Today, "Son of God", a new movie produced by Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett opened in theaters across the country. Individual Christians and well-known Christian churches, organizations and even schools are raving about seeing Jesus on the big screen.

Many Christian groups bought out multiple screens at theaters or purchased mass quantities of group tickets for this epic film...or rather, epic fail of the true and biblical story of Jesus, the Son of God.

Last year I was contacted by a media group for The History Channel. They emailed me requesting my help in promoting their upcoming 10-episode miniseries called "The Bible". After reviewing their material, Bible studies based on the series, and clips of every episode, I responded kindly telling them that due to the unbiblical nature of the series, I was unable to help promote it. After watching the entire miniseries I wrote and published my review and I haven't heard from them since.

Prior to entering the theater today, I went in with an open-Bible-mind and open-Spirit-heart. I hoped that this movie was better than the miniseries, but alas, it was not. The majority of this film was simply scenes taken from the heretical and blasphemous miniseries. Please know, I don't take these two terms lightly, and you neither should any professing Christian.

I won't go point by point on all the biblical errors in this movie because honestly, there's just not enough room in one review nor time in one day to cover the ineptness of the writers and producers of this film. I will only cover some of the topics and scenes that are fundamental to God's holy precepts and His loving relationship with His people which include God's:
  • Authority
  • Righteousness
  • Love

As a movie, it was gripping, emotionally engaging, well-performed and the cinematography was good. I'm not an emotional person, but even I found myself tearing up when Matthew was called away from his tax collecting table to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, the way this scene is portrayed (as many others) is not actually how God inspired it to be written in His Word.

Jesus Asks Peter To Go Fishing
When Jesus comes to the Sea of Galilee, rather than call His first four disciples (Peter, Andrew, James and John), He only calls one disciple—Peter. But rather than call Peter and Andrew from their boat while they were fishing, Jesus pleads, "Peter, just give me an hour and I'll give you a whole new life." After sassing Jesus, Peter takes him fishing where Jesus works a miracle and provides him with an abundance of fish. When Peter asks what they are going to do, Jesus says, "Change the world."

In the real Bible, Jesus doesn't beg anyone to spend time with them. After all, He is the Lord and has all authority to command who He wants and what He wants. Therefore, He commands Peter and Andrew to follow Him and they immediately leave their boat and nets and obey Jesus' command. Just as all the Apostles who were commissioned by Christ to go into all the world and make disciples, that is, learners. He didn't tell anyone that He came to "change the world" nor did He ask for their help to do so.

Christ came into the world to save sinners from the righteous wrath of God, which is the just penalty for our sins. He never said He came to change the world. He said He came to transform people by giving them new hearts and new minds through repentance and faith in Christ alone.

The 13 Disciples/Apostles
Yes, you read that right. I know in Scripture there are only 12 apostles...all men (Peter, Andrew, James and John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot). But in the film, there are 13 apostles, and the thirteenth apostle is a woman named Mary. Not only is she almost always with them, but she's with them in the boat during the storm when Jesus walks on water; she's with them when they travel privately, though in the Scriptures, Jesus pulled aside and taught only The Twelve...men. Mary is also very outspoken and often reproves the male apostles to have more faith as it is very apparent her faith is stronger. 

During the crucifixion scene when Jesus is being jeered at by the crowd, Mary defends Jesus and shouts "Leave him be!" Wow, brave gal, huh? Braver than the male apostles who never speak up or do anything heroic or faithful. Then when Jesus is resurrected, she's the first (and only woman) that goes to the empty tomb. In Scripture, three women go to the tomb early in the morning and are greeted by angels who remind them that Jesus said He would rise on the third day. In the movie, she and the disciples remember all this on their own.

Lazarus Rises With More Than a Command
In Scripture Jesus purposefully delays from going to see Lazarus when he was ill, allowing him to die. Then He purposefully goes to see Lazarus after he's been dead four days. When Jesus arrives, He is greeted by Martha (one of Lazarus' sisters) who says, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." Martha confesses that Jesus is the Christ and that she believes she will see her brother on the last day, the resurrection. Then Jesus tells her that He is the resurrection and the life. Shortly after telling her this, as He comes to the tomb He weeps. Then from outside the tomb, the Lord Jesus commanded, "Lazarus, come out." With his face wrapped in a cloth and the rest of his body wrapped in linen strips, Lazarus obeys Christ and comes out of the tomb.

In this unbiblical portrayal of the true Son of God, while the fake Jesus and his disciples are walking through a crowd, Mary (the thirteenth disciple) just happens to see Martha weeping and asks her what's wrong. When Martha says that Lazarus has died, Jesus is surprised (which he often is throughout this film) and asks to be taken to the tomb. Once Jesus arrives at the tomb, he actually goes in...with Martha! Then he touches Lazarus (whose face is not wrapped), gently cradles his head, weeps, kisses the back of Lazarus' head, quotes some Scripture and gently suggests that Lazarus rise; and he does. Martha and Lazarus embrace and the three of them emerge from the tomb as the crowd cheers. This scene was performed more like football players exiting a tunnel and onto their home field, than the truly majestic and awesome scene that is depicted in Scripture.

This scene (along with the entire movie) was bankrupt of Jesus' power and authority over life and death.

Not One Stone Left
In Scripture, when one of the disciples are marveling at the architecture of the temple, Jesus says, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." But in the movie, no one is marveling at anything. Rather, when Jesus sees a little girl in the crowd He kneels down to her, smiles, chuckles and playfully pokes the little girl, who giggles as Jesus' quotes Scripture.

The filmmakers take this powerful and frightening prophecy and turn it into a light and impish exchange with a little girl.

Pharisees Care About God's Name and His People
In Scripture, the Pharisees and Sadducees are clearly jealous of Jesus' popularity and despise Him to the point of wanting and plotting His death. But in this unbiblical adaptation of the Pharisees relationship with God and His people, they want Jesus dead because they truly believe Jesus is a blasphemer and they are concerned for the Jewish people's welfare under the tyranny and oppression of the Romans. In the movie, the Pharisees want Jesus dead, not out of sinful hatred and jealously, but out of deep concern to spare the people of Israel any further harm from the Roman Empire.

Jesus Convinces Judas to Betray Him
In Scripture, Judas willingly betrays our Lord for a mere 30 pieces of silver. In the Bible, Judas is clearly depicted as a thief and someone who loves money more than people. None of the other disciples are aware of this impending betrayal while they're eating their last supper with the Lord. Rather than being consumed with His predestined suffering and death, Jesus once again portrays the humility of a servant (contrasting the disciples lack of humility and care for one another) as He removes His outer garment and wraps the towel of the lowliest servant around His waist, and begins to wash the filthy feet of His disciples—loving them "to the end". While Judas is lolly gagging and enjoying this meal, Jesus turns to him and tells him "What you are going to do, do quickly." And he does.

In this movie, Jesus is never shown humbling himself and serving the disciples as one of the lowliest servants in a household. But he doesn't have to since throughout the film the Lord is depicted as more of our buddy than our glorious Master and King. So here, the Lord is shown laughing and enjoying this meal with his disciples when suddenly he has a vision of being betrayed by Judas. Then pretend Jesus has a look of surprise and defeated sadness as he tells the disciples, for the first time, that he is going to be betrayed, suffer and die. Though in Scripture the Lord foretold His suffering and death three times prior.

After Jesus has this surprising and upsetting vision of Judas betraying him, he turns to Judas and convinces Judas to betray him. With tears, Judas adamantly refuses. But Jesus endearingly holds Judas' face, then gently and lovingly insists that Judas do it, and do it quickly. Reluctantly, Judas does as Jesus says. In this false adaptation, the other disciples are aware of Judas' betrayal and Peter tries to stop him, but Jesus tells Peter to let him go.

The Great Commission Has a Great Omission
"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age...And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
~Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-16 (ESV)

The Gospel, that is, the Good News of Jesus Christ is essentially in John 3:16-21. This passage proclaims why Christ came into the world—to save sinners from the full penalty of our sins. Which is why the Good News is the greatest news any human being can receive. For there is only one Mediator between man and God Almighty; Christ the Lord, the only Son of God.

However, in the movie, Jesus never mentions the just penalty of sin, or that we need to be made into new creations through repentance and faith in Christ; which alone equips us to go forth into all the world and make disciples—not converts to a  new way, a better world or just a happier and more peaceful life.

Jesus Visits The Apostle John on The Island of Patmos
In the very beginning of the film and throughout the film, the Apostle John is narrating from the Island of Patmos as he reminisces his time with Jesus. At the close of the movie, John's narration is interrupted by Jesus who appears with a reassuring smile saying, "There will be no more death, pain and crying...I am coming soon." Then with a twinkle in his eye and calming gesture, the fake Jesus disappears.

In Revelation 21, the real Jesus says, "He [God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." The Lord says this to the Apostle John after showing him the new heaven and the new earth that only Christians will see and dwell in. This delightful promise is not generic nor is it all inclusive as the filmmakers try to convey to the audience. This great and awesome promise is only for those who have repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the only Savior for all mankind.

Conclusion
If someone called to you, suggesting that you come out of your comfortable home to take you to a more comfortable and elegant home, you may think they're nice, but you wouldn't consider this to be great news or even an impossibly generous gift. Which is the essential message of this film. But if you were in a burning inferno and someone called to you with instructions on how to be saved from a horribly painful and terrifying death, you would consider this person a great savior with the greatest news you've ever heard, and you would listen to him. This is the Gospel—the true Good News of Jesus Christ.

The truth is, we're all in the burning and destructive inferno of our sins until we are washed by the pure and precious blood of Jesus. We are all covered with the ash of our sins until we are baptized into Christ and made new creations, with new hearts and new minds; no longer darkened and depraved but enlightened by the Gospel and credited with the righteousness of Christ.

There is no evidence of this glorious truth anywhere in this movie. There is no evidence of God's authority, righteousness or saving and powerful love that continually conforms us into the likeness of Christ.

This film does a great disservice to anyone who is infected by its anemic and sclerotic message of false hope in a false christ.

41 comments:

  1. Thank you! What a breath of fresh air!

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  2. Thanks for the review. You've got a typo - Jesus say Change the World - should be Jesus says.

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  3. I agree with your analysis, theologically and technically, for the most part. To me it is merely a tool to use to point people to the TRUE Christ, therefore useful. Yes, there was a lot of important information left out....and we, as believers, have the ability to fill it in for the viewers!

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  4. Wow, thank you Mrs. Shell for the very thorough review!
    It is most shocking to me that they added the feminism in the addition of a thirteenth apostle as a woman--and a dominant one at that!

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  5. Thanks for your response, and I agree with what you said. It is my contention, however, that there are people who will go to see this who wouldn't darken the door of a church. I would hope that it will spur their interest in further exploration, and that is where I believe that we, as believers, need to stand ready to engage them in discussion about this movie, and refocus their misinformation. Absolutely repentance is key, and it was not mentioned. I was disappointed that the reason for Christ's death and resurrection was not emphatically stated, in fact very little was said about sin...and certainly nothing about judgement. Critical omission!!

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  6. You're most welcome Andrew. And yes, very sad how this film shares the false gospel.

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  7. I sort of watched the series and the biblical inaccuracies were very troubling and the part about the woman disciple drove me nuts, you could just see the feminist insertion of this false character. Anything out of Hollywood outside of the Passion of Christ is going to be false and unbiblical and they will do anything to destroy the real truth. I wouldn't go see this blasphemy if I was paid!

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  8. How could you leave out of your review the fact that they quote John 14:6 three times, but drop "no man comes to the Father but by me." ? This was intentional and removes the exclusivity of Jesus as the only way to be saved?

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  9. That sums my thoughts up exactly! Hell and sin were absent from this film (besides maybe the comment 'go and sin no more' to the adulteress). There were far too many errors to take anything seriously or get into the movie at all, and the cheesy acting/soulful stares/rewritten and edited miracles and lines made it seem like a cult. They deliberately cut off any time Jesus said he was the "Only" way, and they undermined Jesus as the truth with a movie full of falsehoods. (Scripture wise and history wise).

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  10. Indeed, that was driving me nuts! They deliberately cut off any time Jesus should have said He was the -only- way. This distortion was compounded further with the misquotes - John 3:16 left out "should not perish" and Rev 22:13 was taken out of context.

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  11. Yes, that was also very disappointing along with all the other ways they presented an impotent jesus rather than our omnipotent and great Savior as He truly is.

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  12. I enjoyed your review and wondered if this movie was riddled with inaccuracies in the name of "creative license". I couldn't stand the mini-series and turned the channel within the first 20 minutes of curious watching. I mean, if you're going to tell the Story, tell it right. Or risk well-deserved shredded reviews by truth-lovers. :)

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  13. Ha, ha...amen JG-Dee! Us truth-lovers call a spade a spade. And yes, it was grossly inaccurate due to "creative license" (as most of it was from "The Bible" miniseries where the filmmakers admit that). But mostly I believe it was inaccurate because neither Downey nor Burnett are Christians...they are New-Agers. Unfortunately, many think their Christians so there's the danger of this movie, it's Bible studies anything else ill-birthed from this film.

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  14. Thank you for this. I haven't seen this movie yet, and likely won't now unless I feel the need to know more details. The clip about changing the world that I had seen bothered me, not simply because it wasn't something Jesus is recorded as saying but because the flavor of it just felt off. Now that I've read the further context here, I understand why.

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  15. Thank you for pinpointing the things I just couldn't put my finger on. Yes, Mary was close to Jesus, but it was just strange that she was there the WHOLE time. Also, I was very distracted by the Over Done and Perfectly beautiful Mary the Mother of Jesus and how Roma cast herself so radiantly. Those are petty things, but a distraction. I hope that the churches that did rent out theaters and showings take the time to bring people back to the Word and study the Truth. Thank you for your diligence to the True Word.

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  16. Well written. Its such a betrayal for the lost to see a skewed portrayal of Jesus. "Blind leading the blind to the pit" With how little of the true person and nature of Jesus is welcomed anywhere (even in the churches) it's a painful deception that He is being represented as "a buddy or boyfriend" rather than our Master and King. My hope is in His promises and that many shall come but only a few shall enter and I pray for the sake of the few who enter that they clearly demonstrated and walked out daily the living and breathing presence of Jesus unwaveringly.

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  17. I agree with most of your points, but the alternative that you're proposing wouldn't reach nearly as many people. I'm forced to ask myself, "Will people be closer to Jesus as a result of watching the film?" I strongly believe so. I agree with you that it's not as biblically kosher as I'd like on some minute details. I also agree with you that it's not an exhaustive presentation of the gospel, but it is a lot more gospel than any average person would otherwise be exposed to. Here's my blog for more details: http://teenagepastor.com/2014/03/02/why-son-of-god-is-the-best-movie-youll-see-all-year/

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  18. An excellent review!
    Roma Downey was raised as, and remains, a Roman Catholic. I believe her interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus is based on the catholic view, i.e.; Mary is co-redeemer with Christ. (BLASPHEMY)

    I saw this mini-series on tv and was astonished at the liberties they took with the true Word of God! Beware these false prophets!

    Rev. 22:19 - And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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  19. Hi Sunny are you aware that the bible also prohibits you to teach to men?

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  20. She's very aware that she is not to exercise teaching authority over men in the church, thanks David. You may have noticed the internet is not a church setting. And if you choose personally to broaden the context of the scripture beyond the bounds it is given in the Bible, then I can only ask you why you're reading Sunny's blog? Why do you allow yourself to fall into sin by bringing yourself here? Where is your discernment man!

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  21. Hi Sunny, are you aware that the bible also prohibits you to teach to men?

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  22. She's very aware that she is not to exercise teaching authority over men in the church thanks David. You may have noticed the internet is not a church setting. And if you choose personally to broaden the context of the scripture beyond the bounds it is given in the Bible, then I can only ask you why you're reading Sunny's blog? Why do you allow yourself to fall into sin by bringing yourself here? Where is your discernment man!

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  23. Thank you Jim, I just
    want to point out to Sunny that if she’s going to convey a stricter guideline
    to Bible interpretation then she have better realize the implication.

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  24. The point is lost in this context David. This is an open forum that anyone can choose to attend or ignore, and Sunny can not police the internet. Sunny is not addressing her teaching to men. If it helps you any, she has written an entire Bible study on biblical submission, including that women are not to exercise teaching authority over men within the church. This is her personal blog, and many of her articles are also carried on The Christian Post.

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  25. Thank you Jim, the Church is not a building or structure. So please remind Sunny that she is not allowed to address any men in her teachings. This blog is clearly teaching and instructing so it is best that it be only address to woman.

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  26. Thank you Jim, the Church is not a building or structure. It is of up most importance that you instruct Sunny that she is only to address woman since this blog is clearly teaching and instructing. Thanks again.

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  27. Thank you Jim, and remember you don't need to delete the truth.

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  28. Funny. He sounds like a fan of every other book that was made into a movie...

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  29. William ChandlerMarch 4, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    The 13 Disciples, there were other disciples but they left him, john 6.53-68. Whether they were men and woman it can't be known. WE do know in the book of Luke he anoints the 12, and another 70 to go to preach that- kingdom of God is at hand. But to say that Mary was hanging around the disciples as the 13th, i can understand your point. Yet we know, after Jesus's Resurrection 120 of them were waiting for the Holy ghost to give them power to speak boldly Gods word. Acts 1.4,-8. 13-15. 120 disciples. TheSame account found in Matt 28.17-20. The word, disciple" means in Greek- one trained or taught. And Jesus wanted them to make more. This word "teach"[ means in Greek, to be or make a disciple. From the Young s and Strong's Concordance. I enjoyed the post, and its very important to uncover the lies, and reveal the truth from the word. Lord bless.I would be honored if you would take a look at my, New book.

    “The Lord’s prayer Unveiled
    / Reflections from the mount.”

    Lord bless you and your loved ones in Christ Jesus. http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625109538

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  30. William ChandlerMarch 4, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    I would be honored if you would take a look at my, New book.

    “The Lord’s prayer Unveiled
    / Reflections from the mount.”

    Lord bless you and your loved ones in Christ Jesus. http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625109538

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  31. Bishop Jackson PlantMarch 4, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Don't you think the fact that a lost world is hearing about Jesus is good? No where is this say it's the whole bible. Didn't Jesus say if I be lifted up 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me? 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me?

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  32. No, it's not completely accurate and I was bothered by some things, but you know what Jesus is in the theaters! We complain when they don't make these films, we complain when they do. These people aren't theologians! Maybe you could make a film of the gospel according to you. I'm sure it would be completely accurate. We don't know everything that was said or done by Jesus. This film is opening dialogue between unbelievers and believers. The Holy Spirit leads us into all Truth. If He can speak through a donkey, can He speak through a flawed film? My sister searched for the Truth for many years and she tried all the major religions to find it. She found Him. I trust Him that He can use this film, and the next two about to be released.

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  33. Doug N Carol McGrawMarch 5, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    I agree with you, Wesley. That's exactly how the 4 of us that went to the movie felt. I think this review does a dis-service to those who know the Lord, and to those who don't.

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  34. Nadab and Abihu were pretty casual and careless with the things of God, not holding fast to what God had instructed, not following exactly the very word of God. So God immediately killed them, burned them up in flame. As Christians, why do we so easily trample on God's grace, take the things of God so casually, as if we have the right to just throw something together that pleases us and say "Oh, God will fix the stuff we didn't bother to get right". "Artistic license" as they like to call it, is fine, except when it comes to the things of God. They are holy. And God has graciously given his word to us, we hold it in our hands, we read it with our own eyes. We are without excuse. How dare any of us change the story into something that is more pleasing to us. It's not our story, it's His. He wrote it. It belongs to Him, not us. An incomplete, man-centered presentation of the gospel, is NOT the gospel. It is a fraud.

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  35. Praise God for your discernment. I will use some of this info in an upcoming video. Thank you, sister.

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  36. Jim, do you think that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John got everything perfectly accurate in the gospels? If so, why are there differences in their writings? I'm sure you hold fast to everything the Lord instructs you, right? I know I don't get it right all the time and I thank Him for His grace because of that. Would you say King David was careless and didn't hold fast to what God instructed? God said he was a man after His own heart. That's the difference. God looks at our hearts and He'll deal with them (and you, and me) accordingly. So be very careful.
    As I said before, I know there were things not accurate, things they added and things they left out. Consider the source. At least they're trying. Why don't some of the mega churches put some of their money where their mouth is and do a better job? If you made a film you would have people critic it also. We think we're right because it's us and we can't be wrong can we?
    The Word was made flesh. He lived sinless, healed the sick, raised the dead, forgave the sinner. He died a cruel and shameful death. He rose again and will return. They got all that right.

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  37. Thanks Doug and Carol. And you're right. When they see this kind of disunity and hate, it turns unbelievers away. Why would they want to be a part of this "Christianity"? The only good thing about this type of criticism is that a lot of people will go see it out of curiosity.

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  38. Doug N Carol McGrawMarch 5, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Jim, You seem very defensive and Pharasitic. I agree with Wesley, who says below " Jim, do you think that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John got everything perfectly accurate in the gospels? If so, why are there differences in their writings?" My goodness, fellow believer, are you defending Christ, or your wife's negative review, which we as sold out to Christ believers find totally offensive.

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  39. Doug N Carol McGrawMarch 5, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Well, I guess we are all human, Sunny. Even Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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