Merchandising ‘The Bible’

It has been over two weeks since the popular miniseries, ‘The Bible,’ finished airing on The History Channel. The show, which was produced by Roman Catholic Roma Downey (of the series ‘Touched By an Angel’) and her husband Mark Burnett (producer of ‘Survivor’), garnered the praise of many professing evangelical Christians in spite of its gross historical and theological inaccuracies. While not all denied the existence of these inconsistencies, supporters of the series argued that the production caused people to open their own Bibles and thus helped to renew an interest in the sacred text.

If this truly was a goal and purpose for the miniseries, however, then one cannot help but wonder why there would be a need to merchandise ‘The Bible.’ Perhaps the numerous errors contained in the production could have been redeemed at least in part if, upon conclusion of the series on television, viewers were urged to open a copy of God’s Word. Instead, throughout the five weeks the series aired and in the days following, a merchandising campaign began that promoted this hopelessly inadequate small-screen rendition of ‘The Bible’ and accompanying resources.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s own LifeWay Christian Resources already has jumped on ‘The Bible’ bandwagon, making all related products available on their website. From the DVD set (which recently broke the record for the best-selling miniseries on DVD), to a 30-day devotional, to both adult and youth versions of the book, A Story of God and All of Us, LifeWay is praising and stocking it all. So, too, is the retail chain Family Christian Store, as well as online resource provider, Christian Book Distributors.

What of this book, A Story of God and All of Us? It is subtitled, “A Novel Based on the Epic TV Miniseries The Bible.” Amazon.com’s description of this book reads as follows:

Scripture’s greatest stories and most compelling characters come to life in this sweeping new novel by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.

Beginning with the creation of man and ending with the revelation of a new world, readers will revel in this epic saga of warriors, rebels, poets, and kings, all called upon by God to reveal His enduring love for mankind. Ultimately, God’s plan is fulfilled in the story of Jesus the Messiah, whose life, death and resurrection brings salvation to one and all.

A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US is a companion to The Bible, the epic ten-hour mini-series produced by the authors and televised around the world.

Source

It would be prudent to ponder this for a moment. Consider the sentence, “Scripture’s greatest stories and most compelling characters come to life in this sweeping new novel by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.” Does this not cause one to wonder what the actual Bible is lacking that Roma Downey and Mark Burnett were able to supply in this novel? Is the reader of this book, whether he be an unbeliever, a new Christian, or one who has matured in his faith, to believe that the biblical narratives themselves, in spite of the fact that they are God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16), are not compelling enough to hold one’s attention?

Consider also the second paragraph of the above description of Downey and Burnett’s book. These two allegedly have compiled into one volume the story of God and Christ from creation to Revelation. Perhaps it is a simplistic objection, but have not these stories already been gathered, and perfectly interwoven, into one grand and wonderful book? Has not God, without the help of men who follow the false and aberrant gospel of the Roman Catholic Church, already provided His full, infallible, inerrant and holy Word? Is not this Word alone the truth of Him Who saves (John 17:17; Rom. 10:17)? Is not this the book that is sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and godliness (2 Tim. 3:16–17; 2 Pet. 1:3)? Why would any Christian desire to spend time reading and studying a novel that is based on an error-filled television show when he could feast upon the true Word of God (Matt. 4:4)?

And to the unbeliever whose interest in the things of God perhaps graciously has been piqued by this miniseries, know that it is God alone Who draws men to Himself (John 6:44). Though this curiosity was instigated by a cinematic work of fiction, turn now to the true Word of God. This Word, written by the Spirit of God through the pens of men (2 Pet. 1:21), is the surest way to know the truth about God, about sin, and about the perfect Savior whose blood was shed so that sinners may be saved from the righteous wrath of a holy God. Jesus Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life—the only way to salvation (John 14:6)—and He is found in the pages of Scripture.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Heb. 1:1–2

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14