A Question I Was Asked:

'Are Those TV Angel Shows Helpful To Us in our Walk of Faith?'

My Reply:

Maybe my first thought would be absolutely not! However, there is a little more to take into consideration on this topic.

The main star of the 'Touched By An Angel' TV series is Roma Downey, the Irish four-times married actress. She has been described as a close personal friend of Della Reese (also involved in the 'Touched by an Angel' TV series). Reese is described as an ordained "New Thought minister" in the (so-called) 'Understanding Principles for Better Living Church' in Los Angeles, California. The influences here are entirely New Age of course and very definitely not those of biblical Christianity. New Ageism is very interested in the subject of angels, it seems to me, but very disinterested in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They insist on applying their own interpretation to any Scripture which they may use, although they are far more interested in "spirituality" than Scripture.

It is for the individual Christian to make a judgment as to the value of watching these things. My wife and I have occasionally watched it in the past (but don't now), but we have also, more recently, watched a mostly non-dramatized Roma Downey show which just features people giving testimonies regarding the intervention of angels. This is much better. Among the accounts on this particular programme there is no doubt that some are absolutely genuine! Make no mistake: Angels do exist and are an absolute reality.

The problem tends to be in the unbiblical ideas which do occasionally surface in this series; not surprising because of the undoubted New Age affiliations of some of the production team. For instance, the concept that "we all have guardian angels" is something which I find little biblical justification for, although Peter's experience with an angel in Acts 12 is very interesting in this regard. Acts 12:5-16 describes one of the most amazing miracles of the early church, an incident in which Peter is delivered from a very dangerous situation by an angel. Notice the reaction of the Christians when Peter knocks on their door when they had expected him to be in prison:

Act 12:13: And as Peter knocked at the door of the porch, a girl named Rhoda came to listen.
Act 12:14: And when she knew Peter's voice, she did not open the porch because of gladness, but running in she reported Peter was standing before the porch.
Act 12:15: And they said to her, You are mad. But she kept on saying that it was so. And they said, It is his angel.
Act 12:16: But Peter continued knocking, and when they had opened and saw him, they were amazed. (MKJ).

The possible origin of the comment, "It is his angel" is interesting. Does this lend support to the idea that the early Church believed in 'guardian angels'? Possibly, but not necessarily so. Another idea is that Rhoda assumed that Peter had already been martyred and she thought this might have been his 'ghost' - she certainly seems to have been strangely reluctant to open the door! In that day many believed that the spirits of the dead could return to the bodies for up to three days after death. You might assume that, as a Christian, Rhoda probably would not have believed that, however, this was probably at a very early stage of her Christian understanding, as indeed, it was of the Church's understanding.

Even if Peter was granted his own angel (far from unlikely since he was a very important man) this does not necessarily give support to the belief that everybody has their own private, 'guardian angel.' Again, many believe that angels only give extra protection, at particular times, to Christians, or, to the 'heirs of salvation' (Hebrews 1:14 seeming to support this), yet I must say that I think it rather broader than that; some of the most amazing and convincing angelic interventions I have ever heard about involved children. Hebrews 1:14 is absolutely correct of course and 'ministering to the saints' is currently surely the most vital angelic task but there is no reason why this should exhaust all angelic activities.

Another idea which surfaces in these TV shows is that when people die and enter Heaven, they become angels (and there are possible indications that Rhoda thought this). Certainly true believers become spirits when entering Heaven, but I find no biblical indications that they are then accounted as angels. Rather, biblically it seems that the 'saved' then await the full resurrection of body and soul in the glorious and comforting closeness of God and His holy angels. See 2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 1:20-24; Revelation 6:9-11.

The final non-biblical idea which we need to challenge is any concept of looking to angels - rather than to God - for help and protection. Our prayers must be directed to God alone and He - should it be His will - is able to send angels to any part of Heaven or earth to give assistance to those who trust in Him.
Robin A. Brace, January, 2009.