us Series, page 13 -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
PAGE 5 Comments
PAGE 6 Comments
PAGE 7 Comments
PAGE 8 Comments
PAGE 9 Comments
PAGE 10 Comments
PAGE 11 Comments
PAGE 12 Comments
PAGE 13 Comments <you are here
PAGE 14 Comments

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: I'm glad my kids were asleep
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Mark McCauley

I had so looked forward to this mini series, and even promoted it to many of my friends, but am somewhat embarrassed now. After watching the first part I am very disappointed. My wife and I and our three small children sat down to watch the show, but the three kids soon fell asleep, fortunately. I do appreciate any good intentions of the producers, but concerning the core values and truths of our Christian faith, it would have been better not to have aired the movie at all than to portray several false and misleading scenes. When it comes to the sinless, holy and perfect nature of our Christ, there is no room for "artistic deviation". The Bible warns against adding to or taking away from the Truth (the Word of God). Changing the stories of Christ from the Bible even slightly, whether to fit modern day "values" or otherwise, is spiritually destructive. The worst deception of all is truth laced with a little falseness. After that becomes generally accepted, then the step can be repeated with the "new truth". Sometimes this is intentional to fit one's agenda, but many times not. That is why it is so important not to stray from the Biblical truth. If Christians allow it, they can eventually be led so far away from the real truth that they barely look or act any different than the non-believers.

Anyway, I am sure some are wondering what I have a problem with. To begin, a naked woman getting out of bed with a man was hardly what I wanted my young children to see, and they were still awake at that time. They understood very well what the scene meant. I feel that could have been portrayed in a better way. The lifestyle for that character may have been correct, but the Bible also describes Sodom and what occurred there. However, I would not want my kids to watch men with men, and women with women getting out of bed, whether nothing is shown or not. Their minds would fill in the rest. Also, Jesus was portrayed as someone who was not sure of who He was. The Bible is clear that Jesus always knew who He was, and understood His purpose on earth.

The film depicts Jesus mother as the one who got Him on the right track, always assuring Him of who He was. At one point Jesus said that Joseph was His only father, thus denying God as His Heavenly Father. This can not be accepted among Christians. Jesus is also shown later shouting at God and demanding that He raise Joseph from the dead. All through the New Testament Jesus always knew His prayers would be answered before He even prayed them. He did not pray amiss. He had, and still has, foreknowledge. Jesus would never have shown this type of disrespect to His Heavenly Father anyway. At the baptizing scene, Jesus is required to confess His sins. This is probably the worst error so far in the film. He had no sin! In the Biblical account, John also recognized Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, as He approached, not later that night around the campfire as the film depicts. John was also very humble before Jesus and hesitant to baptize Him, according to scripture.

I have no problem with Jesus being portrayed with human emotions, but not the human fallen nature of man. He came to redeem mankind, not take part in their fallen nature for a while, and then die on the cross for their sins. Again, I appreciate any good intentions of the producers, but why can't films like these be run by a Christian group, representing a wide range of believers, before they are released around the world. Or better yet, be produced with advise and even financial assistance from the Christian community. This may be the only Bible that some see around the world, and therefore needs to be accurate. "Artistic interpretation" in this case has become "artistic misrepresentation". There were some really good scenes, I have neglected to mention that, but a little poison in the pot, poisons the whole pot. I hope my opinion does not come across as offensive, but I have strong feelings on this. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts.
Mark McCauley

Subject: Great but not Great
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Joe

I love the portrayal of Jesus as being fun loving and happy. I believe that is the way that Jesus lived his life. The temptation scene was really good. It is important to know that Jesus had real temptation and that he struggled with overcoming it. All the scenes with Jesus having fun and laughing are GREAT. I have been waiting to see Jesus this way in a movie. However, I can not agree with the scene that Jesus has with John the Baptist. Jesus did not have to ask forgiveness of sins and John knew this. I have no problem with embellishing parts of Jesus' live that we do not know about but I can not agree to changing the parts that we do know about. The baptism scene is not accurate in any way. I also believe that it implies that Jesus was not fully God until the Baptism. This in and of itself does not make the film bad, but the fact that it implies that Jesus had sinned in the past leads people away from who Jesus really was. If in our theology we believe that Jesus did sin then how could he be the sacrifice for us. After saying all of this the film is proclaiming the gospel. I don't care what kind of gripe you have about it, whenever people are hearing the message of salvation that is a great thing. I consider myself to be very conservitive when it comes to my theology. I don't understand how others could have a serious problem with this movie. I look forward to seeing the rest of it and hope that it is true to the Bible.

Subject: We all fall short, but some things could(should) have been avoided.
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: "Keith Baldridge"

I watched the first part last night with my wife and five children, and I find myself today still struggling with issues of discernment, biblical inerrancy, and grace this morning. Nothing can or will ever be as accurate as God's Holy Word. Our very human nature which causes us to be curious about those things beyond what is written prevents us from knowing them this side of heaven. I do applaud the effort to portray the humanness of Christ. The laughter, the dancing, the playing with children, the third place in the "race" to the well, splashing water on his friends, etc. are certainly within my "comfort zone". I also found the tension caused by (the portrayed) Jesus' desire(?) to pursue a romantic relationship with Mary to reflect honestly and deeply on the dual nature of Christ as fully God and fully man.

I, however, saw/heard a number of things that concern me and may cause me to not watch the second part or recommend it to others. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The issue of John the Baptist's asking Jesus to repent and his overall "treatment" of Jesus strikes me as, at the very least, disloyal to the movie itself and at worst blasphemous. The movie's portrayal of John remembering their youthful trip to Jerusalem for Passover would seem to call for a different response by John than the way he casually treats him as welcoming another follower and/or a blood relative. And the Bible makes it very clear that John knows the true nature of Jesus before he baptizes him; he even responde while in his mother's womb!
(2) The portrayal of Jesus' agony over the death of Joseph and His plea to His heavenly father to raise him was just too cinematic. I can easily picture Jesus in his humanness struggling with the pain of his earthly loss, but it seemed insincere to stage it later as an "alone-in-the-tomb-with-Joseph's-body" scene.
(3) The "bringing-the-bird-back-to-life" scene was unnecessary, un-Biblical, and served only to trivialize Jesus' future miracles.
(4) Two scenes with Mary Magdalene were totally inappropriate for family viewing. I can think of no positive impact made by portraying her profession so graphically. I want so much to be able to graciously overlook those things that I see as faults with the movie, but I don't want to accept any compromise with biblical truth. It is my fervent desire that all would know Jesus, and I pray that Christians everywhere would be able to show Him to others by lives lived in obedience to Him - lives that truly reflect His love and not just our personalities and/or personal prejudices. It's not necessarily a bad movie, but you should really read the book!
Keith Baldridge

Subject: wowww!
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Alex

david -- thanks for a wonderful site on jesus the cbs movie. i must say that i really really enjoyed the first part of the movie (having seen only that so far). i've never seen jesus as simply dancing, laughing, or even giving women the eye hahaha, so this is a totally refreshing take! i do take my spirituality quite seriously, and i am happy to say that my relationship with jesus is a very personal, trusting one in which i give as much of my waking moments to talking to him, letting him guide me, and just knowing that i am completely safe with him. so seeing jesus given a fresh light is not only wonderfully entertaining, but to me, illuminating. he is very much alive in my being, and seeing him portrayed thus makes him accessible too!

one moment in the movie that really struck me as being profound was when jesus was being tempted by satan to jump off the temple. in the movie, jesus said something like, "it is not my father's will that i go against the laws of nature" or something to that effect. i don't think the bible said it quite like that, so to have it amplified in the movie by the writer shows a profound understanding.... because it shows jesus as recognizing that by choosing to incarnate on this realm of physical limitations, there were certain laws of nature that needed to be respected. and certainly, jumping off a cliff was not a way to prove the infinite saving mercy of God but simply foolishness and needless taunting of God. even as i write this, however, i also remember that jesus was, in fact, able to suspend physical laws... by turning water into wine, by walking on water, by healing. what a riveting paradox! grin. at any rate, please convey my appreciation and thanks to the producer and the whole team that made this movie possible. and the cast is simply splendid! jeremy sisto is great... and i thought jackie bisset showed a marvelous depth as mary. the same with armin stahl, who gave a touching portrayal in showing his befuddlements, his doubts, and ultimately, his faith in the process of rai sing jesus. i hope the video becomes available soon for purchase, as i am sure there will be lots of people who love it and would be happy to see it again! peace and blessings,
alex in los angeles

Subject: Well done!
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Tom and Jen

I am very sad to listen to comments from holier than thou christian who have become so one sided in their belief that the pick apart one of the best depiction of Christ I have ever seen. How many non-christians are attending our church these days? This movie will catch their interest and perhaps we can really do as Christ commanded to go out to all the world and spread His word. The scenes in this movie have really made me see Jesus in a new light. Thank you for not making Jesus out to be a sullen , boring man. We have far to many movies out there that are only made for people who already know their bible and have a relationship with Christ. I look forward to seeing the rest of the mini series and will definitely buy the video to share with my non-christian friends.

Subject: Jesus Mini Series
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Eric Evans

After thirty minutes, I realized how flawed and non-Biblical this mini-series was going to be. I would hearken those pleased with the show to Revelation 22:18, about adding to or taking from the scriptures, which is so blatantly done. This show makes Jesus not the person the Bible reveals Him to be. My opinion would mirror that of "RCLthe3rd" "Totally Blasphemous". Why take such a simple and beautiful story out of Bible and twist and warp it so? I believe it was intended to mislead and deceive. A sorry and unfortunate event. If this were a story about ANY other major identity group, like so many films and television shows before this one, major pains would have been made to accurately reflect the truth. This was not the case of the Jesus mini series. I stopped watching after thirty minutes. Jesus repenting.... what a sham!!!
Eric Evans

Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Stephen

It seems that when it comes to films on Christ or other biblical subjects many Christian critics check their aesthetic standards at the door. While I am glad that CBS saw fit to run this mini-series and I hope many people watch it and are blessed by it, it employs much of the same hackneyed acting and cliches of so many other biblical films. On the occasions when it does show flashes of originality and brilliance in its portrayal of Jesus, it seems to be a ripoff of Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ. However since hardly anyone saw that film because of the furor it caused, I see that some reviewers are praising this miniseries for it's supposed groundbreaking nature.
Please do not post my e-mail address.

Subject: First of Jesus series
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Dan

David, I just wanted to thank you for the excellent coverage and your promotion of the CBS special last night. Your interview and your endorsements... Needless to say, the first half of the mini-series was awesome! I was overwhelmed by the creative rendering and the Spirit of/in the presentation. It is God-honoring and a fantastic interpretation of the people and events... To think of the buzz around water-coolers today makes one proud to be a part of carrying the "message." God bless you David and keep up the good work.

Subject: Please do not post my e-mail address
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: M. DeJesus

I approached this mini series with great enthusiasm after having read numerous "positive" reviews on the film. We were very pleased to see Jesus smiling, dancing, laughing, crying, thirsty, playful, serious, concerened, hurt, etc., as opposed to a man floating five feet above the ground with a halo around his head. It is obvious that they were trying to show the "human" of Jesus. Even though this was a breath of fresh air for a film on the life of Jesus, there was enough inaccuracy to not get our approval. I will get straight to the point and not spend time nit-picking at all of the "little things" in the movie that were inaccurate with scripture. Someone, use scripture to explain why the provacative scenes with Mary Magdaline were necessary in the movie to present to an unbeliever the gospel - in other words, the life of Jesus. And someone, please use scripture to explain the scene where Jesus asks John the Baptist "what must I do to be baptised?" To which John replies, "confess your sins and repent." Was it not John who asked Jesus to baptise him because he did not feel worthy? (Matthew 3:14) I serve a perfect, spotless, lamb of God. Not an imperfect human until He was baptised. (I Peter 1:19) If this did not bother even the most passionate supporter of the film, how much are we going to compromise Truth and Doctrine in order to "attract" viewers?

I am not dissapointed in Hollywood for putting out this rendition of Jesus. I am dissapointed in the reviews written by Christians claiming the movie to be the "most accurate" movie on the life of Jesus they have ever seen. They must have forgotten the "minor" inaccuracy on Jesus being portrayed to have sinned. The cinematography and musical score were both excellent. But if you want to make a movie based on the Bible, based on the words of the Lord, expect to be held accountable to the source. In this case, the bad outweighs the good. And if you disagree, try explaining to an unbeliever how Jesus really was perfect but the movie just took "artistic liscense".
M. DeJesus

Subject: The "Jesus" Movie
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Lisa Mac

Dear Brothers and Sisters Through Jesus, This is just some personal thoughts...this is not an invitation to debate, but do feel free to share your thoughts and insights. :o) AFA sent out some info last week saying that there would be an opening seen with Mary Magdalene that would show brief nudity. They were right. I watched anyway because I wanted to form my own opinion. I was disappointed to see they were right (they usually are). Though I fully understand the portrayal they wanted to make of her, the nudity was unnecessary...and it shocked me to be perfectly honest. It takes a whole lot to do that to ole Lisa Mac. If you didn't see it, be glad. If you need to know what the nudity was a side shot of her behind a sheer just after committing her prostitutional duty. She was completely nude and the sheer allowed you to get a real good profile shot even though it was behind a sheer curtain. The brief dialogue exchanged between her and her customer was also unnecessary in order to make its point.

Still I felt compelled to watch this movie. In part because of all the talk about how this movie would portray a sensitive Jesus, the sensitive Jesus, He truly is and was. (Boy, did that marketing strategy work on me, eh?) Anyway that part I was impressed with. At first when He locked gazes with Mary in the scene of his carpentry work for Lazarus I was a bit skeptical, but then I had to take a big step back and think about this. And this is my thoughts on it as far as the critics' thumbs-down on that scene...In a big way I was happy to think of Him in a way that He had experienced healthy feelings I have experienced in my lifetime. Knowing in my heart that Jesus came as man in order that He could fully and humanly relate to all that we experience, feel, and go through in this life, it made me feel closer to Him. It is very difficult to imagine our Jesus as having possibly had feelings of being in love. But we must remember that He did not lust, nor did He sin in that feeling He had for her and the movie respected this. This is where I took that big step back and had to ponder this concept.

Well, I'll spare you Lisa's critical corner of the movie as far as the rest of the movie is concerned..o.k., o.k., you can stop applauding now, lol. But while I am being humorous I will go ahead and comment that I LOVE the portrayal of Jesus' healthy and vibrant humor. In this reflection of Him I would like to think that in that regard I am Christlike, LOL! You all know I have an undying sense of humor and love to laugh and have fun. :o) But seriously, I want to say, last but not least, that I am in strong objection to the Biblical inaccuracy of the movie. As it was told to me, the producer, writer, whatever, "is a Christian, but he is also a filmaker". I would like to see him have stuck to the true accuracy of the story and a little less description that the Bible itself didn't give us, however.

My husband was on the computer during this movie and as different scenes played I would chime out, "that is totally inaccurate" or "that was totally accurate". After several of those he finally asked me why I was watching it then. I didn't answer. He made it clear that he wouldn't watch it, or any movie, that was not Biblically accurate. We respect each other's thoughts and actions. :o) But as I kept watching it I kept asking myself the same question as to why then I was watching it. So I continually prayed throughout the whole thing. Finally, it came to me. It wasn't a curiosity as much that then drove me as it was in the beginning. As the movie went I found myself falling in love with Jesus..not the character...our SAVIOR Jesus...all over again. And I reassigned myself in this role as a movie watcher and I became the lost, the atheist, the agnostic, the doubting Thomas...the unsaved...that were also possibly watching. And then I remembered a time in my life when I was so very hungry for this Jesus; the Jesus and the Savior that had supposedly experienced everything I have ever experienced...grief over the death of a parent, the desire to share my life with another person, depression, doubt, reluctance, hunger, temptation, sorrow, physical pain, and loneliness (just to mention a few). And watching with this empathy, I wanted Him, all of Him, in my life, my heart, my mind, my body, my spirit. And I found myself sitting there praying with all of my heart and might that if there was a lost soul watching this that they would be moved by the portrayal of Jesus...yes, despite the periods inaccuracy and tastelessness of the movie

Biblically. I found myself crying in my heart to God that I wish it were not inaccurate, but that He would blind the eyes and thoughts of those seeing those parts and reach way into the depths of those lost and help them to see Jesus in the way we are supposed to. Before I watched this movie I asked God to do the same with me, but with discernment to overlook those parts that the enemy would like to use to thwart any goodness intended by God and help me to see my Jesus in ways that I know Him, but to refresh my spirit in that knowledge.

When it came to the part where Jesus healed the lame man and He simply asked the man if he believed that he could help him, I found a profound simplicity for viewing my own infirmaties. Do I, Lisa, think Jesus can help me? That it is as simple as I believe. Yes...undeniably yes. When I was finally able to answer my husband's question as to why then I continued to watch the movie I told him my thoughts about watching with empathy, but the whole time realizing that I, myself, needed a fresh reminder of Jesus as the "man" Who had come to live life as I experience it just so I would come to the realization that I, too, so needed a Savior from my evil nature and sins. But that I also needed Jesus to fill my heart and life and for that most precious intimacy with Him be renewed. Finally, I told my husband also that I am grounded in the accurate Word of God and that it is easy for me to discard any inaccuracies or tastelessness and allow the Spirit of Christ to resaturate my life and heart; to make me a more compassionate follower, to fill me with that true love for my enemies, to allow me to see the world as He saw it and sees it, and for Him to please transform my vision to be His completely. And regardless of it all where the movie was concerned, to bring me home to what He wanted me to be on this earth and that is to be more Christlike.

This is what it did for me personally. If you have or haven't seen it, we all need to be reminded of how much we needed, and need Him, His love, His salvation, His compassion, His totalness in our own lives and hearts, and for me be more like Him. Well that is all that is on my heart. Pray for those lost that may watch Wednesday night and that watched last night. For God's Word tells us that if just one is saved....then this man's work in making this movie has served God in magnificence and the angels will be singing in Heaven. Let us be refreshed in the knowledge of His love for if we had been the only person on earth there was to die for. Knowing Him in this way fills my always has, but it has been reaffirmed in my heart and has brought me back to those basics of why I fell in love with Him and had to pick up my cross and follow Him. :o) With profound love through Him, Jesus our Savior, our best friend, the true love of our lives,
Lisa Mac John 3:16

Subject: I too was disappointed..
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000

In the first part of the movie. I believe Jesus would have been much more sure of himself, and although he loved Joseph, as his earthly father, would have had more of a relationship with in father in heaven. And what was with John asking Jesus to repent of his sins? I have no problem with showing Jesus as a human, dancing and having fun. And did they really have to show so much detail to Mary Magdalene? It may sound as some are just being critical, but shouldn't we check things according to God's word? And last but not least, I also wonder why CBS, wouldn't air commercials of Christian nature such as , and touch by an angel.
Thank you, Stillmoondreamn@aol.

Subject: buying the Jesus miniseries
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Leeann

I was very impressed. Yes I don't think that having Jesus "repent" seemed logical, yet Jesus had no problem with being baptized, therefore what's the deal. He had no pride to let such a "statement" get in the way. I still can't judge what I haven't seen, and I haven't seen the conclusion to be shown on Wednesday night. Now if I can find the directions to my VCR, and figure out how to program it. I want to say that this is a great portrayal. It feels strange to relate to an image on the t.v. this way, but this is an accurate portrayal of the personality I suspect my saviour had/has. I have a relationship with such a One...yet God. Indeed there are suppositions made in the movie, things we have not been told in scripture. You have to be so careful there, that no elements of doctine be found to cause error, nothing to build unwarranted faith in...nothing that you have to trust to be true. Always the question has been, after the Word became flesh, when did He know that He was the Word?

Jesus "in love", I don't know, but, has He not experienced all temptations "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin." Hebrews 4:15 Well, the reason I write is I could not find the button to push to find out how to order the miniseries Jesus, also if there is a European version, is there one in Spanish. My daughter and her husband are missionaries in Mexico. I would like to get them copies in both languages. I will follow this site with interest. I told someone the other day that once we are established believers, strong, we should become like a "virus". We should carry within ourselves the life of God, like DNA and invade the culture like a virus, using the cultures tools,its apparatus of metabolism, and reproduce. God put us in this culture, films and media are the tools of this culture, satan uses the media, why not us?

Subject: Blasphemy? Stupid to be in love?
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: John Young-Powell, Theology Instructor, Florissant, MO

I am happy that, of what I have seen, the Jesus miniseries is trying some new things with this, the most important of stories. The apostles admitted that not everything that happened in their time with Jesus was recorded-only the stuff needed to expand our faith. This does not mean that Jesus could not have fallen in love-culturally, most Jewish men then were supposed to be married before their 30's. I think this is a wonderful aspect to the movie. As far as the baptism scene and Jesus' self-knowledge, I think some liberty can be taken here. Does Jesus know all along that he is without sin? Or does his self-knowledge increase as God leads him in his mission? We get our images/thoughts of Jesus as a "super-human", all-knowing, all-powerful person from John's Gospel-but many of us relate better to the portrayals of Jesus in the other gospels. Does a movie have to incorporate all aspects/scenes/sayings of every gospel? John the Baptist probably was not that "humble." He was a "man on a mission" and was telling the people of his day they were screwing up. Maybe he didn't even expect to see the Messiah in his lifetime. Bravo to the producers of this movie.
John Young-Powell, Theology Instructor, Florissant, MO

Subject: thank's for the needed push
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: MARY J

Hello David,I know you have received numerous e-mail about your miniseries so i won't make this too long.I,like so many others thought this was one of the greatest portrayal of the life of CHRIST ever.not only was it written well,but it's accuracy was awesome.I pray that will continue to open more door's for you to continue spreading the truth of GOD'S love through his son. If there was ever a time when this world needed truth it's now. so thank you,for the needed push. MARY J.

Subject: your Jesus movie
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Willie

Next time you make a movie, try reading the book. This was the biggest pile of trash I've ever seen. Even my six year old was picking up the discrepancies from the actual story. By the way, the devil was not good looking enough. The Bible says he can disguise himself as an angel of light and by doing so would be very handsome to look at. It was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the desert, not the devil switching forms. What a shame you didn't take the time to find out what God's word really says. You had an opportunity to reach people with His love. All you have done is further mislead those already in ignorance of the truth about God and His nature. Shame on you.
Sincerely, a believer

Subject: question
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000
From: Chris

I was concerned when the moive actually showed a young Jesus raising the dead bird back to life. This actually is mentioned in the gnostic heretical gospel, The Gospel of Mary, in which a fanciful story is told abou the child Jesus using his miraculous powers for good and for mischief at his playmates. The bird incident, if I recall correctly, is in this gnostic gospel. There are reasons there are no recorded miracles prior to Jesus' baptism in the Jordan. In fact John 2 says the miracle of the wine at the wedding in Cana was the "beginning" (arche in the Greek) of Jesus' miracles. So why did the producer(s) show this "miracle"?


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