Why Does History Channel's "The Bible" Series Make Christians Angry?
"The Bible" series premiering two weeks ago (March 3rd) on The History Channel has made for more conversation than anyone could have expected.
Not only were the ratings out of this world, with the premiere episode "The Beginnings" being the highest rated cable television show this year as well as being The History Channel's highest rated original series ever after it's first week.
One of the main reasons the show was such a success was producers Mark Burnell ("Survivor", The Apprentice") and Roma Downey ("Touched by an Angel") reaching out and gaining the support of many of the biggest churches and pastors in the country. Pastors like ,T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren got behind the series and were rallying their churches and large social media followings to make sure to watch the series.
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So with the support of so many respected Christian leaders and having ratings through the roof for the series, what could go wrong?
Well, the truth is simple. The bible is a million times too complex to share in a 10 hour visual display. So the producers and directors had the enormous and basically impossible task of picking out "highlights" of the bible to share in this series.
Along with picking certain stories, there is the factor (as is with any book put to film) of people having pre-conceived notions of what people should look like. So with the most important and polarizing book ever, this sense is heightened 100x. A main example in "The Bible" episode #2 was the fact that Samson was portrayed by a black man (Nonso Anozie) with dread locks. I happened to think that this was awesome and definitely made you think outside the box of the Sunday School image of Fabio running through your head. We have research and theories, but no solid facts that a strong black man could not have been in that region at that time. So people who think the show is ruined because of this fact, I feel are completely missing the boat and being distracted for the wrong reasons.
There is not time in this article to go over ever difference or "inaccuracy" that people have shared with "The Bible" series, like the "warrior" angels (who I thought were awesome), or the timing of David's rise to king, so let me just leave you with a few thoughts.
This is the bible and gospel message being shared to ten's of millions of people who might never have stepped inside a church building on their own. God can work on anyones heart through this series no matter if all of the details are shared the way everyone wants them. This show will hopefully be the first step for thousands of people to find out more about Jesus and potentially commit their life to Christ one day.
No one could ever put together every fact and image from the bible just right on screen that everyone would be happy with. But I thank God that the producers and directors of this show were not fearful enough of that to stop them from going forward. I am thankful they took that step of faith, knowing that criticism would come, unfortunately mostly from the church itself.
Let us just pray that God will use this powerful series to change hearts and lives and win people for the Kingdom of God. That is the ultimate goal here. "The Bible" series, nor any series will ever be perfect, but I do believe they have put their heart and passion into this series for the last several years to make it as powerful and accurate for people as possible.
I say thank you for making the effort.
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