The Counterfeit Church & Its "Feel-Good" Gospel    

By Berit Kjos ~ Updated on March 19, 2014

 "...if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:9-10

(Those are my Lord's words, not mine! And I must follow Him!)


Roma Downey's contrary beliefs: “I think we all have a responsibility to see God in each other. That’s how I’ve raised my children – that no matter whose face they look into, they’re looking into the face of God, who’s in all of us.[1]

    "An amazing thing is happening across the land. Jesus Christ is being 'reinvented'... right in front of our eyes and hardly anyone seems to notice or care."[2] Warren B. Smith, False Christ Coming

    "The movie [Son of God] is cool, well made, gritty, authentic and emotionally connective," said Roma Downey. "We wanted to make it an amazing theatrical experience to people who perhaps have never been exposed to the story of Jesus or the Bible."[3]  

    "Last year I was contacted by a media group for The History Channel. They emailed me requesting my help in promoting their upcoming 10-episode miniseries called 'The Bible'... I responded kindly telling them that due to the unbiblical nature of the series, I was unable to help promote it....

       "I know in Scripture there are only 12 apostles...all men.... But in the film, there are 13 apostles, and the thirteenth apostle is a woman named Mary. Not only is she always with them, but she's with them in the boat during the storm when Jesus walks on water....

       "In Scripture, when one of the disciples are marveling at the architecture of the temple, Jesus says, 'Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another....' But in the movie, no one is marveling at anything. ...when Jesus sees a little girl in the crowd He kneels down to her, smiles, chuckles and playfully pokes the little girl, who giggles as Jesus' quotes Scripture. The filmmakers take this powerful and frightening prophecy and turn it into a light and impish exchange with a little girl....

      " the movie, Jesus never mentions the just penalty of sin, or that we need to be made into new creations through repentance and faith in Christ..."[4]  Sunny Shell

The Rising Church of the World

"Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Matthew 24:4-5

In churches across America, the awe and holiness of the Scriptures are fading fast. While countless "born again" believers still delight in His Word, share His love, and pray for each other, the vast majority of church members have chosen a more secular form of "worship." Many feel free to interpret the Bible according to their own liking. Consequently, a widening gap is separating God's timeless Truths from the world's more culture-friendly adaptations.

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (the husband/wife team that produced History Channel's miniseries, "The Bible" and the new movie titled "The Son of God", stand with America's more visible church leaders at the forefront of this current change. Their latest project is a movie featuring a handsome, smiling "Jesus" who excludes some of the Bible's most important warnings, instructions and judgments.

Keep in mind that by simply deleting a few words here and there -- and by replacing them with assurances of love and forgiveness -- the producers can easily manipulate their stories and produce the desired response. That response may be totally contrary to God's guidelines in His Word. Remember, the Bible tells us that:

"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, nor take from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2

"If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.... For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I should not be a bondservant of Christ." Galatians 1:9-10 

"For if he that cometh preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit which ye have not received, or another gospel which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him!" 2 Corinthians 11:4  [i.e. don't tolerate heresy]

Notice the subtle Biblical revisions that Raphael Vera exposed in his movie review:

" inordinate amount of artistic license was used throughout the production such as the misattribution of lines from one person to the next. This is especially hard to rationalize when things Jesus clearly said are instead delivered by a disciple or on another occasion a clandestine supporter of Jesus, the Pharisee Nicodemus (Simon Kunz), is seen verbally accosting Jesus in public when actually others had done the challenging.

"Then there are also many instances of misquotes, such as when the film has Jesus saying, “I am the way and the truth and the Love” when it actually is “…and the life” (John 14:6). There are no interpretations of the Bible that can account for these errors.

"Lastly, there is dialog that both average believers and Biblical scholars would be hard pressed to believe—Jesus saying John the Baptist was the “greatest teacher” he ever knew, Nicodemus calling Jesus “clever” in a condescending way, a fellow disciple asking Peter where he was after the arrest, since he was supposed to be the “rock” or, to mention just one more, when John closes the film by saying that “…with Peter as our leader” they went out to the whole world."

Such concerns seem to be insignificant to Roma. After all, her aim was to make the movie "a sweeping reminder of God's love":

"We hope audiences leave theaters feeling they know Jesus more and also that they are reminded of how deeply he loved us," she said.... "At the end you feel incredibly humbled and loved – reminded that we are all children of God."... 

 "We have felt support across all denominations … businesses are buying out whole theaters and donating the seats to churches, encouraging folks to come opening weekend and to bring a friend and to bring the whole family," she said. "We believe this message of hope and love will touch the lives of millions."[5]

Hope and love sounds good to people. But any lasting foundation for spiritual victory involves the vital Truths of God's Word. In the past, when God's people ignored His warning, our Lord allowed enemies to conquer their nation. Then, when the people repented, wept and cried out to God, He forgave their sins and restored the land. The same standards apply to us today.

These are critical times! In the midst of church's downward slide, we need to stand firm on His Word. The pathway ahead may be full of thorns and challenges, but God's Word tells us that  all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37 

Spiritual Warfare

"..the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

In preparation for February 27, the day before the public opening of the "Son of God," prominent leaders, pastors and patrons had reserved whole theaters for an early showing. Among the sponsors were Saddleback's Pastor Rick Warren, Texas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes, Roman Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, Houston megachurch leaders Joel and Victoria Osteen and other influential people. Many of these "Christian leaders" have, through the years, felt free to twist God's Word according to their own aims and claims.[6]

Last year, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett chose to dismiss any reference to the devil. Ignoring God's timeless warnings, they shaped a more "positive" message that would hide God's much-needed corrections. They decided to "cast out" Satan -- an unwanted "distraction" -- from their new movie, the "Son of God:

"The producers of History Channel's miniseries 'The Bible' decided not to include Satan in their upcoming biblical film 'Son of God,' after the evil character sparked controversy over the actor's resemblance to President Obama...."

"At the time, the 'Touched by an Angel' actress issued a statement denouncing the comparison. 'Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian,' she said....

"I want the name of Jesus to be on the lips of everyone who sees this movie, so I cast Satan out,' Downey quipped.... 'It absolutely gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting room floor."[7]

By hiding the reality and power of Satan, Roma provides a sobering clue to her own unbiblical beliefs. By deleting God's warnings and replacing them with assurances of love and forgiveness the producers can easily create the desired response.

Keep in mind, spiritual warfare is a daily reality! Satan is an undeniable adversary who stands ready to deceive and mislead at any time, and he does not hesitate to use prominent people to accomplish his goals. Those who ignore the forces behind spiritual deception will find it all too easy to trade God's Truth for  alluring lies that blind us to the Truth. 

A wise prophet warned us that what happened in Old Testament days could easily be repeated in our time:

"Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence?" Jeremiah 5:21-22

Many will not! Why should they when they only hear "positive" teaching and heart-warming stories in their churches?

Redefining Christianity

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness.... Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:20-21

In an earlier statement, Roma shared her view of Obama and his beliefs. She said, "Mark and I have nothing but respect and love for our president, who is a fellow Christian."

When facades clash with facts, it's wise to check the records. So take a fresh look at Obama's 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani. Do any of his stated believs actually match Biblical truth?:

OBAMA: I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith.... I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people....

FALSANI: Have you always been a Christian?                  

OBAMA: I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian. ...a deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions....

FALSANI: So you got yourself born again?

OBAMA: Yeah.... And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth.... I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it's best comes with a big dose of doubt....


FALSANI: Do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance?

OBAMA: Well, my pastor [Jeremiah Wright] is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for.... I am a great admirer of our founding charter... and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country....

FALSANI: Do you believe in heaven?

OBAMA: Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?  ...if I live my life as well as I can...I will be rewarded....

FALSANI: What is sin?

OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values....


FALSANI: ...An example of a role model, who combined everything you said you want to do in your life, and your faith?

OBAMA: I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who... never slipped into intolerance or dogma."[7]

How many contemporary "Christians" would share our president's distorted view of Biblical Truth?

I don't know the answer. But I am well aware that it's hard for Christians to find churches that still preach God's uncompromising Truth and spread genuine delight in His Word. Few seem to realize that God's Truth and guidelines are incompatible with the Bible-bending strategies featured in Roma Downey's distorted presentation.

In stark contrast, God challenges us with sobering guidelines that challenge us day after day to stay true to His Word and calling:

 "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:9

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Luke 9:23-24

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth... But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  Matthew 6:19-21

We are not used to such commands!  How can we truly do what He tells us?

He will enable us! If our goal is to follow our Lord, we need to focus on His Word and share it with others. That can be quite a challenge when listeners prefer positive affirmation rather than Biblical confirmation.  

But -- in the midst of today's spiritual confusion -- "what a Friend we have in Jesus!" He guides us through the struggles, feeds us with His "living bread" and shows us His perfect way. And as we follow Him, He fills our hearts with precious reminders of His love and nearness:

'If ye continue in My word, then ye are My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

"My peace I give unto you.  Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled...." John 14:27

"I trust in Thee, O Lord. ... My times are in Thy hand..." Psalm 31:14-15


1. First for Women magazine, March 31, 2014, pp. 44-45. Apparently that issue was released before the date on the cover. Information provided  by James Sunquist at

2. Warren B. Smith, False Christ Coming: Does Anyone Care?  His book is available through

3. "Son of God: Producers of ‘The Bible’ Taking Jesus to Theaters Next Year, "

4. Movie Review by Sunny Shell: "'Son of God' Is Most Certainly Not The Son of God."

5. Raphael Vera, Movie Review: The Son of God at
Roma Downey Says Upcoming "Son of God' will be 'Epic, Sweeping' Reminder of God's Love."

6. Rick Warren and others rent theaters for premiere of ‘Son of God,

7. The Bible’ producers Mark Burnett, Roma Downey ‘cast out’ Satan from ‘Son of God’ after Obama controversy,

8. Obama's statements of faith:

See also: Spiritual Warfare: From torment to triumph

         Todd Bentley and "The Beautiful Side of Evil"

Another Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith. Call 406-889-3610 to order.