Proclaiming The True Passion of Christ

In Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of The Christ,” a sinful man acts the part of the Lord Jesus as He suffers the terrible wrath of God on behalf of His elect church.

Jesus Christ is both God and man. God is spirit and so cannot be portrayed, and (by God’s will) no one knows what Christ looks like. Moreover, Christ’s human nature was joined to and assumed by His divine Person.

How can any actor portray that?

Also the film presents Christ with long hair and thus as a sinner, for Scripture says it is a “shame” for a man to have long hair (1 Corinthians 11:14).

Such a portrayal of the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity is condemned by the second commandment as explained in Presbyterianism’s Westminster Larger Catechism 109: “The sins forbidden in the second commandment” include “making any representation of God, of all or any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever.”

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Thus all who love the true God revealed in Scripture will obey the second commandment and reject this idolatrous movie.

The film falsely portrays Mary as mediatrix. The disciples call her “Mother,” and Peter confesses His sin of denying Christ to her.

“The Passion” also presents her as co-redemptress. On several occasions, Jesus receives strength by looking at Mary. While Jesus hangs on the cross, Mary kisses His feet and His blood smears on her face. As she looks up at the cross, Mary asks Jesus, “Let me die with you.” When Jesus says, “It is finished,” Mary says, “Amen,” as though His atonement requires her stamp of approval. Thus one critic reckoned the movie should be named “The Passion of The Christ and Mary.”

Though allegedly faithful to the Bible, parts of the movie’s script (especially the mariolatrous sections) are taken from The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a book recording the visions of an eighteenth century German nun and mystic, Anne Emmerich. A Roman Catholic advertisement for the book states, “Mel Gibson based … ‘The Passion of The Christ’ on this book … It is also wonderful on the Blessed Mother’s role in our redemption.”

Mel Gibson, the director, is a devout Roman Catholic, even attending Latin mass. He believes that “the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the altar [the mass] are the same thing.” He calls Mary “a tremendous co-redemptress and medriatrix” with Christ. Of his movie, he declared, “It reflects my beliefs.”

Jim Caviezel, who acts Christ crucified, is an avid lover of Medjugorje (Bosnia Herzegovina), a site of Marian pilgrimage. He said, “In preparation [for acting the Son of God], I used all that Medjugorje taught me.” He was given a piece of Christ’s (alleged) cross which he put in a special pocket so it would always be with him while filming. On set he was often seen handling his rosary. He also frequented the confessional and the mass, for he said that he needed the wafer in him to be like Jesus. On 15 March 2004, Caviezel was blessed by the pope.

“The Passion” is a Roman Catholic film, with a Roman Catholic director, a Roman Catholic lead actor and a Roman Catholic message. No wonder Catholic Passion Outreach (a Roman Catholic web site) declares, “‘The Passion of The Christ’ offers a once in a life-time opportunity for you to spread, strengthen and share the [Roman] Catholic faith with your family and friends.”

This film does not teach the true gospel of salvation by Christ alone (not Mary), through faith alone (not by sight; 2 Corinthians 5:7) and revealed in the Scriptures alone (not mystical visions by a German nun).

This film does not show us the heart of the Lord’s sufferings: God’s pouring out His wrath upon Christ for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:10).

Nor does it teach for whom He died: His elect sheep and not the reprobate goats (John 10:11, 26).

This film also rejects God’s way of proclaiming the gospel—preaching—for God has chosen “the foolishness of preaching [not drama] to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). In faithful preaching—not idolatrous movies—Christ is “evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Galatians 3:1).

This is “foolishness” to those who “perish,” but “unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

By Angus Stewart

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