The Christian and entertainment world has been a buzz with excitement over a brand new television miniseries called The Bible. This series starts at the very beginning of the Bible and in brief makes its way all the way to the destruction of the world and resurrection in Revelations. It deals with stories such as Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the flood, David and Goliath, Israel leaving Egypt but it all climaxes to the life and death of Christ. The miniseries also has the full backing of mega-evangelist Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria Osteen. Joel Osteen has been mentioned before on this blog and as I said in that post, he certainly is not an impressive figure regarding preaching the truth. You can find the post at (https://douloitheou.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/joel-osteen-another-false-preacher-of-christianity/). But pulling Joel Osteen completely out of the picture and just focusing on the part of Christ’s death, can we Biblically defend the portraying of Christ in a movie?
The Biblical Reformed answer is a resounding No! Christ cannot be portrayed by any sinful wicked man. I believe this is for several reasons.
First, Christ is both God and man, He has both a divine nature and a human nature. Christ’s divine nature was joined with His human nature. How can any man portray that? Man is fallen from perfection and is totally depraved apart from the grace of God (Jeremiah 17:9, 10). He cannot in anyway come close to the perfection and holiness of God. It is blasphemy to pretend to be God, which anyone does when they portray Christ. Portraying Christ in a drama has the smacking of the paganism of the Greeks with their dramas on the gods. There is no reason a Christian should take up a pagan practice. In Isaiah 46:5 God asks, “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, And compare me, that we may be like?” Also in Isaiah 40:18 it says, “To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” All the other gods of the ancient world had no problem being pictured by idols, images, and man. But Jehovah, in opposition to all other religions says that there are to be no images of Himself.
Further, no man can portray and act out what Christ did and suffered on the cross. Christ’s death on the cross was not simply a good example of someone standing up for what he believed as so many liberals teach. No, Christ’s death was much more than that. In His death, the whole of God’s wrath against all the sins of the elect was poured out upon Christ. Christ suffered the eternities of hell for each of the elect children of God. This wrath was no mere trifle. The anticipation of it caused Christ to sweat great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. This wrath was the complete forsaking of God, which caused Christ to call out, “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?” in Matthew 27:46. This suffering was so intense that no man, unless he was God could withstand it. Thus no man should even pretend to suffer it.
Third, to portray Christ in anyway is a complete disregard for the second commandment, which is declared to us in Exodus 20:4 – 6, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Christ’s body is currently glorified sitting at the right hand of God, how can any person portray the glory that Christ is now in? Why would anyone want to represent Christ in His state of humiliation when He deserves the highest honour, glory, and thanks now. Besides the point there is absolutely no historical reference as to what Christ looked like.
Fourth, the media and much of liberal Christianity is going around saying how this series is going to be a great tool for evangelizing. But the Bible calls us to preach, not to make movies about this or that Biblical event. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” It is by the foolishness of preaching, not by drama, that mankind is saved. Preaching is the power of God as 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Drama cannot save anyone, only the preaching of man’s sin and the call for him to repent and believe in the Christ can save him. The Heidelberg Catechism says in relation to the use of images in teaching the people of God, “we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have His people taught, not by dumb images, but by the lively preaching of His Word.”
Thus, if you believe the Bible you must regard this series as nothing but a mockery and blasphemy of the true Christ. Man must not pretend to be wiser than God. He has tried it many times, but it has always ended in disaster, as was evident at the tower of Babel. We as Christians should shun this series and regard it as one of the many antichrists in our day.