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Review: New Bible quiz show may not ‘Challenge’ but does entertain

With the Olympics over, my family had almost abandoned the TV. But GSN’s “The American Bible Challenge” drew us back for some good, clean entertainment.
Formerly known as the Game Show Network, GSN launched an eight-episode run of the show recently. 

Jeff Foxworthy hosts. His former game show, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?” was canceled. But in its series premiere, “Challenge” brought in 1.7 million viewers — an all-time record for the network.
As he did on “Fifth-Grader,” Foxworthy keeps the audience chuckling. But here, he does something more: He shows his faith. On the premiere, he says he has traveled to Africa three times — presumably on mission trips, as he mentions children opening shoeboxes filled with donations.
He also shows familiarity with the Bible stories that are the background for the questions. Foxworthy transcends his “You might be a redneck” comedian persona and becomes the public image of what today’s “working man” Christian looks like — humble, kind and fun.

Foxworthy begins the show by introducing the three teams that will be competing during the hour-long episode. A montage shows each team in its hometown, discussing faith, their relationships with one another and the charity for which they’re playing. The clips provide viewers with profiles of diverse people of faith across the country — among them a deputy sheriff and veteran who now ministers to prison inmates, a woman who runs a food pantry in Plano, Texas, and a retired fire captain and his golf buddies.
The premiere episode provided some laughs and, toward the end, a few challenges. Like many game shows, the first round was confidence-building. (“What bird did Noah send out to look for dry land?”)
The second, called “Faithbook,” asked contestants to name Bible characters most likely to have posted certain status updates or written on other characters’ walls. (“On whose wall would Isaac have posted this: ‘Dad, I’m all ready for our camping trip! But where is the sacrificial goat?’”)
It wasn’t until round four that my husband and I finally began to debate answers, rather than blurt out the correct ones automatically. That was also the first round for a contestant to give a wrong answer.
The winning team is awarded $20,000 for its charity, and winning teams will compete against each other for $100,000 for their charities in a two-episode winners tournament.
That’s ultimately what saves “Challenge” from reeking of the feel-good Gospel preached in entertainment-as-worship churches. The faith and sincerity of the contestants and host make it worth an hour of family time in front of the TV.

  • Feedback
    I watched the new Bible show with Jeff Foxworthy last night and please let me know who to contact. This is a show that should stay on the air. What a refreshing change, and I actually learned some information about the Bible. What a great endeavor.
    Mary Marshall
    Dallas, TX
    August, 31 2012

    I believe one of the “correct” answers in aug 30 re revelation 6 was not in fact a calimanity but an explanation of how the stars would fall. I believe the other contestant deserves another chance due to the error
    Wayne Buss
    Wayne Buss
    Evangelical Missionary
    Medicine Hat, Alberta
    August, 30 2012

    Concerning the question/answer 8/30/12 show, Rev 6:13 reads: “Then the STARS of the sky fell to the earth LIKE green figs falling from trees shaken by mighty winds.” It doesn’t say figs fell from the trees, but rather the STARS fell LIKE figs falling from trees. So I question their including the “figs falling from trees” as one of the 3 things that happened when the 6th seal was opened. However, I love the show as I pretend I am a contestant and try to answer all the questions.
    Elaine Deel
    New River Community Church of God
    Sneads Ferry, NC
    August, 30 2012

    What an awesome Idea… GSN, not even sure that channel is available to us, but would love to watch it. I do have Bell Aliant as a satellite provider.
    Shari MacKinnon
    Cape Breton Christian Fellowship Church
    Sydney, Nova Scotia
    August, 30 2012

    We enjoy the articles in Christian Chronicle very much. We watched the “Bible Challenge” last week and plan to keep on watching it.
    Minor & Shirley Nickens
    Campbell Road
    Garland, Texas
    August, 30 2012

Filed under: Reviews

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