There is a new trend I have, and you have probably detected within the last year: the Bible re-enacted through miniseries’ and films. Some of these elaborate projects have received masses of praise, while others have received floods of controversy and criticism. It is a controversial topic of conversation, and often evokes two types of reactions: “This is a new, evolved tool of ministry, made for this day and age. Especially with the mastered art of special effects”, or “This medium is misinterpreting the Word and censoring it for the entertainment of the world, resulting in preconceived notions that the production is what happened in reality”.
In this universal debate, I can see from the perspectives of both defenses. I admit, my curiosity became like a hungry beast when word first came out that the History Channel would release a miniseries, over the ENTIRE Bible. First thing that enters my mind is, “What?! How is that even possible? This series is going to cost who knows much, and it will last throughout my entire lifetime!” As the world prepared itself for the epic series in spring of 2013, it sparked conversation over the greatest book ever written. I believe, without a doubt, the series has the potential to lead people to Christ. Just seeing the Bible unfolding before your very eyes, having the visual made of the basis of the Christian faith, is just fascinating and makes it all the more real. Nothing is more real than when Christ first encounters the unbeliever, but the series scrapes the surface, revealing a small essence of the Bible and Jesus Christ Himself; it somewhat puts it into perspective.
As mentioned in the past and as seen in my bio, I am fascinated by the capabilities of the camera — what you can create through it. So, allow myself to nerd out for a moment. With the technology that has evolved to be, it has given those with the passion to create visual stories, history or fiction, to impact other people. From each individual shot done intentionally to come across a certain message (Whether it be a “tight” (close), medium, or “establishing” (wide) shot), the music influencing you to feel a certain way about a character or circumstance, to the perception you can give the audience; you have what seems to be limitless power. This is where the controversy of recreating the Bible through film arises.
I am not just talking about “The Bible Series” here. “Noah”, “Son of God”, which was a collaboration of the Christ scenes in “The Bible” series, and the upcoming film to be released December of this year based on the Exodus of the Hebrew nation, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” are not off the hook. Yes, the people involved “making the magic happen” are filming a sacred truth held by millions or billions (I am not sure of the exact statistics. Only God knows that). And that is awesome. However, because they are stepping onto God’s territory, the consequence of making these productions is that many of those, especially those who have yet been revealed the raw truth through Christ, make the interpretations seen through these films as their sole center of truth of the Bible.
Hollywood is known for its over-exaggerating and sometimes disregarding the truth. I like how “The Bible” and “Son of God” interpreted Jesus Christ, however, I know for a fact that Christ is more than just flowers and rainbows. Throughout Scripture, He has proven to be very witty, sarcastic, and honestly, the Master of all comebacks; the Pharisees could never detect when He would disprove them of their man-made, misinterpretations of Scripture when the Savior, the Messiah was living amongst them. One inconsistency I have also seen is that all these dramatizations of the Bible is just the fact of the characters’ appearances. Nothing against the actors, but based on the geographical locations on the events the Bible took place, majority of the people throughout the Bible, including Jesus, were of middle-eastern descent; and I’m not an expert on accents, but I am pretty sure they were not English.
From an aspiring filmmaker/documentarian’s perspective, my dream is to impact people and make them self-evaluate themselves and life as a whole.
But from a spiritual perspective, try not to base the truth of God through manmade films with overwhelming and overused special effects. To really live and see the work of God, refer to the Word of God Himself.