It's a Bible study, with teeth.
Vampires have become the hottest trend since the first book of The Twilight Saga. The craze continues this Halloween with the release of the latest Twilight movie, "Breaking Dawn." These books and movies are geared toward the secular world, with worldly messages. But New York Times best-selling author Ron Brackin has decided to use the horror trend to further the Gospel with his latest book, The Gospel According to Dracula: A Bible Study.
In the book, Brackin, co-author of Son of Hamas and numerous other works, tells the classic tale of Dracula in a fashion true to Bram Stoker, and draws parables from each chapter to teach Christians how to have a deeper intimacy with God. The Christian Post spoke with Brackin in a telephone interview about vampires, Transylvania, God and Brackin's latest book.
CP: It is no coincidence that this interview is taking place on Halloween. Are you planning on handing out candy or celebrating the holiday?
Brackin: We were not particularly interested in Halloween. When our kids were younger, they went to parties thrown by our homeschool groups.
CP: "Breaking Dawn" is about to be released, and Christians are becoming more and more disenchanted with the vampire trend. The Gospel According to Dracula seems somewhat of an oxymoron. How does the tale of Dracula relate to a Christian's life?
Brackin: I look for a parable in each chapter that I can use to help the reader deepen his or her intimacy with Christ and better navigate his kingdom. If, as Paul says in Romans 1:20, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, are clearly seen in what has been made, I guess that can include Dracula.
I don't think you can spend too much time on the basics (of Christianity). Sometimes we forget them. ... It's not about knowing the Bible, it's about knowing God.
CP: Does using a classic horror tale, or falling in line with the current vampire trend to write a Bible study, present a watered-down Christianity?
Brackin: I distinguish between sugar-coating and dilution. The former makes it go down easier; the latter drains it of its substance, leaving us with a commercial, politically-correct Jesus.
CP: So what do you think of Twilight and the copycats you hear about in the news?
Brackin: I think there's a tremendous spiritual hunger in our culture and worldwide. Just look at all the superhero movies and the horror genre. As supernatural beings, we know instinctively that we interact with a supernatural world.
The problem is that we don't understand it. We have no spiritual discernment. And as somebody once said, if you won't believe in God, you'll believe in anything. I experienced that. I spent a decade in the cults before coming to Christ when I was 35.
CP: You describe yourself as a big fan of the classics, such as Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes and Dickens. When you first read Dracula, did you have the idea to write a Bible study?
Brackin: Actually, I got the idea years ago when I bought a VHS copy of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." It had a Bible study inside. And I thought it would be a good idea to do that with classic literature in a series called The Gospel according to the Classics.
I did it with Dickens' Oliver Twist and Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing. Recently, driving to church, I told my family that I wanted to do one of the horror classics – Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein – and my son Ethan said, “Dad, you've gotta do Dracula.” Vampires are real popular now, especially with girls 14 to 40.
So I worked my way through the original manuscript of Stoker's book, chapter by chapter. In each one, something would pop out, and I'd say, “Yep, that'll preach.” I've had more fun writing this than any other book I've written.
CP: In corresponding to set up this interview, you revealed that you have a great love for Romania and its people, which arose from the ministry work you have done there. Are you planning on returning to the country any time soon?
Brackin: I hope so. That's up to the Lord.
I fell in love with Romania and the people when I went to Transylvania in 1990 on a mission [trip] for an NGO (nongovernment organization) I worked for. It was an ugly time. It was winter, bitter cold. The Securitate (secret police) were still active, and every once in a while, the body of a pastor would be found in a dumpster. Everything was concrete gray and dirty ... but to me, it looked like a scene out of
“The Sound of Music.”
After I finished my work in Transylvania, I took a train to Timisoara in the western part of the country and hooked up with a team from our church that was there at the same time. In every village we went to, whenever I had something burning in my heart to share, nobody asked me. And whenever they asked me if I had something to share, I had nothing. One day, I was alone in the host pastor's house, praying. The Holy Spirit moved me to body-racking tears for an hour or two. At the end, frustrated with God, I asked him why he never gave me anything to say when I was asked, and He said, “I didn't bring you here to preach. I brought you here to weep.”
CP: What's the one thing you hope Christians readers will get out of this book?
Brackin: I would like them to come away hungry for deeper intimacy with Jesus Christ and a desire to explore His kingdom. The Gospel of salvation is only part of the Gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached. There's so much more than raising our hand, bowing our head, walking the aisle and praying the prayer. In The Last Battle, the final book of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan the Lion calls over his massive shoulder to all those who have just entered Aslan's land. “Come farther up! Come farther in!” That's what The Gospel according to Dracula's all about.