us Series, page 12 -Letters. A Hollywood Jesus visual Review
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PAGE 1 -Review and photos
PAGE 2 -Review and photos continued
PAGE 3 -Review and photos (from second part).
PAGE 4 Comments
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PAGE 12 Comments <you are here
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Differences between the CBS and International version
SPECIAL PAGE -Interview with Lorenzo Minoli

I will respond to various letters as I can over the next few weeks. -David

Subject: Jesus the Mini-Series
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000
From: Pete Bauer

This mini-series is frustrating because of it's polar opposite inconsistencies that get in the way of an otherwise effect portrayal. But first, the good. I like the actor portraying Jesus. He is full of energy and vigor for life. He runs and plays and mourns. He shows us a variety of sides of Jesus that have not been explored in previous films, which is refreshing. And I appreciate the writer's attempts to address some other areas of Jesus life that are not covered in the Bible or in other versions of his life (his father's death, a woman in love with him, the temptations of Jesus by Satan in the desert, etc.) . However... (here comes the bad), these cannot make up for some odd revisions and liberties the writers took in this version. Jesus' reaction to Joseph's death was completely contradictory to him knowing what he was and why he was there. You can't have Jesus swapping between Human Jesus and Divine Jesus, for he was both. But, in one scene he's acting completely human and in others completely divine... this makes no sense. Even we mere humans, during the most trying times, can have faith and peace when giving up to God's will... would not his SON understand this on levels we can not even comprehend? In the Bible it's pretty clear that Jesus knew his purpose and path from Day 1... there is never a time when Jesus swaps between the Human and Divine... only in the Garden does he show human weakness by asking that he not have to go through with it, yet he immediately asks that God's will be done over his own. Any other interpretation, like this mini-series, is a misrepresentation. The other major error (and I do mean MAJOR) was the handling of John the Baptist. How could John the Baptist, while in Elizabeth's womb, recognize Jesus from within Mary's womb as the Son of God, yet thirty years later he hasn't figured it out yet??? Hello??? It's these inconsistencies which are so frustrating. In most scenes they offer a new and interesting insight into the life of Christ, yet in others they feel the need to induldge and go completely out of the lines. When telling the life of Christ you can't just pick and choose from the Bible to make your version of his life. After all, the Gospels are not that long or hard to read and the story they relate is the most effective story ever told... why change it? I mean, did they need more pages in order to make it four hours long? I just don't see the point. On more basic levels, why does every Apostle look like a white guy from L.A.? When Jesus and the Apostles are together it's like watching "Jerusalem 90210." And, perhaps the oddest part of it all is the apparent lack of passion in the telling of the story. Even The Last Temptation of Christ (which should be called, The Coward Who Stumbled Into Being a Savior) was more gripping than this 80% accurate version. Not once during this mini-series have I been gripped to the television. When things would go wacky (see Jesus' reaction to Joseph dying or any discussion between John the Baptist and Jesus) I had channel surfed and checked back when the writer's injections were through. It's the only way I could watch it at all... if I was stuck watching the blatant revisionism I'd dislike the film enough that I would not watch the rest. Overall, this is a version of the life of Jesus that misses a chance at being something truly special. For anyone that wants to see a faithful (and the most powerful) telling of the story, buy the DVD of Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zeffirelli. Sincerely, Pete Bauer

Subject: Jesus' actors
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000
From: Laura

This was in reference to another comment about the faith of the actors and actresses of the miniseries. I read in the TV Guide that none of the stars who play Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Pilate are Christians. I think Jeremy Sisto (Jesus) is Jewish! Watching this movie just reminded me of watching the Last Temptation of Christ. And that wasn't an enjoyable experience for me! I love the human Jesus (laughing, playing, joking, crying, etc.) but He's also God in flesh appearing on earth. He doesnt' commit any sin and wouldn't need to repent, yet was the example for us through baptism and prayer. Also, if Jesus said it was a sin to lust in your heart, than Jesus would not have lusted after Mary. He can't sin! He didn't sin! He's my perfect Jesus! Also to my knowledge, there was no disclaimer in the beginning, as there was in the Last Temptation of Christ. Most of the movie was inaccurate and harmful. There were parts l liked. BUT THE MOVIE COULD DEFINITELY DO WITHOUT THE INCORRECT UPSETTING IMAGES ADDED FOR HOLLYWOOD AND CREATIVE PURPOSES! I LOVE MY JESUS THE WAY HE IS! God Bless, Laura

Subject: The Movie--Good! The Book--Best!
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000
From: Kieth

God says it through Paul best in Philippians 1:15-18 but in verse 18 He says it best: "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice." -Kieth-

Subject: Kuya Jess!!!
Date: Wed, 17 May 2000
From: Pauline Puno

When I watched the film, I was so overwhelmed that I was crying my eyes out! For the first time in my life, I finally saw the image of Jesus that I could only feel in my heart. He became so real and so alive! I've read the comments of some people saying that this is not based on the Bible. I feel that this film is actually based on the Bible. If you read the Bible with all your heart, you will realize that so much of Jesus can be revealed through divine revelation. I feel that Jesus is using this film to reach out to people... to convince everyone that He is real and that He loves us very much. > Pauline Puno

Subject: (please omit our e-mail address)
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000
From: marylynn

For pete's sake... HOLLYWOOD produced the Jesus movie -- like anyone expected absolute accuracy??? Why, church doctrines, theologians, and Christians, themselves, cannot agree on interpretation of Scripture; so we expect Hollywood screenwriters and producers to agree? Absurd. The movie is a TERRIFIC TOOL to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unchurched world, the people WHO NEED IT most and who aren't offended by the implied nudity and slight Scripture embellishments (aka creative license)... although I gotta admit that the Baptist scene of Jesus was way off base. But, to the unchurched, that's a minor thing. God bless them for trying; may the dark world be brighter because of them in the name of our Glorious Saviour.

Date: Tue, 16 May 2000
From: "john young-powell"

This is my second post on the Jesus movie. I'm amazed by the energy and passion of some of the my Christian brothers and sisters in decrying this movie-if only they would use that energy some other way. The sense that some Christians "own" the definitive interpretation of the New Testament really saddens me. We should not trash an entire movie because we detect errors. Almost all movies about historical figures have some fact errors. The question is "Do these errors obscure the basic, important truths about the person portrayed?" Mary Magdalene is not a prostitute in the Bible, and I get tired of continually telling people that this was probably a way for the early church theologians to denigrate her place as the first messenger of the Resurrection. However, Jesus did deal with prostitutes in a caring fashion, and this basic truth is conveyed even if it was a different "Mary" in history. I'm not sure I understand the parents who object to the nudity. If we tried to give our kids a healthy appreciation of the human body while they are younger, maybe they won't be hoarding Playboy magazines under their beds as teenagers since we gave the message that nudity is "forbidden." Let's see how Wednesday night's section goes....
John Young-Powell
Not a professor, but a high school theology teacher Florissant, MO

Date: Tue, 16 May 2000
From: laurel

I loved the JESUS film too...I found myself thinking A LOT about it/Him today, and talking about it over dinner with my daughter and sister-in-law. Jesus was so wonderfully, joyfully the Lord wants us to be! I LOVED that He sang and danced and clapped and celebrated life to the fullest, felt life to the fullest, swung kids was lovely! At first I wanted Him to say the rest of each scripture He was quoting, and then wished that scene from the Apocrapha wasn't included (when Jesus was a kid and healed the bird), but I don't mind now...being picky is NOT where we need to be on this...the Lord was glorified and I know this has affected thousands of the end, maybe millions!
Lord Bless you David!! THANKS AGAIN for the awesome site... Laurel

Subject: I thought i was supposed to see Jesus
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: "George/Bishoy"

Do not show my e-mail O.K., I thought at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday night, I was supposed to see Jesus. Well, All i saw was a sickly made movie that seemed to try and give a wrong image of Jesus. Let me give you a bit of advice, There is a book called "The Bible" and i think it would be a very good book to read. I mean what in the world were you thinking when making that movie? First where in the bible does it say that Jesus was in love with Mary let alone anyone???, I've read the bible many times and someone tell me if i have missed something. Next, Jesus was born without sin, how does John tell jesus to confess his sins, It says in Matthew that Jesus was from the holy spirit, not from man, also (Luke 1:32-35). That was a big mistake. Also, you made him seem like a prophet, he didn't want to go and fulfill his reason for being here. In addition, the only time that Jesus became upset was in the temple in Jerusalem, not at his fathers grave and not when he was tring to fulfill his reason. Furthermore, John the baptist said that he (john) was unworthy to untie his sandles (John 1:27-34). Here you made John tell him to confess his sins?!?

In addition, in the temptation, There was never any conversation between him and the devil, it was a straight forward answer to the devil. Also, Jesus never ever asked how to get power. The devil did the same thing and that is why he is what he is today. I can keep going and going, but i don't want to waste your time. Please before you do something else, read the book!!!!!!! If you don't, there will be severe consequences in the end.

Subject: Yes, You're Right, Clayton
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000
From: James Vendettuoli

JOSEPH OF NAZARETH and MARY MAGDALENE are two unreleased Lux Vide Bible movies that are to be added into the JESUS Mini Series for the UK release. They will be cut from the US release, however. The US release will be abridged. Buy the uncut version on the phone during the showing on May 14th and May 17th.
James Vendettuoli

Subject: Jesus mini-series
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Artie

I thought this long needed portrayal of Jesus was absolutely fantastic! As a member of the pastoral staff of a protestant church, I must admit that I have been going through a great deal of disillusionment RE: the reality of the church world. After watching the first part last night, I sensed a spark of renewal in place of a growing despair. In a very real sense, I felt Jesus met with me through this film and I am grateful. Thank you, David, for your wonderful web site. You are often a source of encouragement for me!

Subject: Irony
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: MB

How ironic that a series staring off by showing the self-righteous un-Godlyness of judging others (the witch burning) should prompt so many charges of blasphemy by the modern-day Pharisees. I think it is the best portrayal of Christ I've ever seen on film and suspect it is far more effective in reaching the unsaved than any of us screaming "turn or burn sinner." My wife and I are our Church librarians and we can't wait to add a copy of "Jesus" to our collection. And yes, we're going to watch on Wednesday.
MB (please don't print our userid. We don't need the spam or hatemail)

Subject: Reaction?
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Jan

Dear David, What more can I say than has already been said...I enjoyed the artistic license taken when it was not defaming to to God the Son, Father or Holy Spirit. Why the inaccuracies? I see absolutely no need for them- Jesus as man is clearly depicted in the Bible. He wept at the news of the death of Lazarus. He died in pain physically in addition to spiritually....He was tempted by satan-this was well depicted in the movie. My peace comes form knowing that the Holy Spirit and the grace of God can fill in every void and inaccuarcy in this man-made film and in the end God be glorified. If Christians are counting on this as an evangel tool remember it's a seed and God will do the rest. (Quite possibly through those of us who were watching with discernment!) Let us do our part and be a reference for those who are searching and show them God's word--no movie can do what Christ himself calls us to do-go and tell! Thank you for the wonderful site!
A Beacon in Omaha, NE

Subject: Swallowing Camels
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: "Michele Eldred"

The first part of "Jesus" was wonderful. Sure, there are a few blatant errors (such as John the Baptist asking Jesus to confess his sins), but how are those letter-perfect e-mail-writing Christian critics out there positive of every word that every man spoke during the life of Christ? Were they there, right on the scene? Maybe John did just simply talk to Jesus about why he was baptizing people; maybe John didn't realize the holiness of Jesus until an anointing fell on him and he said to Jesus that he wasn't worthy to fasten his sandals. How do we know what extra conversations occurred....what doubts people had before things were revealed to them? Doesn't the Bible tell us that all the books of the world could not contain everything that Jesus did and said? An intelligent movie-viewer knows from experience that:
(1) the director/screenwriter will consolidate story lines and episodes for the sake of conciseness and fluidity;
(2) PG means Parental Guidance people -- This movie is being aired at 9:00 eastern -- that usually is a clue to parents that it's not a kiddy movie;
(3) has God bless you with a VCR yet? A VCR allows you to fast forward through those "nude scenes", like I did today, with my 11-year-old daughter. I have already watched Part 1 three times; the second time was today after school with my daughter; the third time tonight with my husband, who noted the unscriptural parts and thoroughly enjoyed the personality of Jesus.

By the way, my daughter thought the movie was fantastic (and watched it twice in a row)! Jesus is finally portrayed as someone really human, a friend and teacher and of course Savior we can relate to. The scene of him skipping stones by the waterside while being introduced to Simon Peter as the Messiah was just precious! I agreed with her whole-heartedly when she said, "Mommy, I can't wait until he comes back and I can really see him like that." Amen! I repeat, while watching the film WITH her, I could then explain to her where the movie was not scriptural or took artistic license, and could also fast forward through that the nudity ("gasp...tsk tsk") You know, sitting with your children and explaining things is called "parenting." It's mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy; God says that you're responsible to teach your kids the Word of God, not movie producers and directors.

I have been a bible-believing born-again Jesus lover and follower for 16 years. I used to be a stickler for Bible detail and meaning. I used to reject anything that wasn't in a little square box of doctrine. But then I looked at my life and saw how unloving and uncaring I could be to hurting and needy people. I realized I was overly critical and wasting my time in doctrinal argument. Now I am getting increasingly discouraged by brothers and sisters who pick everything apart bit by bit, just like I did. Don't you people realize that this movie is a rare and wonderful chance to talk about Jesus know? Stop whining!!!

Study this verse, please, I beg you -- it changed my life. ***Jesus told the Pharisees, "You strain at gnats and swallow a camel."*** So many believers do this today...they pick and pick and pick and pick and pick and pick on every little error, inconsistency, artistic license, etc. They attack each other's doctrine and church -- they call everything and anything "blasphemy". Well, people, if your own lives would even show a FRACTION of the REAL love of Christ to this sick and ungodly world, we wouldn't be in this mess. If you were really following Christ, you wouldn't have the TIME nor the energy to pick and pick and pick on every little thing. By the way, if you haven't caught on yet, that's why your co-workers, neighbors, and family members call the Christian church "hypocritical." We talk the talk, but we don't walk the walk. Thanks for letting me vent. Please don't post my e-mail address. I'm too discouraged to get beat up any more by fellow believers.

Subject: Both sides have a point, BUT...
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Randy

I can read both sides of this ongoing debate with some sympathy. I can definitely see the arguments both sides are making. But first I want to address the issues about inaccuracies and how 'heretical' they are I'd like to ask that some humility be introduced to the more dogmatic of posters here. Regarding the human-ness of Christ, this is one of the biggest problems with the orthodox trinitarian dogma. The idea of Jesus being fully God while on Earth causes a lot of question marks when you read the New Testament and try to figure it out. If Jesus was God while on Earth, how could he be tempted at all? The Bible says God cannot be tempted. If he was the all-knowing God on Earth, how could he not know the timing of his return to Earth? How could he tell James and John's mother that the decision as to where they would sit would be up to the Father? Are they not one and the same? And how could Jesus have "learned through suffering"? If you're God, what have you to learn? And why are we told that there is ONE God, the FATHER, and ONE Lord, Jesus Christ (I Cor).

I do not say these things to start a debate on trinitarianism. The Trinity has things going for it that unitarians can't fully explain away, but most of those who believe it as stated in Orthodoxy (particularly a dogma necessary for salvation) have never truly questioned its scriptural support, and those who are accustomed to treating English translations as "inspired" have often themselves been the victims of grossly inaccurate or misleading translations tied to a dogma accepted as truth (a classic is Psalm 110:1, as any Hebrew speaker can attest!). Those translated scriptures are quoted as dogma to prove that the things that others' say is heresy. Hence witch hunts begin on all who don't accept current dogma, and of course films that don't precisely match that dogma. Many Christians would be shocked to find out that John Calvin actually had someone executed for refusing to accept his Trinitarian viewpoint. All these arguments over the true nature of Christ lead us into quarrels over whether Jesus is being portrayed as "too human" or "too Godlike".

But the scriptures are quite clear on the fact that Jesus experienced every manner of temptation, he LEARNED through suffering, and he even, in his darkest hour of human weakness, asked his Father in Heaven if there were not another way to get the job done. Is this not the ultimate in humanity? Faced with the horror and agony of his immediate future, along with the separation from his Heavenly Father (albeit temporarily), he submitted to God's will even after looking for another way. For those who are getting really upset over 'filled-in' spots, I just ask this, do you think that Jesus knew who he was when he was born? How about when he was 2? three? eight? At what point does he stop being a little boy who played with other children and become a man who is one with his Father in Heaven? Was there a magical moment? Was it a growing realization? No one can know based strictly upon Biblical interpretation. So we need to be VERY careful when we pick up stones to hurl at anyone who dares IMAGINE what it might have been like for him and how he came upon the realization of who he was. That's what this movie is often ripped for doing...daring to imagine.

It does not (and better not!) present its story as dogma. Anyone following it as dogma would be in huge trouble, as the God-breathed scriptures are the only TRUTH we can cling to. In this aspect I'm very fundamentalist. Did the makers of the movie cross some lines they should not have? YES, absolutely, but the portrayal of a human Jesus who experienced the full spectrum of life's joys and sorrows AS ANY OF US WOULD should still be welcome. I have some misgivings about the movie, but they are often different than those who are ready to burn everyone associated with it at the proverbial stake for heresy.

Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Laurie Phillips

I wanted to write about the Jesus mini-series on CBS. I tuned in for a short time, as that was all I could take. The idea that Jesus was an adult and did not know who his real Father was, when in fact he was discovered in the temple "about His Father's business", was absurd. Also the picture of Jesus standing in Joseph's tomb asking God to raise him up - I can't do it alone -- was ridiculous. Not just biblically inaccurate but to show Jesus having doubt in God, His Father was very disturbing. Also, on the commercial someone asked Jesus why He had to die -- the answer, to prove God's love for humanity! What! God didn't need to prove anything! This changes the whole message of the Gospel and I only regret that for some this may be the only exposure they have to Jesus, and they would get the wrong ideas - for example, that Jesus might fall in love. (Jesus was sinless and taught that to lust in your heart was sin!) As a matter of fact, I used how bad this mini-series was as a witnessing tool this morning. At least it got water cooler discussion going. I absolutely have no problem with a smiling, dancing, playful Jesus. For all of you out there looking for a BIBLICAL, wonderful, moving depiction of the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, please get the "Matthew" series with Bruce Marciano. It is the absolute best there is -- and each word spoken is directly from scripture.
P.S. Just wondering. How many of the actors (including "Jesus") are professing Christians?) Please post these comments
Thank you, Laurie Phillips

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