from jesus to christ - the first christians




Well so far I find it safe to assume that the scripture is 100% accurate. Not one of the liberal opinions expressed in the program presented a shred of evedence of any inaccuracy in the Gospel. I expected more of Frontline, which usually backs up statements with hard evidence.

Robert Arcand
St Paul, MN


This program reinforces my belief that we do not have to be part of a large contingent to make an impact on our surroundings. Christianity works.
Small beginnings, large blessings.

Judith Ewen
Donaldsonville, LA


You have succeeded in presenting a history of Christianity from
the perspective of those who do not believe Jesus as the Christ.
This is evident from the absense of His greatest claim, that
those who had seen Him, had seen God... in your broadcast.
For a view of the same archeological information from the
perspective of someone who believes, I would suggest that you
watch the video series "That the World May Know" with the
historian and teacher, Ray VanDerLaan spelling?. Perhaps
you would broadcast this series to give equal time...

I wonder if you would have produced a series on evolution, with
commentary from respected scientists who believe in creation?
Yes, they do exist.

Dr. Edward L. Hepler

Edward Hepler
Malvern, PA


While I appreciated the information received from the first 2 hours of the telecast, I found it interesting that none of the scholars interviewed came from a more traditional background. Their interpretation of the data is interesting, and, as to the beginnings of the early church, fairly balanced. But as to the person and work of Jesus, it is reflective more of subjective assumptions than hard and fast data. It may be asserted that the data is sketchy, but there are many good reasons to hold that the Gospels are the product of first century authorship and thus reflective of first generation believersrather than the work of second generation writers who merely appropriated apostolic names to make their work credible. I will, however, anticipate the remainder of the presentation.

Michael Hines
Canton, OH


I just watched an hour and 10 minutes of your program tonight titled "From Jesus to Christ". Quite frankly, I was disappointed in the effort. The speakers were wildly inconsistent and contradictory about Christ's life. At one moment he was not a peasant from Nazareth but someone of at least mildly elevated social standing, the next he was some inconsequential nobody who was summarily crucified as were ten of thousands before him. Yet his menaingless crucifixion so terrified his followers that they spent months hiding out from the Romans. Even a passing mention of Palm Sunday might have helped explain Christ's sudden popularity but apparently that was a non-event. Poor attempt to lend any genuine insight into the life of Christ. Next time I would suggest you at try to get one person in the discussion that actually believes Christ was the Son of God. At least then you might actually generate some controversy rather than this academic dribble.

don maliniak
Collierville, Tn


An absolutely fascinating program! I heard the preview of it on "Weekend Edition Sunday" on NPR. The scholarship and objectivity make this a wonderful viewing opportunity. Thanks!

Bob Rambo


Your show has questioned whether Jesus was from a lower or upper class. It seems to me that a carpenter then was the same as a carpenter now. Carpenters are not upper class. It makes little sense for the "son of God" to be a rich man. Any real change in humanity starts where it is needed most. At the bottom. Why should God target those who have no need of him. Faith should not be analyzed as if it were science. It misses the whole point. The service that Religion provides humanity lies in emotion not rationalization or scientific study.

Ken Taylor
Dallas, Texas


Let it be known that I do not object that Fronline takes a historical view of Jesus and Christianity. However, I am discouraged, but not surprised, that they would have a band of "historical theologians" to describe the historical perspective of Christians. Some of the assumptions, views and contexts of these academics shed light on history very well, but distort the true meaning of Christianity. If this is Frontlines tribute to the Easter holiday, they should REALLY go out on a limb and give perspectives on just what it means to believe Christ is GOD, was sent here to die for us--just what it means to be Christian.

charles dalcon
kansas city, missouri


I happened upon this story by channel hopping and started out eager to watch it, as I'm interested in the archeological evidence surrounding the time of Jesus. However, the more I viewed the program, the more I became disgusted with the one-sided view of the life of Jesus.
I indeed found the archeology interesting as well as the political history. The remarks of the "scholars", however, left much to be desired. All of them discussed Jesus as a regular guy operating on his own thoughts, thoroughly disregarding that he states he is not doing his will, but his father's, not to mention that they make no comment as to his divinity.
Additionally, they attempt to confuse the motives of Jesus and insist on picturing him as a Hitler-like mesmerizer playing off the hardships of the day their comments on the cleansing of the temple, on the parable of the mustard seed, on the feeding of the 5,000, why he was baptised by John, completely failing to also discuss what the bible states is the meaning of the events.
The comments on the motives of Pilate are vastly contradictory to what is recorded in the bible.
The glossing-over of the prediction of the death of Jesus and of the resurrection was, to me, laughable.

There is much more that I would disagree with about the scholar's comments, but much passes by me as I try to write this and watch the program at the same time.
This is the first program I found of poor quality from pbs, a major 3rd-out strike out with the bases loaded. It truly is not, as your web page tries to bill it, an intelligent program.

Mike Randazzo
Reading, PA


When obtaining opinions on the authenticity and historical accuracies of the Gospel and of the life of Jesus, do you think it plausible, if not imperative, to interview the actual followers of Christ today, not just so called "theologians" and historians who have no personal relationship with the Savior. How about Billy Graham, Dr. Frank Barker, Chuck Swindoll, Dawson McAllister, Bishop T.D. Jakes, or Tony Evans? Are these people not only followers of Christ, but seekers of the Truth themselves? Must one make the Bible fit into a neat package that is acceptable to the masses and "theologically sound" for the benefit of those few "scholars"?

Ben Whorton
Birmingham, AL


From a purely secular standpoint an interesting show. From a true Christian perspective the show is without merit. It is obvious that this show was produced to discredit Christianity as a faith. The "scholars" chosen to present the "facts" are obviously presenting conjecture and even misrepresent the Gospel Truth as it has been inspired by God. The show has not, however, even come close to presenting Jesus as He really is! I'm sorry but I really hoped for something better.

Kenneth Fields
Palmyra, NJ


As I began to watch part l of "From Jesus to Christ" I was struck by the beautiful footage of the Holy Land as well as the array of scholars assembled to taer apart the Lord Jesus Christ. It seems that in our modern age, even so called theologioans are not satisfied in accepting the witness of the Bible which tells u sthat Jesus WAS ChristMessiah and did not BECOME Messiah. Once again we hear from those who would minimize His deity and reduce Him to a mere man. That truly bothers me. However,no matter how much we spend on archeological digs, or re thinking what the disciples must have really meant by this or does not change the truth thae Jesus is, was and always will be the God spoken of in Genesis and all the way through to Revelation.

Richard Angelo

symposium . jesus' many faces . a portrait of jesus' world . storytellers . first christians . why did christianity succeed?
maps, archaeology & sources . discussion . bible history quiz . behind the scenes
teachers' guide . viewers' guide . press reaction .  tapes, transcripts & events

published april 1998

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