Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I cannot recommend The Bible

There have been dear brothers & sisters in Christ asking me what I thought about the movie "Son of God"
and the TV series it came from, "The Bible." I am honest with them when I say I haven't seen the movie and I've only seen parts of the TV series. But the parts I've seen have not prompted me to recommend it.

For example, this past weekend my sermon was based on John 11. Coincidentally, Sunday evening the episode of the "The Bible" that re-aired included the raising of Lazarus! So, I watched it. The makers of the TV series didn't even get that part correct!

Jesus and his disciples arrive in Bethany and are taken aback when confronted with a weeping Martha. They act as if they have no idea why she is crying! Martha does tell Jesus, "If you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died" or something to that effect. And Jesus did answer, "I am the resurrection and the life." At least, I seem to remember this exchange (but I could be wrong).

But I do remember clearly that Jesus did not even see Mary, much less talk to her and weep with her. Jesus is taken directly to Lazarus' tomb. They remove the stoneS (not the stone) and act as if it really stinks (which is somewhat accurate to the Biblical text).

Then Jesus enters the tomb. Lazarus is lying there in repose but no burial clothes around him. Jesus goes around the body so that he's looking at it from the back of Lazarus' head. Then he kisses Lazarus' head and Lazarus' eyes pop open. Jesus doesn't speak to Lazarus at all.

(Ironically enough, on Sunday morning, our service folder also didn't include Jesus' and Mary's conversation in the Gospel reading, but I did refer to it in the sermon).

I've seen other parts of The Bible - the ninja-like angels saving Lot and his family in Gomorrah, and the two spies fighting their way into Rahab's house in Jericho. I couldn't watch any more.

Because this series changes the stories of the Bible significantly, yet indicates that they believe they are staying true to the SPIRIT of the stories of the Bible - I cannot and will not recommend the series or the movie based on it. I have similar reservations with movie Noah as well.

I understand that when making a movie based on Bible stories it is sometimes necessary to create "fill" stories and characters. But to actually change the stories themselves, that I believe is wrong and should not be supported.

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