Tags: Mark Burnett | Roma Downey | AD | The Bible Continues | Jesus Christ | Christians

Burnett: Jesus' Suffering Parallels Today's Christian Persecution

By    |   Friday, 20 February 2015 02:05 PM

Mark Burnett, producer of the anticipated miniseries “A.D. The Bible Continues,” said he "pushed the limits" in depicting the brutal crucifixion of Jesus, an event, he said, that parallels the persecution of Christians in today's world.

“It's important to not minimize what the apostles went through, what the Christian community went through,” Burnett said Friday on America's Forum on Newsmax TV.

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"In fact, it's very reflective of what's happening now," said Burnett, who produced the 12-part miniseries with his wife, Roma Downey, "It may not be politically correct in a lot of the media, but Christians are being killed all over the world in Africa, in North Africa, in the Middle East simply for being Christian and therefore it's amazing that ‘A.D.’ is coming on TV showing that and it's happening today over 2,000 years later. A lot hasn't changed.”

"A.D. The Bible Continues" premieres on NBC on Easter Sunday, April 5.

Burnett, said it's baffling that the persecution and genocide of Christians is not receiving much attention. ISIS has driven Christians from their homes in Syria and executed those who wont convert to Islam. Last week, ISIS released a video of 21 Coptic Christians being beheaded in Libya.

There needs to be more “noise,” he said, from the unified Christian community and the U.S. government.

“I don't know why our government isn't as clear but I will tell you there are a lot of discussions in the church community about making a big noise to help with this and how amazing that we've made "A.D." and "A.D." is the story of the struggle of the early church,” he said. “There were 12 apostles left after Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

"When Judas went away, off then killed himself, and Matthias was elected leading 12 as there had to be. Those 12 guys took down Rome. They took down Rome, eventually, but the persecution under Nero, Caligula, Tiberius in Rome was awful. It's like it's happening again.”

"D. The Bible Continues," is based on the life and times of Jesus, his apostles, and the rise of the church. It follows the couple's wildly popular 2013 miniseries "The Bible."

While Burnett's "The Bible" focused on stories from the Old and New Testaments, leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “A.D. The Bible Continues” is about “the struggle of the birth of the early church following the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he said.

He firmly believes the “hand of God” has been the guiding force behind “The Bible,” the box office blockbuster “Son of God” and hopefully now “A.D.”

“It does show you that people are thirsty, they’re thirsty for this message and in this time, it's needed,” he said.

Burnett said his family-friendly, secular shows "The Voice," "Shark Tank," "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" provided him the opportunity to make the 10-hour bible miniseries, which in turn allowed he and Downey to make the movie "Son of God" and "A.D."

“What a premiere date. It's Easter Sunday and we start with the crucifixion and resurrection. I mean, it couldn't be more appropriate.”

He hopes the popularity of these faith-based programs sends a message to executives that they should pay more attention to God-fearing Americans’ tastes.

“I feel and I've always felt that too many Hollywood decisions are made upon what people in Manhattan or Beverly Hills might want to watch,” he said. “What we've seen is country music and certainly my wife saw for many years "Touched by an Angel", I saw it with "Survivor," "American Sniper," "The Bible" and "A.D."

"There's an enormous country in between the coasts, an enormous country and that's the country that's all about the United States of America, faith and family,” he said.

Despite an increasingly secular world, Burnett noted that Christianity is the fastest growing religion. He and Downey saw it firsthand during their travels around the country to promote their shows.

“The churches are full,” he said. “We went to a church in Moore, Oklahoma, which is where the tornado hit. They'd opened the church just before Christmas and it's so busy now with over 3,000 attendees, they had to put on extra services. The churches are alive and well and I would say having "A.D.," the story of the resurrection, on NBC, a broadcast network, beginning Easter Sunday, is amazing. I bet you thought you'd never see this.”

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Mark Burnett, producer of the anticipated miniseries "A.D. The Bible Continues," said he "pushed the limits" in depicting the brutal crucifixion of Jesus, an event, he said, that parallels the persecution of Christians in today's world.
Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, AD, The Bible Continues, Jesus Christ, Christians
Friday, 20 February 2015 02:05 PM
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