Last year the History Channel featured the epic television event, “The Bible Series,” which was produced by Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett. This show captivated audiences and became the talk of many churches. Churches even purchased pre-written sermons to go along with the show, which according to outreach.com made it into 180,000 churches.
Roma and Mark were endlessly interviewed in Christian magazines, and on Christian radio. All along saying that they were sold out Christians and believers filled with the Holy Spirit.
And the churches bought it.
They promoted it.
And yet, as I watched “The Bible Series,” I personally became furious at how much they twisted the word of God. Not just omitting things for the sake of time–but changing the theme, the message, and the nature of Bible characters, and the nature of God Himself.
That is inexcusable.
God will judge that.
I was furious.
My husband and I were sitting in our darkened living room with our bowls of ice cream and we couldn’t even get five minutes into it without pausing it and discussing how, not only is it different than the Bible, but that the way that it is different changes so much of the truth of God and the Bible. We would talk about what message it is sending to people that don’t know God. It got so bad that I had to write about it.
***Disclaimer–Now, in this blog I am going to go on and tell you some things about Roma Downey and Mark Burnett that some of you might find judgmental. I am being judgmental. Jesus told us to know them by their fruit, He warned us that false teachers come in like wolves among sheep. There are two types of judging–judging to identify the nature and identity of someone or something (which Jesus told us to do). And judging to punish or condemn to hell (which we are to leave to God). I am judging to identify, and warn. I am not judging to condemn to hell.
You might not be used to this kind of writing. You might think it is unbiblical. If you haven’t read the Epistles in the New Testament you might not know that most of them are warnings to the churches to be careful of false teachers, and exhortation to stand against false teaching. Paul did this. Timothy did this. Peter did this. John did this. Titus did this. And so did Jude. This is what the church is supposed to do. I am not hateful. I have passion for the truth of the Lord Jesus. I am going to post a verse that sums it up before I let you get back to the article.
“But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)***
Last year, I wrote about some alarming information about Roma Downey’s New Age ties and unbiblical twisting of the Bible in “Wake Up! — me screaming then apologizing for some strange reason” and later in “The Bible Series on the History Channel–Turning The Word of God into Hebrew Myth“
All along the thing that got me the most upset was how easily the church allowed Roma Downey and Mark Burnett to come in and deceive us. We gave up our pulpits to strangers, thinking they were like us but all along they were fake Christians.
Did you know that?
They are NOT real Christians.
They are full on New Agers.
This is portion of what I wrote on this topic last year:
I was listening to Christian radio last week and I heard a radio interview on Focus on the Family with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett about their new television series, The Bible. They claimed to be Christian and said that the Lord has called them to make this series. She shared about how she would pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill her when she was on “Touched by an Angel.” I was a little surprised at the picture she was trying to create, but I let it go. Whatever. But one of their main points was that there are a lot of Christians in Hollywood and they are not ashamed to admit it.
… Then I happened to see a blog by a woman I used to follow years ago. And she mentioned that Roma Downey has some New Age ties. I remembered my red flag and I followed up on her sources and did my own research. Because by now many members of my church were posting on Facebook about how “AMAZING” the show was. I don’t want to be a kill-joy! But it is true. Roma Downey deceived the church when she went on Focus on the Family. She came on Christian Radio and pretended to be a the same kind of Christian that we are. There is room for differences in the body of Christ, but New Age paganism falls outside the fence.
She was quoted in an article talking about how she listens to books on tape by Eckart Tolle. “I get my own selections [on the radio in the car] — books on tape by Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins…” She goes on to say, “My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating.’” Really? Because I have never heard my pastor’s wife talk like that? If you are not familiar with Eckart Tolle, he is a New Age teacher who twists the Bible and adds it to his Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Shintoist philosophy. If you are familiar with him, and you like him–whatever. He is a false teacher when it comes to Christianity. Charlie Campbell has a list of his troubling statements.
Aside from her VERY questionable theological beliefs, she has gone to the University of Santa Monica to get a degree in “Spiritual Psychology.” When I first read that I thought, “so?” BUT when I looked it up, the University of Santa Monica is not just a school like Cal Poly or USC that people from all walks of life go to. When you click on their home page you will see that it specializes in New Age degrees.
When you go to the page entitled “What is Spiritual Psychology?” you will see that they are indeed promoting New Age ideas. Here is a quote, “Spiritual Psychology is the study and practice of the art and science of human evolution in consciousness.” It goes on to say, “Put another way, Spiritual Psychology is a technology that empowers students to convert their everyday life experiences into rungs on the ladder of Spiritual Evolution.”
Do you think that has ANYTHING to do with Jesus dying on the cross for your sins? So you could evolve spiritually? NOOOOO. It is blasphemy to the Christian which she claims to be. A Christian who happens to be so self-realized that she is levitating?!?! Uhm levitating? That is a funny little joke Roma. Because IF you were self-realized, have you realized that you are created out of dirt? You are a sinner? You can’t evolve spiritually, because if you could Jesus wouldn’t have had to come die on the cross for your sins. Do you “realize” that the Bible is the BEST book on “Spiritual Psychology” there is??? And it won’t baby you, or flatter you–but it will give you the truth and give you HOPE that ONLY exists IN CHRIST JESUS!
So this New Age woman and her husband want to go on Focus on the Family and laugh and talk about the Holy Spirit and their love for the Bible, and this call that God placed on their lives to make a Hollywood movie of His favorite book.
Then they wanted all their Hollywood friends to promote the series on Twitter. For some reason John Edward from “Crossing Over” tweeted that he didn’t need to be a psychic to know that this series is going to be SPECTACULAR! And P-Diddy, Christian Aguilera, Jane Lynch, Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York, Adam Levine, and Shakira just so happen to really love the Bible, right? Do they go to church too? Are they some of the Christians in Hollywood that you talked about in your interview? That is crazy.
And then when my friends are telling me, after watching it, that it was “SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD.” And they did notice a few things that were different, but other than that it was really, really good. So to them it is okay that it is different from the Bible. A series called the Bible and it is DIFFERENT than the Bible. Okay . . . (The Last Hiker)
I just read that Roma Downey was even on TV with famous psychic Jonathan Edward talking to her dead mother. This is a practice called necromancy, which is forbidden in the Bible, at least for real Christians. God hates this.
ACTRESS Roma Downey has talked to her mother through a psychic on live TV. The Derry-born Touched By An Angel star was a guest on a celebrity version of the US psychic show Crossing Over, hosted by medium John Edward. Roma’s mother Maureen died of a heart attack in Derry when she was 10. And Roma was heartbroken that she was never able to tell her how much she loved her. So she jumped at an offer from the producers of the show on the Sci-Fi Channel to speak to her mum using Edwards for the connection. (source).
And her connections to psychic Jonathan Edward do not end there, she even went on to partner with him in a book he wrote. Does this sound like someone you would invite to teach in your church?
Not only has Downey used and endorsed John Edward’s occult practices, she has assisted him with a book on praying based on heretical Catholic practices. In the book Edwards encourages readers to “pray the rosary” a practice of holding a Catholic Crucifix necklace and uttering repetitive chants in prayers to Mary, the mother of Jesus in the Bible. This practice is sinful for several reasons. As shown above, Christians are not to communicate with the dead. Whether it is a relative, someone from the Bible or a celebrity, any attempts to speak with the dead is necromancy. Secondly, Mary was just a normal person. We are not to pray to her, hail her or seek anything from God through Mary. 1 Timothy 2:3 says: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” It is Jesus Christ who is our advocate with God The Father. He is our High Priest who we take our prayers too.(Beginning and End)
These people are liars. They have a history of twisting the Word of God in ways that change the message of the gospel and the nature, character, holiness, righteousness, and justice of God. I go into more detail in the “Hebrew Myth” post. Please take time to read it. What they do with the Bible is terrible. And this is very important.
Because this film is being handed to us as a “tool of evangelism” and a way to give Jesus to people who do not go to church–isn’t it important that we make sure we are giving them the real Jesus and not Hollywood Jesus? Because again, they are asking us to do their publicity for them. On their official site you can get free posters and community outreach kits. Pastors can again buy sermons and discussion guides. The level of marketing for this movie is crazy. Not only do they want to market and promote this movie THROUGH the body of Christ, they also want to SELL the doctrine of this movie to the church. As if the Word of God was for sell. As if the message of the life of Christ was something they have some special insight into.
What if millions of people walk away from this film with a false understanding of Jesus Christ? And what if the Church doesn’t notice this as much because we are already so familiar with Jesus, that we may subconsciously fill in the gaps of the story, but the unchurched cannot do that. They don’t have the prior reference to be able to do that.
I think this “Son of God” film is outright dangerous. It should be treated the same way we treat Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness material. Yes they talk about Jesus. Think about it –they share our same Bible stories. But they have twisted the gospel, the nature of God and the nature of Christ. It is the same thing.
We have seen enough from “The Bible Series” already to convince us that they are going to give the New Age Gospel.
Sunny Shell was quoted on Stand For the Truth, and she said some really important things about how they portrayed two important moments in the life of Christ,
On John the Baptist: Prior to being beheaded John exclaims “He [Jesus] will bring a new age of righteousness and justice. His [Jesus’] power will draw all men to a new world.”This entire statement is very new-age and doctrinally unsound. Jesus is not interested in social reform. He’s interested in reconciling utterly sinful human beings to a holy, righteous and good God through: His substitutionary death for sinful man, His resurrection of new life for those who’ve repented and trusted in Him, and a glorious eternal life spent in the presence of the Almighty once we’ve completed our sojourn here on earth. Jesus did not come to earth, die, be resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father so we could have a “better life” here on earth.
On The Last Supper: While the actor who portrays Jesus says the bread is the body of Christ and the wine is Jesus’ blood, he never says the most important thing: it is for the forgiveness of sins (Matt 26:28). Though all of Scripture points to the Gospel, in this mini-series, there is no Gospel message; only a message of man’s power to have enough “faith” to see himself through and lead others to a “better place”.(emphasis mine. Stand Up For Truth)
Well, apparently this film will closely follow the events in “The Bible Series.” They filmed both projects at the same time. Which means that the Jesus story will be similar, where we can expect to find a watered down social gospel, and a great commission to change the world. In “Wake Up” I had written about how “The Bible Series” portrayed Jesus:
It isn’t just watered down. It isn’t just that they didn’t have time for Jesus to speak the real truth of the gospel. It is absolutely that they want to CHANGE the WORLD’s idea of what Jesus came for.
And another thing, why is the Jesus they picked so “hot?”
The Bible says plainly that the Messiah would be plain, not good looking. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2.
Look at these people in the picture. He is made into a Hebrew Bieber. A celebrity. Our Lord did not come to find superficial worship and tempt women into lust. He was normal looking. You couldn’t look at His group and know which one was Jesus. His beauty came from who He was. But that is not good enough for Hollywood. Because they DO worship celebrity and beauty, so THEIR Jesus has to be super cute.
The Jesus of Hollywood’s Bible is not my Jesus.
And I am not really upset about that. I expect that. Let the world make their own gods, their own idols, and their own images to worship–the world always has.
What gets under my skin is the church. What bothers me is the fact that Focus on the Family promoted this series and gave spotlight to two false teachers in an interview. What bothers me is that if I could verify in 15 minutes that these people are New Agers–they could have and SHOULD have. What also bothers me is that many of my friends don’t get it. They don’t see that there are reasons we don’t have non-Christians teach Bible studies in church, and there are also reasons we shouldn’t drool all over ourselves when we see Hollywood interested in the best book ever written. I have friends that have already paid over sixty dollars to pre-order the DVD’s before they even SEE the whole thing—”So we can teach our children.”
If people want to watch it, let them go for it.
But the church should NOT promote something that is not Biblically sound.
It is a different Jesus.
Now I am pretty much alone in my convictions. I mean there are people that are saying that these people are New Agers, and that ”The Bible Series” was horrible, but for the most part–those with the most influence are promoting the Bible Series as well as this new movie. 95% of the church that I currently attend will probably go and enjoy it. They don’t know better. To them, it is better than American Hustle and other garbage at the theaters.
And it seems like so many other Christians are saying it is good . . .
Rick Warren is renting out movie theaters for it. Which is no surprise. I mean he is really a closeted New Ager and New World Order promoter himself.
Many religious leaders are citing the movie as a natural opportunity to evangelize. Warren may have a vested interest in the film, since he wrote a curriculum tied to the movie and published by LifeWay Christian Resources.
The couple behind the show, producer Burnett and former “Touched by an Angel” star Downey, have enlisted interdenominational support from religious leaders such as Texas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes and Roman Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles.
Burnett, who has produced shows like “Survivor,” “The Voice” and “Shark Tank,” said he’s never seen a buyout before.
“There aren’t many things that could garner this kind of support,” Burnett said. “People are going to watch the movie collectively, in community.”
While evangelicals are often credited with shoring up support for movies like “The Passion of the Christ” and “Fireproof,” Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has commissioned discussion guides and videos for Catholic churches and schools, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami is planning to rent a theater for thousands of Catholics in Miami. (Religion News)
This is huge. It is Ecumenical. Interdenominational. It is drawing the Osteens, the Catholic Archbishops, the Warren camp. T.D. Jakes, etc. So many BIG NAME religious leaders (and false teachers) are putting money into it, and probably making a lot money out of it.
Liberty University invited Downey and Burnett to speak and give a special screening of the movie. Compassion International is helping to pack movie theaters too.
They were at the Passion Conference in Houston earlier this month promoting the movie as well. It seems that even some popular pastors in the Calvary Chapel movement are promoting it as well. Dave Rolph, who is on KWVE radio, posted on his facebook this week:
I saw the movie “Son of God” yesterday. (It will hit the theaters February 28th.) I’m praying that God will use it to get people talking about Jesus. If you like Bible movies, and especially if you liked the mini-series Mark Burnett did, you’ll enjoy this movie. When it comes to Bible movies I always think the book is better than the movies, but some people might see the movie who haven’t yet read the book. I’m sure there will be people who criticize the movie for not being exactly like the Bible. Like “Passion of the Christ” it borrows from church tradition instead of just Scripture, when it comes to the stations of the cross stuff. But it identifies Jesus as God in the first minute, and has a clear resurrection, so it is already the best movie about Jesus to hit the theaters. I appreciate the considerable effort Mark Burnett and Roma Downey put into this movie, and I pray God uses it.
It is everywhere.
Even CeeLo Green, most famous for his song “F*ck You” will be singing “Mary Did You Know” at the end of the movie. How touching.
And Christians will go.
They will be entertained.
They will eat popcorn and invite their unsaved uncle.
Then pat themselves on the back for evangelizing their family members by giving them the DVD of the “Son of God” movie for Christmas next year.
A movie that like “The Bible Series,” will probably ignore our sin and our need for the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross. A movie that will turn the gospel’s call for radical faith, repentance and reliance upon the Lord into a shallow feel good message.
People will walk away liking “Jesus,” or rather liking Diogo Morgado, and they will think because they like the Hollywood Jesus they are Christian more or less. They will not sense their urgent need to come to a saving knowledge of the true Christ. And they will be deceived into thinking they are alright, when they are in serious spiritual jeopardy.
That is dangerous !
There are those who think that all this can be redeemed though, and the movie will serve as a tool of evangelism, a “conversation starter” and an emotionally moving form of entertainment.
I think Sunny Shell did a great job answering these thoughts in the article I quoted from above. Take a look:
Throughout the entire series, God’s holiness and righteousness is either completely omitted or diminished. The Almighty is portrayed as the Roman Catholic’s angry God who curses people if they don’t obey, mixed with the heretical false god of Joel Osteen who wants to give you a big hug and make you happy no matter what you’ve done. Putting both sects of heretical teachings together produces an angry and sappy deity who desperately wants people to know about His love (as defined by the world) and will punish all the “bad” people, while allowing all the “good” people.
Q. “Even though there’s a lot of error in this movie, still, don’t you think it’s a great way to show people who God really is, I mean, can’t God use anything to save someone?
A. No, I don’t think this movie is a great way to reveal the truth about God since it’s filled with lies about God. And yes, I realize God can use anything to save someone, but He only chose to use the message of the true Gospel to save all men (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). Nowhere in Scripture does God command or allow His children to use the work of Satan to proclaim His truth. And God is clear, anyone who denies Him and defiles His holy character or word, works for the devil, not for God. Since the beginning of time, the devil has attempted to minimize and blaspheme God’s holy character by lulling us to disregard His holiness, justice and righteousness. God has never called His children of light to partner with the works of darkness (2 Cor 6:15-16). As God’s children, we are commanded to pursue holiness, rather than try to find a way to compromise the glory of Christ in order to ‘reach more people’.
In “Wake UP” I shared about how evangelist Ray Comfort did not endorse “The Bible Series” which is super important for the following reasons:
How can someone receive the Lord without a clear presentation of the Gospel? You are not automatically born again if you think “hot” Jesus’ message to “change the world” resonates with something inside of you.
Ray Comfort summed it up on his Facebook yesterday:
“It’s been brought to my attention, by a reliable source who conducted thorough research, that there are a number of unbiblical and very questionable things in “The Bible” television series–about the deity of Christ, the character of God, and the reality of sin (among other things). In light of this recent revelation, I cannot endorse this series. If you choose to watch it, I would urge you to do so with a discerning heart, testing all things.”
Note that is from a man whose only pursuit in life is to see people find Jesus Christ. Don’t you think if it had any evangelical merit, Ray Comfort would know it? I mean this guy still goes to the beach on the weekends (at least twice a month) and stands on a box and publicly proclaims the words of salvation. He cares about reaching the lost. But he also cares about the truth.
FAITH COMES by HEARING . . . . And HEARING by the WORD OF GOD !
If people want to know about God, Jesus and the Bible. There are plenty of other amazing materials they can get their hands on–the best of which would be an actual Bible.
In Conclusion, I am not telling you to not go and see the movie. You can see it if you want. If I do go and see it, I know it will just be to see how much they twist the Bible. And yet I do not want a dime of my money to go to line the pockets of false teachers. But I definitely won’t let my kids watch it, and I won’t recommend it to anyone else.
I personally do not believe that Hollywood, or FAKE Christians can make a good truthful movie about Jesus. I think that the enemy is skilled at doing his best work, using a lot of truth, with just a tiny lie inside of it. Sometimes we don’t even notice the lie because we already agree with so much of the truth.
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are not Bible loving, gospel preaching Christians. They are New Age Pagans that call themselves Christians. Their gospel is the promise of a New World Order. They are the wolves in sheep’s clothing that come into the church. We need to expose them, not interview them on Focus on the Family.
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
Let us use this to prompt us to dig into the New Testament on our own. Let us soak in it, and chew on it, and live off of it. Let us memorize the red words in our Bibles. Let us mutter them in our mouths over and over until we can quote them, and be changed by them. They say that the best way to identify the counterfeit is to study the real thing.
We don’t know how much time is left, so let us (let me) not think, ‘Hey the master isn’t coming for a while, let’s just sit back and relax’ like the evil servant. Let us keep watch. And be ready. And know the voice of our master. ”
Original article – February 23, 2014
For “My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me . . . !” John 10:27
And “he that saith that he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk (live) even as He (Christ Jesus) walked !” I John 2:6
“And hereby we do know that we know Him . . . . which is Life eternal ! . . . if we keep His Commandments. For he that saith, ‘I know Him,’ and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth (John 17:17) is not in him . . . !”
I John 2:3-4 & John 17:3