The Bible: History Channel Series -- Watch It with Your Eyes and Bibles Wide Open
Update: After watching the first three of this mini-series, I still say it is the best that Hollywood has offered in a long time. It has great acting, great sets, the narrator is superb, the special effects are quite good. However, the biblical inaccuracies are numerous and so unnecessary. Downey and Burnett said that their program would present what the Bible says. The inaccuracies go well beyond artistic license and demonstrate that Downey and Burnett (as well as their biblical scholars) care little about precision in presenting the biblical text in dramatic form. Don't get me wrong, I'm not surprised but I was hoping against hope that they would do as they said. I think they promised but didn't deliver on that score. I would recommend enjoying it while it is on television. I would not recommend buying it. Note: check out the O'Reilly interview (below) in particular to see their promise to present the stories as depicted in the Bible.
Roma Downey's religious beliefs - in her own words, sounds pantheistic/panentheistic
When I heard that The Bible was going to be broadcast on the History Channel as a miniseries, beginning Sunday, March 3 at 8 PM, I was skeptical for a few reasons.
1) It's the History Channel -- though some programs have had good biblical scholars as a part of the scholarship behind them, liberalism often wins the day in programming
2) Roma Downey of Touched by an Angel fame - early in my ministry I felt this New Age-like production was so unlike what the Bible teaches about angels (not to mention some of the quotes from it) that I actually had a sermon on angels vs. the show!
3) Typical Hollywood Inaccuracies - I remember sitting in front of the television with my Bible open as a teenager trying to figure out what Gospel the Easter story was based on. Too often, with that and depictions of Noah, Moses, David, etc., I found myself shaking my head at how inaccurate Hollywood was.
Then I got an email and along with Joel Osteen (don't get me started), there was Rick Warren (a bit better) and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family (yeah team!) endorsing it.
At that point, I thought that I would promote it on the church's Facebook page with the idea of people opening up their Bible and comparing the drama with the Word of God for accuracy. In fact, I understood the first would portray Noah's Flood and the Red Sea Crossing so I have sent potential watchers to those passages before Sunday's programming.
K-love had Roma Downey and Mark Burnett on its programming March 1. That concerned me a bit and then I came across this review from Creation Ministries International (scroll down for that)
Living a Life of Faith in Hollywood -- the couple appeared on Focus on the Family's broadcast. I am looking forward to taking the time to listen to this! I just wanted to put this out there for all of you to see as well as I just found it on Saturday morning after publishing this blog post.
The Bible … on the History Channel? A review of the TV series The Bible
by Lita Cosner and Scott Gillis of Creation Ministries International
The Bible is a brilliant production that brings the history of the Bible to life, and it’s immensely encouraging that a series of this caliber will be airing on The History Channel. No series could possibly perfectly convey the message of Scripture given the constraints of the medium. But I believe The Bible could expose people to these stories for perhaps the first time. People who won’t pick up a Bible will perhaps switch on The History Channel. And if we as Christians ‘get behind’ efforts like these, perhaps we will see more high-quality productions based on the biblical message. -- Lita Costner and Scott Gillis
Another Review From Movieguide:
The beauty of the TV miniseries THE BIBLE is how it weaves the Biblical accounts together while keeping the historical, emotional integrity of Scripture. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey do a masterful job adapting Scripture. Some details are left out due to time constraints, but the first episode succeeds in making history come alive, without diminishing God’s power. Parents need to exercise caution for younger children. There are some heavier action scenes and implied sexuality. Otherwise, however, the first episode to THE BIBLE is tremendously exciting, inspiring, and uplifting. Best of all, it reminds us that God is always with us. -- Movieguide review
My conclusion: we may be pleasantly surprised while seeing some inaccuracies such as, in the trailer, the Wise Men visit the baby Jesus at the stable, a common mistake in such depictions.
Here is my qualified endorsement: set your DVR or watch it with your family when it premieres on Sunday with your eyes and Bibles wide open.
Other links of interest:
Interview on NBC's Today Show -- this is rather encouraging, actually
Interview on ABC News -- in this, the interviewer asks if they take the Bible literally or symbolically in the production
O'Reilly Interview -- I believe that Burnett and Downey come off as more conservative than O'Reilly here.
The Bible miniseries website from The History Channel
includes resources such as a Bible app, Faith Resources for outreach and Bible studies, trailer, books and DVD's, etc.
The First Show in the Series: Beginnings
Premiere Date:March 03, 2013 - 08:00-10:00PM
Noah endures God’s wrath; Abraham reaches the Promised Land but still must prove his faith in God; Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt, and his faith in God is rewarded when the Red Sea parts to allow the Israelites to escape Pharaoh’s chariots; Moses delivers his final message from God–the Ten Commandments.
March 04, 2013 - 12:01-02:01AM
March 06, 2013 - 09:00-11:02PM
March 07, 2013 - 01:01-03:03AM
March 10, 2013 - 06:00-08:00PM
according to: http://www.history.com/shows/the-bible/episodes
Review after the first episode by Dr. Mitchell of Answers in Genesis