With much critical acclaim and fanfare, History Channel’s “The Bible” miniseries debuted as the highest rated program in the network’s history. A 10-hour mini-series that covers popular Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation, has been a commercial success. The Christian Post online news site proclaimed: “This Time, Hollywood Got It Right.” Christiancinema.com wrote in its review: “This 10 part mini-series is a must-see epic of Biblical proportion. It is a wonderful testament to the enduring power of the Holy Bible, and the importance it plays in the history and eternal destiny of mankind.”
Yet watching the mini-series with a Bible-based perspective, it becomes obvious that this mini-series is full of unbiblical heresies, changes a great deal of the Bible’s details and ignores the message of salvation and forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ that is the main purpose of the entire Bible itself. And what is even more dangerous is that many churches have adopted this series for teaching and sharing the Word of God in their services, continuing the fall of many Christian churches into spiritual apostasy.
Here is a trailer for the Mini-series:
The Spiritual Advisors Behind The Bible
Joel Osteen, far left, was one of the main “spiritual advisors” to Miniseries co-creators Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, right.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. – Matthew 7:15-18.
“We weren’t qualified to teach the Bible, but we knew plenty of people who were,” – The Bible mini-series co-creator Mark Burnett, speaking of the panel of spiritual advisors who helped make the mini-series.
A quick look at the Board of Advisors on The Bible Miniseries and it becomes quite obvious that it was bound to contain heretical portrayals of the Scriptures. Prosperity Gospel preacher T.D. Jakes, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church, the largest church in the United States are the three most prominent names. As Beginning and End has detailed in past articles, all three pastors teach Unbiblical, New Age, false doctrines. In our article on T.D. Jakes we showed that in addition to preaching the money-focused prosperity Gospel, he also has yoked with New Age promoter Oprah Winfrey. Joel Osteen preaches a message of New Age mysticism that can be found in many books and websites on witchcraft, while Rick Warren has been a major promoter of a one-world religion that merges other faiths with Christianity.
Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv, which is famous for its rendition of “Gangsta’s Paradise” during Sunday service is also on the board in addition to a number of Catholic advisors as well. What all these people have in common is teaching doctrines that are not found in the Bible and often contradict the Word of God. As The Lord Jesus Christ explained in the passage above, if the spiritual foundation of a mini-series is filled with heretical, New Age pastors, the “fruit” of the mini-series will be questionable.
Numerous Biblical Errors
“The Bible miniseries is not a documentary, it is a scripted, acted docu-drama filmed on location in the Middle East and Morocco.” – The Bible Miniseries website.
“[Miniseries Co-Creator Mark Burnett] would send scripts our way and ask doctrinal or Bible questions about it, but a lot of it was a friendship and an advisory role,”[Pastor Joel] Osteen said. Osteen said much of his work was confirming if the extra biblical material stayed true to the Bible. (source).
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1.
In this day and age of spiritual confusion and heresies, it is very important that a Christian message is based on sound, Biblical doctrine. Obviously in a theatrical presentation, there is understandable creative license, because not every detail of every story is included in Scripture. Thus in a scene where Abraham greets Lots and says “Lot, my nephew!”, while not in the Bible, is done to inform he viewers of the relationship and the facts of these Biblical men. But The Bible Miniseries goes well beyond this as it changes much of the core message of the Bible and alters facts from Biblical accounts for no real reason other than entertainment value.
Noah And The Ark
The Bible opens with Noah on the ark with his family, struggling to plus leaking holes and keep the ark afloat (it seems the design for the ship, provided by God, was having issues). He then tells his children the story of Adam and Eve from Genesis. Here are some of the errors:
- Noah’s sons are small children. In the Bible they are actually grown, married men and they and their wives come on to the ark.
- As Noah tells the story of Adam and Eve, there is no mention of the promised Redeemer, who would one day be born and redeem Adam, Eve and all of humanity:
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. – Genesis 3:14-15.
This is one of the most important verses in the Bible as it marks the first prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus Christ who would be born of a woman and one day conquer Satan. This was done on the cross, when Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity, allowing forgiveness for those who put their faith in Him. All of the history in the Old Testament is centered on the expectation of this prophesied child one day being born. The many challenges and battles fought in the Old Testament often centered on preserving the lineage of the Messiah. And yet somehow, The Bible Miniseries has left the most important aspect of the Bible, out.
It was sin that cursed humanity and the Earth, invoking God’s wrath. Scripture tells us: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:11). Rather than make this very important point to his children, Noah says that humanity has made “bad choices! Bad decisions!”
In ignoring sin (the word is not even uttered in the first 2 episodes) and neglecting to mention God’s forgiveness and plan for redemption of humanity through the Savior, Jesus Christ, the main message of the Bible is lost.
Eve sinned, but The Lord made it clear He would provide a way to forgiveness and redemption.
Even after receiving the punishment, Adam showed his hope in the future for he and his wife and The Lord once again showed His mercy to them:
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. – Genesis 3:20-21.
Adam names his wife Eve, meaning mother of all living, expressing hope in the promise that their “seed” or child, would crush the serpent and redeem them. And God showed another sign of His grace and willingness to forgive by making clothing for them out of animal skins. It was only after Adam and Eve sinned that their nakedness became a shame to them. And nakedness in the Bible is symbolic of sin. By God sacrificing a creature to cover their shame with animal fur, once again we have a beautiful foreshadow of God providing the ultimate sacrifice: His Son, Jesus Christ, in order to atone for the sins of all people. Yet again, The Bible Miniseries ignores this very important detail. Instead, Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden with no repentance and no hope of redemption. God is basically done with them, completely contradicting Scripture.
Abraham and Lot
- Abraham, whose name was actually Abram in the time depicted in the scenes in The Bible Miniseries. The Abrahamic covenant, where God promised to Abraham a great nation and that his seed would inherit the Promised Land, a foreshadow of all believers receiving eternal life in Heaven, is also the chapter where Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, signifying, as The Lord said: “..for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:5-7).
- Thus the Messianic bloodline established with Adam and Eve, the hope of all humanity to be redeemed and saved from the clutches of sin and damnation, would be continued through Abraham. This is a critical point to understand God’s plan through the Bible and the presence of Jesus throughout Scripture. Jesus said: “Search the scriptures; for.. they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39).
- Abram is portrayed as a ruddy, nomad scraping to survive. The Bible says: “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” (Genesis 13:2).
- When the workers of Abram and his nephew Lot begin to quarrel, it was Abraham’s decision to divide their land as a way to work out a peaceful resolution:
And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. – Genesis 13:7-9.
Abram then offers Lot the first pick of the land, opting to take whatever half Lot does not choose. This generous and compassionate gesture was an example of his kindness. In The Bible Miniseries, it is Lot who tells Abram that they must divide the land so he can move on to a new area for himself and his wife.
- When God pronounces his judgment upon the wicked city of Sodom, he sends angels to rescue Lot before the city is destroyed for its rampant sexual immorality and rebellion:
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. – Genesis 19:1-7.
These angels come to the city of Sodom to remove Lot and his family before God’s destruction rained down. Their rescue of Lot was a picture of God’s salvation for those who believe in him, while the destruction of Hell waits for those who die in their sin with no belief (symbolized by the fire and brimstone which destroyed Sodom and all the people in it). Once again this is a great occasion to teach the message of sinful humanity and its need for salvation that can only come through faith in The Lord. But instead, The Bible Miniseries runs wild changing the story. Instead of finding Lot as told in the Bible, it is Lot who discovers and rescues the wounded and beat up angels, who beg him for safe haven in his home (which again contradicts Scripture). At no time in the Biblical account were the angels ever harmed or even scared of the Sodomites.
Burnett and Downey also left out the homosexual sin of the people of Sodom. As detailed in the verses above, Sodom’s entire male population was engaging in homosexual sin as shown by the fact that every man, even the young men and the elderly, came to Lot’s door, demanding the angels be brought into the street for forced public fornication. This is how far gone into sexual depravity this city and its neighboring city, Gomorrah, had descended to.
The Bible Miniseries omits this very important detail from the story, instead portraying the men of the city as promiscuous, heterosexual men who were just angry with the angels of God and seeking to fight them. This same compromise of the Christian faith exists in many of the apostate churches today where pastors will no longer preach the Bible’s verses on homosexuality being a sin, lest they offend the non-believing public. Thus the message of the Bible changes to suit the preferences and tastes of people, even if it is in rebellion against God. Galatians 1:9-10 addresses this:
“As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:9-10.
A Christian should never change God’s Word to accommodate others. Christians should be loving, forgiving and respectful towards all people. The Bible should not be used a means of attacking people. But that does not mean changing what one believes. But with a multi-million dollar big budget production, the desire to please the public is quite strong and won out over believing Scripture in the case of The Bible Miniseries. This may also explain the same angels protecting Lot engaging in martial arts fighting with the men of Sodom during Lot’s exit from the city. With a series of high-flying moves and swordplay, they battle the men of the city – something never seen in Scripture.
Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac
One of the most pivotal moments in Genesis is Abram’s offering up his son Isaac as a sacrifice in obedience to God. This test of Abram’s faith, on Mt Moriah was a foreshadow of where God Himself, would indeed offer His own Son, Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity, 2000 years later. There is a very important aspect of Abram’s character that cannot be understated – his faith:
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. – Genesis 15:1-6.
Abram and his wife were well advanced in age, and thus not physically capable of bearing children. But God promised Abram that he and his wife would in fact conceive a son. And not only would they conceive a son, but through him, they would have more descendants than Abram could count through this particular son. The key moment is that Abram believed God. He had faith in the Lord’s promise of an heir (and his faith was counted as righteousness before God, foreshadowing the doctrine that Christians are saved by faith and not works). This heir would be the continuation of the Messianic bloodline prophesied to Adam and Eve in the Garden. The same line that God preserved on the ark through Noah and his son Shem. Abram would now continue this line through a miracle child, Isaac.
When the command came from God to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Isaac did not have any children. Therefore if Isaac had died and never been heard from again, he would not have any children and the promise that God made to Abram in the passage above would have failed. However, Abraham believed God, even in the face of what looked like an impossible situation. After all, Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah 90 when they conceived Isaac, something that should have been physically impossible. Yet God made it happen. So Abraham had the same perspective when it came to offer his son as a sacrifice: he had faith that God would do something to make sure His initial promise to Abraham (that Isaac would have many descendents) came to pass:
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. – Genesis 22:1-6.
Notice in Abraham there is no doubting. He just listens to God and obeys. He rises up “early in the morning” to pack his things and take Isaac to Mount Moriah. And he tells his servants that he and Isaac were leaving on their own but would “come again.” He never doubted that Isaac was going to return alive.
Even when Isaac questioned Abraham, his answer reflected his faith in God’s Word:
“And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” – Genesis 22:7-8.
Abraham again demonstrated that he was not just acting on blind faith. He was acting on informed faith. He spoke to God directly. He saw God perform miracles that were not possible for humans to achieve on their own. He received God’s protection and saw God’s mercy in sparing the life of his nephew Lot. And he trusted that Isaac would have a child, if not many children, just as God had promised. And since Isaac did not have children at this point, Abraham knew with confidence that God would provide a way for the sacrifice to take place and Isaac still return with him alive. And he was right.
“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.“ – Genesis 22:9-18.
As Abraham predicted, God did indeed provide a ram as a substitute offering in place of Isaac. Some may ask: “well if God knew Abraham was faithful, why put him through this grueling test anyway?” The Bible tells us that all of these events in the Old Testament happened: “for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” ( 1 Corinthians 10:11). If it is heart-wrenching to the reader to even think that Abraham was asked to offer his own son as a sacrifice, know that this is precisely what God has done for you. God offered His own Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice to take the punishment for the sins that humanity committed. Just as God provided the ram as a substitute for Isaac, God provided Jesus as a substitute for you, so you would not have to go to Hell. Why? Because God loves all people and is “not willing that any should perish.” Jesus’ sacrifice of His perfect, divine blood was the only way to provide forgiveness for all sins for all people for all time. And it takes faith to receive the gift of eternal life.
Hebrews 11 tells us that Sarah had faith that she would conceive a child at age 90. She believed God with true faith that He would bless them with the seed that would continue to lead to the Promised Messiah. It then goes on to say of Abraham: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Abraham believed that even if Isaac died on that altar, God would raise him from the dead in order to fulfill the promise that Isaac would have many children and descendents and a nation would come through him, again giving a foreshadow to God raising His only begotten Son, Jesus from the dead, 2000 years later.
This is the message of this incredible passage. But how does The Bible Miniseries handle it? Abraham appears as a paranoid, babbling man who could be losing his sanity. When God asks him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham recoils in horror and says “No! No! Have I not done enough?” , showing doubt and rebellion that is never seen in Scripture. When it is time to put Isaac on the altar, Abraham is weeping and babbling, full of regret and depression over what God is “making him do.”
Meanwhile, in a scene that clearly pushed the limits of “creative license”, Sarah hears the news of Abraham’s ‘insane sacrifice scheme’ and starts running to the mountain to stop Abraham from the sacrifice. She gets close enough to see Abraham in the distance and starts screaming for him to stop. Isaac, who is a small boy (he was actually a man by this time), is struggling and fighting with Abraham, crying and begging him not to kill him. But a wild-eyed Abraham continues on until angels tell him to stop. Sarah then runs up and grabs the crying Isaac, rolling her eyes in disgust at Abraham.
Does the version from The Bible Miniseries capture any of the important doctrinal elements of the Biblical account? Does Abraham’s faith, based on knowing God, believing God and trusting in His word, come through in this? Would a viewer know from this miniseries portrayal that Sarah was actually a faithful believer in God as well and not trying to stop her husband? The scene leaves Abraham looking like a mindless believer, God looking cruel and irrational and Sarah completely disagreeing with her husband and having no faith in God’s promises.
So what spirit is leading a film that would take such a dramatic departure from the text? What spirit would lead the film to ignore the beautiful type and foreshadow of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, on the exact same spot where Abraham offered up Isaac and the message of eternal life? Beloved, it is the same spirit that operates in the sermons of Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes and Rick Warren – one that does not have a concern for Biblical accuracy and will teach any doctrine that excites the flesh and puts the focus on self. Do not be deceived.
Jesus Christ said this if the importance of adhering to the accuracy of The Word:
“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” – Jesus Christ, John 12:46-48.
It is the words spoken by Jesus, the Word of God, that will ultimately judge a person before God. The Bible is not just a series of exciting stories. It is the written Word of The Lord. Romans chapter 1 calls the Gospel message “the power of God to salvation.” There is life, spirit and supernatural power in the words of the Bible. So not only actual Scriptures be used in a Christian program, they should never be altered to the point of contradiction to make a story more exciting or to overlook sins that society that many churches no longer have an issue with. Yet many pastors and churches today are doing just that: putting the focus on entertaining congregations and twisting Biblical doctrine to the point that even the Gospel itself is changed. Here is an example in a preview scene of the character of Jesus in The Bible Miniseries with the disciple Peter (who was also known as Simon in Scripture):
Here is that same account in the actual Bible:
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. – Luke 5:1-11.
Notice Peter’s reaction to the miracle that Jess had performed. He and his men were fishing all night and caught nothing. There was seemingly, no way to catch any. Yet Peter believed Jesus’ words and obeyed him. And after the miracle, Peter dropped to a position of worship and said “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Recognizing one’s own sin before the morally perfect God and Lord that is Jesus Christ, is key to going to Heaven. This is again a critical aspect of how a person is saved from the wrath of God and the lake of fire. Peter understood he was in the presence of Divine Power and did not feel worthy. Yet Jesus encourages him by inviting him to come with him to “catch men”, meaning bringing more people to believe in Christ. And Peter “forsook all”, meaning he gave up everything he was doing with his life on the spot, to follow Jesus. All of this is what a person has to do in order to go to Heaven. Acknowledging your sin, confessing it to God, believing in Jesus Christ and giving up your past life of sinful ways and letting your own heart rule, in order to follow Jesus and let Him be Lord of your life, is all a part of being a born again Christian.
Does The Bible Miniseries illustrate these powerful points? Not at all. Instead of being astonished and worshiping at the feet of Jesus, Peter asks him “How did this happen? What did you do?” as if he had no idea what was going on. The Jesus character (who looked like the renaissance era/Catholic depictions of Jesus) responds: “I am giving you the chance to change your life..giving up catching fish and I will make you a fisher of men.” Peter answers “What are we going to do?” showing he still does not really understand if Jesus is divine or why it would be necessary for people to know Jesus. And the Jesus character’s answer is “Change the world.” No mention of sin, acknowledging of Jesus as God in the flesh or a real salvation message. Instead it is almost a social justice message. Jesus Christ did not come to change the world, He came to save it from its sin. Without understanding that sin is the greatest problem the world is facing, Jesus’ message could be changed to just helping the poor, or providing water wells to communities in drought or working in a homeless shelter. All these actions, while noble, will not get you to Heaven or make one right before God. This is the problem with many churches as they put overemphasis on “changing the world” without first changing the sinful heart that has led a person into sin and damnation, lest they believe the Gospel. And the false doctrines being preach today, while exciting are not Biblical. Do not be deceived.
Roma Downey: Yoked With The New Age Movement?
Roma Downey has been celebrated for her co-creation of The Bible Miniseries and being an outspoken “Hollywood Christian.” Known for her role in the 90s drama “Touched By An Angel” in which she played an angel who comes to Earth to help people with problems, her name on The Bible Miniseries lent a great deal of Christian credibility. But looking a little closer at the testimony of Downey and it becomes apparent she is more involved with New Age mysticism than Biblical Christianity.
In 2010 Downey graduated from The University of Santa Monica with a Degree in Spiritual Psychology (the entire school is dedicated to the study of Spiritual Psychology and “Soul-centered Education”). The University describes this field as:
Spiritual Psychology is the study and practice of the art and science of human evolution in consciousness… “surrendering” and “sacrificing” is work that can and has been called “healing,” which includes healing on the physical, mental, and emotional levels in service to the deeper revelation of who we truly are as Loving, Peaceful, Compassionate, and Joyful beings. We refer to this level of awareness as the Authentic Self…
Put another way, Spiritual Psychology is a technology that empowers students to convert their everyday life experience into rungs on the ladder of Spiritual Evolution…” (source).
Downey also said in an interview:
‘My kids go to school about a 40-minute drive away. I’m open to the group’s opinion about what we listen to on the way there. On the way back, I get my own selections — books on tape by Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins…My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating.’ (source).
“Self-realization” is a term in New Age and Eastern mysticism for achieving godhood, or releasing one’s true “inner divine self” through spiritual practices. Eckhart Tolle, a New Age guru and author of the book, A New Earth, promoted many doctrines that are contrary to Biblical Christianity. Among them:
“…heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness…. Earth, on the other hand, is the outer manifestation in form, which is always a reflection of the inner…. ‘A new heaven’ is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and ‘a new earth’ is its reflection in the physical realm.”[1,p.23]
“Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind…. Nobody is wrong. It is the ego in someone, that’s all.” (p. 76).
“You realize your true identity as consciousness…. That’s the peace of God. The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.” (p. 56-57).
Oprah Winfrey, one of the biggest promoters of New Age spirituality in history, was a major force behind launching Tolle’s career. In this video, at the 2:00 minute mark there are several minutes of Oprah interviewing Tolle and reading from his book to one of her fans. Notice that not only are these doctrines of contrary to Scripture, but even the female fan, who is a Christian notices this and points it out to Oprah:
Contacting The Dead
Downey also has been featured on television trying to contact the dead:
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).
The Bible makes it clear that dabbling in the occult is a forbidden, sinful practice:
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. – Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” – Leviticus 19:31.
Necromancy, the practice of speaking to the dead, is rebellion against God. Mediums like John Edward are able to relay facts and messages from the “dead” through the use of demons. When a person is alive, a demon can follow that person around and observe the things they do. So when the person dies, if a relative tries to use a psychic or a medium, the medium is contacting the demon to then retrieve the information about “Uncle Jack, who loved the Pittsburgh Pirates and always ate chocolate ice cream.” So to the person using the medium, it appears they have successfully contacted the dead. But it is all a satanic deception. This is why the Bible calls these demons “familiar spirits” as they become familiar with a person to later impersonate them once dead.
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.
Edwards’ book comes with a CD of Downey reciting the Rosary prayers on it. So it is clear that she is yoked up with mystical Catholic practices. The Rosary is what is called “Marian worship”, the treatment of Mary as a God. Catholicism teaches that Mary is not only to be “venerated and prayed to but that she is also a “co-redeemer” of humanity, alongside Jesus Christ:
Mary is the Co-Mediator to whom we can entrust all our cares and petitions. (Roman Catholic Catechism 968-970, 2677).
This is from the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia under the listing for Mary:
She is conceived without the stain of original sin; she shows the greatest humility and patience in her daily life.. When there is question of sin, Mary must always be excepted.  Mary’s complete exemption from actual sin is confirmed by the Council of Trent (Session VI, Canon 23): “If any one say that man once justified can during his whole life avoid all sins, even venial ones, as the Church holds that the Blessed Virgin did by special privilege of God, let him be anathema.” Theologians assert that Mary was impeccable, not by the essential perfection of her nature, but by a special Divine privilege. Moreover, the Fathers, at least since the fifth century, almost unanimously maintain that the Blessed Virgin never experienced the motions of concupiscence [lust]. (source).
So rather than being a normal woman, Mary is a sinless God in this belief system. This is obviously contrary to Scripture where God is one being in three persons: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Churches Are Using The Bible Miniseries To Preach The Bible
More than just entertainment, The Bible Miniseries website has a large number of items on sale for pastors and churches to use to make The Bible Miniseries a part of their church services, sermons and Bible studies. So the intent behind the movie series is not just to entertain but to be used as doctrine in the church. Their “Church Kit” comes with study guides, special clips to show in church and pre-written sermons for a 5 week series. Burnett and Downey marketed The Bible Miniseries heavily to churches all over the world and many, many pastors, eager to entertain their flocks, even if it is with unbiblical, heretical “interpretations” of the Bible are rushing to preach The Bible Miniseries to their congregations. As one secular newspaper described:
The real masterstroke of the campaign may be the deal struck with Outreach.com, a Colorado Springs purveyor of church curricula and multimedia that Burnett says has a sales reach of 180,000 churches. Outreach has made a sermon package linked to The Bible, for use in churches every Sunday during the five weeks of the History Channel broadcasts, which start on March 3 and end on Easter Sunday…Imagine thousands of preachers, delivering sermons custom-made around your TV series, with clips they can show before the altar, the very day of each episode’s broadcast. P.T. Barnum could not have drawn a more inescapable net around his target audience. (source).
The miniseries has also received a number of strong endorsements from Pastors:
“I’ve probably seen most, if not all, of the films about the Bible produced in the past 50 years. This one stands alone, in a class by itself, as the best I’ve ever seen. .. The key to its effectiveness is that it lets the Bible speak for itself, without commentary, excuse or qualification, which makes it unique. This is living history at its best!” – Dr. Rick Warren.
“Unlike any other film or miniseries I’ve ever encountered, The Bible brings the Word of God to life in the full richness of its scope, diversity, power, and magnificence. History and mystery collide as Mark Burnett and Roma Downey infuse every scene with their divinely inspired vision for sharing the poetic beauty and timeless wisdom of Scripture. – Bishop T.D. Jakes.
“I’m convinced that The Bible represents a unique opportunity to convey God’s redemptive message to a broad audience-many of whom may be unfamiliar with the narrative of Scripture. My prayer is that many lives will be impacted not only by the beauty and quality of the production, but by the Truth that lies at the center of the story.” – Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family
“It’s impossible to put into words the awe-inspiring emotions I felt watching the Bible stories come to life on the screen. The attention to detail is impeccable.” – Craig Groeschel, Pastor, Lifechurch.tv.
“We have read all the scripts, spent time on the set and viewed some remarkable footage. The World Evangelical Alliance stands fully behind this incredible Bible project.” – r. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Chief Executive Officer/Secretary General, World Evangelical Alliance.
And this is just a small sampling of the many churches across the country using The Bible Miniseries as the basis of their church services. With the “Church Kit” being sold on the miniseries website, a Pastor receives study guides, clips and sermon notes to preach The Bible according to the doctrine of Downey and Burnett. And many Pastors are jumping on the bandwagon. Again, this miniseries is not just “entertainment.” They are providing sermons to be preached at the pulpit in churches all over the world. And despite its blatant inaccuracies, apostate spiritual advisors and the New Age mystical practices of its creators, Christian pastors are still using it.
In instructing his disciple Timothy on how to be a pastor, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” A Pastor’s duty is to preach the Word, meaning the Bible. The real Bible, not a miniseries that changes the Bible’s message and details. The Apostle Paul continued with a prophetic warning about the state of the church:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 1 Timothy 2:3-4.
Rather than sticking to the Bible, churches with “itching ears” are turning to fables like those being told in The Bible Miniseries.
Pray for the pastors teaching this inaccurate miniseries to use Biblical discernment and repent. And pray for Christians to hold anything related to our Holy Bible to a high standard. One that is accurate and focuses on the real message of the Bible: the sin of humanity and God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. Lord willing, the many millions of people watching The Bible Miniseries who are unsaved, will open the real Bible and learn the Gospel message the miniseries should have been preaching.
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