very good articles have been written about Mel Gibson’s film The
Passion of The Christ,
and so, rather than reinventing the wheel, we have
simply listed our ‘Top Ten’ aspects of the film below,
along with at least
one reference to an article covering each point in more depth:
(1) AN OPPORTUNITY
Mel Gibson's production company markets The Passion
of the Christ as "perhaps the best outreach opportunity in 2000 years",
and church leaders around the globe are seeing the film as:
of the most powerful evangelistic tools of the last 100 years" [Greg
Laurie, Harvest Crusades].
perfectly understandable that believers would not want to miss any opportunity
to bring the Gospel to the lost, and it is true there are some reports of people
joining the Catholic Church due to The Passion, while at least one US
Baptist church has polled "scores of moviegoers" and asked them to
"commit themselves to Christ". Sadly, though, 'joining the church' or 'making a decision for Christ' does not always mean
the person has truly been
born-again. Although interviews with unsaved Passion-goers show that many of them
are "deeply moved" by the film, few of them actually reveal
any signs of biblical conviction of sin,
repentance, and salvation.
|"Gibson said, 'I
want to inspire and make people feel.' He's certainly achieved that. He
has created a film that is moving and heart-rending. Who would NOT be moved to
tears, seeing a loving and gracious person like Jesus rejected, whipped and
crucified? Movie-goers are bound to feel sad, guilty, stunned and even shocked -
but are any of these feelings true repentance and will they lead to accepting
the Risen Christ by faith?" [Tricia Tillin].
point worth considering is that made in the UK newspaper The
people have come to Christ through lousy preaching, but just because people can
be saved through bad preaching doesn't mean to say we should endorse it"
McLoughry, Christian Herald].
other words, even if this film were the most powerful evangelistic tool ever
it does not necessarily follow that God wants us to take people to it. We
must certainly be ready to bring the Gospel to those who have seen The Passion,
just as we would want to bring the Gospel to the unsaved if we suddenly discovered
plane we were in was about to crash, but this is not the same thing as pro-actively
using the film to preach the Gospel, as many evangelicals are advocating we
worryingly, some believers are actually reporting significant damage to their minds and prayer life
through seeing The Passion:
was very disturbed by the movie in many ways that I didn't realise right away.
The images are burned deeply into your mind. ... It plays on your emotions and
your mind, which I thought I could handle. I was wrong. ... By viewing this movie, I have suffered from the image of the actor portraying
Christ jumping into my prayers … now I have to fight off the residual effects
of this movie … " [Scott
For more accounts from people who have seen the film, and an article regarding
the film's evangelistic potential please see:
Eyewitness Reports - David Cloud
Evangelism - Roger Oakland & Jim Tetlow
Some folks claim that this film is an accurate representation of the Lord's last
hours, but it turns out that there are over 50 significant events
in The Passion which have no biblical support and go well beyond what could
be construed as 'artistic license'. Likewise, some important
elements that do appear in the gospel accounts are missing from the film.
This despite the fact that God says we are never to add to, or take away from, His
perfect Word (eg. Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19). The following are just a very few examples:
Satan tempts Jesus in Gethsemane, as well as appearing to Him several times
during His suffering, and is depicted as a woman with a man’s voice, holding a
demonic-looking baby. [Please see the comment by Rebecca Sexton in her article
for the most likely reason behind this seemingly strange idea of Gibson's.]
they go to arrest 'Jesus', they strike him ... leaving him blinded in the right
eye throughout the whole movie. I'm not sure why Mel decided to blind the eye of
the "good shepherd", when the Bible describes the "foolish
shepherd" as having his "right eye darkened"" (Zechariah
11:15-17) [Rebecca A. Sexton].
Jesus' deity is in
question in the film when, in the garden no-one falls over backward at His
words: "I am he". [In saying these words, Jesus was identifying Himself
as Jehovah, meaning: I AM.]
article listing over fifty substantial ways in which the film adds to and takes
away from God's
perfect Word please see:
Errors in Mel Gibson's Movie - David Cloud
(3) THE GOSPEL
The Passion of The Christ
actually tells viewers very little of the real Gospel message. While the
Lord's trial and crucifixion is portrayed in two hours of unrelenting violence,
His resurrection is over and done with in just two minutes. The
result is predictable:
|"We are left unsure who
Jesus was; and why – metaphysically if not politically – he had to go
through such unbearable torments" [Mark Oakley, The Church Times].
"The Passion never provides a clear sense of what all the bloodshed was for"
[A.O. Scott, The New York Times].
since seeing the film to come to terms with what I might have been missing, with
how a film like this could be considered spiritually uplifting, enlightening,
important. ... The significance and import utterly elude me. ... If the intent
is to remind both the religious and secular multitudes why Christ had to die for
our sins, the film fails on every level since it does virtually no explaining of
who He was or what He did" [Ray Richmond, Hollywood Reporter].
Comparing The Passion
with previous religious movies, one critic notes: "It tells us next to
nothing about Jesus, aside from the fact that he said a few things about loving
one's neighbors and then dies horribly: ... [Other movies] didn't present Jesus
only as a victim. Nor did any of them provide a Resurrection [so] perfunctory ... Gibson's finale seems especially
empty..." [John Harti, MSNBC].
crucifixion of Jesus Christ has an essential theological and doctrinal framework ... Peter's sermon at Pentecost was typical ... and the result was not
sobbing about scourge blows, but repentance out of fear of judgment"
movie fails to answer the most important question: 'Why did Jesus have to die?'
Sinners are not saved by knowing HOW Jesus suffered and died, but by believing
WHY He died" [Mike Gendron].
articles looking at the Gospel in The Passion please see:
Passion of Christ - Don Fortner
What You Won't Learn From The Passion - Ken Wimer
The Passion of The Christ
focuses excessively on, and adds extra-biblical accounts of, the Lord's physical
suffering, rather than on His
spiritual suffering as He was separated from His Father, which is what Scripture
focuses on - it is the Atonement that is the key part of the Lord's
crucifixion. Tragically, this is apparently serving only to harden unsaved
viewers against the Gospel:
sickening death trip, a grimly unilluminating procession of treachery, beatings,
blood, and agony" [David Denby, The New Yorker].
"... the most gut-piercing depiction ever of a
man being beaten to death in all of its blood-spurting, flesh-pulverizing glory.
The film is an orgy of gore, displayed for the seeming sake of gore. Take away
the spiritual veneer and, in its way, the film is downright pornographic. It
concerns me that parents may be taking young (or even semi-young) children to
see a film that is such a full-on visual assault simply because the graphic,
unsparing viciousness can be justified as holy and pious" [Ray Richmond, Hollywood
"You’re thinking there must be something to
The Passion of the Christ
besides watching a man tortured to death, right? Actually, no: this is a
two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movie – The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre –
that thinks it’s an act of faith" [Slate].
Please see the following
articles for further examples of this element of The
Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of Christ": Why is the movie so brutal? - David
Eyewitness Reports - David Cloud
'Passion'--Pornography for the Whole Family? - Ray Richmond
Gibson has stated that
the inspiration for his film came from a book, The Dolorous Passion of
Christ, by Roman Catholic mystic Anne Emmerich (1774-1824).
(Dolorous means sorrowful, dismal, full of grief.)
He said "She supplied me with stuff I never would have thought of" and
he admits to carrying one of her relics with him.
But Emmerich had never read the Bible, only the Catholic Catechism.
"The Church is the
only one, the Roman Catholic! ... Then I had the sweet assurance that Mary is
the Church; the Church, our mother; ... I have had a great vision on the mystery
of Holy Mass and I have seen that whatever good has existed since creation is
owing to it [No.
All good things are owed to God alone - DP & EMcD.]"
[Quotes from Anne Catherine Emmerich].
"To the Immaculate
Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven [but
see Jer. 7:17-19 & 44:16-27 - DP & EMcD]
and Earth, Lady of the
Most Holy Rosary [the Rosary
is not actually Catholic, but rather Hindu, in origin - DP & EMcD], Help of Christians, and Refuge of the Human Race [No. Jesus
Christ is the only Refuge of the human race - DP & EMcD.]" [Dedication in
Emmerich's book, (details as
also showed signs of demonic oppression, if not possession:
often favored by visits from the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven, who
under the form of a sweet, lovely and majestic lady, would bring the Divine
Child to be, as it were, her companion"
[extract from Introduction to
Emmerich's book, (Tan Books and Publishers, Inc, as quoted by Roger Oakland)]. [There is an un-crossable
gulf between the living and the dead, so these were obviously demonic visits -
DP & EMcD.]
"During the last 12
years of her life, she ... subsist[ed] entirely on the Holy Eucharist [Since
the Roman Catholic Eucharist is not a Holy thing, it is hardly likely
that it was the Lord God who was sustaining her - DP & EMcD]. From 1802
until her death, she bore the wounds of the Crown of Thorns, and from 1812, the
full stigmata of Our Lord, including a cross over her heart and the wound from
[From article 'Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich'].
[Michael Brown, biographer of
levitate, but the only 'levitation' Christians will experience is the rapture -
DP & EMcD.]
Many of the additions to the biblical account in The Passion come
straight from this (demonic) source. Is God likely to want us to expose
ourselves to such things?
Please see the following articles:
'Passion' Visionary -
Anne Catherine Emmerich - Marianne
extracts from Emmerich’s book, which show the extent to which Gibson drew on
her writings, rather than on the Bible, for his film, please email Jewel Grewe
the March/April 2004 edition of her Discernment Newsletter.
the full text of Emmerich's book see:
Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ
The Passion is designed to show how the
'sacrifice' of the Roman
Catholic mass is the equivalent of the sacrifice on Calvary:
The purpose of the film
is to juxtapose the "sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar
(mass) - which is the same thing" [Mel Gibson].
"The film ...
links the sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the Mass. In doing so, it
faithfully depicts ... Catholic teaching" [A Guide to the Passion,
published by Ascension Press and Catholic Exchange, p3].
"This film, for its
author, is a Mass. Let it be, then, in an obscure language [the film is in Latin
and Aramaic and is subtitled], as it was for so many centuries. If the mind does
not understand, so much the better" [Catholic journalist Vittorio Messori].
Mass is blasphemous because it treats a created thing - a wafer - as God, and it
is idolatrous because it worships the wafer it has deemed to be God. The Bible tells us to "flee from
idolatry" (1 Cor. 10:14). In
contrast to God's clear Word, Gibson's source for The Passion, Anne
"never entered the church without her angel-guardian
who taught her by his own example the homage due to the Eucharistic God"
[Michael Brown, biographer of
Will not unbelieving viewers think that Roman Catholicism
is the most faithful form of Christianity as a result of this film?
more on this aspect of The Passion please see:
Mel Gibson's Movie is "A Mass" - David Cloud
In this film, Mary the mother of Jesus is consistently given far more exaltation
than is biblically permissible. The following are just a few examples from the many scenes exalting her
beyond her biblical due:
The Lord Jesus is
portrayed throughout as weak and bewildered, needing to draw strength from
His mother. This is particularly noticeable during the scenes of His whipping
when He would look into Mary’s eyes, also during the scenes on His way to the
cross. [None of this is
reflected in the Bible - DP & EMcD.]
Peter and John call Mary
"Mother" (capitalized in the subtitles), and Peter confesses his
denial of the Lord to Mary while she is seen to offer her 'forgiveness' to him.
[None of this is in the Bible
- DP & EMcD.]
While on the cross, Mary
kisses Jesus’ foot. Blood runs
down into her mouth, and she backs away “almost licking her lips with blood
all over her face.” [Note how this event suggests the Catholic doctrine of
transubstantiation.] Also, Mary asks
Jesus if she can die with Him, and after He is taken from the cross she is shown
holding Him – this is a re-enactment of the Romish Pieta which
depicts Mary as the suffering Mother who is co-redemptrix. [None
of this is Biblical - DP & EMcD.]
What message does all this send to unbelieving viewers?
Gibson has actually stated his belief that Mary is a "tremendous co-redemptrix and
mediatrix", and he is amazed that evangelicals are supporting The Passion
so enthusiastically because, he says: "the film is so Marian".
Caviezel the actor who plays 'Jesus', has said: "This film is something I
believe was made by Mary for her son...".
more on the Marian emphasis in The Passion please see:
in Mel Gibson's Movie - David Cloud
(from which we’ve taken the above points)
Gibson's Movie Helping Evangelicals See Mary in New Light - David Cloud
Caution: 'The Passion' and Mary - Roger Oakland
The Emperor's New Clothes - Matt Trewhella
Passion of Rome: To Bring All Home - Rebecca A. Sexton
Biblically, Christians are banned from having, or using, images of
deities. This rule even forms part of the Ten Commandments (Exodus
A film portraying the
Lord Jesus surely amounts to "animated idolatry … If it is
idolatrous to have an image of God (the Lord Jesus Christ) in your living room,
it cannot be less evil to play the role of God (or watch a man play that role)
in a movie or play" [Don Fortner].
"By pretending to
be Jesus Christ, the actor in Gibson's movie (or any other such movie) is
playing the part of an idol and those who support and defend it are idolaters.
Beware, this is not a light matter. 1 John 5:21 exhorts believers to avoid
idolatry, and the Bible would not say that if we were not capable of
idolatry" [David Cloud].
saw a quote by [a well-known evangelist], addressing the impact viewing the film has had on
him, saying, 'Every time I preach or speak about the Cross, the things I saw on
the screen will be on my heart and mind.' How could that not include the bloody
face of James Caviezel? ... his is the image that will forever remain in the
psyche of captivated viewers worldwide when they think of Jesus Christ and close
their eyes to pray in His name. What they will see in their mind's eye will be a
lie - an idol - yes, a false Christ" [Paul Proctor].
Bible's view of idols is uncompromising (see also Deuteronomy 4:15-16). Should we not be likewise?
some articles on a) the question of the film's flouting of the second commandment, and b) pictorial representations of the Lord Jesus, please see the following:
Screen Jesus - Paul Proctor
The Problem With 'The Passion' - Cecil Andrews
Mel Gibson's Passion Undermines The Deity of Christ - Lorin Smith
The Menace Of The Religious Movie - A.W. Tozer
Idolatry in the Evangelical Camp - J. Virgil Dunbar & Richard Bennett
The way in which the overwhelming proportion of Jewry are
portrayed in the film was so anti-Semitic that Gibson was forced to
cut out some scenes.
"It would be impossible for any disinterested viewer (if one could be found)
to escape the fact that 'The Passion' does not just mention in passing but is
centered dramatically on the culpability of the Jews. This notion, sometimes
called blood libel or blood guilt, has led to untold suffering and death over
hundreds and hundreds of years, and should have given someone, even a believer,
pause" [Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times].
the film is not intended to be anti-Semitic it may be used as an excuse for
anti-Semitism. With the media's misreporting of the situation in Israel this
film is only likely to strengthen feelings against the Jews and Israel"
While not actively
denying the holocaust, Mel Gibson has never publicly repudiated his father’s
view that: “It’s all – maybe not all – fiction, but most of it is”
[Interview reproduced in Newsday], and he has built a church for his
father’s congregation in Los Angeles [Andrew Brown].
The Passion distances the Lord from His Jewish
heritage by giving Him Romanist features - which lends weight to the scurrilous view
of the New Age that Mary liaised with a Roman soldier. Regarding
Israel, God says "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that
Please also see:
Calls Gibson Movie Anti-Semitic
It is claimed that Gibson is a true believer. In fact, he is a very strict
Catholic who took Mass every day of the shoot. Therefore going
to see The Passion would effectively be to legitimise the religion of Rome:
"The movie reflects
my beliefs" [Mel Gibson].
"The catharsis for
me to play this role was through Medjugorje [a shrine to Mary in
Bosnia-Herzegovina at which visitors claim she appears and speaks to them - DP
& EMcD] … In preparation, I used all that
Medjugorje taught me. … I kept this [piece of the true cross] on me all the time. … I
also had relics of Padre Pio, … Every day everyone could see me with the
rosary in my hands" [Jim Caviezel].
Cardinal Ratzinger was
advisor for The Passion, and (it is claimed that) Pope John Paul II endorsed
movie as a former Catholic I quickly saw ... all the symbolism and false
doctrine cleverly hidden within 'The Passion of Christ' ... the sorrowful
mysteries of the rosary, the scapular ... the stations of the cross, a 'chalice'
instead of the Biblical 'cup', 'St' Veronica, clothing that looked like a nun's
habit, ... the Eucharistic imagery ... most of all, it reminded me of the place
of Mary in Roman Catholicism. ... Mel had several Jesuits helping him behind the
scenes of the making of this movie. ... Jesuits are masters at brainwashing" [Rebecca A. Sexton].
"A question that
demands an answer is this: 'Why are evangelicals promoting a movie produced by a
man who has been deceived by Roman Catholicism and is now deceiving others?' ...
Evangelicals promoting a Roman Catholic film would be equivalent to Paul
endorsing a message proclaimed by the Judaizers (Gal 1:6-9)"
past films are well known for their violence, and many of them have seen
and appearing naked. Incredibly, he cast five hardcore pornographic 'stars' in The
Passion. It is very troubling that the leading actor could take the Name of the Lord in
vain (when he forgot his lines during the filming of the Last Supper), and
reputable sources have reported that there was
both laughter and swearing amongst the principal actors during the filming of
the crucifixion scenes (please see the articles below). It
is surely highly inappropriate for there to be laughter during the
're-enactment' of the most pivotal and dreadful moment in the whole of human history. Do you want your money to go to such
|"There were a
great many people who witnessed the actual crucifixion of the Lord Jesus
- and yet were the multitudes converted? Did a revival break out? No. Why, then,
would the Lord bless the efforts of a Roman Catholic Hollywood actor/producer,
who has broken the Lord's Word concerning idolatry and adding to Scripture, unto
the salvation of lost souls? What abysmal darkness has descended on
'Evangelicals', that they could ever imagine such a thing? When the Lord of
glory was crucified, the multitudes did not repent. Why would the Lord grant
repentance to multitudes now, through a movie such as this? It is indeed a great
outreach - but for Antichrist, not Christ" [Shaun Willcock].
more on the Romish agenda, as well as the extremely un-Christlike and shocking features of The
Passion Of The Christ, see:
Passion of Rome: To Bring All Home - Rebecca A. Sexton
Passion of The Christ: A Catholic Trap - Paw Creek Ministries
The Moral Vileness Intimately Associated With The Passion Of Christ - David
Gibson's Hall of Porn (& House of Horrors) - Barbara Aho
some articles on the various aspects of the film we've briefly looked
at above please visit:
That Movie - Tricia Tillin
Five Reasons Not to Go See The Passion of the Christ - Andrew J. Webb
The Passion of Christ: Mel Gibson's Vivid Deception - Richard Bennett & J.
Where's Luther, We Need Reformation - Kelly McGinley
Indifference or Ignorance: The Practice of Idolatry Within the Church - R. Bennett &
Poison in the Passion - Terry Watkis
The Passion of the Christ: Outreach for Antichrist - Shaun Willcock
Mel Gibson's Movie: (Index of Articles) - David Cloud
Christians Have Passion For The Passion? (Index of Articles) - Retaking America
The Passion (Index of Articles) - Cutting Edge
In conclusion, unless God
specifically tells a believer to see this film, we are surely wiser to avoid it.
Our task is simply to love the Truth and to obey God's commands as given in His Holy
Scriptures. If we do this we will produce
fruit and are far more likely to win our unsaved loved ones to the Lord Jesus
Bible never tells us that the end justifies the means.
God bless you.
We recommend the
articles we have included on this page, but please
note that we would not necessarily agree with every single word
contained therein; neither can we necessarily vouch for the websites or
periodicals from which these articles are taken, or any other articles
or materials by the same authors, or any groups or ministries or
websites with which they may be associated, or the beliefs of whatever
kind they may hold, or any other aspect of their work or ministry or
position. Likewise, our recommendation here of
specific websites/pages does not necessarily imply that we endorse every
aspect of that group or ministry.
Elizabeth McDonald & Dusty Peterson