Tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST, something new is coming to your television set: A Lenten miniseries that is well produced and true to the Scriptures. “The Bible,” a five-part, ten-hour miniseries produced by actress Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett, begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the History Channel.
It was my privilege to preview about an hour of the broadcast last month; and I’d like to offer my enthusiastic endorsement of the work. It is true to the Scriptures—none of that anti-religious Holy Week fare (“Jesus’ Grandchildren” or “Ancient Aliens”) here. There is no snarky, inaccurate criticism of the Catholic Church (a la “Da Vinci Code” or “Hitler’s Pope”). Instead, this series brings to life scenes and stories from the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, in a manner that is respectful and faithful, yet entertaining.
Burnett and Downey conceived of the project after watching “The Ten Commandments” for the first time since childhood. Speaking about the series at last month’s Legatus International Summit, Downey explained, “This is an introduction to the Bible. This is an attractor for people who really haven’t read the Bible lately—or maybe never.”
Roma Downey, who is perhaps best known for her role on “Touched By an Angel”, spoke enthusiastically about her experience during filming in Morocco. “An actor would ask a question,” she revealed, “and I would pull out my Bible. We would sit around the fire and read Scripture. I’ve never [in my acting career] had anything else like that.”Mark Burnett, British-born American producer of TV hits including “Survivor” and “Celebrity Apprentice” and more, confided that he felt the arms of Jesus around him in the making of this film.
Among the board of advisors for “The Bible” series are Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, and Bishop Anthony Basil Taylor, bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock. Others who have been consulted on the project include well-known Protestant leaders Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church and a personal friend of the couple; Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church; Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary; and more. Tom Peterson, founder of Catholics Come Home, also helped with the project.
Tune in tonight to see Week 1: “In the Beginning – Exodus.” You can learn more about the series (and download a free Bible app!) at their website, bibleseries.tv; or text to 313131 the word “Bible” to stay in touch by cell phone.