19Saying, Grant me also this power and authority, in order that anyone on whom I place my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.
20But Peter said to him, Destruction overtake your money and you, because you imagined you could obtain the [free] gift of God with money!
21You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is all wrong in God's sight [it is not straightforward or right or true before God].(A)(acts 8:18-21)
Ministers react to proposed Bible oriented theme park
BY LISA MARCHESONI Senior Writer
Pastor Ed Lykens plans to visit the proposed Bible theme park on the first day it opens if the tourist attraction locates in Rutherford County.Lykens, who pastors the First Church of the Nazarene, said he would be curious to learn how the park would portray the Bible.Developers of the proposed Bible park reported the tourist attraction would depict the Old and New Testaments. Developers are considering Rutherford County as a possible location.While no specific location was announced, The Murfreesboro Post learned from residents and two county commissioners that developers are considering a location on Blackman Road between Interstate 24 and state Route 840.Lykens likes the idea of spreading news about the Bible “as long as we don’t get in the Jesus car and go through ‘Spooky Mountain.’” He hopes the park will accurately reflect the Bible.He and several other ministers shared some opinions about the park.Lykens said the Bible park could spread the message of the Bible and allow visitors to ask questions and receive explanations of what they see.Rutherford County would be a good location because it would draw visitors throughout the state and nation easily.“If they build one, they should probably build a hotel on the property,” Lykens said. “I think it’s good for businesses in the community as well because it will bring people in to spend money. It probably won’t boost church attendance any.”Developers of the park said it would be non-denominational unlike the Holy Land Experience in Orlando that is denominational.Assistant Pastor Kurt Copeland of independent Franklin Road Baptist Church said his wife and two young daughters visited the Holy Land Experience about two years ago.“As a preacher, I loved it,” Copeland said.The family enjoyed viewing a re-creation of Jesus’ resurrection, the replica of the garden tomb and the hill of Golgotha.Rev. Copeland likes the idea of having a Bible-based theme park that would bring attention to the Word of God.Personally, he doesn’t favor the commercialization of the Bible through the park but he knows Christian bookstores profit from the Bible and related merchandise.“It would be hypocritical to say we don’t like the for-profit park,” the Rev. Copeland said.He believes students from the Franklin Road Christian School would visit the park on a limited basis.The Rev. Don Morris of Fellowship United Methodist Church, said he believes any well-thought-out activity that exposes people to the Bible is good.News accounts about the park’s Bible exhibits such as Moses and the walls of water will be a good thing to demonstrate.“We’ve all watched Charlton Heston go through the Red Sea” and learned about Jonah and the whale.“But someone who never read the Bible may go to the park and want to learn more,” the Rev. Morris said. “What a great way to learn.”Being a profit park doesn’t bother him, the Rev. Morris said, adding churches don’t run free.“It’s going to be a fun place to go with your family,” the pastor said. “We live in a world where families are pulled in thousands of different directions. This will be a good place for the family to go together.”The Rev. James Avaritt has been pastor of Bellwood Baptist Church for 23 years. He doesn’t object to the concept of a Bible-themed park.“I would hope they would built it with respect to the Bible, not having it as a theme and not respecting the Bible,” Avaritt said.Like other pastors, he knows Bible bookstores make a profit so he doesn’t have a problem with the commercialization of the Bible in a park as long as it represents the Bible.“I think personally they would do a bigger business if they had a country music theme like Opryland,” the Rev. Avaritt said.Lisa Marchesoni may be reached at 869-0814 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.