"The Bible." Why can’t Protestants get this right?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by NaphtaliPress, Mar 3, 2013.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    While idolatry (i.e. images of any person of the Godhead) may only be one of the problems of The Bible show (as the saying goes never let a few facts get in the way of a manageable movie script), a consistent stance against images of God seems to be a long time problem for Protestants.

    “It were much to be wished that suitable steps against this evil had been taken in the Protestant churches soon upon the initial purification of doctrine. And moreover, that the idolatrous images, which have been and still are one of the principal abominations under the Papacy, had been everywhere abolished by the Protestant estates for the recovery and preservation of the proper service of worship and for the possible prevention of various disgraces to the Christian religion and to its reputation…

    “And even if all the people of this age had their eyes opened so widely that there would now be no more residue of offence or scandal on account of images, nevertheless all manner of injury could be sustained among their descendents no less than formerly as a result of the surviving idols.

    “And even if this were not encountered, still it is right in itself. And, as has previously been often stated, it is commanded by God that one should do away with the monuments of idolatry or memorials by means of which great idolatry was being promoted a few years ago. And this accords with the approved example of Holy Scripture.

    “For King Hezekiah broke up the brazen serpent after the children of Israel had burned incense to it, though Moses had made it at God’s command as a type of Christ, 2 Kgs. 18[:4]….”

    The Nassau Confession of 1578, translated by R. Sherman Isbell, in Reformed Confessions of the 16[SUP]th[/SUP] and 17[SUP]th[/SUP] Centuries in English Translation Volume 3 1567-1599. Edited by James T. Dennison (RHB, 2012), under the head “The Christian Magistrate not only has the power to remove Idolatrous Images, but is obliged to do so on account of his office,” 531.
  2. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    I am surprised at how few people even brought up the use of images in that series. I guess its "evangelical value" supersedes scruples about the second commandment.
  3. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    How many people brought up the use of images with Mel Gibson's passion film? I dont remember there being many back then.

    I think one issue with this documentary is that there have been no recent ones that attempts to do justice to the regular conservative Bible believers. So something that Protestants have been weak on for centuries will not derail the praise.

  4. A5pointer

    A5pointer Puritan Board Sophomore

    Would any film director set out to produce a film depicting a great literary work and feel the need and license to add to the manuscript? Seems silly to me. But they checked with a few renowned theologians for advice. :confused:
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I'd forgotten how long ago Gibson's film came out; it came up in a lot of threads early on before I joined the board and since I think. I came to believe the larger catechism on this not long after coming to the Reformed faith, and while it may not seem so in view of the world, and still is rejected or unknown by many in the little world of the Reformed, it sure seems to be receiving much more attention now than then. Back in 1988 when Scorsese's film came out my church attempted to get a resolution condemning it passed by the Presbytery; they voted it down ("we don't do movie reviews" a prominent opponent of LC 109 said).
  6. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    You must not have seen many film adaptations.
  7. christiana

    christiana Puritan Board Senior

    The names of the advisory board are very telling. They include Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, a cardinal, a bishop and others that may not have a high level of respect for God's holiness.
  8. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    I watched the first hour last night because enough people in my life were very excited about this show. Not knowing what to expect, I was hoping that they could at least avoid images of "God" in the first episode. Sadly, this show looks like the perfect storm. It will be just faithful enough to telling the story that most evangelicals will rave about it and ignore the additions to the story, the overlooking of sin and undervaluing God's holiness, and the blatant idolatry.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I think there may be other very serious issues with it beyond 2nd Commandment violations. I don't have cable so won't be watching it regardless. But I saw this on Facebook yesterday from Ray Comfort:

    Even in the OPC you have the occasional public plaintive wail raised against the confessional teaching on images. When I was a member of the OPC and a regular reader of "New Horizons," the denominational magazine, whenever the issue would come up you could expect to see letters to the editor in the next issue or two advocating the non-confessional position. "Oh! What are our artists to do!?" And these are merely the ones who are willing to speak up publicly.

    But I was surprised and delighted to see at least two works on the Ten Commandments by Southern Baptist authors within the past decade (including one by Dr. Mohler) that came down against "images of Christ." In recent years I've had occasion to listen to the late J. Vernon McGee on the radio. Again to my surprise, he was very strong in his opposition to depictions of Christ. (Perhaps this was a vestige of his Presbyterian upbringing and ministry, even if "New School" and dispensational?) But this concept is foreign to most today, including a great many in churches that subscribe to a Reformed confession.
  10. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    From what I saw last night, Chris, you are right that there are bigger issues than 2nd Commandment violations. The biggest being the addition of things not in the biblical narrative into the story and their willingness to compromise on sin. For example, last night there was no mention nor implication that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality.
  11. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Sounds like the setup to a great joke, but if this is who is on the advisory board, I know it will be terrible.
  12. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    Another sad side effect of this series will be that most who watch it will now consider themselves to be Biblical scholars and well qualified to speak with authority on every moral issue (not that most Americans don't already assume this). :(
  13. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    Abraham's "grumbling" at being told to sacrifice Isaac jarred me too. There's no biblical evidence that Abraham did ANYTHING other than immediately obey God.
  14. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    Josh, I was not trying to minimize the 2nd Commandment violations of the series. My apologies for doing so.
  15. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I wouldn't want to prioritize the problems by saying one is in any way not a serious matter, but Perverting the Word of God, a third commandment issue at the least (first?), may be the grosser of the violations of this flick since without a pure Word, our basis of judging the truth is corrupted. Also, that pictures of Christ as a man should not be made is not the clearest issue of our day, when churches let so many teachers take issue with it; whereas most Christians worthy of the name would recognize and have issue with making the Biblical narrative say things it does not by either addition or subtraction. Again both are sins; but we can perhaps prioritize them to some degree in analyzing the film's errors.
  16. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks, Chris, for saying what I wanted to say but couldn't quite figure out how to say it. I don't think it minimizes the sin to take issue with some sins to a greater degree.
  17. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I didn't see the program (wasn't even aware of it). But the first concern I've had with any film version I've seen of any Bible account is that to make a dramatized film of it one has to add to and substract from the text we're given... choosing facial expressions, details of the setting and endless other details even if no dialogue is added or deleted, which itself is difficult enough. It's a hazardous endeavor fraught with third commandment implications.

    I'm not sure I'd outlaw absolutely every dramatization of a scriptural story. After all, good preaching, teaching and even reading the Bible aloud with inflection take some of the same liberties. But dramatization should be done sparingly and with careful regard for the fact that the source material is not just another book, and with a recognition that the drama is not the Bible itself but rather an interpretation of biblical events.

    Side question: Did the History Channel program actually picture God in Old Testament stories? I'd think even among typical evangelicals there'd be some backlash against that.
  18. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    In the opening credits they depicted Jesus in future episodes and they depicted God in three distinct persons, one looking very much like the person who depicted Jesus in the opening credits, when the Lord visits Abraham.
  19. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I thought two of them were angels. They were the ones that were in that awesome action sequence in Sodom where the one angel dual-wields long knives ("almost as cool as Legolas," my wife said).
  20. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    It may be. That passage in Genesis has always confused me as to what exactly is occurring when the three visit Abraham.
  21. christiana

    christiana Puritan Board Senior

  22. Reformed Irish Man

    Reformed Irish Man Puritan Board Freshman

    In light of this I'm glad my wife and I don't have a TV :pilgrim:
  23. Hawaiian Puritan

    Hawaiian Puritan Puritan Board Freshman

    I think there was one split-second view of the debauched crowd in Sodom where you can see a man dressed as a woman with makeup on, but yeah, they intentionally changed what Scripture says and instead showed the angels having been beaten up by the crowd, calling for help and bleeding. (Not sure that can happen to angels, to be quite frank.) But, in any event, it seems to reinforce the revisionist liberal view that Sodom was punished for "inhospitality." I suppose the creators of this would say the angels were just testing how they would be treated if they appeared as men. The one martial arts angel reminded me of Master Yoda in Star Wars.
  24. christiana

    christiana Puritan Board Senior

    Our expectations are far from realistic if and when we would expect a secular channel on TV to produce a biblical God honoring program! That would be an impossible task! I wont view the coming four at all!
  25. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    Absolutely. Of course they will not produce a documentary that accurately depicts the sinfulness of sin and the holiness of God...they hate our God.
  26. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Wrong premise. Roma Downey claims to be a "devout Catholic."

    Downey hails from Northern Ireland, attended Thornhill College, and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Brighton College of Art before turning to acting with classical training in drama in London. She received (along with her husband, "Survivor" and "The Voice" guy, Mark Burnett) an honorary degree from Pepperdine's School of Business and Management. And, she claims to hold a master's degree in Spiritual Psychology (whatever that is) from the University of Santa Monica (wherever that is).

    13 million on cable makes this a mega hit for the cable crowd. Like it or not, expect it to keep it up for four more weeks. You'll even get to see the 52 year old Downey play the Virgin Mary and Cee-Lo Green sing "Mary Did You Know" (I'm NOT kidding!!!). How do they keep Cee-Lo from breaking into profanity?

    Incidentally, the project advisors are listed as:
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  27. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    Is that how long I am going to have to put up with this nonsense? On a semi-related note, this is probably the most historical thing the History Channel has shown in years.
  28. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    Of "Touched By An Angel" fame? Well then, it's all good.

  29. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    I would rather watch Pawn Stars than this nonsense. (Actually, Pawn Stars is pretty nonsensical too...)
  30. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    By no means was my comment an endorsement, I was just pointing out that sadly it is the closest thing to the original intent of the channel produced in a while.
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