March 3, 2013

The Bible? Oh I didn't read the book I just saw the movie!

Pretty much everyone's heard of the new miniseries about the Bible being shown this week on the History Channel.  We spent some time watching the previews there and the interviews with the actors.  The lady playing Rahab was raised Catholic and had no idea who Rahab was when she was cast. All I can say is... Oy vey.  My 13 year old could tell you who Rahab was.

I just pop quizzed him and his 14 year old friend as they sit here on the floor playing Uno.  I said "quick, who was Rahab in the Bible?"  My son said right away "She was a prostitute."  I said "what did she do?"  And he said "she hid the two spies when they came to check out Jericho."  And his friend said "she's also mentioned as being an ancestor of Christ."

Are you smarter than an 8th grader?

I have seen and heard of some really abysmal handlings of this subject by the History Channel and others in recent years.  I had hoped this would be better but I just read a couple critiques with quotes from the miniseries that has me a bit crestfallen.

Here are some critiques to keep in mind while you watch:

The Word Made . . . for Television?

The History Channel’s Bible Miniseries Mishandling of God’s Word

Mike Ratliff explains:
The scene that sealed this for me was in Peter’s boat after Jesus had him catch all those fish after he had fished all night and caught nothing. The stuff that went on in that scene is found nowhere in Scripture. Instead of Peter saying, “Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man!” he asked Jesus what he is going to do if he follows him. Jesus replied, “Change the world!”

The idea that you could completely change the MESSAGE CONTENT and call that 'artistic license' is frankly, blasphemous.

And here is one other GIANT red flag as quoted in the above articles as well, but I will link you directly to the source here:

  • The Bible is a docu-drama based on the stories in The Bible. As with any dramatization, some stories and timelines were altered to create a moving story that fit the 10 hour time frame.
  • Mark Burnett and Roma Downey did consult a team of advisers while writing and filming the miniseries. This team includes: Rick Warren - Pastor, Saddleback, Joel Osteen - Pastor, Lakewood Church, Erwin McManus - Pastor, Mosaic, Jim Daly - Focus on the Family, Sam Rodriguez - National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Paul Eshleman - Campus Crusade for Christ, Bobby Gruenewald - YouVersion Bible, Brad Lomenick - Catalyst, Leith Anderson - National Association of Evangelicals, Frank Wright - National Religious Broadcasters, Tom Peterson - Catholics Come Home, Geoff Tunnicliffe - World Evangelical Alliance, Gabe Lyons - Q, Luis Palau, George Wood - Assemblies of God, Craig Groeschel- Life Church, Denny Rydberg - Young Life, Andrew Benton - Pepperdine University
  • The Bible miniseries is based on the (NIV) New International Version and the (NRS) New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Some of these names I don't know but the ones I do know are hugely problematic.  This explains the giant discrepancy between the book and the movie.  All of the names I recognize here are masters at making the Bible say something it doesn't say.  (Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Craig Groeschel, and Leith Anderson... why was John Macarthur or R C Sproul not consulted?  What about Tullian Tchividjian or Sally Lloyd Jones?  Michael Horton? Al Mohler? Heck I'd even take John Piper over anyone on that list these days.  Come ON, people.)

Here is the reason why solid teachers were not consulted:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sounda teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4:1-5

Anyone that is consulting Rick Warren and Joel Osteen especially, as being some kind of Biblical authorities, is already way off.  There is really not much hope after that for a good result.

We would do well to watch this series with great discernment so that we can accurately comment on it and correct it to easily deceived people we deal with, who are also going to be seeing it.   But we should not be so naively saying "anything that gets us talking about the Bible is good."  That is patently untrue.

It can be used as a launch point to share the real gospel...but that doesn't make it good.  Jesus used everything, both good and bad, to point out Scriptural truth about sin, the wrath and judgement of God upon sin, and the Bible being all about how Jesus, from the foundation of the world, would one day come to die and rise again so that those who have faith in him alone could be saved from that sin and judgement and live in eternal peace, love,  and blessedness with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the triune God of perfect holiness.