We have visited the Holy Land Experience many times over the years. As a pastor, I have often recommended it to people saying it is like taking a "Cheap Trip to Israel." Sadly, I will no longer be able to give it the unqualified endorsement I have in the past. Apparently the market TBN is trying to reach is not that of the serious Christian who is trying to reach a deeper understanding of his/her faith or even the honest seeker after a fuller understanding of what the Christian faith is all about.
What does remain, at least at present, are men like Dr. Bill Jones, whose knowledge of the Bible and the geography of ancient and modern Israel make any talk he gives worth attending. Also still intact are the Scriptorium and the Wilderness Tabernacle, places where the truths of the Bible and other historical events are treated with the dignity the Christian faith deserves.
The dramatic presentations, most of which are new, are informative, but some of the costuming issues leave me wondering why the Bible does not mention the extensive use of sequins that seems to dominate many of the current cast's wardrobe. Gone, too, are the live music and the incredibly talented singers that characterized former shows.
Yesterday we visited a certain theme park with a major area devoted to a completely fictional series of books and movies. Sadly, in my opinion, that park is more faithful to its author than the changes I observed today at the Holy Land Experience are to God and His Word.
To say I am sad and disappointed would put it mildly. I have probably made my last visit to a place I have enjoyed visiting many times over the years. I only pray that God is being glorified by the new vision and ministry. It certainly is not doing that for me and the people I visited with today.