Last Sunday at 8 PM I watched The Bible miniseries’ (episode one) on the History Channel. First I had to recover from the shock of seeing actual history on the history channel, instead of Swamp People and Pawn Stars. Then I had to decide if I liked it.
This week I’ve read all kinds of opinions about The Bible on the History Channel. Some say it’s the greatest thing since John wrote Revelation. Others say the dramatic license taken by the producers, Roma Downey of Touched by an Angel fame, and her husband, television producer Mark Burnett, created an inaccurate and over the top Hollywood-like production.
Whatever opinions are out there, there’s no denying its popularity. 13.1 million viewers makes it the highest rated show for the network so far this year.
(One word of caution. The Old Testament stories are violent stories. You may not want your children to view The Bible miniseries.)
It was interesting to see a family member watching, with her bible open, and looking up stories to see how things turned out. I was surprised at how many questions, good questions, she asked about God, Jesus Christ, and the bible as we watched together.
So for the first ten minutes or so, I didn’t know what to think. But after experiencing the discussion generated by this TV show, I quickly came to see it as a tool, a very useful one at that.
No, it is not the greatest thing since Revelation. Yes, there was dramatic license taken. Yes, there were times when it was over the top. Part of the reason for these shortcomings is logistical. The project attempts the impossible, to cover the entire bible in five episodes, the last of which culminates on Easter Sunday evening. So there’s no way to do that effectively without some creative editing. Another reason is the desire on the part of the producers to meet what they perceive to be the expectations of their audience, expectations I don’t necessarily agree with.
Who’s the Baby and What to do with the Bath Water
Whatever the shortcomings, and whatever the reasons behind them, The Bible miniseries is a great opportunity to share God’s words and Jesus Christ with others. Where there are inaccuracies, you might want to open an actual bible and point them out. When questions arise about the Old Testament, point out that the stories, while historically accurate, are also pictures of New Testament principals that point to Jesus Christ. Where you can, use this program to draw people to our Lord.
There are those who would never sit through a church sermon but might enjoy watching the story on TV. So invite your unbelieving friends who you think might enjoy it, and answer their questions.
Watch with a bible nearby and at the ready.
Throw out the dirty and biblically inaccurate water, by all means. But do it gently enough so the baby remains.
It’s a great opportunity.
Lord willing, I’ll be in front of the TV this Sunday, at 8, answering questions about Him.
[Image via: History Channel]