Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This week’s item is from WorldNetDaily, April 24, 2004, with the headline, “Entire New Testament on Video—The Watchword Bible New Testament is history’s first true video book, a remarkable new art form for the information age. You watch it, read it, and hear it all at once. All 27 books of the New Testament are presented with dynamic text on screen, inspiring narration, thousands of scenes, special effects, original music, and sound effects.
“The Watchword Bible is compelling to watch, a chapter a day or more. Instant chapter selection on DVD, plus amazing quality. God’s Word leaps from the printed page to your television and computer. Watch it for personal and family devotions, while exercising, to fill your children’s minds with God’s Word, with seniors, the disabled, and churches, schools, Bible studies, in reading programs, and for learning English as a second language, just to name a few uses for this powerful new tool.
“Every home, church, and library ought to have the Watchword Bible New Testament. Experience all 260 chapters, totaling 26 hours on 12 DVDs, using the best-selling contemporary English Version Translation, loved for being biblically accurate, reader friendly, and understandable.
“Also available separately, is the award-winning Watchword Bible, the Book of Revelation DVD, the greatest prophetic message of all time. The culmination of the Holy Bible, the Book of Revelation foretells the world’s end and God’s victory over evil when Jesus Christ returns from heaven. Promising God’s blessing on those who read it and those who hear and obey it, the Apostle John’s message has never been more relevant than today. And the Book of Revelation has never been easier to understand than with the Watchword Bible, full of hundreds of inspiring scenes, special effects, and 22 chapters of original music.”
Tom: Wow, Dave! That’s all I can say is wow!
Dave: Tom, the phrase that caught me was “original music.” I mean, is this the music that they had back there when the Bible was written, or when these scenes were played out in real life? Did they—was that the music that they had back then, Tom? What do you mean “original music?”
Tom: Dave, do I detect a note of sarcasm here? Just kind of a note?
Dave: Well, you know, I’m not part of the entertainment industry, as you once were. And I’m just asking, what do you mean by original music?
Tom: Okay, well I’m going to pass on that, because I can’t think what the original music might be. But I do have a question for you. Now why would you drift toward sarcasm here when people are saying, “Look, any way we can get people interested in the Word of God, and you know, it’s better than this, it’s better than that. Yes, it’s not reading the Word of God, but it’s certainly better than a lot of other stuff that’s out there.”
Dave: Yeah, you know, Tom, God doesn’t need video machines or movie cameras or TV. He could have done this all in living color for everybody from the very beginning. He chose to use words. Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them.” Peter said, “This is the Word….” You know, “We are born again by the Word of God….This is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” God said to Moses, and he passed it on to the children of Israel, “I caused you to wander through the wilderness and to hunger and thirst so that you would know man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Now God has given us his Word. And it says, “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” And, Tom, you know, pictures are not going to do it. When I say, “What do you see when I say, ‘DVD’?”
Well you might see a DVD, but if I say, “What do you see when I say ‘justice, truth, holiness, purity’? What do you see when I talk about ethics and morals?” When I talk about God, you’d better not see anything. Because “God is a spirit and He dwells in a light that no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see.” So this is a big problem of idolatry.
Tom: Well, Dave, let’s get it down to something, I think, very practical and logical. As you said, God designed—He wanted to communicate to us—He could have done it any way he wants, right? He’s God! But He decided to do it in words. Now, there’s a logic to that. Words have meaning. In other words, it’s objective. If I say “push,” you know, you see a sign on a door and it says “push,” you know what to do. There’s no debate, there’s no sort of rambling over, well what, you know, how do you feel about this? or how do I feel about this? It’s very objective. If you understand the definition of the word “push,” you’re going to get out through the door. All right?
The point is that once you begin to move away from that, not only are you getting away from the way God intended us to understand Him, the way He communicates to us through, again, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the prophets—once you get away from that you are moving from God’s way, His objective way, to something very subjective—music, sound effects, images, and so on. Dave, isn’t that adding to God’s Word?
Dave: Adding to God’s Word—changing. First of all, they’re changing God’s Word. You know all these paraphrases, and so forth. I wonder what God thinks as He looks down from heaven and He says, “They think they’re improving what I wrote? They think that the words that I recorded through my prophets and inspired them by the Holy Spirit,” and every word, every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, the scripture says is vital. And they think that now they can improve this by acting it out with some, well,ß I won’t say cheap actors, or actresses….
Tom: Some of them are excellent, nevertheless.
Dave: Some of them are terrific, but they don’t know what happened. They don’t know what really went on when Jesus walked this earth, what he taught his disciples and so forth. So now they’re trying to give us their interpretation. But the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that meditates in the law of the Lord day and night.” Now that’s not going into some trance. That is thinking deeply. And truth is something that, Tom, it’s not just like pushing a door. There’s something spiritual involved.
Dave: That…man is a spiritual being made in the image of God, and the Bible says, “Therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding.” You’re not going to get understanding from looking at pictures or actors acting it out. You’re going to have to meditate upon it, and it’s not a step in the right direction—it’s backwards. It’s away from the Word of God, as you said.
Tom: Yeah, and that’s what grieves me here. You know, this is my background. Visual communication. I think I understand the medium, and the medium doesn’t work here. It’s weaning us off the Word of God.