I am not sure about these movies based on events of the bible. In the last few years I have not been able to bring myself to watch any movie that depicts events written in the bible. I have tried and have not been able to accept the poetic license used to fill in the story. I did not know why until I read a recent book by A. W. Tozer. In it was the answer to my question: Why I don’t agree with the making of a movie that portrays any event in the bible, and it’s because of the lack of sincerity and the irreverence towards God and His Word.
Let me provide an oxymoron: a sincere actor. An actor cannot be sincere because the very nature of his profession is to pretend to be someone else. He puts aside his own persona in order to portray another person’s persona. The bible is all about being true and real about who and what we are, sinners in desperate need of a savior. The sincerity of the preacher proclaiming sharp truth of the gospel is meant to be heard, drawn out in word pictures in an inspired sermon. As Paul states, truth comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God.
But the second issue is the license the writers take when the fill the narrative of the bible, or change it entirely. I once saw a movie about Paul produced by a national Christian broadcasting network. The one scene I watched before I couldn’t watch anymore was the stoning of Stephen. In the movie, Paul is portrayed a being a reluctant participant, trying to convince the leader of the stoning that it was wrong to stone Stephen, and that he was deeply saddened by the event. My bible tells me that Saul nodded with approval when Stephen was stoned. He was very supportive of the situation.
To me, when we allow writers, actors and directors latitude with poetic license to “bolster” the bible narrative to improve their script, the bible narrative loses its integrity. There is enough in the text to provide the whole story. I am not against using a perspective of someone who may have been present to retell a biblical event in a written format as long as it remains true to the story. Reading is another way of hearing because the words echo in our heads.
I am not discouraging anyone from watching a religious movie or one based on biblical events, just consider the producer of the movie and then consult the true source of the narrative.