‘Bible Movies’: Good, Bad, or Both?

Jesus Walks On Water With Peter | The Chosen Clips Season 3 Episode 8 -  YouTube

The Bible is our authoritative source. But as my friend Pastor Mark once said, it tells you everything you need to know, but not everything that you might want to know.

A bit of controversy seems to be clustering around The Chosen, the latest filmed treatment of the Gospel. Patty and I have watched all the episodes so far and are waiting for the next season to be ready. We really like it; but some don’t. (See Laura’s comment on yesterday’s post, “Are They Gunning for ‘The Chosen’?”)

We’ve seen any number of Bible movies in our time. Not one of them ever attempted to depict the Transfiguration. Rumor is that it’ll be left out of The Chosen because the producer et al think it’s “not important.” I consider that a ridiculous position to take; but let’s just wait and see what they actually do.

Rumors, rumors! Mormon money flowing in. Half the cast cheering for “Pride.” Theological inaccuracies inserted on purpose. I can’t help wondering if it’s the Loving Left trying to smear The Chosen and alienating its Christian audience.

Anyhow, “Bible movies”–you can’t make one without leaving some things out and putting in other things that aren’t in the Bible. You have an hour and a half to fill. You have enormous expenses to justify. Your audience will have certain expectations which you will have to meet. And so on. Making a movie is not a religious exercise: although the end product might rekindle someone’s faith or get him started toward the light, if it’s the Holy Spirit’s pleasure to do so.

We have to be careful of how we use our imaginations when dealing with holy things; but we really can’t help using them, can we? The Bible tells us Jesus walked on water. Can you help trying to imagine that?

Another thing about a movie, a painting, a novel, or a sculpture–nothing created by any human hands will ever please everybody.

Are They Gunning for ‘The Chosen’?

Why We Love 'The Chosen' So Much | Christianity Today

Jesus with His disciples, in The Chosen

Many of us are waiting for the next season of The Chosen to be finished and put on the air. But in the meantime, there are rumors floating around that seem intended to alienate Christian viewers.

Here’s a Reddit report that says Dallas Jenkins, the creator, director, and producer of The Chosen, says he’s decided not to cover the Transfiguration… because “it’s not important.” There’s also a rumor that half the cast of The Chosen actively supported “Pride Month.” And another rumor about truckloads of Mormon cash flowing in.

I’ve watched any number of “Bible movies” over the years, and never yet saw one that ventured to depict the Transfiguration. I dunno. If Cecil B. DeMille could part the Red Sea, surely someone could’ve re-created the Transfiguration.

(Did somebody just say “Transfiguration? What’s that?” I’m afraid I’d better include a reference: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Transfiguration-Christianity )

Just going by the ferocity with which they’ve lit into The Sound of Freedom, we won’t be far off if we speculate that globalists, Democrats, teachers’ unions, et al would be equally “un-welcoming” to The Chosen. Sound of Freedom attacks child sex trafficking; by attacking the movie, Far Left Crazy defends child sex trafficking. Which doesn’t surprise me at all.

These people find “Christian movies” (I’m not sure there is such a thing, but you know what I mean) deeply threatening and would very much like to suppress them. Failing that, they might try spreading rumors that keep Christians away from the screen.

We ought not, ever, to rely on movies for our religious instruction. Our authoritative source must always be the Bible. But “Bible movies” are not incapable of doing good. Sometimes they fall short of all the good they might have done.

Let’s give The Chosen the benefit of the doubt–which it has earned, so far!–and see what the next season brings.

A Scene from ‘The Robe’

In The Robe (1953), Richard Burton played the Roman officer in charge of crucifying Jesus Christ; and he wins Christ’s robe with a roll of the dice. Victor Mature is the slave who takes the robe away from him.

We do have to be careful about using “Bible movies” to teach us the truth that is in the Bible; but this scene from The Robe packs a wallop, emotionally–and I’m pretty sure we need that.

Movie Review: ‘Risen’

If you like “Bible movies,” Risen is a good one. And let me tell you the best thing about it.

It’s a single scene, starring an actor in a small part. Richard Atwill plays one of the Roman guards who was on duty at Jesus’ tomb when He rose from the dead, and he tries to tell you what is was like. It would be wrong of me to reveal any of the details. I highly recommend seeing it for yourself.

Risen is the story of a Roman army officer, Clavius–played with stern conviction by Joseph Fiennes–who is ordered by Pilate (Peter Firth) to track down Jesus’ body, arrest the disciples, and prove that the Resurrection was a hoax. And this without drawing a single paycheck from a modern teachers’ union.

There’s a lot of grim and even gruesome detail in this movie; but on the plus side, it’s a loving and realistic rendering of Jesus and His disciples. I would have liked to see more of Pilate’s inner conflict that the Scripture suggests, but you can’t have everything. Fiennes is really good, and so are all the actors playing the apostles. There’s a trace of Catholic bias in it, but that really shouldn’t be a major problem for the viewer.

On the whole, though, the screenplay sticks fairly close to Scripture. No movie can be a substitute for the Bible. But a good one might draw a viewer nearer to it.