'The Chronicles of Narnia' Has Appeal for Sermons

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY MARAGHY

A medieval-looking shield embossed with a brass lion's face and a wooden armoire sit on the altar at First Baptist Church of Orange Park.

They are props for the pastor's recent sermons related to Disney's $150 million action/adventure movie: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, based on the first installment in a book series by C.S. Lewis whose books have sold 90 million copies in more than 55 years.

The good vs. evil tale, released Dec. 9, involves four children who find a magical wardrobe that leads to an imaginary world. Some call it a biblical allegory, and churches around the world have seized on it as an opportunity to promote Christianity in pop culture, including the Rev. David Tarkington, pastor of First Baptist of Orange Park.

The story line parallels Jesus' story, Tarkington said, with Aslan, the lion, portraying Christ, who is tortured and killed in place of a human sinner and then is resurrected.

Tarkington said he thinks the movie will have a stronger impact than The Passion of the Christ, also a Disney production, that portrayed the Crucifixion. …