I just watched the first episode of NBC’s A.D.: The Bible Continues, and thought it was pretty good. It was entertaining and that’s all you can ask for. If you have cable television and watch all sorts of made up stuff, some more made up stuff about true, and extremely important events in history (i.e. Christ dying for our sins) can’t be that bad.
I have very low standards for entertainment, and so I resolved I would enjoy the show as long as it presented Christ as God and, hopefully as the series goes on, it teaches salvation by faith alone. However, just portraying Christ as God in a major TV show is pretty good in my book, being that most entertainment is completely without value, if not evil.
So what NBC is doing it for the money and cashing in on the Jesus craze? What has it been now, ten years since The Passion of the Christ first woke Hollywood up that the Bible is still a cash cow? I mean, I wasn’t even a believer when that movie came out, so it has really outlasted what I would have ever expected! I suppose, in God all things are possible.
Just because NBC is doing it for the money, and the actors are not really believers, we should not have any reason for alarm. Paul writes, “[T]he former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice” (Phil 1:17-18).
If the good part is that the Bible is essentially portrayed as literal truth, and that it is made entertaining so that people might actually be interested in reading it, what is the bad part? I believe the obvious social agenda in the show is a little bit of a drag.
For example, NBC wants to make sure they do not shut out 50 percent of the viewing audience (i.e. women.) The result is that Mary Magdalene’s role is multiplied 100 times more than what is found in the Bible, correcting the Apostles and in fact acting as their de facto leader (until I suppose Peter mans up in future episodes.) For example, her and Mary remind the dumb guys who are the Twelve that Jesus will raise on the third day and that they ought to remember that Christ told them this already. However, if you actually read your Bible, Mary Magdalene came to anoint Jesus at the tomb, presuming he was dead. So, while the character is on the ball in the show, in the Bible she is rebuked for her lack of belief (Luke 24:5). And, don’t get me started on the invented character of Caiphas’ wife. If the show’s a real success, they made up so much about her and made her so important, they can make a spin-off series about her.
Further, the casting of black people to play Hebrews is not that big a deal to me, though I think it is historically inaccurate. There are black people in the Bible. Moses probably had a black wife, Ethiopians invaded Israel, and the Ethiopian eunuch was the first baptized gentile. However, the existence of black Jews is more of a conspiracy theory espoused by crazy guys passing out pamphlets in Brooklyn than a serious historical fact. So, if making Mary Magdalene and the Apostle John black gets anyone at all more interested into reading the Bible, that’s great. However, it is bad history and it feeds into our society’s low regard for the truth for the sake of making everyone “feel good.”
It is also no surprise that all the white male characters are cast in a negative light. Most of the disciples are white men and are clueless. Further, the Romans are white, and the Sadducees are white. The lesson is if you are a white man, you are stupid, evil, or both.
Nonetheless, the good outweighs the bad for now. I’ll continue watching.