Or perhaps Hollywood has gone… biblical?
Hollywood has a long history of digging into biblical story lines to come up with epic productions like Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, and The Passion of the Christ. And now, Hollywood mega couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (producer of popular shows like Survivor) have come up with the highly acclaimed and well reviewed miniseries “The Bible,” which will run this Spring on the History Channel.
The docudrama will present 10 episodes with major stories from the Old and the New Testament, and evangelicals like Rick Warren are not only endorsing it, but Rick Warren himself is presenting a preview and a behind-the-scenes look at the series.
Unlike Rick Warren, I personally do not endorse Hollywood efforts depicting aspects of the Judeo-Christian faith and stories from the Bible. This is a personal decision, and I understand that many Christians are eager to promote movies such as The Passion in an effort to extend the Kingdom of God.
There are several reasons why I do not get excited about these projects, and have serious reservations about recommending them:
1. I have a difficult time receiving a Bible story, especially one that encapsulates the gospel, told by directors and actors who do not know the LORD. Some may know the LORD, but I suspect that their numbers are very low, or perhaps almost non-existent. Again, this is a personal stumbling block for me. Generically speaking, how can an actor “become” a depraved character in one movie, and then turn around and depict Christ in the next movie? How can a depraved director depict for us the inspired word of Scripture in a film?
2. Every year around Easter and Christmas (I stopped watching TV for the last few years but I assume the trend continues) the Discovery Channel and History Channel present shows about Jesus and various aspects of our faith which are plain wrong. Various forms of heresies are presented mixed in with fragments of truth as was the case with the all the shows surrounding the Gospel of Judas and the Da Vinci Code a few years ago. Moreover, authorities from all kind of backgrounds are interviewed, from Universalists, to Catholics, to atheist historians who weigh in on Christian doctrine, and these are people who do not know the LORD. Having been illuminated by the Holy Spirit to understand God’s Word, it becomes a difficult exercise watching these “everyone-has-an-opinion” on the Bible shows.
3. Many of these shows and movies are not done with the intent of spreading the gospel message but with the intent to make money. Lots of money. The masses of Christians out there soak these projects up like they are supposed to soak up the real thing: God Word. For example, the Passion of the Christ is the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time (yes R-rated in the same sentence as Christ). It made $600 million just during its theatrical release, and many millions since then. Producers are getting very wealthy from these “Christian” films.
4. The gospel message and the Word of God as a form of entertainment is a turn-off for me. Many Christians do not have a problem with this aspect, but the Holy Spirit speaks to me when I read Scripture, and I feel that the Word is profaned when the depraved of this world take advantage of it to create films… whatever their motives are.
So, starting next week I will not hold my breath for “The Bible” miniseries to entertain me. “The Bible,” the real thing, is sitting right here on my desk ready to receive my delight. It’s a delight in truth.