Many viewers of “A.D.—The Bible Continues” which aired on Sunday, April 19th on NBC as episode three of a mini-series may come away confused by the fact the creators have invented a “daughter” for Peter. Biblical scholars contend there is no reference to Peter having a daughter in the Good Book. Some students of the Bible have expressed concern that many of this episode’s scenes and dialogues are fiction and are not depicted in the Bible. Also, it is unclear why Peter is portrayed as a widower when Mark 1:29-31 refers to him having a mother-in-law. There’s no mention in the Scriptures that Peter’s wife has passed away. In fact, 1 Corinthians 9:5 infers that Peter’s wife was still alive throughout his spreading of the Gospel.
It is not until near the end of this episode that an actual Biblical event is depicted when the Holy Spirit appears at the Pentecost. The arrival of the Holy Spirit is actually described in Acts 2 beginning at verse 1 as follows: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what appeared to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them……”
The show does provide a reasonably accurate description of this scene as it depicts a wind-blown flame coming out of the sky which does separate and enter each of the disciples where they sit in a room. And from this point, the disciples are emboldened to speak to the non-believers in the streets of Jerusalem about Christ.
Other actual Biblical events portrayed in A.D. include Peter’s healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful (Acts 2:1-13) a condensed version of his speech (Acts 3:12-26) as well as Peter and John’s arrests (Acts 4:1-3).
Peter’s speech in the Bible is in pertinent part as follows beginning at Acts 3, verse 12: “While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them, ‘Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. We are witnesses to this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”
The fiery sermon by Peter actually goes on longer in the third chapter of Acts. But for some reason the creators of this mini-series opted to delete most of this dramatic moment as portrayed in the Bible.
A serious problem with this episode is that fascinating scenes and speeches from Acts are deleted completely. In their place are fictionalized scenes from the pens of the show’s writers which are less powerful than the Biblical representations.
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have repeatedly expressed the importance of following the text in their Christian productions. Burnett inferred Noah came up short because of its repeated Biblical inaccuracies.
While creative freedom certainly has its place in movies, when their creators stray too far from the text of the Bible in Christian movies they tend to confuse people sincerely interested in learning from the Bible.
All of Downey’s and Burnett’s movies have been box office smash hits. But this mini-series has strayed far from the Bible and replaced it with imagined scenes dreamed up by Hollywood script writers. The millions who will no doubt watch this mini-series should check their Bibles to ascertain what the bestseller of all times actually says. It’s unfortunate many may be confused by this production.
As Revelation 22:18 says, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them God will add to him the plagues described in this book.”
Downey and Burnett are both professing Christians and well-meaning people. Hopefully, the remainder of this mini-series will return to the high quality of earlier efforts by this talented duo with fewer deviations from the Scriptures. The suspicion is they may have relinquished too much of the decision-making in this effort to other people for episode 3.
People interested in what the Bible actually says should read through the Book of Acts in the New Testament.