The History Channel’s Bible Mini-Series & How Christians Can Enjoy It!

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On Sunday night The Bible mini-series began on the History Channel began. I did not get to see the series until Monday since our church was having services until 7:30 pm CST. However, when I logged on social media I was sad to see so many Christians publically debating each other about how the series was produced. I was sad because of how our public fighting was becoming a caricature of what society already thinks about Christianity.

First, let me state that I endorse the Bible as the sufficient, inerrant, and inspired Word of God. I also believe that the Bible series is not infallible since it is not the Word of God. Therefore, it will have errors, which Christians should expect. In fact by now we Christians should not be surprised at how inaccurately media portrays the Bible. Even with the shows errors it was still portrayed surprisingly well unlike other attempts previously done by the media. For example, about a decade ago NBC produced a mini-series on Noah that was horrid. Also, the History Channel itself is not a stranger to its portrayal of the Bible in years past. This is why is shocked me that so many Conservative Christians, including seminary friends of mine were instantly critical of the series. It seemed some Christians only watched the series so they could have something to get mad about, even if it meant picking at the smallest detail. This type of behavior needs to stop because I think it makes Christianity appear unappealing and unloving to our society.

Rather then, as Christians we must see the good in things, including this series, and not just look for the negative. We live in a fallen and sinful world, which makes the world messy. As a result, nothing is going to be perfect and we should accept that. It also means that we can look for redeeming qualities in something and not just look for a reason to be critical.

We also need to be careful about how we bicker and criticize things publically. I’m not saying this Bible mini-series itself is infallible, but I am saying that the memory of this series for the lost should not be how Christians nit-picked with one another about the series details. Too often as Christians we rest in the defensive position rather than the constructive posture.

Lastly, regardless of how right or wrong the History channel presents the Bible in this mini-series I believe in a God that is sovereign enough to use this for His good and purposes. You should also find comfort and peace in that too. After all it is the Holy Spirit that ultimately works within the life of each person. As Paul wrote in Philippians 1:18 (NASB), “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.” Yes, we need to have standards and not water down God’s truth, but we also need to trust Him with the results. Failure to do so can further alienate us from our culture that already invalidates the message of Christ because of its messengers. Let’s choose to be less critical and leave the judgments to the Lord.

“Lincoln’s Battle With God” by Stephen Mansfield

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“Lincoln’s Battle With God” by Stephen Mansfield

The book chronicles Lincoln’s life and faith from the time of his childhood up until his death. Both at the start of the book and at the end of the book Mansfield does not ever indicate if Lincoln was a Christian or not. Rather throughout the book he presents compelling evidence that could suggest both possibilities. This is because Lincoln often referred to the creator, but rarely to Christ himself.

Two notable events stand out from the book. The first is when he lived in New Salem, Illinois he actually wrote a leaflet that he read to other people explaining why God COULD NOT exist. The leaflet was never found because someone who saw Lincoln’s potential grabbed it from him and burned so it could not be used against him. However, there is a lot of documentation to point towards the former existence of the leaflet. One such example was that the town referred to Lincoln as an “infidel.”

This leads to the other significant event that supports the concept that Lincoln believed in God and possibly Christ. While he was at his Father-In- Laws house in Lexington, KY Lincoln found a book in the library that prompted him to reconsider his views on God. The title interested Lincoln because it used the word “infidel.” In fact the precise name of the book was, “The Christian’s Defense, Containing a Fair Statement, and Impartial Examination of the Leading Objections Urged by Infidels.” Needless to say in Lincoln’s pursuit of God this title would intrigue him. He went so far as to request a copy of the book, meet the author, and people remember seeing it at the White House.

Beyond these two events Mansfield paints a Lincoln that has at the least a very general belief in God and perhaps a belief in Christ. He never tries to say it is either. Also, the book addresses the death of his sons, the depression he faced and how faith played a role, and his marriage with Mary Todd Lincoln. Some of favorite parts of the book are when Lincoln was a boy and he heard the traveling evangelists. Mansfield wrote that it was through his imitation of them and his mother’s appreciation for poetry that Lincoln became the orator that history records.

In application Lincoln’s Battle With God allows the reader to see the worldview of President Lincoln. It also allows one to investigate their own worldview. For example, even if Lincoln was not a Christian one can learn that Christianity does not have to adhere to the lines drawn by humanity. In fact this approach frustrated Lincoln. Rather it is more important to have a holistic biblical view of God and more importantly Christ. President Lincoln refused to accept what others insisted were orthodox Christianity without consulting the bible itself. Christians should also put more stock in reading God’s word than just accepting what the it taught as church tradition. Let us read the word of God and allow God to guide us more than the customs in church we have created.