The second season of “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery,” a CNN series that analyzes biblical artifacts to bring the Gospel to life, premieres this Sunday. Pastor A.R. Bernard, who contributes analysis on the series, says the program is not only for religious viewers.
“There are a lot of people who are still seeking Jesus,” Bernard said in an interview with Townhall. “He is the most debated figure in the last 2,000 years. And people are still trying to make sense of it and the Christian religion.”
The series picks a biblical story for each new episode and provides ample time for analysis of artifacts. Two episodes in the coming season feature relics like The Pilate Stone and the Tomb of Lazarus. In addition to a narrator's retelling of the Gospel stories, archaeological experts and religious leaders provide analysis on the uncovered artifacts and whether or not they confirm Scripture. They leave the conclusions up to the viewer.
Bernard knows a thing or two about biblical archaeology. The pastor shared that he was able to take part in a dig in Beersheba a couple years ago, where he witnessed a 3,000-year-old Canaanite archaeological dig and could see "layers and layers of altars," as he described it. Relics like those altars, Bernard says, don’t prove the Bible, but they do offer credence.
“It was debatable as to whether it was the actual site,” he explained. “But the fact it was preserved as part of Christian history was important. I don’t believe archaeological discoveries legitimize the Bible. I think they bring support to the Bible because the Bible stands on its own as a book of faith.”
I asked Bernard what he thought of the "Finding Jesus" series finding its home on CNN, as opposed to the History channel or Christian broadcasting.
“CNN gives it a reach it wouldn’t ordinarily have like History, Discovery or even Christian network channels,” he said. “CNN is perceived as a centrist platform in terms of journalism and to have that platform discussed in such a deep methodological way the Christian faith I think it’s brilliant.”
“I think they blended history, archaeology and the Christian faith together nicely so that it doesn’t look to proselytize you but cause you to think critically about the story and the legitimacy of the Christian faith and the gospels,” he added.
Bible-related TV shows and movies have gained new ground in the past few years, a phenomenon Bernard says is indicative of the culture.
“We need to believe there is something, someone greater than ourselves,” he said. “People are seeking.”
“Finding Jesus” season two premieres on CNN Sunday at 9 p.m. Watch the trailer below!