Thoughts on the History Channel’s “The Bible” episode three #TheBible

March 17, 2013

We must all agree, in the first place, that Herod the Great was a very unappealing man. The History Channel’s producers of “The Bible” provide an interesting view of the siege of Jerusalem but drain the deliverance scenes concerning Daniel of any drama, intensity or miraculous possibilities. The biblical Joseph, spouse of Mary, is older than Mary.It is a small thing, but after a while the cumulative inattention to detail becomes annoying. One wants to be careful not to get lost in geekish theological disputes that matter zero to the regular guy.

The doctrine hawks, among which I must be included, are a tiresome bunch and often, to our great discredit, have the most negative effect on those who are looking for Jesus. It would be a mistake to bear down too hard on this, but Mark Burnett may have shown his hand in this evening’s episode. Yes, presenting such an expansive scriptural story is a great undertaking. Indeed, this is an opportunity for well-informed believers to share the gospel message. Truly, Christians may watch and challenge their own knowledge of the inspired texts. I have done this and found myself lacking. All of this is beneficial.

So, did Jesus come down among mortal men “to change the world?” One should observe that the script does not exactly support the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. Jesus’ birth is shown to be a miracle, like many other birth in holy writ.The television story has, so far, not proposed that Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity, the God-man, fully human and fully divine, who came among human beings to bring reconciliation between God and fallen humanity. Jesus’ mission was to restore right relations and inaugurate the Kingdom of God.

It is certainly not possible for a secular television program to correctly represent orthodox doctrine, and the criticism of this essay may be premature. Perhaps in the remaining episodes this will be clarified. This is possible, but not likely. In the temptation scene, we meet a very creepy Satan character. Again, the writers have taken drama and reduced it to something sterile and unmoving. The script completely obliterates the true battlefield of these old enemies. Both Jesus and Satan are using the biblical text. The Evil One misuses and distorts the inspired word, while Jesus uses it as a weapon. So we have a mini-series called “The Bible” that submerges the authority of scripture.

To say that Jesus came in order “to change the world,” may contain some truth, but it is a mile wide stretch from the Christian understanding of Jesus unique and completely satisfactory work of salvation. This critique is very conscious of the kingdom aspects of Jesus message. The world is different because Jesus walked upon it. His body, the church, is at work in the world continuing his work of teaching mankind, encouraging his people, and administering the sacraments. We are baptized into his death and resurrection. Our sins are washed in his blood and we are saved by faith in his. Altogether, this is too much of a theological statement for a popular television program and Mark Burnett probably deserves a pass. Christian teachers, and this is all Christians, need to be aware of such things when we explain the biblical message of hope to those who have have never heard of it.

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One Response to “Thoughts on the History Channel’s “The Bible” episode three #TheBible”

  1. Sheryl Says:

    Pat,

    I don’t disagree with you. You are certainly correct we need to know what the Bible says, what we believe and be ready to give an account. I have not been able to watch all of it but did see some creative liberties ie thinking that is not the way the Bible tells it but it has been minimal. I look at it from a truth based greatest story ever told and from a production standpoint. Mark Burnett has said he is not a theologian but he is a Christian. I could argue that we are all theologians but I understand his point. I think you’ve been gracious in your concerns and comments. I have not seen that from others. I think it sends a wrong message when Christians are bickering and having theological discussions on social media. For a person who needs Jesus, this movie is a well produced, good tool to begin a conversation.

    Best to you!
    Sheryl

    PS Im loving my studies at DTS.


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