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'Risen' the Movie: Does it Pass the Bible Test?

Contact: Rick Dack, 763-913-0351

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 2, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- "I think we got it right," stated Joseph Fiennes, a few days after the release of the film "Risen" (February 11, 2016). Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman soldier turned investigator ordered by Pontius Pilate to find Jesus' body - the fourth movie on this theme. The first was "The Inquiry" (1987), then "Resurrection" (1998) followed ten years later by "The Final Inquiry" with Dolph Lundgren (Drago from Rocky IV). Drago?

"Unfortunately, 'Risen' doesn't hold up to scriptural and archaeological integrity. Bible film endorsements from well-known Christian leaders since 2006 (The Nativity Story) has been problematic. Mary's pregnancy questioned by her father (Did she sleep with a Herodian soldier?) and Lazarus' resurrection with a kiss to the head (Son of God) is acceptable content to some but it's not Bible," stated Rick Dack of Defending the Bible International (www.defendingthebible.com). The following examples from 'Risen' are scripturally problematic.

  • Barabbas dying in battle (hours after being released by Pilate?).
  • The crucifixion scenes (location, Jewish purity laws).
  • Clavius' (Roman) compassion towards the family of Jesus at Golgotha is fiction.
  • "It is finished" are the only words of Jesus from the cross.
  • The tomb in 'Risen' is not first century (no corpse tunnel etc.).
  • Two inebriated soldiers guard Jesus' tomb.
  • The burial clothes of Jesus are strewn (not biblical - John 20:6, 7).
  • Bartholomew, supposedly depicting joyfulness, embodies a mentally ill quality.
  • Jesus' appearance to Thomas and the other disciples.
  • Mary Magdalene is referred to as a prostitute three times (not biblical, see Mark 16:1, Luke 8:2).
  • Caiaphas wants Jesus' body burned.

On the positive side, Joseph Fiennes is believable as Clavius, Jesus (Cliff Curtis) displays a subtle self-confidence and the elderly cemetery woman (Clair Agius) interrogated by Clavius - gives an emotionally "kind" performance.
Before seeing 'Risen' Christians should read the Gospel accounts surrounding Easter, its participants and its aftermath - then put the film to the Bible test. Risen' is entertaining (its goal) but not necessarily biblical.

Rick Dack of Defending the Bible International wants to hear your opinions about this film (defendingthebible@usfamily.net). Is Dack being too harsh or is he accurate in his analysis?
Dack encourages his readers to check out "The Gospel of John" (2003) and "The Jesus Film" (1979) on DVD. "These films are essential in educating your family about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus," stated Dack (www.defendingthebible.com). Has your Pastor and Principal addressed media Bible myths and offered a defense of the scriptures? If not, your church and school needs to invite Defending the Bible Int'l. This ministry's "Biographies of the Bible" classes and presentations supply all the answers you will ever need in defense of the scriptures. These classes also include 3D animations of Bible sites, Hollywood stories of faith, archaeological biographies of Bible characters and more. Check out www.defendingthebible.com for class information on over thirty topics including Eden, Noah's Ark, Samson, David and Goliath, Daniel, the Nativity, the Resurrection, Acts and more!