh my gosh, the answers are so simple and
overwhelming and encouraging
JONATHAN: Do you think the book is growingly popular because it's a
really good book ...or do you think that part of its popularity is because it's giving people an
excuse to say, "Ah ha! See! I knew that Bible stuff was all bogus!"
You just answered it. It's very popular because it's a real good book that
reinforces your skepticism. At a university, this student came up to me—and this is happening all
over—and said that he was assigned in Western Civilization to read The DaVinci Code
see how corrupt Christianity is.
JONATHAN: (Laughing) I guess it didn't register to them when they
grabbed it off the shelf in the "Fiction" section of the university library.
That's right. A father called me in Phoenix and said, "My daughter, 16 years old in
high school here, was just given a mandatory assignment-she must read The DaVinci Code
see how religion lies."
One pastor came to me—it's been about 6 weeks now—and he said to me, "Josh, I lost two of my
closest friends in my congregation to The DaVinci Code."
JONATHAN: That'd be like an American History class assigning Oliver
Stone's "JFK" to find out the
truth about the Kennedy Assassination.
That's right. That's right.
JONATHAN: Assuming it is fact.
Which makes you realize how many read The Da Vinci Code
and think it's
factual. But see what it does? It reinforces your skepticism to not believe.
JONATHAN: And this new generation of young people...well... let's
talk about that for a second. and then we'll get back to The Da Vinci Code because I'm excited
about some of the resources you have for us. But everybody has their theory on the characteristics
of each generation. We've got Baby Boomers, and we have Generation X and
Generation Y. Some people call this new generation of young people Millennials, or
Generation @... or recently The MySpace Generation. What are the characteristics
that you notice of this new generation, and what makes them vulnerable to this kind of skepticism
I think this generation will be best described in two words: "Whatever" and
JONATHAN: Okay... Elaborate on that.
We've never had a generation that, as a whole, feels like they have been abandoned
by adults. Not just so much because of divorce and broken homes, but emotionally abandoned.
And... do you know Chap Clark?
JONATHAN: Yep. Great guy. In touch with teenagers today.
His book confirmed that. He said if one word described what kids feel, it would be
JONATHAN: Hurt? ...you mean his new book,
Inside the World of Today's Teenagers.
Yes. It would be abandonment. The hurt comes out of that sense of abandonment and
they project that right upon God. But it's also, "Whatever."
My son Sean is the head of the Bible department and teaches at Capistrano Valley Christian
I said "Son, what is your greatest obstacle to anyone believing truth today or wanting to
learn?" He said, "Oh Dad, that's easy." He said, "Whatever." Whatever!
His new book just came out. It's called
Being Bold in a Whatever World
. Oh it's powerful. It's on the 10 top ethical issues a
kid would face today.
JONATHAN: Anyway...I like that—"Whatever."
Yeah, "Whatever." That's how you describe it.
JONATHAN: So what reaches this new generation... this "Whatever"
It's very simple...integrity, authenticity. If they don't see it in your life,
forget it, forget it. It doesn't matter how good you are. That's what I spoke on today the whole
two hours. If they don't see it in your life, forget it.
JONATHAN: They want to see something real.
They have to. Here's why. To you and me, if it's true, it will work
kids, if it works, it's true
...180 degrees opposite!
I have four kids and I am so fortunate. My 19 year old daughter is a first year student at Biola.
She wrote me a note a few days ago and she left it on my table at a conference. She said, "Dad
when I was little, I always hoped that Jesus was just like you."
JONATHAN: Wow. That's cool.
So why was it easy to get my daughter to fall in love with Jesus? Cause she fell in
love with me.
JONATHAN: She saw Him in you.
I find it interesting that you say "authenticity and integrity" reaches them. It's funny; kids
have their own words for that. One of the pages on our web site that draws the biggest hits is
our slang dictionary
page... so youth
workers can understand what kids are talking about today. Kids have words for people that say
they are one thing and live something else. They use words like "perpetrator" and "poser." They
also use the term "fronting" if you're acting like one thing but really you are something else.
If you're "posing," you might be acting like a gang member, but really you're a "wanna-be." So
in some circles, kids recognize a fake. Authenticity at least "seems" important to them.
And here's the problem: most of them are fakes themselves. They really are. This
generation is not committed to relationships. And I hear youth workers say, "Oh, they're
committed to relationships." They're not committed to relationships. They're committed to
themselves. Not much different than 40 years ago but that self has manifested different
JONATHAN: Committed to themselves... I won't argue with that.
But Josh... let's talk about your comment "not committed to relationships." I don't know
if I'd say kids are committed to relationships, but I definitely think relationships
are very important to teenagers today. And the church has moved in that
direction—especially the "Emergent Church."
You've always been a leader in the field of apologetics. How do you feel about the "Emergent
Church" and the focus on the relational? Is there a balance between apologetics and the
importance of relationships?
Some of those emergent guys have claimed that my Evidence Demands a Verdict
doesn't care about relationships"...well they couldn't have read any of my stuff. From the word
go, I proposed modernism before these guys were even born.
Right up front in Evidence Demands a Verdict
I start out, "the greatest defense of
Christianity is not all the evidence." None of that ever brought me to Christ. It'll never
bring anyone to Christ.
I do not believe evidence is the key. I don't think evidence, rationale... will bring anyone to Christ. It's unbiblical and it doesn't work. Many people say in football the best offense is a good defense. But I say, when it comes to Christianity, that the best defense is a good offense. A simple clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit backed up by a lifestyle.
That is the greatest defense, I don't care what Dan Kimball or Brian McLaren or anyone else says. That is the number one defense of truth..."backed up by a lifestyle." All truth in scriptures is relational.
These emergent guys don't listen to me. They go out and they make all these statements about me which are untrue. Biblical truth is not one dimensional. This is why I butt heads with so many of the apologists out there. It's not cognitive.
There are three dimensions to biblical truth and two of them are relational. I call it relational apologetics--relational with a little "2"-- to the second power. You take the incarnation, three dimensions of it:
- How does that truth affect you? (Not in relationships with others, that is secondary. And this is where the emerging church needs to understand that. That is all secondary.) The first relational aspect of truth is "How does that truth affect you in relationship with the truth giver?"
- Is it credible?
- How does that truth affect you in relationship with others? You see, all truth from Genesis to Revelations is relational. Jesus nailed that when he said, "I am the truth." This is why when Jesus said, you will know they are my disciples, not by the truth they believe, not by all the evidential or biblical arguments they have, no, if they love one another. Why—truth is lived out relationally if it's truth.
If young people today don't see that truth lived out relationally, they'll walk away. And they
should. And they should. It's relational. But see, here's the thing: if you take most
apologists... the older generation... if you can show the incarnation is credible, it's
, but you can't show it's relationally relevant
... they'll walk away. But if you
can do like the emerging church, you can show it's relationally relevant
but you can't
show it's true
...then you have much of what we have today. Our church kids are living
and calling it biblical Christianity. It's not modernism, it's not post modernism,
it's not truth and it's not experience. The biblical side is truth in the context of experience.
And both post modernism and modernism is wrong. It's neither modernism and it's neither modern.
It is truth in the context of relationships and experience. And both sides better start learning
from that because we are suffering in the body of Christ right now.
JONATHAN: And you can't have one with out the other... truth
You shouldn't have one. You can... Oh, look we've had apologists out there for
years... cognitive, cognitive, cognitive, just show the evidence use the evidence to...
JONATHAN: ...try to argue 'em into the kingdom. Yeah.
It won't work! You will win them into the kingdom, first of all, by how you live,
and second of all, you've got to present the truth.
See. It blows my mind that More Than A Carpenter
is so popular among kids today and
selling more than I would have ever dreamed of. Why? They sincerely want to know truth, but they
want to know you care. And they've got to see that that truth is relevant in relationship with
the truth giver and with others.
JONATHAN: I hear you.
Jonathan, learn one thing in your own ministry, this is not always true, but most
the time it is. "That which is balanced is that which is biblical. And that which is biblical is
that which is balanced." Every single heresy or occult is a truth, unbalanced.
The modern church was a truth but it was out of balance. The post modern church is a truth but
it is out of balance. We always swing modernism... I tell you this, you take the 10 top guys
promoting quote, "the post modern, emerging church" today... put them back when modernism came
out on the scene in reaction to pietism, and I guarantee you they would have been leading the
church into modernism. Why? It was rebelling, it was reacting. The same people that are reacting
to modernism today would be the same ones reacting to the other with modernism. They would be the
leaders of modernism. Look, history is full of that. And what do we do? We always get out of
balance. Youth ministries get out of balance. Here, modernism came out way over here, out of
balance—truth, reason, rationale, evidence. What and then we have a reaction to that, way over
here with postmodernism—feeling, emotion, experience—out of balance; where biblically, it is
truth, but in the context of experience. It's balance. And we've gotten out. And the whole
history of the church has swung way over here, swung way over here and youth pastors do that.
They will go and they'll read this book and something else and they'll go way over here and this
will be where the youth ministry is gonna be...usually when they do that they are unbiblical.
They are out of balance. And the one thing I have learned in my life is, "That which is balanced
is that which is biblical." And "That which is biblical is that which is balanced."
JONATHAN: Greg Stier and I had a similar conversation about balance
when he interviewed me about
my book Do They Run When They See You
Coming. The whole thing we talked about was the balance in evangelism. The balance
between just making conversions vs. lifestyle evangelism.
They're both out of balance.
JONATHAN: I agree...
See, I believe in lifestyle evangelism. But you've got to understand, in biblical
lifestyle, evangelism is the message spoken. Not just lived.
JONATHAN: Well, lifestyle evangelism creates opportunities to
Evangelism... people say evangelism is conversion. No, evangelism is conversion,
discipleship, growth, maturity. For example. I learned this from Bill Bright. Bill was telling
somebody from the Navigators... he asked "What is your thrust in ministry? The person responded,
"Oh, discipleship. We want to disciple people." And Bill said, "Well, what about evangelism?" The
guy responds, "Oh we don't do that, we disciple." Bill said, "You can't have discipleship without
evangelism." Another time he was talking to a Crusade staff member, and he asked, "What really
drives you?" The person responded, "Evangelism." Bill asked, "What about discipleship?" The
person responded, "Well, I just want to win them to Christ." Bill says, "You can't have evangelism
without discipleship." Do you see how each one goes to the extreme?
Your life will not win them to Jesus, they have got to hear the message. It's the two together.
It's not either/or.
JONATHAN: So put feet to that. I don't care what you call it...
emergent or balanced, modern or post modern... how does that help me reach my 33 year old, single
\mother neighbor down the street?
Well, very simple. If that 33 year old mother down the street doesn't see that in
my life... in my relationship with my wife and my children, in the way I treat my wife... kiss
her goodbye! But if she hears the message from me—"You need to come to Jesus and repent!" – but
doesn't see it in my life, she'll walk away. She needs so see it lived out and spoken. It's not
either/or. Because eventually she would come back and say, "Well Jonathan, if you really believed
this was true, why didn't you tell me?"
JONATHAN: Good answer.
) Why didn't you tell me?
JONATHAN: You always keep pretty current with youth culture... which
is pretty good for a grandpa. How does Grandpa McDowell keep current with little whipper-snappers
Very simple. First of all I read what kids read and I listen to what kids listen to.
I interact with them. My whole ministry for years is based on what I call focus groups. I just had
two down in San Diego. I bring kids together, I get them in a circle and I start interacting with
them, listening to them, probing. I learn things that most youth pastors never learn from their
own youth group. I can learn it in one hour where they couldn't learn it in one year.
JONATHAN: Why, what is the difference?
Asking the right questions.
JONATHAN: So what questions do you use in a focus group?
Well, it always varies according to what you're probing for. Like, in this last
group I probed, I said, "What is one word that you would use to describe your generation—what's
one word?" Then I asked about walking away from the church. Some say that within 12 months 85% of
kids are walking away from the church. I ask them, "Why do you think they're walking away?" And
then listen. Then I ask, "Do you believe Jesus, do you believe the Bible is true?" Yeah
"Do you believe it's historically accurate?" Yeah
. "Do you believe it's reliable?"
. "Why?" (pause)
JONATHAN: (interjecting) Cause my mom told me.
Yeah. So often it's asking the right questions. And it's often not asking cognitive
questions, but, "Jonathan, how does that make you feel?" Not, "Jonathan what do you think about
that?" Well it makes me mad. Or I don't like it.
But, "Jonathan, how does that make you
feel? What hurts?" ... and now you're down where the kid lives. It's asking the right
JONATHAN: Now do you just do these focus groups with church kids or
do you do them with unchurched kids too?
Oh, no. Every type... different races, everything.
JONATHAN: When you get a group of church youth group kids, versus...
let's say... some unchurched Young Life kids. What are the main differences you
Very little difference. There is hardly any difference now between, quote "born
again" Christian kids and secular kids.
JONATHAN: Because they are both on MTV and MySpace, hearing the same
stuff and getting it fed into their head.
That's why I have a book called
. It's not the kids, it's the parents. And it's not America, it's
JONATHAN: You, in that book, address why an entire generation is not
returning to the church. So give us the skinny—why aren't they coming back to the
Church has not been relevant to them. The truth has not been presented in a way
that they can understand. It's basically been presented cognitively, not relationally.
Secondly...the parents. Researchers show, that parents probably have a 300% greater impact on a
kids theological beliefs than a pastor or youth pastor has. It should be that way too. And young
people today—their beliefs seem to be a reflection of their parents'.
To most adults—you discover truth. In youth culture—you create truth. To adults, if it's
true it will work
. To youth, if it works, it is true
. 89%, in the latest study, 89% of
born-again, evangelical fundamental church kids will say the only way you'll know something is
true is "if it works." Not if it's biblical
, "if it works."
JONATHAN: If it feels right?
Well, yes...that's working. See that's actually what the phrase means when a young
person will say, "Well, it might be true for you but it's not true for me."
But that's your truth. What they really mean by that culturally is nothing
cognitive. It means this, "Well if you believe that, it's affected you, giving you a good
feeling... then it's true for you. If it hasn't affected me, it's not true."
JONATHAN: I always word it, "what their gut tells them."
Well, we're talking about the same thing. Yeah, what their gut tells them: their
feeling, their emotion, which usually has nothing to do with truth except that which they
That's why hypocrisy plays a greater negative role now in a kid's life than ever
before. I don't even think most youth pastors realize that. Because almost every youth pastor
and every adult in this church right here... when they see hypocrisy their immediate response
is, "They are not living the truth." A kid today sees hypocrisy through mom, dad or whoever,
and says, "It's not true."
JONATHAN: That's a big difference.
Oh, it's a big difference. And also have you read Barna's book,
He's kind of given up on the church...he really has. Barna said something in there that I have
found to be true and it has been one of the things that's motivated me, and probably one of the
things that separates me from a lot of apologists out there with kids. Barna said that the
problem today is not with absolute truth, the problem is that we don't motivate people to want to
know the truth.
And that's the issue. The church is not motivating young people today to want to
know the truth.
JONATHAN: But does this "Whatever" generation really even care about
If you motivate them they do, but you've got to motivate them.
JONATHAN: But if you've got a group of kids from the "Whatever"
generation who seem like they aren't interested in truth... don't you think that's where the
emergent church bends towards the relational side? Because when we encounter these people we
think, "Oh, they don't care as much about the truth as they care about that authentic
But you see, one of the problems is that the quote "modern side" of the church has
reacted to the emerging church. And, let me tell ya, the emerging church has so much to offer.
Unbelievable. It's a healthy emphasis on the experience, the relationship, the feeling.
But the problem is, they are getting too out of balance.
JONATHAN: The pendulum is swinging too far?
That's right. Now yet you read some of the things Dan Kimball writes and you wonder
if he is a Josh McDowell. My son just wrote an article, just printed this month, it came out in
The YouthWorkers Journal
—on truth. Boy is it good, you've got to read it—it is powerful!
And he does a couple of quotes in there from Dan Kimball that are, whew, powerful. Saying if we
don't bring our kids to the point of believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that the
Bible is true... then we have failed. And wow!
JONATHAN: And you're finally agreeing with them.
You better believe it. And I think Dan would agree with this, you've got to motivate
them to want to know that.
And that's probably what makes me different from a lot of people out there—I motivate kids to
want to know the truth.
JONATHAN: And sometimes, opportunities like The Da Vinci Code
might catalyst an open door to talk with kids about this.
Let's talk a little about The Da Vinci Code. The film is coming out. Ron Howard is
directing it and Tom Hanks is in the lead role. The film is based on the best selling book. I'm
curious of your opinion of the book. What was your first reaction when you read Dan Brown's
The Da Vinci Code?
"One phenomenal novel"...and "How much of it is truth?"
JONATHAN: So did it make you want to look into it?
Well, because I am an apologist...I have such a quest and search for truth. It made
me want to say, "What part of it is true?" I couldn't have answered it then.
JONATHAN: So you wanted to start digging and finding some answers? Is
that what motivated you? Because you thought, "People are going to want answers when they hear
No, I wasn't planning on doing anything. But I had so many kids and youth pastors,
pastors, parents, people just... and they hit me all in like a full week period saying, "Josh
have you read this?" "Well, what do you think about it?" "Do you have anything out on it? It's
shaken my faith." That's one of the biggest things I've heard. "It's shaken my faith."
JONATHAN: And now I heard you say that it's the biggest thing in the
It can be, because the movie will be 100 times more explosive than the book, because
you visualize it. You feel it, the emotions...
JONATHAN: And it's not being done by some schmuck... I
Oh, I know.
JONATHAN: This is being done by Ron!
Dan Brown said, he's already seen it. And he said when people walk out they're
going to be shocked! SONY pictures went to Ron Howard to get him to soften some of the areas on
the Bible, and Jesus, and Christians. And Ron Howard's response was, "There will be no
And so, there are a lot of good books out there. There are! But one: they're too scholarly. And
two: they are too expensive.
JONATHAN: Money is definitely a factor...
They ARE too expensive. And so pastors kept saying, "Well Josh, we want to know!
And we were brought up on you. Our commitment to truth has been so much because of your influence
in our lives over the years. We want to know what you have to say." So at that point I said,
"Then I'll do it."
JONATHAN: So you did.
But then I said I'll only do it if I can do it on the 8th grade level. Where
everyone can understand it. And I'll do it in dialogue.
JONATHAN: What level is More Than a Carpenter at?
JOSH: More Than A Carpenter
...I would say would be a 10th grade level.
JONATHAN: Okay. I assume you've read Darrell Bock's
the Da Vinci Code? He seemed to think that there's this conscious agenda at work in
The Da Vinci Code. In other words, he said there's this agenda to redefine or revise the
history of the early Christianity. Does that sound a little "conspiracy theory" to you? I mean,
do you think that there's possibly this conscious agenda to do that?
Yeah. On NBC, Matt Lauer asked Dan Brown, "If you wrote the book all over again as a
non-fiction book, what would you change?" And his response was, "Absolutely nothing." He said the
same thing on ABC.
JONATHAN: Basically, he let people in on the fact that, "Yeah, this
is exactly what I think is the truth."
This should be a challenge to Christians. We don't need to criticize him for it.
Instead of dumbing-down someone else, let's elevate the believer.
This is a chance for youth pastors. And the thing is, a youth pastor doesn't have to be very
smart to turn this into a positive. If they don't take any other book but just my
A Quest for Answers
and use it
with their kids... they can take their kids from here (holding his hand out chest level
up to here (holding it higher
Here is an ultra opportunity to help our kids to be able to discern between truth and
imagination, between fact and fiction, between hoax and history. You see, most kids can't think
that through. And in today's culture, all truth is personal. So it doesn't matter what you
believe, if you believe it, it's true. And this is why many walk away and say, "It doesn't matter
what the facts show it is, it's true!" Why? Dan Brown believes it. I just think he is being
brilliant... to sell books. I do. And I commend him for that.
JONATHAN: Isn't he—in a way—kind of doing the Josh McDowell
testimony? Isn't he saying that "I set out to write this book on the subject, and then in my
research..." he had this religious experience of discovering the truth?
But the difference is, I think I had a little more integrity.
This is what I mean. This is in the book. "In 325 A.D. the council of Nicaea, in a relatively
close vote, established that Jesus was deity. Until then Jesus was viewed by his followers as a
JONATHAN: That's one of the huge issues. That's the one that Bock
said was the most ridiculous...
The "close vote" at Nicea was 300 to 2. And it had nothing to do with Jesus'
JONATHAN: I always find that interesting when someone claims that
Jesus wasn't deity. Isn't that why they killed him? I mean...
That's right. But anybody reading this, if they don't understand that in history,
they'll go, "Wow! They have held the truth from me!" But any youth pastor without a brain in his
head can expose that.
JONATHAN: Well most of us youth pastors don't have brains, so where
would we go to find...
They have brains. They just don't have training and experience.
JONATHAN: (sigh) So where could the common, "untrained and
inexperienced" person who can't do in a year what you could do in an hour find this
Right there, in my book.
JONATHAN: Good. But where could they find the documented...
Right there (pointing to his book). It's all documented. See, I even document Dan's
JONATHAN: But Josh, when our friends are asking us crazy questions
about the first century church, and we ask them where they got that from... couldn't they just
say, "Well it's right here. It's in Dan Brown's book." But now we're supposed to just respond,
"It's right here. It's in Josh McDowell's book."
But I document it all.
JONATHAN: Okay. So if someone wanted, they could go into the library
and find it from other authentic sources.
You've read my books. Everything I do, I document. You don't have to take my word
JONATHAN: I know. That's why we like you, because then you do all
the work for us...
That's right. That's right.
JONATHAN: Is anything that Dan Brown did in his book different from
what Scorsese did with The Last Temptation of Christ back in '88?
Yeah. Brown went into more detail.
Alleged detail. Oh, yeah. A lot more detail. You see, what he did was write down
how many panes of glass—and even there he was wrong—how many panes of glass and the significance
of them in the pyramid at the museum. Well, see, when you get into detail then people are
thinking, "Oh boy..."
JONATHAN: (finishing Josh's sentence) He really knows his stuff
because he's so detailed.
Yeah. And even then he was wrong! That's the subtle way he influences people. This
is why sometimes I do this in my presentations. I'll say, "Well he said this on page 82,
paragraph three, third line where it says..." And all of the sudden people go, "Oh wow!" And I
could be lying and they will believe it's the truth.
JONATHAN: That kind of details hints toward knowledge of the
Yes. That's what Dan Brown does. And then look at this. They talk about "The Last
Supper" and say, "This is Mary Magdalene." Well, have you ever counted? I've seen it many times
right there in Milan. There's only Jesus and twelve others. And if that's Mary, where's John?
Where's John? Nobody ever asks that question. You'd have to have thirteen. Are you telling me
that Da Vinci did and left out the most beloved disciple to Jesus, John, out? And nobody even
thinks that. No one sees how simple it is. Even a youth pastor can do that.
JONATHAN: Uh... there it is again. "Even us youth pastors..."
(pause) I'm not even going to address that. MOVING ON! How could Christians respond to this Da
Vinci "hype" without looking like idiots?
Oh, that's easy. Do your homework... and I make it easy for you. And I think Lee
Strobel (author of
the Da Vinci Code: Investigating the Issues Raised by the Book & Movie
) makes it easy for
you. I think Erwin Lutzer (author of
) has made it easy. I would get three or four of the different books out
there for yourself. But of all of them out there, I would use mine to give to others.
I would use this one (laughing and lifting up his The Quest for Answers
it's so much cheaper than any of the others to give away. And second: it's in dialogue. I have
put together a team, and the Holy Spirit did something, every person that reads it says, "Josh
this is the best resource you've ever done."
JONATHAN: And it's not like you have only done a couple
That's right. (laughs) It's all documented, but it's in dialogue between two
university students, a graduate student, and a professor. It's positive, it's winsome and it's
wholesome. What we've done, Jonathan, I wanted to get down to $1 a book and I couldn't. We got
it down to $1.27 a book. Even the cover cost $8,000 bucks. Because I wanted something that every
Christian would be proud of.
Top quality paper, every thing. So we got it down to 36 books in a carton for $58
dollars, but $13 dollars of that is shipping.
And so it's 36 books for $45 and we include my new book "The Last Christian
Generation." And there are some flyers in it, magazines... which should take it down to about a
dollar a book.
JONATHAN: What if a youth worker says, "I just want one book?" Can
they just grab just one?
JONATHAN: Perfect. And you also have a...
Oh, we have a magazine
sixteen page magazine...
JONATHAN: And that's the resource for... seekers?
We have got a three part study on it that youth pastors can use. I've done all the
work for them. You can get it all at
JONATHAN: That's something that Gen X can appreciate. "Someone else
did the homework." We're just going to copy your homework after you made all those comments about
If you quote one person they say you are plagiarizing, if you quote many, they say
you are a scholar.
JONATHAN: Okay. So I have one last question for you. Any old school
youth worker like me, we all have the exact same question. And that is: "Petra! You toured
with Petra. What were you thinking?"
I didn't tour with Petra. They toured with me.
JONATHAN: (Laughing) That's a really good answer to that question...
Well, Josh, I totally appreciate your time.
No, I appreciate you. I've known a little bit of you, but this was good. I've heard
from Greg (Dare2Share
) and others,
and they seem to like your candor very much.
JONATHAN: That just means my foot is usually in my
FOR JOSH'S A QUEST FOR ANSWERS
OR A COMPANION GUIDE TO THE MOVIE...
CLICK HERE OR VISIT
For any of these other books
referenced in this interview...
Just click on them below:
More than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell
Answers to Tough Questions, by Josh McDowell
Hurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers, by Chap Clark
Ethix: Being Bold in a Whatever World, by Sean McDowell
Do They Run When They See You Coming, by Jonathan McKee
The Last Christian Generation, by Josh McDowell
Revolution, by George Barna
Breaking the Da Vinci Code, by Darrell L. Bock
Exploring the Da Vinci Code: Investigating the Issues Raised by the Book & Movie, by Lee Strobel
The Da Vinci Deception, by Erwin Lutzer
The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown