- (Photo: courtesy Answers in Genesis)
Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis organization has posted a review of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's "Son of God" movie, arguing that it is full of errors and fails to talk about sin, repentance and hell.
Ham, who is also the Creation Museum CEO and president, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that talk on repentance and sin is missing from the movie, which was released at the end of February, and posted a link to AiG's official review.
AiG's review starts off by praising the movie's beginning, which is told from the perspective of the Apostle John, where he says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning." It says, however, that after the intro, the movie "fails to ever make it clear just why Jesus came and why He died."
The detailed piece gets into a number of scenes where it argues the movie is inaccurate, such as Peter immediately realizing that Jesus has risen upon discovering the empty tomb, and highlights that "the fact that Jesus Christ came to save people from theirs sins – sins that otherwise would doom every one of us to hell for eternity – is missing as much in the film as in the miniseries that aired last year."
AiG adds that the film's main weakness is that it is missing the Gospel, and that although the life of Jesus makes a good story, it argues that "biblically illiterate viewers will see nothing in the movie to help them understand how Jesus's death should benefit them."
In comparison, the 1979 film on Jesus, distributed through the Jesus Film Project, manages to retain the Gospel message and makes sure that viewers understand that His resurrection was tied to people's eternal destiny, AiG writes.
"'Son of God,' by contrast, left me wondering if I would have had a clue why the Son of God bothered to get born into this world or why He died on the Cross if I had not already learned from the Bible that I am a sinner and been saved by repenting and trusting in the grace made available to me because Jesus carried my sin and guilt to the Cross."
Despite some criticism, many, including Pastor Rick Warren, have also praised the "Son of God" film. Burnett and Downey shared that they have received hundreds of emails both from long-time believers and recent converts saying that the movie touched their lives.
"We are flooded with emails from all sources," Burnett told The Christian Post in an interview last week. "Nationwide, people are weeping during the crucifixion and the arrest – we're hearing that as he resurrects, people are applauding and cheering in the theaters."
"Everybody is profoundly moved by the film," Downey added. "I've seen letters from grown men who said they'd never cried at a movie before, but this movie opened their hearts and brought tears." She said that the movie is also bringing families together and developing "a real sense of community."
Downey, who also the plays the older version of Mary in the film and the original History Channel miniseries, added that that the producers have encouraged people to bring with them a friend to a showing of the movie.
"Sometimes it's harder to ask someone to go to church with you, but it's easy to ask them to go to the movies," she said.
As for criticism on biblical inaccuracies, the producers admitted that the movie does not follow the text word for word. Burnett explained that their hope was to create an "emotional connection" with the audience.
Still, Downey shared that they worked with over 40 scholars and theologians to craft the script and stay accurate to the biblical meaning of the story.
Identifying one change in particular, the movie script added Jesus telling Peter that they will "go change the world" after he calls on him to become a "fisher of men," which is not found in the Bible. But Burnett said that the line produced "one of the most resoundingly big cheers from our church advisers."
"I feel like our job as Christians in Hollywood is to put Jesus on more people's lips through the secular media," he added, and emphasized the importance of sharing the Christian faith with the wider culture and of "letting your light shine." "We don't want our Christian faith to be kept in small groups; we want it to be in the broad media."
"Son of God" has performed well at the box office after two weeks, earning $41 million, which is almost double its budget, though it has fallen well short of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," which achieved a total gross of over $370 million in 2004.