Apr

03

2013

David Nilsen|12:01 AM CT

The Bible According to the History Channel

Debuting to an audience of 14 million, and maintaining an average of 10 million viewers in its remaining weeks, the History Channel's mini-series The Bible was an unequivocal ratings, if not critical, success. Megachurch leaders like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen lauded the message while some critics hammered the series for poor acting and storytelling. But no one should have been surprised that millions of people would watch. As Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ taught us, Christians will support any on-screen endeavor that remains mostly faithful to the biblical source material and doesn't intentionally insult its religious audience.

But the producers wanted to capture more than just the faithful among their viewers, so they ensured the production values exceeded the usual religious fare. This is certainly where The Bible shone. The visuals on display in just the first two hours included impressive recreations of Noah's flood, the destruction of Sodom, and the parting of the Red Sea. The special effects team managed solid renderings of all three—quite a feat for a single episode of television. Though not on par with spectacle-packed blockbusters like Transformers or The Avengers, the effects exceeded the typically low expectations that follow the description "TV movie about the Bible."

Perhaps the most inspiring choice on the production side was commissioning Hans Zimmer to produce the music. Scoring animated classics like The Lion King, as well as mega franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Dark Knight, Zimmer has defined movie music for this generation in the way that composer John Williams (Star Wars, Jaws) defined it for the previous generation. His music for The Bible followed familiar lines, adding cinematic quality that validated the series' self-description of "epic."

Aside from the production values, though, the series faltered in important ways. The unavoidable problem of turning the entire Bible into a movie is that the narrative is far too long for even a 10-hour series. Naturally, the show's writers skipped over material. And they skipped a lot: Jacob, Joseph, all of the Judges except Samson, Solomon, and most of the Prophets, just to recount the Old Testament. Despite such gaps, the summarized version of the Old Testament helped to highlight the classic Christian emphasis on the history of redemption, where the law and prophets point to Christ.

Making the Bible 'Cool'

A more troubling problem than what was left out was the addition of extra-biblical and wholly unnecessary material. Actress Roma Downey, one of the show's producers, said in an interview on The O'Reilly Factor that they wanted to make the Bible "cool" and interesting, especially for impatient teenagers who rarely read. This attitude was on full display in the miniseries, the most egregious example being the two angels who go to Sodom to rescue Lot's family. After emerging from Lot's house in full armor and blinding the crowd, the angels whip out swords and proceed to slaughter half of Sodom on their path to escape. One of the angels happens to be of Asian decent and wields two swords at once, officially bringing the "Ninja Angel" into the mainstream (a phrase that dominated social media after the first episode aired).

Surprisingly, the action sequences didn't end with the Old Testament, as episode four featured Pontius Pilate engaging in gladiator-style combat practice. As University of Colorado history professor says, "the filmmaking style of [History's other new drama] The Vikings so closely resembles The Bible that it is difficult to tell that we've moved from one series to another. Genre miniseries-making trumps historical context every time."

Whitewashed Jesus

Then there's Jesus. Some critics have called him "surfer Jesus" or "hipster Jesus." This is a Jesus you might expect to find reading a book on postmodern theology in a trendy Portland coffee house. Every line, whether parable or sermon, is delivered with a whispery smolder by a very white-skinned Jesus.

The series received a Noaic flood of criticism for everything from simple historical inaccuracy to outright racism because of its largely white-washed cast. Again Paul Harvey makes an interesting observation that "an America founded in part by Puritan iconoclasts who distrusted and destroyed imagery has become now the greatest exporter of sacred imagery (particularly of Jesus) in the world."

In a fascinating irony, our secular postmodern cultural milieu has created a new opportunity to revisit the traditional Reformed position on images of Christ. If films are moving icons (and they are), then the classic theological arguments against making an icon of God should apply. Many modern Christians previously found such arguments unpersuasive, though they may reconsider when confronted with an image of Christ that can contribute to racial animosity and impede cross-cultural missions. In a time when racial reconciliation is a priority for many young evangelicals, we cannot avoid these implications.

History's The Bible is pretty good entertainment. If it isn't worthy of high praise, it also isn't worthy of bitter lament, nor is it a portent of cultural decline. We've been at this cinematic spot many times before, and this series is simply a slightly updated version of already worn material. The Bible is not a revolutionary new teaching tool for home studies or churches, as some Christians had hoped. And I suspect it may not work as an effective way of introducing non-Christians to Scripture, since they aren't likely to enjoy the sharp transition from action-packed television to the much slower and longer book. Still, while The Bible might not excel as an education tool, at least it isn't brazenly heretical. For an American cable TV drama, that's probably the best we can expect.

David Nilsen studied philosophy at Biola University and historical theology at Westminster Seminary in California. He writes for The Evangelical Outpost. You can follow him on Twitter.

Categories: Arts and Culture
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  • Heather

    The whole "cool" factor doesn't just stop with the producers. I feel in the Christian culture we've created the "cool" christian with their iPhone, always filter instagram account, skinny jeans, and always drinking some specialty coffee cool.

    These "cool" Christians tend to think those of us who don't have that image are "out of touch", judgmental, and old fashion. Maybe a bit too traditional.

    I am not arguing with your post, it's well written, but we must look in the mirror of how we try to out "cool" each other in our Christian culture and it shouldn't surprise us when a mini-series follows that path.

    • Jeff Hensley

      Ugh, these kinds of comments frustrate me. Its as if we have two choices: "cool" christian culture or ascetic judgmentalism of those in it. I have an iPhone and almost always have a starbucks but just in the morning. Does that make me guilty of promoting a 'cool' christian culture? But I don't have skinny jeans or drink coffee at night! Maybe I'm safe?

      We are christians who live in a culture, just like the early church did. I bet you Paul was dressed like the average Roman while in Rome. Clothing and starbucks and iPhones will never be what defines us as Christians, either by possessing them or not! The gospel does. Stop worrying about what phone or coffee or jeans someone wears and just worry about the gospel. Reread Galatians.

      • CG

        iPhone and Starbucks doesn't make you guilty of promoting "cool" Christianity, though you might be a sucker for brand names and peer pressure. ;)

      • Junior Ziegler

        Couldn't agree more Jeff. Loved your post.

      • heather

        Didn't mean to be frustrating. And I'll read Galatians.

        Although I feel like my heart and intent was misunderstood. Hence the frustration of comments and writing and you not knowing me at all.

        • C.W.

          Very Christlike response. Thanks

      • Melody

        I've never been cool and my iPhone was free that is why I have one. I don't think I should have to defend myself to people that Jesus told to love me. Just like I'm not going to ask you to defend your choices. None of it will survive the fire if it is done for the wrong reasons. That is up to God to judge.

        I didn't care for the Bible series because of the inaccuracies and embellishments. I am aware that God can use all things. The fact that there were that many people watching shows how many are hungering for more knowledge. What are we doing to find them and teach them what we know?

        I don't mean tearing down others but to water the amount of truth that they have received so far. Too many Christians want to dig up the seeds and replant before watering. We have to remember that we are only the tools. God is the one that makes it grow.

    • Melody

      I think you might have proved their point

  • http://allasloss.com Nick

    Agree about the images of God the Son. Most people think I'm crazy, because I stay away from the "bearded lady" images (as Richard Bacon calls them). I just ask two questions: 1. Can I make images of God? Every Christian agrees - no. 2. Is Jesus God? Every Christian agrees - yes.

    Maybe it's because of all the descriptive verses about Jesus that they justify the breaking of the second commandment. Oh, wait...

    That being said, I didn't always hold to this. Always reforming right?

    • Ben

      Hey Nick,

      I don't think you're crazy, and it doesn't sound like you are judging others based on your conviction, so I think your view is healthy. I did want to make a couple observations in the hope that they would help you.

      I believe the actual prohibition was of making images to worship. Amen Amen, Jesus is the visible representation of the invisible God. But to those who saw the flesh of Jesus, the glory of God was veiled by it. Anyway, Catholics leave the ranch because they "venerate" images and some even believe icons to be a portal of communication to the being that is represented by the image (like an oracle in reverse). So I don't think any healthy Christian in this era would say that the image of Jesus is anything other than "the artists rendition" of what Jesus was like. It isn't any different than imagining an event or scene as we read the text. The only difference is that this imagination is externalized.

      So as long as we do not cross the line into worship or communication with spirits, pictures and movies are just like any other medium of communication. It is a human trying to teach or represent the truth of the Bible. Essentially, it is no different than a sermon. In exegesis, the preacher looks to the historical context, but then relates his message in terms that his culture can relate to. Again, the question isn't, "Is the movie too cool or is it too relevant?" The question is, "Does this movie bridge the cultural gap in a way that is faithful to the meaning in it's context?" In summary, the big question is, "is 'The Bible' a faithful and accurate communication of God's truth or not?" I haven't seen it. So I can't judge that.

      Based on this review, my family will still probably see it when the price is right, and I will discuss any overly imaginative depictions with my kids, and it sounds like we my have to pause the series from time to time to discuss the gospel implications of things that are happening...

      I hope this comment is helpful. Nick I shared your conviction at one point, so stay healthy my friend. TGC - I love what God is doing with your ministry. Thanks for the thoughts!

      • http://allasloss.com Nick

        Appreciate the lengthy reply. From Exodus:

        Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

        Seems clear to me, but you are saying we can make images of anything in heaven above, the earth beneath, or under the earth as long as we don't "worship" it? That would include images of God the Father right? If not, why not?

        • Ben

          Sure... God himself commanded Israel to make images on the tabernacle and there were many images and designs on the temple. Almond clusters and what not. The "thou shalt not bow to them, nor serve them" is the key. Otherwise, a planetarium, a science book, a family photo, the bronze wolves outside the zoo, children's books, Spanish lessons that show pictures of the items next to the word etc. It's all images... Anyway, God didn't contradict himself when he commanded Israel to make a serpent on a cross and look at it to be healed, but when Israel started to worship it, Hezekiah rightly destroyed it in 2 Kings 18:4.

          Sorry, I didn't reply sooner, I didn't get notice of your reply.

          Grace and peace!

  • Rose

    my biggest issue with the min-series is that not once did they explain the reason that Christ died. Of all the things to eliminate! They totally skipped the only important thing about Christianity. The total depravity of mankind and the grace and mercy of God.
    Wow!

  • Joshua Richards

    Thanks for the article. Is it the worst thing in the world, though, for these people to try to make the series somewhat appealing? Perhaps that was one way to draw a larger audience? Is that entirely wrong to do? I'd venture to guess that the natural man would not be interested in this miniseries vs any other option on television regardless of special effects or how "cool" Jesus seemed. For what it's worth, I thought nothing of how "white" the actor was or how "cool" they tried to portray him---you lost me there.

    This seems to be a straining out of gnats in my opinion. The miniseries is what it is---not Scripture and not in any way to replace Scripture.

  • Mark

    I enjoyed the series, from what I have watched, as entertainment and staying the middle ground of getting the gist of the story and characters. Of course they added dialog to flesh out the stories, and I thought it was well done compared to other series on Bible stories.

    My only beef was the recurring line that The Bible's Jesus kept saying about "changing the world." I felt that was a little too 'po-mo' phrasing versus 'repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near..."

  • Matt G

    Wow, you were easy on it! Theologically, "The Bible" was a trainwreck and exchanged the redemptive historical "Story" of scripture with a series of inspiring theistic anecdotes:

    - no law
    - no atonement: absence of passover and sacrificial system
    - no repentance: see David's response to Nathan's rebuke: "We'll see ..." versus "I have sinned."
    - no trinity: absence of the Father and Holy Spirit at Jesus' baptism
    - no deity of Christ: see Thomas's response; "It's you, Jesus", not "My Lord and my God."
    - Jesus' purpose: "to change the world" versus to conquer sin, death and the devil

    It's like making "The Lord of the Rings" into a film, but removing all references to the ring. Great action, battle scenes, character development and scenery—without anything to tie it all together.

    • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

      Thanks Matt, that's very interesting. I haven't been able to see it yet but if what you say is true, then they cut out the most important things.

    • Rose

      I agree, Matt!

    • Brady Granstaff

      Amen Matt G! Amen!

    • Jon

      Brillian summary Matt!

    • http://solasisters Cathy

      You nailed it Matt G.
      Can you even call it the bible if it leaves out the scarlet thread of redemptive history. No holiness of God, the fall gets 5 seconds, sin is described as wrong choices and wrong decisions, blood sacrifice for sin never explained at all, 3 seconds for the 10 commandments, nothing about the purpose of the temple. Sin----sacrifice---atonement, sin----sacrifice----atonement was completely ignored. It was all about being a good or bad leader so they could accomplish the vision God gave them. So by the Jesus comes, there is no connection made with sin---sacrifice--- atonement. He's merely the best example of a leader who can change the world. He is presented as leader and world changer- not Savior. Not to mention the comets omission of the trinity at Jesus' baptism, and that Jesus was depicted as sinning by succumbing to Satan's temptation and turning the stone into bread ( which was the specific temptation.) If Jesus sinned, we're all done, game over.

    • Melody

      That is because you know your bible. The people that liked it were left thirsting for more. That is the important part. So please don't leave a bad taste in their mouths. Just fill in the blanks without trashing the method in which God brought them to you. Satan wants you to focus on the mistakes and look like a big jerk to people. I know you want to show the beauty of Gods plan.

    • http://www.michellelesleybooks.com Michelle

      I agree, Matt, although "train wreck" might be too kind. :0)

    • Greg

      Also, after the last supper Peter follows Jesus outside and says that he would not betray Jesus, but would lay his life down. At first, Jesus responds by hugging him and then he suddenly gets a vision of Peter betraying him 3 times.
      Jesus, wasn't surprised about Peter betraying him, God is omniscient. He certainly didn't "receive a vision" hours before it took place.

    • Daniel Lemagie

      I too struggled greatly with many things throughout the shows, such as when Jesus and Peter were out on the boat. After Peter started bringing in the overloaded fishnets he neglected to request of Jesus that he depart from him due to his deep sense of his sinfulness at that moment. However, the one that has really stuck with me has been when Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself, completely bypassing what is truly displayed in the Bible as the greatest commandment. This is no surprise to me, though, considering we live in an age where the church is increasingly more man centered and moving more and more towards a complete social gospel. I say thank God for the people God has blessed with the discernment to see these things and to grasp the seriousness of thier implications. It is sad to me to hear people say things like, "hopefully this will get people to read thier Bible." Are we to sacrifice accuracy and fidelity to Scripture in the hopes of getting a couple people interested in reading thier Bible. God forbid. We need to stop relying on such trivial tricks to try and lure people into the church and get back to proclaiming the message accurately and faithfully, relying solely on the power of the Holy Spirit working through the word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Not the Bible miniseries. May those so gifted continue to speak out on these types of issues even if the majority look upon them with disdain. God bless.

  • http://www.gracechurchstamford.com Danny Jang

    David, your comments were deep, critical observations exposing the underlying postmodern presuppositions. But the biggest criticism of The Bible 'epic miniseries' was the lack of the overarching storyline that gave the individual stories the forward movement. If there was one overarching theme I picked up from the series, it was the repeated phrase 'God is with us'. But there was no promise that set the foundation, no faith in the promises, and therefore no expectation of the promised Savior!

  • http://www.andrewshaver.com Andrew Shaver

    Good article. I have to agree with Matt G's comments as well. It seems that this mini-series has done a reasonable (though far from perfect) job of show WHAT happened, but fails at every point to show WHY it happened. They tell the stories but seem to have missed the point of each and every one.

    • Josh R.

      Like you have stated Andrew, it failed to show the WHY. And quite frankly, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WHY!! I forget which church Paul addresses but to summarize, one of the points he brought up is that there is nothing better (no mini series, no drama performance, no music, etc.) that can best convey the message of redemption than the reading of scripture itself! THATS IT!!

  • David Mansfield

    Thanks, David, for this. As someone who has worked a fair amount in TV & film, I think your last summary sentence nails it. The ethos behind this project has much more in common with the old network MOWs and the current studio tentpole features than with the high level of writing/acting we've come to expect in episodic cable dramas ("Homeland", "Breaking Bad", et al.). Too bad but no surprise.

  • Arlen Stuart

    Gee, could it be that one of the fruits of Calvin's 16th Century neo-Gnosticism (viz. his anti-iconography) is the Liberal theology of Modernism? Do we really believe that the former had no influence upon the latter? If Christianity does not portray the events of its history in the visual arts, then the following generations will conclude that it did not happen in history, but merely "in our hearts."

    God cannot violate His own holy law. If it is intrinsically evil to fashion an image of God, then you are blasphemously accusing God of idolatry. God Himself has provided the definitive image (icon) of Himself in the incarnate person of Christ. And Christ is not like a vampire who cannot be photographed or painted. He did not simply *appear* to be in-the-flesh, but really was. This means that he had a head with hair, a nose, two eyes, two arms, two legs, etc, etc, etc.

    Moreover, one of the mysteries of being human is having the physical likeness of one's family. Thus Jesus surely bears a physical resemblance with the Virgin Mary, His mother. He may have even born a resemblance with His cousin John the Baptist.

    Much of this has to do with bifurcating the first commandment into two separate commands by conveniently re-numbering the Ten Commandments so that they can be pigeon-holed into the structure of one's systematic theology. The command to refrain from making graven images is to be understood in the context of worshiping false gods. Making images to be used in association with worship is not strictly wrong in itself; otherwise you once again accuse God Himself of violating His own law (thus His nature) by commanding the engraving of the two Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant, the bronze serpent, the golden lampstand (a likeness of the Tree of Life), etc.

    It's not the image which is evil, nor the making of it, nor using it as an aid in worship, but rather using the image to commit spiritual adultery against God by worshiping *the image itself* as a false god/goddess. This is what occurred with the bronze serpent. People were commanded by God (via Moses) to look upon it in faith so they could be healed from the poison of the serpents. But instead of looking upon the image to reflect on the grace of which would soon fully come in the person of Christ, they later abused its purpose by whoring after the material image itself, worshiping it as a snake god.

    • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

      Hi Arlen,

      First, Calvinism is not any kind of "neo-Gnosticism."

      Second, iconoclasm is the conviction of the early church and required by the second commandment (Ex. 20:4f).

      Third, you are right that it is "not the image which is evil" (because God even instructed images to be made in the OT) but you are wrong that "using it as an aid in worship" because that is exactly what is described and prohibited in the second commandment (Ex. 20:4f). The images made in the OT were not used in the context of worship and all such images are condemned.

      Fourth, the early church understood this and strictly prohibited the use of images in worship:
      The Council of Elvira (c. 305) "Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration." (Canon 36)
      Eusebius (c. 327): in his letter to Constantia, he wrote that to depict Christ is to break the commandment of God and to fall into pagan error.
      Epiphanius (c. 394) in his Letter 51, he described how he tore down a decorated curtain in a church and told John, bishop of Jerusalem, that such images are contrary to our religion.

      • Arlen

        To conclude that iconoclasm was the conviction of the entire early church based on the the few examples you cited is not a logical conclusion. True, it was a controversial issue (especially in the Eastern Church), but it was authoritatively refuted later by the Universal Church, most definitively at the Second Council of Nicea--hence the reason why it is a non-issue in the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church to this very day. I could also find examples from the early Church stating that Jesus was merely a created being, but it would neither prove the Universal conviction of Christianity at the time, nor would it authoritatively instruct my conscience today.

        And images most certainly were used in the context of worship in the OT. The two Cherubim sat upon the lid of the Ark, on either side of the Mercy Seat. And all of this was in the Holy of Holies. If this does not constitute *association* with divine worship, then I don't know what does. But neither of us are proposing that the Jews worshiped the Cherubim (or were supposed/allowed to).

        • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

          Hi Arlen,

          First, the examples I cite are very prominent: the Council of Elvira expressed the conviction of 19 Spanish bishops, likely the whole church of the Iberian penisula; Eusebius was one of the two most prominent early church historians and Epiphanius was a major leader, later canonized by the Eastern Orthodox church.

          Second, there are no other authorities who express any other opinion about icons in the early church that I'm aware of. Icons were not a "controversial issue". There is no evidence for any other opinion in the early church (prior to 400) about icons except prohibition.

          Third, the first Seventh Ecumenical Council (754) also strictly forbade icons. The later, second, "Seventh Ecumenical Council" (787), at the behest of Impress Irene, over-turned the earlier ruling and imposed icons on the church. That's about 400 years after the early church and constitutes a medieval development and arguable a capitulation to paganism.

          Images most certainly were NOT used in the context of worship in the OT. OT worship properly was done at or around the altar on the temple/tabernacle grounds. The ark of the covenant was hidden in the "holy of holies", never visible to attending worshipers, and not used as part of the worship of the people or even priests; it's only role was the annual placing of the blood on the "mercy seat" and there are absolutely no instructions about praying to or genuflecting at the images of the cherubim, etc.

    • http://www.allasloss.com Nick

      "God cannot violate His own holy law."

      God is not under any law. There is nothing above him. He is the final authority. (I'm not saying you don't know this, but want to clarify).

      God can do as he wishes, so when he says the penalty for sin is death, then God the Son does not sin, and still dies, he is not violating the law.

      In the same way, God can be in the flesh and not violate his law.

      To the point about Jesus looking like his family: where are the physical description texts about Mary and John the Baptist?

      I do agree with the numbering of the commandments.

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

        Hi, that the second commandment (Ex. 20:4f) is intended to stand alone as a commandment was the understanding of the Jews. The Catholics (but not the Eastern Orthodox) subsumed the second commandment under the first. I'm not sure of the rationale but I suspect the real reason was to try to minimize the visibility of the second commandment. To make ten commencements, they split the 10th up into two, saying that the commandment not to covet your neighbors wife was a separate one. The problem with that is that when the ten commandments are repeated in Deuteronomy 5, the command not to covet the wife comes later in the order, thus showing that the list of things not to be coveted is meant to be seen as a unity; thus showing that the tenth commandment is one commandment not to covet. To make ten, then, it's reasonable to suppose that the second commandment (Ex. 20:4f) is, as it appears from the grammar, a separate commandment.

        • http://www.allasloss.com Nick

          I should have been clearer about the numbering. I agree there are some issues with making them 10 commandments when the text indicates 9. Not that 1 & 2 are the same.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

            Hi Nick,

            Thanks for the clarification. I don't think the text indicates 9. One could, perhaps, make a case for 11 (if the 10th is divided into two), but since the order of things not to be coveted is rearranged in Dt. 5, I think that suggests that there is one commandment against coveting, thus leaving us with 10.

      • Arlen

        Nick,

        I think I know what you are trying to say but there are a couple of problems with your reasoning:

        1) God *was* under the law, specifically in the person of Christ who was born "under the law" (Gal 4:4). He submitted Himself to the yoke of the Mosaic code, which includes the 1st Commandment (or 2nd if you are Reformed). So again, if making an image of God is inherently evil, then you are still proposing that God sinned by becoming "the image of the invisible God." Thus Christ would not have perfectly kept the Mosaic law and we would still be in our sins.

        2) The Ten Commandments are a perfect reflection of the very nature of our Triune God. Thus God *cannot* violate His own law for the same reason that He *cannot* lie, *cannot* commit adultery, *cannot* murder, and *cannot* create a rock so big that He cannot lift it. The things forbidden are things which are intrinsically contradictory to the beauty, goodness, and truth of God's nature.

        • http://www.allasloss.com Nick

          Is Jesus God? If so, how is that a graven image? Jesus as man can be fully worshipped as God. He is God.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

            The argument, from the time of John of Damascus, is that since Jesus is God incarnate, and thus an "image of the invisible God", He shows us that the second commandment is abrogated, or at least circumscribed. That is, since Christ is God and appeared in a visible form, then we too can make images of God or Jesus.

            The problem with that is that the Bible never describes Jesus for us and so arts conceptions of Jesus, including those by actors such as in "The Bible" series, represents not what Jesus truly looked like but a reflection of the artist's ideas.

            A further problem is when those images ("icons") are used in worship. That's forbidden.

            • Kenton

              The problem with this argument is that from Genesis ALL humanity is described as the image of God. So Christ is the image of God in as much as he is the perfect Man. So the second command is not abrogated at all.

              That being said, this all sounds very Islamic in terms of physical representation. Notice that Jesus never condemns the Roman coins that bore the image of Caesar, even though Caesar himself was worshipped. The second commandment pertains to the making of idols, or anything that is worshipped. Icons (traditionally defined) fall into this category precisely because they are revered by "the faithful". That's idolatry. Films and pictures do not fall into this category.

        • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

          If you bow before an image in the context of worship, you have broken the second commandment (Ex. 20:4f).

      • Arlen

        "To the point about Jesus looking like his family: where are the physical description texts about Mary and John the Baptist?"

        Nick,

        You seem to think that Mary was simply a hollow piece of PVC pipe through which our Lord passed to come into our midst. She was not simply a conduit, but rather, as Elizabeth says of her: "the mother of [our] Lord." Jesus was connected to His mother by a human umbilical cord, thus drawing from Mary His holy flesh, blood, DNA, nutrients, skin color, personality, physical traits, and all things which make us human. Jesus truly is the seed of Abraham and seed of David. If you deny this, then one would have to admit that it is quite possible that Jesus may have been a blonde with porcelain skin and blue eyes.

        • http://www.allasloss.com Nick

          I'm sorry, I asked for her physical description. I did not ask if she was human.

          • Melody

            She looked like a young Hebrew woman.

  • Arlen Stuart

    That said, I only saw about sixty seconds of the show and turned it off. I am by no means defending the show. Most things affiliated with the History Channel deserve neither attention nor respect.

    And I do believe that images of Christ ought to be reverent in order to convey the sacredness of our Lord and His life and doings.

  • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

    An "icon" is not simply an image. (I know that is the literal meaning of the Greek word but this is English and in English the word in religious contexts is not synonymous with mere images.) An icon is an representative image uniquely connected with the Person it represents and is thus used in liturgy.

    So, a film is not necessarily a "moving icon" and, thus, the classic theological arguments against making an icon of God do NOT necessarily apply.

    • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com David Nilsen

      John, agreed, in the sense that not all images are icons in the technical sense. However, I actually think all images ARE icons in a broader sense, in that all images have a powerful, iconic effect on us whether we want them to or not, connecting us to someone or something (whether a person or idea) in a visceral way. Some images, like a simple stick figure or happy face, don't have an obvious or strong effect, but others do, and not just in overtly religious contexts. Consider a photo of a dead relative, or a swastika. In any case, I admit to playing fast and loose with the definition of icon, but I didn't have the space to explain my philosophy imagery here. ;)

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

        Hi David,

        Yes, I understand the constraints of a brief article. And I agree there is a sense in which every symbol is somehow connected with what it symbolizes. Can one burn the American flag and then take advantage of the freedoms the flag represents to do so? I don't believe that all images are forbidden because God Himself commanded the making of some images. But I do believe they are forbidden for use in worship (Ex. 20:4f). I know that can be difficult in actual practice and the strictly iconoclastic position has the advantage of not having to delve into when an image has crossed the line into being used in worship. I believe for the sake of clarity, that the term "icon" ought to be used of those images used in worship. This, then, separates those images used by Eastern Orthodox and Catholics in their liturgy from mere artistic portrayals. The Orthodox will frequently say that "icons are not art". However, when defending icons, they will then use the allowance for art to be a license for icons.

        • Kenton

          Everything that is created with the hands has the potential to be used as an idol (an "image", according to biblical terminology). That didn't prevent God from commanding the sinful Israelites to build an ark that was to be the center of His presence among them. Nor did it prevent God from allowing Solomon to build the Temple, even though the Second Temple and their customs were basically Israel's idol (according to Stephen). That is why the first command exists, for nothing that is created (whether spirit or flesh or wood or stone or metal or paper) is to be worshipped; and this knowledge frees us to work with our hands to the glory of the invisible, immortal God.

  • David Smith

    Thanks for the blog, I thought it was reasonably fair. I found the show to be the best representation I've seen of the Bible's story on television or in a movie.

    The biggest issue I repeatedly noticed was how the Jewish authorities were treated too kindly and the Romans too harshly. Examples would be Caiaphas was always about 'the people', when both the Gospels and the Book of Acts show that the Sanhedrin were more interested in retaining their own power than the people. Pilate was pictured as more callous than I have ever read him in the Gospels, including the Gladiator scene.

    My suspicion is that the show was made by Americans, for an American audience, and a more appropriate portrayal of the balance of responsibility between the Jewish and Roman authorities would have been unpopular, and potentially even painted as anti-semitic?

    • Kenton

      I disliked the series mostly because it was theologically shallow and historically inaccurate (for the most part). I'm always partial to films that try to be as realistic as possible, especially when about someone who comes from an entirely different culture and time period. Too many Jesus films have continued the tired stereotypes (white Jesus, innocent Pilate, etc.) This is why I like The Nativity Story and Passion of the Christ (one tries to at least give the appearance of Palestinian Jews, even going as far as to have a teenage Mary and older Joseph, and Jewish phrases; the other uses Aramaic).

      Pilate was actually one of the more historically accurate characters. Though most of the Gospels don't mention him outside of the Passion narrative, Luke says this:

      Luke 13:1
      There were some present at that very time who told [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

      In addition to this defilement, Philo and Josephus, Jewish historians, describe Pilate as both cruel and vindictive, insensitive (and at times hostile to) Jewish customs, and prone to excessive violence. That's where the miniseries got their portrayal of Pilate.

      Historically, it would have been better if they could have tried to get actors that could pass off as darker Palestinian Jews, rather than an international cast.

      Theologically, I think their whole structure for the series was off. They should have hit:

      Abraham/Jacob: focused on God's promises, with Adam/Noah as prologue

      Moses: focused on the judgment of Egypt, the Passover, and the Torah/Glory on Sinai, with Joseph as prologue

      David/Solomon: focus on Jerusalem/the Temple, sin leading to exile as epilogue

      Jesus: birth, ministry, death and resurrection, following Luke and Matthew (which show Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham and the new Moses/David/Solomon who delivers the people and ushers in the kingdom of God)

      Acts: Peter (Jerusalem to Samaria), Stephen (his speech is exposition on all of the above), Paul (from Damascus to Rome)

      This is a general outline of the biblical emphases (missing, of course, most of the prophets, though they give promises which are expository).

      As to the primary issue of depicting Jesus: if someone were to portray Jesus as an actual Galilean peasant artisan, I doubt anyone would treat the portrayal as a reverent, sacred icon. The most annoying thing is the casting of a Portuguese soap opera, model-actor.

      • Melody

        That is an excellent analysis Kenton.

        I only watched a few minutes of the Passover and wasn't happy with how rushed that was and knew I wouldn't be happy with the rest. I wouldn't encourage anyone that understands the bible to watch it except maybe for discussion purposes. I wouldn't discourage unbelievers from watching it either though. Just because it is a starting point much like the rumors that would have been circling at the time of the crucifixion.

        • Kenton

          Well, yeah, I don't think it should be banned or anything; art in itself is finite and the series does do a good job of giving a general overview of the Bible. That said, anyone using this would have to go the extra step in explaining the rationale behind God's commands, especially in terms of Sodom, Egypt, Jericho, Jerusalem. Violence and judgment in the Bible are two things that our culture doesn't understand.

          • Melody

            I don't know if it is even possible to get all that from a sermon. I've only been able to comprehend it with extensive time consuming bible study.

            • Kenton

              Which is why those who use this series as an introduction would have to explain it (presumably in bible studies). The simple answer is "sin". Which the series was quite vague on.

              One of the other constraints of the series was that it tried to get the whole Bible in 10 hours. Hence, everything was rushed (except for Jesus, who they spread out over three hours). 1 Abraham/Isaac, 1 Moses/Egypt, 1 Moses/wilderness, 1 David/Solomon, 1 Daniel/exile, 3 Jesus, 1 Acts/Peter, and 1 Acts/Paul would have been a better scheme, and would have spread out the narrative in a better way.

              Of course, nothing is a substitute for bible study.

  • A

    I really liked how Nebuchadnezzar was portrayed in the dark cell when his mind turned into that of a wild beast's. It was really subtle, but when he turned towards the back of his cell, he became Satan in that scene. It's really subtle, and I don't think his face was visible, but his clothes changed (they were black and white), and I think there was leading to this change by the music. It's profound for me to think Nebuchadnezzar was an incarnation of Satan, and his character represents so many things

    The Bible series simplified my view of the Bible by modernizing my perspective of Jesus's actions with the quote "Change the world," and many more like it. I liked and enjoyed it very much. It's very faithful to the Bible, despite slight variations between the two mediums, and it revealed some profound things to me such as the connection between Nebuchadnezzar and Satan. Even though the series doesn't capture everything we would like for it to capture, it does get the meat of the Bible, and it serves a purpose to intrigue, which it does for many, not all. It was in God's planning this series was made, and it was created within the confines of form and purpose He allowed. In the end, this series is completed, and I am happy with the outcome of it, whatever purpose should it fulfill in God's planning I do not know, but to God, it is perfect just the way it is.

  • God Seeker

    John Carpenter,

    Luke 5:8
    When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

    Was Peter committing idolatry? I am not endorsing bowing down to images. However, if Jesus is God, and yet He is totally man, then there is nothing wrong with demonstrating a confessedly imperfect representation that God did become one of us in order to save us. It is not an attempt to show what Jesus looked like. This is not the point. It is rather to show that God has entered the human race, AS a human being!! This is right at the center of the gospel.

    Secondly, if you read the commandment forbidding images, it just says "You shall not make for yourselves any graven image, of nothing in heaven.....". Are pictures of people in heaven a graven image? For instance, if one paints a picture of the 12 apostles, is this sin? They are in heaven.

    • David Nilsen

      God Seeker,

      The 2nd commandment specifically forbids using images in worship. So making an image of the Apostles for decoration in your living room is not in view there.

      Historically, Reformed Protestants made a distinction between images of Christ and images of everything else. You mentioned Peter bowing down before Jesus. No, that is not idolatry, because Jesus was God incarnate. But is a picture of Jesus (that may or may not look like Jesus' human form) also God incarnate? Of course not. That's just one of many problems with attempting to use Jesus Himself as an example for how (or if) we should have and use images.

      In fact, one classic Reformed argument was that images of Christ were necessarily Nestorian, because they depict Jesus' human nature separated from His divine nature (since the divine is invisible and by definition cannot be depicted).

  • http://januaryrainstorm@blogspot.com Mark Z

    I appreciated reading this review. It seems balanced and is very informative for someone who has yet to see any episodes and doesn't intend to watch the show.

  • Jeffery

    Didn't the apostles outright say "He didn't die" and "They tried to kill him, but they failed." after the resurrection?

    • Kenton

      They did, but that contradicted what they said earlier (that he did die and rise again). The Acts parts seemed entirely rushed and just sloppily done. Definitely the worst part of the series. Those statements did give me pause, though, as that's NOT the message you want to communicate to the audience.

  • Rick L

    Hi folks. Re the discussion about "icons/idols," has everyone had a brain freeze and just forgotten that New Covenant believers are flat out NOT under the Mosaic Law. Jews once, but no more since Jesus' death and resurrection; Gentiles, never, and still not, for the same reason. Paul even advises that the issue of idols is not a matter of law ("there is no such thing as an idol," but of one's own conscience, and the conscience of weaker brothers. Also, re thinking that portraying the God/Man Jesus before His resurrection in pictures: How about this: " No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." (John 1:18). So, we still haven't "seen" God in His full, and invisible, essence, but Jesus has visibly revealed as much of God as mankind can stand and still live. (And I know that "made Him known," literally means "exegeted Him," but the point remains). So, if all those people on earth saw Jesus as God in the flesh for 3+ years, then how can there be a Biblical objection to having a picture of what an AD 1st century Israeli man probably looked like?

    • Kenton

      There really should be no issue with regard to portraying Jesus, unless 1) the intent is worship, or 2) you for some reason believe that Christ really wasn't 100% human. That said, historically, the intent has been worship, or at least reverence, which is what the spiritually weak do, who do not realize that idols are just man-made objects (note that Paul wasn't saying that it was okay to have idols; the context is in meat sacrificed to them). And these spiritually weak ones begin to reverence a lifeless, false representation of the outward appearance of Jesus (as they would have him be), rather than the actual Jesus who is exalted in the heavens, holy, separate from sinners.

      • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com David Nilsen

        Rick and Kenton,

        As I mentioned briefly above, the argument has not historically been about worship only. The Reformers argued that you cannot depict Jesus in an image because that would be Nestorian; the image necessarily separates Christ's humanity from His divinity. While Jesus was on earth, the human "image" that people were looking at was also fully divine. An icon painted on a piece of wood, however, is not in hypostatic union with the Godhead, and therefor divides the human nature of Christ from the divine nature.

        As I noted in my article, these sorts of theological arguments have not been persuasive to many Christians, especially modern American Christians. That's why I find the "white Jesus" controversy so fascinating; it highlights the fact that we don't even know what Jesus looked like and that portraying him visibly can lead to negative social consequences, not just theological ones.

        • Kenton

          I understood that, but I don't think it's a particularly good argument, but that may be because image creation has become so much more widespread and accessible via photography and film. One of the reasons why those sorts of arguments (or that particular argument) don't resonate is because images don't even relay the character or personality or beliefs or words of ordinary humans, much less one who possesses a divine nature as well. Images are limited in what they depict. But just because they don't depict those things doesn't mean that they distort theology or doctrine.

          That said, I suppose one could question why Christians would make portraits of Jesus, as opposed to scenes depicting Jesus' actions. Portraits are meant only to show physical attributes (and sometimes emotion), not actions or defining works. Same with statues. But I think those are very different from a film, which can show Jesus' character and words and actions, and therefore is capable of depicting his godliness and divine character.

  • John Darrow

    I'm curious why they picked Samson of all the Judges to highlight in regards to "redemptive history"? If it wasn't for Hebrews 11, would we suspect Samson was really a faithful follower of YHWH!? No way, but at least he had "cool" dreads!

    • Kenton

      the [intentional or unintentional] racial overtones, I suspect it's simply because it's a popular Sunday School story, and the most memorable from the book of Judges. They were trying to hit each section of the Bible, so that's why Samson was included (though Gideon or Deborah would have been better, showing the consequences of sin).

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  • Reggie

    I have a lot to say but let me just say thank you for your honesty. You're on point. When a Christians is ok with a little lie (in this case blatant lie), he/she has no right to call out other lies (Big or Small). The Passion of the Christ had a purpose. It's was a historical perspective of the crucifixion (which was achieved). The Gospel of John was word for word from the bible. This series is border line racist, doctrinally inaccurate, and I do not believe Jesus would be pleased with this movie (IMO). I was hoping for a more historically and biblically account of the Bible sense it's was aired on the "History Channel". This movies purpose was achieved as well ($$$$).

    • Melody

      Your comment cracked me up. The Passion of the Christ was a historical perspective? I'm wondering what historical document had a man/woman walking around holding a baby representing Satan taunting Jesus.
      Don't get me wrong I loved the Passion of the Christ. I think after all the zombie Jesus movies of the 60's and 70's we needed a little reality of Jesus as a human man that suffered the real brutality of our sin on Him. The people that discount the movie because of the sin of Mel Gibson just really miss what Christ died for. As if Mel Gibson's sins were any worse than any of the men that God used in the bible or themselves.
      He did use artistic license when it came to the lighting so it would be like an Italian artist that he liked so that wasn't reality but gave it incredible impact. And obviously Satan was his interpretation.
      The other part that was funny was the part about it being on the History Channel. The History Channel has never been a trustworthy place for facts especially when it comes to religion. They are a secular institution run by secular men with a blindness to spiritual things. My brother sees their shows on the books that are left out of the bible as a real reason not to trust the bible that we know as the inspired word of God. So don't elevate the History Channel. Question everything that you see and research it yourself if you do not know the subject personally.
      These are just all recreations by fallible people. Some really love God, including those that did this one, but they are just people. Personally I don't understand the excitement by well read Christians anymore than I understand the extreme disdain.

  • http://idolatrycondemned.blogspot.com/ Matthew

    To discover the meaning and significance of the Second Commandment, it is helpful to see, not only the wording of the first part, but to see the commandment as a whole. See it in the light of all Scripture (its "macro-context") [i.e. "Scripture interprets Scripture" (cf. Psalm 36:9; 119:105, 130)]. Cited by Turretin are Moses (Deuteronomy 4:12), the idolatry of the Israelites representing God by the image of a calf (Exodus 32) and God "the best interpreter of his own law" (Isaiah 40:18) as proving that the Second Commandment prohibits us from making images of the Lord.

    And see it in its own immediate context; note this observation concerning the introduction:

    "The issue turns on Yahweh's testimony to himself set over against man's. The prohibition of images is grounded in the self-introductory formula, 'I am Yahweh,' which summarizes God's own testimony to himself. The contrast to this true witness, the substitution of an image—regardless of whether spiritual or crass—is judged to be a false witness, hence a delusion." (Childs, Book of Exodus, p. 409)

    And see the Second Commandment in its own "micro-context"; see the connection of the last part of the commandment (20:5-6) with the first part. The two parts (complex as they are) are connected by the word "for." The "for" gives the Lord's explanation for the command. (1) God is jealous. (Is He jealous of an image when we give it a name of the Lord? Or is He jealous of us for giving His holy name to an image? In either case, it is in this context about using images that He says He is a jealous God.) He is jealous of the "[made] unto thee" images, indicating that He sees them as other than Himself and competitors for His name and honor and devotion. (2) He sees the images as "iniquity." (Making such images doesn't "keep" His commandments.) (3) He visits this iniquity upon future generations. (This is the law of inheritance: parents give their children their iniquitous concepts and images of the Lord, to be further corrupted by each succeeding generation) (4) He sees our deity images as "hate" for Himself. (even if we use them as "devotional aids.") We "hate" Him as He is revealed to be, so we make Him to be what we want Him to be. (5) Finally, if we love the Lord, let's keep His commandments and remember His promise of "showing mercy to thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."

    Also, the one who brought Israel out of Egypt is described as the Lord. See Jude verses 4-5 to see that Jesus Christ is our only Lord and that He saved a people out of the land of Egypt.

    "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe." (Jude 1:4-5)

    Notice how the word "elohim" in Nehemiah 9:19 was translated in the KJV (as it is in other versions):

    "Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations [blasphemies, NASB, ESV, HCSB];" (Nehemiah 9:18 KJV)

    Also, according to John Gill the Arabic version has it "the image of thy god"

    1 Kings 12:28 and Nehemiah 9:18 are, of course, recalling Exodus 32:4. On a blog post by TurretinFan, he explained the immediate context of 1 Kings 12:28 showing that the word "elohim" is in specific reference to the Lord:

    the reference to "which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt" seems to be a reference to a very specific divinity, namely Jehovah.
    This explanation applies to Nehemiah 9:19 and Exodus 32:4, which contain the same expression "Who [(NASB, ESV, HCSB)] brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

    Following Exodus 32:4, verse 5 shows the people did not intend to renounce the worship of Jehovah (ref. see JFB commentary).

    "And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD." (Exodus 32:5 KJV)

    That the word "elohim" in these passages is actually referring to the Lord is further proven by Psalm 106:19-20

    "They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass." (Psalm 106:19-20 KJV)

    See Romans 1:23-25 for what it means to 'change the glory of God into a similitude' and to 'change the truth of God into a lie'. Note: Jeremiah 2:11 "My people have exchanged their Glory for useless idols." Jeremiah 10:8, 14 "the stock is a doctrine of vanities." (KJV) "Everyone is stupid and ignorant. Every goldsmith is put to shame by his carved image, for his cast images are a lie; there is no breath in them." (HCSB) Habbakuk 2:18 "What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it, Or an image, a teacher of lies?" (NASB)

    Note: Israel's glory is the Lord (see: Psalm 3:3, Isaiah 60:19). Also see "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." (Isaiah 42:8) and "For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another." (Isaiah 48:11)

    And note that the Third Commandment is also broken "when men give the title and name of God to those things which are not God indeed" (ref. see Thomas Cranmer's sermons on the Second and Third Commandments). Also, Martin Luther gives a similar point in his Preface to the Prophets, concerning Hosea 2:16. "Thus says the Lord: thou shalt call me my husband, and no longer call me my Baal; for I will take away the name Baalim from their mouths; the name of Baalim shall no longer be remembered." (see Martin Luther's Preface to the Prophets)

    "They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again." (Amos 8:14 KJV)

    John Gill points out the epithet, "only belonged to the God of Israel" and Matthew Poole on Amos 8:14 says, "Thy god, O Dan, liveth; the idol at Dan is the true and living God."

    Hosea also mentions the expression:

    "Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth." (Hosea 4:15 KJV)

    Note the Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary on Hosea 4:15:

    "nor swear, The Lord liveth — This formula of oath was appointed by God Himself (Deu_6:13; Deu_10:20; Jer_4:2). It is therefore here forbidden not absolutely, but in conjunction with idolatry and falsehood (Isa_48:1; Eze_20:39; Zep_1:5)."

    And don't forget Paul told people not to worship God by an image (because he knew men are prone to do so and because the Lord is worshiped in spirit and in truth, not by images like the pagans worship their gods). "Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man." (Acts 17:29)

    Scripture prohibits the making, retaining, and worship of idols. Pastor Alan Cairns asked in a sermon "Can a Christian think of Christ apart from all context of worship? Indeed, should a Christian ever be invited to think of Christ apart from any context of worship!" And Theologian John Murray also wrote, "The incarnate Word and the written Word are correlative. We dare not use other media of impression or of sentiment but those of his institution and prescription. Every thought and impression of him should evoke worship. We worship him with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God. To use a likeness of Christ as an aid to worship is forbidden by the second commandment as much in his case as in that of the Father and Spirit." A motion picture with the image of an actor portraying Christ would have a depraved creature representing the sinless Son of God and the image of a sinner blasphemously associated with the name, title, and works of the Lord. And as Pastor Albert Martin said: "The next time that we come to the Lord's table and sing, "When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died," would there not be a great temptation to bring to mind the actor's face? Image worship would go on in this very building, as much as if you projected his face on the back wall and said, "Look, there is Christ." Idolatry begins in the image of the heart." And as Puritan Thomas Vincent observed: "It is not lawful to have pictures of Jesus Christ, because his divine nature cannot be pictured at all; and because his body, as it is now glorified, cannot be pictured as it is; and because, if it do not stir up devotion, it is in vain; if it stir up devotion, it is a worshiping by an image or picture, and so a palpable breach of the second commandment."

    I would remind you to, "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7) and that "though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer." (2 Cor. 5:16) And by way of encouragement: "we shall see Him as He is;” we shall see Him “face to face;” and “know as we are known” (1 Cor. 13:12, 1 John 3:2) and “Now we see Him not;” (1 Peter 1:8) and "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

    Beware of "false christs" and "another Jesus" (cf. Matthew 24:23-25; 2 Corinthians 11:4).

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  • Pahillbilly

    How could anyone watch this and not be embrarrassed by the cruel and meaningless stories. Stores that are so childlike if it wasn't for all the murders, genocides, mysogomy, slavery, rapes, and silliest of plaques! All this and no Mideasteners, such a sad , and in many ways a good example of the good book!

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