The Bible A. D. – Are Biblical Themed Films A Good Thing?

There have been a number of films in the last year or two, some have tried desperately to play down the role of God in any Bible story. The film “Noah” being a case in point, the trailer and other publicity material seemed okay, until Christians saw the actual film and were bemused as to the additions to the plot that contradicted the Biblical account. Now you can expect that sort of thing from people who are not claiming to be Christians but when the “Bible Series” appeared on television I found that I could not watch it for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I found that having switched to the channel it was showing on and I worked out which Bible story was being depicted in that episode then I would notice some Biblical error or more than one passage being conflated together. One example, was their version of the resurrection had Mary Magdalene witnessing the risen Lord before she told Peter and John of the empty grave, which is the wrong sequence of events according to John’s Gospel. The danger is that sometimes more serious programmes will use excerpts from these films or programmes to illustrate Biblical points leaving viewers who lack Biblical knowledge confused as to what the Bible actually says. When unbelievers get it wrong that is understandable, but when producers of such dramas claim that the Bible is true why do they feel the need to alter it so much for dramatic effect? Now, you I might read the same passage of Scripture and both come away with different ideas as to how to dramatise it. The producers of a film are looking for about 90 minutes or longer of material, and for some Bible stories that occur over several chapters the problem may what to leave out whereas other subjects are relatively short and then there is pressure to pad the story out. There are warnings in Scripture against adding and subtracting from the Word of God. There was a time when knowledge of Scripture was considered a basic part of our education but today Christianity is often taught as one of many religions. So the average member of the audience in the past would have an idea where artistic licence was being used in a scene whereas today this is increasingly unlikely.
It is all too easy to dismiss such films as idolatrous, especially if they depict the person of Jesus, without looking for positives. In an age when the mainstream media tries to ignore the existence of God, then at the very least they raise the profile of the Bible. The danger is that the audience gets a very negative view of a judgemental God, which justifies their negative stereotype of Christianity and never is inspired to pick up a Bible and read it for themselves. Alternatively, in reaction to this Christians may try and over compensate for this and portray Christ as being naive and incapable of seeing anything bad in anybody. Neither is correct. I know understand that the producers of The Bible series have produced a series on the early Church called “The Bible – A. D.” I have not seen any excerpts of it yet so I can only hope it is more accurate than the previous series, but I am not holding my breath. One would hope that they would stick to what the Bible actually says and not some dubious “early Christian tradition.” After all Jesus said he was the Truth and not the half-truth so we should at least strive for 100% accuracy in our depiction of Him and His Gospel.
David Rose, 2015

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About davidgrose

I am a Bible believing Christian, brought up in the Brethren Movement, and now find myself associating with charismatics even though I do not always agree with them. I am in full-time employment. I have interests in history and photography amongst others.
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