Posts Tagged ‘History Channel’

Ken Ham of “Answers in Genesis” recently wrote a scathing review of the upcoming “Noah” movie, starring Russell Crow.
http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2013/11/19/dont-be-taken-in-by-the-noah-movies-promotion/

Personally I don’t see what’s got him so upset about this movie; especially when you compare it to the History Channel’s miniseries, “The Bible”.

There were many inaccuracies portrayed in the miniseries but a few that stood out for me was in the episode about the angels visiting Lot in Sodom. The angels are portrayed as vengeful warriors killing many of the men in Sodom. But Genesis 19 never mentions the angels doing anything to the men of Sodom except striking the men with blindness. (And not swords)

During the story of Jesus’ birth, a common mistake is made by having the Magi visit at the same time as the shepherds. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi arrived much later- possibly years later. (Matthew 2:1-12) Although the Bible does not give us the number of wise men, Matthew wrote the following concerning the magi’s visit: ‘After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.’ (Matthew 2:1-3)

Would King Herod and many in Jerusalem be upset because of only the claim of two or three men? Probably not, but if there were many Magi on the same mission to find and worship a new King of the Jews; that would have been cause for great concern for a sitting king of that time. It is possible that they were religious or scholarly envoys of royalty in a distant land. These magi did not arrive until possibly almost two years after Christ’s birth-certainly sometime after his presentation in the Temple. (Luke 2:22-39) Immediately after their visit the magi were warned in a dream not to return to King Herod and left the region.

Considering their target audience, the producers of the History Channel’s miniseries could have easily been much more faithful to what the Bible says in many instances without losing cinematic appeal. I see little to no value in most of the “artistic license” the producers took in these episodes. And yet there was no outcry from the Christian community about the blatant inaccuracies.

Look, movies are produced for entertainment and to make money, not for accuracy. Movies based on the Bible are no different than other movies “based on a true story”. If nothing else, these Bible movies may encourage people to actually study the Bible themselves. After all, the Bible has plenty of excitement all on its own.

Earlier this week Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly interviewed “Touched by an Angel” star Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett, executive producers of “The Bible” TV miniseries which began Sunday night on the History Channel. “Bringing the Bible to the screen came with a huge responsibility and one we took very seriously,” Downey said. “We had a great team of scholars and theologians helping us, making sure that we told these stories accurately and truthfully. I’ve been a believer my whole life, and that was very, very important to us.” (Read more HERE)

I watched the premiere of the miniseries and was disappointed, (but not surprised) by the many inaccuracies found in the miniseries that Downey and Burnett took so seriously that they employed a team of scholars and theologians to help them get it right.

I’m sure Downey and Burnett meant well and I have no reason to doubt their sincerity, but I think they would have been better off to follow the example of Cecil B. DeMille in preparing for his movie, “The Ten Commandments”.

To prepare his studio to film The Ten Commandments DeMille sent a copy of the Bible to every single person on the payroll, with the words, “As I intend to film practically the entire book of Exodus . . . the Bible should never be away from you. Place it on your desk, and when you travel, stick in your briefcase. Make reading it a daily habit.”

The moral life of the production camp was rigorously prim and proper, and DeMille installed a separate tent which served only kosher food to two hundred twenty-four orthodox Russian, Polish, and Palestinian Jews working on the production.

I found it interesting that so far, the Jewish aspect of the miniseries is non-existent. I would have thought that at the very least, they would have included the first Passover Seder in the film like DeMille did in ‘The Ten Commandments’ movie.

Other discrepancies in Sunday’s premiere begin with the story of Abraham and Lot. They portrayed Lot’s capture as if it were a squabble between small tribes when the Bible teaches that it involved battles between the armies of five kings (nations) against another four. (Gen. 14:1-11) And when Abraham heard that his nephew was taken captive, he mobilized 318 trained men (soldiers) who had been born into his household to rescue Lot and his family. (Gen 14: 13-16)

Then there was the film’s depiction of Lot in Sodom. Because of political correctness I understand why they felt they needed to leave out the reason the men of Sodom wanted to break into Lot’s home, but the Bible plainly teaches that the men of Sodom wanted to rape the angels. When Lot refused, they threatened to do even worse to him. The angels then shut the door and smote the men with blindness so that they soon gave up trying to get inside Lot’s house. (Gen. 19:1-11)

There is absolutely nothing in Scripture that even alludes that the angels walked through Sodom like ninjas cutting men down with swords! Is this something that Downey and Burnett learned from the scholars?

Since most Christians get their doctrinal beliefs from movies and greeting cards, movies like this do a great disservice to God’s Word. A good example of this is the story of Lot’s wife. The Bible never states, as many people presume, that Lot’s wife was miraculously and instantly turned into a pillar of salt. It simply says she became a pillar of salt. (Gen. 19:15 – 26) Given the nature of the destruction of Sodom, combined with the circumstances of her own death, it’s quite possible that Lot’s wife did indeed become a pillar of salt due to natural occurrences.

The Hebraic phrase translated as “looked back” means more than simply turning her head around for a glance. The term more likely implies “turning back,” in the sense that Lot’s wife decided to leave her family and was on her way to return to the city. (Compare to Luke 17:28-33 and Luke 9:62)

Assuming that Lot’s wife did turn back to Sodom, it is quite possible that the sulfur and ashes that destroyed the city reached Lot’s wife, causing her death. Lot and his daughters, further ahead, were protected by God because they didn’t “look back.” Over time, Lot’s wife’s remains would have been layered in salt, given both the process of petrifaction that happens to remains of sulfur and the high levels of salt and sediment in the Dead Sea region.

From the comments I’ve read praising “The Bible” miniseries, many might think that I’m being too legalistic and only writing this to criticize the filmmakers.

I understand that producers make films in order to make money. I also understand that in order to make a film more profitable they sometimes need to take artistic liberties to make the film more interesting.

But the purpose of this article is not to criticize Downey and Burnett or any other filmmaker who produces Bible based movies. The purpose of this article is to encourage you not to base your religious beliefs on some miniseries or movie you watched or someone’s book you read– but only on the Word of God.

 “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” (Ephesians 4:14)