Last week I accompanied my wife, two of my children, and four of my grandkids to the opening night showing of the movie "Son of God". The movie was a spin-off of the History Channel mini-series, "The Bible" which aired last year. Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (who also appears in both movie and mini-series) actually shot both projects at the same time so there are numerous similarities.
I will hold my review of the movie until the end of this article because I've been struck by the vitriol directed at the producers from some segments of Christianity. I must admit this surprised me. I would never have thought this possible until I ran into several Facebook posts implying the producers are everything from New Age apostates to blasphemers for daring to take artistic license in the making of a motion picture.
I'm reluctant to give some of the reviews more hype than they've already received however I do want to mention a few of the objections. First that it wasn't biblically accurate. Citing several examples of inaccuracies such as Jesus entering Lazarus' tomb and touching him instead of commanding him from outside the tomb, "Lazarus, come forth!" Now before I am accused of apostasy or blasphemy, he may have said "come out" depending on the version of the Bible you are using. Oh that's right, Jesus didn't speak English...
Second, the character of Jesus is portrayed in a few instances as more of a friend than Lord of Lords. An example is when He encourages Peter to follow him (instead of commanding him). I was under the impression that free will was a cornerstone of Christianity. If Jesus commanded his disciples to follow him, why didn't Jesus command the rich man to follow him in Mark chapter 10. Jesus gave him the same choice He gives all of us (including Peter) to follow him or not.
The third example I've read in some reviews is that the actor is too attractive to accurately portray Jesus who is described as plain in the Bible (Isaiah 53:2). I have a hard time taking this objection too seriously since one person's beauty is not necessarily that of everyone.
During the 30 plus years since I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, I have noticed a tendency of Christians to attack fellow Christians with special zeal at times. I remember a story related at a Promise Keepers rally of two men meeting at a Christian Book Store. The first said, "I'm a Christian." "Me too" replied the second. "I'm a Protestant." "Me too." "I'm a Baptist." "Me too." "I'm a Southern Baptist." "Me too." "My church follows the 1920 Convention," says the first. The second man then says, "1935 you heretic!" To which the first replies "Heathen!"
Too often I've seen the message of salvation through faith in Christ muddled by infighting over issues that may lack real eternal significance. I fear there is real danger of this happening with "Son of God." The Jesus I saw portrayed in this movie claimed that he was God, died a horrible death because of that claim, then proved it by rising from the dead. These three facts reflect the Gospels and if they lead non-Christians to investigate the claims of Christianity does a small amount of artistic license matter? To a few apparently it does.
I felt the movie tried hard to balance entertainment and evangelism- possibly an impossible undertaking. While I noticed a few inaccuracies, I didn't feel it came anywhere near apostasy. It was entertaining, possibly 3 stars out of 5. I think it is definitely worth seeing, however for anyone who has yet to accept Christ as their savior, I would suggest you read the Gospels and talk to a Bible-believing pastor who can answer questions this movie doesn't address.