Fr. Jose Poch

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Bible

I recently read an article from the Barna Research Group which makes reference to the outstanding success that the History Channel miniseries, The Bible, has had during the weeks of Lent, leading to Easter Sunday. The first episode, which premiered on March 3, had 13.1 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Rating, making it the highest entertainment, non-sport broadcast of 2013.

I don’t know what the ratings were for subsequent episodes or on Easter Sunday but I can tell you I watched with interest each of the weekly episodes. I kept telling myself not to watch it with a critical mind as I found sufficient material in it to be critical, but more on this below.

I am glad that the series was made and that it attracted many viewers. I found the film making of the series very good and can only imagine how very creative the directors, producers, and editors were. I believe that the project was done in love and for the love of God. I hear constantly from many people and sources that the series was created with “seekers” in mind. If this is indeed true, there is much to be commended and we need more of these kinds of television programs.

However, I also found that in an attempt to please many different groups and not offend any of them, it seriously compromised God’s holy revelation of His Word. First, the biblical story was choppy, cutting very important portions of the truth as it is told in the Bible. This may be understandable since it would make for a very long story and would take much longer to tell than five episodes. Areas that I found seriously compromising include, but are not limited to, “Sodom and Gomorrah” where no mention was made of the fact that God’s wrath against the inhabitants of those cities had much to do with their homosexual practices. They certainly took serious liberties in the way they portrayed women, both Sarah (who shows hatred and anger toward Abraham for even considering being obedient to God when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac. It is understandable but not true to Holy Scriptures) and Mary Magdalene (who appears to be one of the Twelve Disciples (also not true to Holy Scriptures). At the Last Supper, where Jesus tells His Disciples that He is leaving and speaks of the way to the Father, Jesus’ words (not to offend non-Christians) “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” was left incomplete (they cut off “and no one comes to the Father, except through Me”). There may be other areas that were troubling to you (the resurrection of Lazarus for example). Please share them with me.

I did appreciate how they represented Jesus’ sacrifice, from the betrayal at the Garden of Gethsemane all the way to the cross, death, and His burial. I also enjoyed the representation of the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit falls upon the Disciples (no flames of fire though).

All in all, I pray that God uses this series to His glory and that many become familiar with His story and are led to read the true Bible with the true revelation of God’s holy Word. I also pray that they are not disappointed when they read the truth.

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