Steve Yount   972. 267.1111, ext. 205
                         [email protected]


Professors, Producer Tell Students of the Need to Engage with Culture

Dallas Theological Seminary hasn’t gone Hollywood, and it’s not likely to do so anytime soon. But DTS leaders believe it’s important for its students to engage the culture around them, so the seminary hosted a discussion about a new independent film and the issues it raises.

"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," a documentary starring Ben Stein to be released in April, set the backdrop for today’s chapel service. The film follows Stein as he discovers that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, and even fired, for the "crime" of merely believing that there is evidence of "intelligent design" in creation, and that perhaps life is not just the result of chance.

Evangelical leaders James Dobson, Chuck Colson and Pat Robertson, among others, have endorsed the film.

"You can’t be an ambassador for Christ and not engage" the culture, said Dr. Darrell Bock, a DTS expert on matters of faith and culture. "Those two things don’t go together."

But the gap between Hollywood and the Christian community seems wide.

Logan Craft, a Christian and one of the film’s producers, told a story at the chapel service about a man who gave a speech to 400 Hollywood filmmakers. He asked everyone who had a close relationship with someone in the gay and lesbian community to raise their hands. Everyone did. Then he asked everyone who had a close relationship with an Evangelical Christian to raise their hands.

Only three or four did.

But Dr. Reg Grant, a DTS professor and a veteran filmmaker, pointed out that Hollywood is interested in the Christian market because it is worth millions of dollars. "The bottom line is why Hollywood is interested in us," he said. "I guarantee you they don’t care about the message."

Craft said that Christians are a market that Hollywood has not properly identified or appreciated.

"You are not part of a ‘niche’ market if you’re a conservative Christian; you’re part of an enormous population group," he said. "We need to affirm our values in this culture and produce product that stands for them."

Grant compared trying to influence the film industry to trying to move a rock.

"Their rock is not immovable," he said. "Our rock is."

Dallas Theological Seminary, one of the largest non-denominational seminaries in the world, serves its students through five extension sites and a growing variety of online classes. The 84-year-old seminary has 12,000 alumni serving in 96 countries.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Steve Yount of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or [email protected].