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Five Reasons Not to Go See The Passion of Christ
The Banner of Truth: Biblical Christianity through Literature ^ | February 19, 2004 | Andrew J. Webb

Posted on 02/27/2004 8:06:42 PM PST by Weirdad

From The Banner of Truth
Biblical Christianity through Literature
P.O. Box 621
Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, U.S.A.
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http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_print.php?567

Five Reasons Not to Go See The Passion of Christ

By Andrew J. Webb
February 19, 2004

On February 25, 2004 Icon films, will be releasing Mel Gibson's much anticipated film The Passion of Christ. The date of the release was deliberately chosen to coincide with the Roman Catholic holy day of Ash Wednesday, and is indicative of the fact that for Gibson, his film was more of a work of devotion than a money making enterprise. In an interview on the Roman Catholic Television Network EWTN, Gibson candidly stated why this movie is so different from all his others, "It reflects my beliefs-I've never done that before."(1) He is also quite open about his desire to see his movie used for worldwide evangelism. Many noted Evangelicals including James Dobson and Billy Graham have also come forward to endorse The Passion of Christ and recommend its use as a teaching tool. Currently, The Passion of Christ is riding a groundswell of nationwide support from both Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, with many well-known Evangelical congregations, such as best selling author and Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church which purchased 18,000 tickets at seven theatres, doing everything they can to ensure that The Passion of Christ will be a smash hit amongst Christians and "seekers". Expressing a widely held view amongst the film's supporters, Lisa Wheeler, associate editor of Catholic Exchange, a Web portal dedicated to Catholic evangelism, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "It's the best evangelization opportunity we've had since the actual death of Jesus."(2)

But should Evangelicals be supporting The Passion of Christ and endorsing its use as an Evangelism tool? Is this really the best evangelization opportunity we've had since the actual death of Jesus?(3) After careful consideration my conclusion is an unequivocal "No." Here then are five reasons why I believe Evangelicals should not see or recommend the Passion of Christ. 

(1) Its Origins

Even though Evangelicals are promoting The Passion of Christ, it is not an Evangelical movie. As Mel Gibson, a devout Roman Catholic put it so well; "It reflects my beliefs." The Passion of Christ is a Roman Catholic movie, made by a Roman Catholic director, with Roman Catholic theological advisers, which gained the endorsement of Pope John Paul II who said after viewing it, "It is as it was."(4) This is in marked contrast to the Jesus film, which is unabashedly Protestant and Evangelical in its production and message and which has been widely used in evangelizing Roman Catholics. It is largely for this reason that the Jesus film has not been utilized or endorsed by Roman Catholics. By contrast, The Passion of Christ has already proven its effectiveness as an evangelism tool in producing Catholic conversions and encouraging Catholic devotion:

"In his first nationally broadcast interview about his starring role in Mel Gibson's much-anticipated film "The Passion of Christ," James Caviezel - Gibson's Jesus - detailed on Friday the ordeal of filming the Crucifixion scenes, noting that the overall experience prompted many in the crew to convert to Catholicism."

"Noting "the amount of conversions on the movie," he said the experience of filming Christ's story "really changed people's lives."

"Caviezel recalled telling Gibson, "I think it's very important that we have mass every day - at least I need that to play this guy."

"I felt if I was going to play him I needed [the sacrament] in me. So [Gibson] provided that."(5)

(2) Its Script

Although it is widely thought that the script for the movie is based entirely on the gospel according to John, this is not the case. The script for The Passion of Christ contains much extrabiblical material, and is based in part on a mystical Roman Catholic devotional work by an 18th century German Nun (Sister Anne Emmerich) entitled The Dolorous Passion of Christ. Gibson stated on EWTN that reading Emmerich's book was his primary inspiration for making the movie. By introducing extrabiblical elements, not only does The Passion of Christ change some of the theological emphases of the Biblical account of Christ's crucifixion, but it will also create a false impression amongst the very "seekers" that Evangelicals are trying to reach, that things were said and done at the crucifixion that did not actually happen. For Evangelicals, who would feel very uncomfortable with a version of the Bible that put words into the mouth of Christ that He never spoke, to endorse a movie that does the very same thing seems hopelessly inconsistent. Protestants traditionally rejected the Apocrypha precisely because these books were fabricated and contained inauthentic material, despite the fact that these books might have been useful for evangelism. For modern evangelicals to embrace a vehicle that is inauthentic in order to achieve evangelistic ends indicates a serious decline in faithfulness.

The script for The Passion of Christ not only adds things that didn't occur in the Bible, it cuts out other things that did. The most widely known example of this being the important declaration, "His blood be on us and on our children." (Matthew 27:25)

The script for The Passion of Christ was translated into Aramaic and Latin by Father William Fulco, an old friend of Mel Gibson's. This was not done for reasons of making it more authentic.(6) The language decisions in the Passion of Christ were made for theological reasons:

"It is crucial to realize that the images and language at the heart of "The Passion of the Christ" flow directly out of Gibson's personal dedication to Catholicism in one of its most traditional and mysterious forms - the 16th-century Latin Mass.

"I don't go to any other services," the director told the Eternal Word Television Network. "I go to the old Tridentine Rite. That's the way that I first saw it when I was a kid. So I think that that informs one's understanding of how to transcend language. Now, initially, I didn't understand the Latin. ... But I understood the meaning and the message and what they were doing. I understood it very fully and it was very moving and emotional and efficacious, if I may say so."

The goal of the movie is to shake modern audiences by brashly juxtaposing the "sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar - which is the same thing," said Gibson. This ancient union of symbols and sounds has never lost its hold on him. There is, he stressed, "a lot of power in these dead languages."

Thus, the seemingly bizarre choice of Latin and Aramaic was actually part of the message." (7)

The script of The Passion of Christ was specifically intended to link the crucifixion of Christ with what Roman Catholics believe is the re-sacrificing of Christ that occurs in the mass. Gibson's intent is to show us that the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the altar (the mass) are the same thing. Protestant Evangelicals have historically rejected the idea that Christ can be sacrificed again and declared it "abominable." Speaking of the concept that the Crucifixion and the mass is the same thing, the Protestant Westminster Confession declares:

"In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to his Father; nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead; but only a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all: and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God, for the same: so that the popish sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominably injurious to Christ's one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of his elect."(8)

(3) Its Theology

Gibson's comment about the sacrifice of the altar and the sacrifice of the cross shows the indispensable link in this movie between the Catholic view of Christ's sacrifice and the portrayal of the Crucifixion in The Passion of Christ. The fact that Evangelicals have uncritically endorsed it speaks volumes about how far the Evangelical Protestant understanding of Christ's death and the related subject of Justification have slipped since the Reformation. In Roman Catholic theology the intense physical suffering of Christ's Crucifixion is the focus along with the emphasis on physical sacrifice. This is one of the reasons why in Roman Catholic iconography we have so much imagery related to Christ's physical pain and that crucifixes show him still suffering on the cross (the sacrifice of the mass means that Christ's declaration that His once for all sacrifice is completed - "it is finished" (John 19:30) never actually comes, and that His suffering has to be constantly repeated). This emphasis on Christ's physical agony is repeated in Roman Catholic devotional material, prayers, and of course the Passion of Christ. The theology of the bible however points out to us that the grand importance of Christ's crucifixion lay not in His physical suffering, but in His once for all propitiation of God's wrath (1 John 4:10). Lest we forget, the greatest torment that Christ experienced on the cross was not caused by the nails driven into His flesh, but in His being made "sin for us" and vicariously suffering the righteous punishment of the Father in our place. Even the worst physical torments inflicted by the Sanhedrin and the Romans upon Jesus were nothing by comparison to the anguish of having the sins of all the elect imputed to Him and making full satisfaction for them. Satisfying the justice of the Romans on a cross was comparatively easy, thousands of condemned men and women including Spartacus and several of the Apostles did that, but only Christ could satisfy the justice of God.

Also central to the Christian Gospel, but missing from The Passion of Christ, is the concept of Christ's active obedience. Christ not only died for the sins of His sheep on the cross but He established their righteousness through His perfect obedience to God's Law. It is only if His passive obedience in dying on the cross and His active obedience in keeping the law are imputed to believers per 2 Cor. 5:21 that believers will be justified before almighty God. The Passion of Christ does not even make any pretence of teaching the active obedience of Christ, the entire notion of which is alien to Roman Catholic theology. Therefore if Evangelicals intend to use this as a Gospel teaching tool, they must understand that at best they are teaching only half a gospel, and that the half they are teaching is defectively presented.

The sacrifice of Christ was a glorious event in which, in accordance with God's plan, full satisfaction for sin was procured by Christ on behalf of His people (Acts 2:43). The Passion of Christ leaves us with a vision of the sacrifice of Christ that is only dolorous (Dolorous: Full of grief; sad; sorrowful; doleful; dismal) and which puts into sharp relief the Roman Catholic notion not only of the importance of Christ's agony, but that of Mary in "offering her Son." In an interview with Zenit, the Roman Catholic News Service, Father Thomas Rosica, the priest who oversaw World Youth Day 2002 and its Way of the Cross through the streets of Toronto, illustrated how The Passion of Christ, in keeping with Roman Catholic theology, uses extrabiblical content to massively exaggerate the role of Mary:

"One scene, in particular, was very moving. As Jesus falls on the Way of the Cross, there is a flashback to his falling on a Jerusalem street as a child, and his mother running out of the house to pick him up. The interplay of Mary and Jesus in this film is moving, and reaches its apex in the scene of the Pietà.

The Mother of the Lord is inviting each of us to share her grief and behold her Son."(9)

This use of extra-biblical material, emphasis on physical suffering, exaggeration of the role of Mary, and explicitly Roman Catholic theology should not surprise us, however, as these are all hallmarks of the primary inspiration for this movie: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me give two examples of what I mean especially as concerns the replacement of physical pain for the far greater agony of sin bearing:

"He will not stretch himself out, but we will help him;? they accompanied these words with the most fearful oaths and imprecations, and having fastened a rope to his right leg, dragged it violently until it reached the wood, and then tied it down as tightly as possible. The agony which Jesus suffered from this violent tension was indescribable; the words ?My God, my God,? escaped his lips, and the executioners increased his pain by tying his chest and arms to the cross, lest the hands should be torn from the nails." (10)

"The hour of our Lord was at last come; his death-struggle had commenced; a cold sweat overspread every limb. John stood at the foot of the Cross, and wiped the feet of Jesus with his scapular. Magdalen was crouched to the ground in a perfect frenzy of grief behind the Cross. The Blessed Virgin stood between Jesus and the good thief, supported by Salome and Mary of Cleophas, with her eyes riveted on the countenance of her dying Son. Jesus then said: 'It is consummated;? and, raising his head, cried out in a loud voice, ?Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.? These words, which he uttered in a clear and thrilling tone, resounded through heaven and earth; and a moment after, he bowed down his head and gave up the ghost. I saw his soul, under the appearance of a bright meteor, penetrate the earth at the foot of the Cross. John and the holy women fell prostrate on the ground."(11)

Emmerich's book is literally filled with scenes like those above, and includes many extra-biblical sayings of Jesus which Sister Anne says she personally heard in her visions.

(4) Its Medium

Many Evangelical Pastors are hailing movies like The Passion of Christ as part of a new and better way of spreading the Gospel:

"This is a window of opportunity we have. Here's a guy who's putting his money into a movie that has everything to do with what we do," said pastor Cory Engel of Harvest Springs Community Church in Great Falls, Mont.

"Churches used to communicate by having a little lecture time on Sunday morning. People don't interact that way anymore. Here's a chance for us to use a modern-day technique to communicate the truth of the Bible," the Rev. Engel said."(12)

It is indeed true that we live in a highly visual and increasingly anti-literate society that places a premium on sound bites and easily assimilated visual imagery, but does this mean that we should abandon preaching in favor of using movies or dramatic presentations? We need to remember that the last time dramatic presentations replaced preaching as the main vehicle by which the truth of the Bible was communicated was during the middle-ages when the church refused to allow the translation of the Bible into common languages and when in place of the preaching and teaching of God's word, the common people were given visual presentations such as Passion Plays, statues, relics, and icons. These things were designed, like most visual imagery, to play upon the emotions and stimulate a response; but the ability to evoke an emotional response via imagery or drama is not the same as successfully transmitting the Gospel. The means that God has ordained for the transmission of the Gospel, was neither drama, imagery, nor even "lectures" - it is preaching. Preaching involves the communication of the Gospel in a way that patiently convinces, rebukes, exhorts, and teaches (2 Timothy 4:2-4). The bible teaches us the awesome importance of preaching and why it cannot be replaced by another medium:

We must preach God's Word regardless of how unpopular it is because we are commanded to do so: "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." (2 Timothy 4:2-4) 

We must preach God's Word because it always accomplishes the purpose for which it was sent: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isa.55:9-11)

God does not command us to produce dramatic presentations of Gospel themes, He commands us to preach. Though this option was freely available to the Apostles as they brought the Gospel to cities with amphitheaters and a long tradition of using the dramatic arts to convey religious and moral themes to the populace they did not do so. The wisdom of the Apostolic methodology has been borne out by the fact that it was when the Gospel was being transmitted primarily by plays and symbolism that true Christianity began to sink under the weight of superstition. We are in danger of returning to precisely that state of affairs by reviving the teaching methodology of the medieval church. Even though it was produced in the 21st century, The Passion of Christ is identical in all critical aspects to the Passion Plays of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

(5) Its Main Character

Billy Graham in his endorsement of The Passion of Christ said, "Every time I preach or speak about the Cross, the things I saw on the screen will be on my heart and mind."(13) This is unfortunately part of the problem with all visual representations of Jesus. Although we may intend for them only to have a role in teaching, they inevitably become part of our worship and adoration. As a result of seeing this film James Caviezel, the "Jesus" of The Passion of Christ, will become the figure countless thousands if not millions of people think of when they worship Jesus Christ. To do this is to fall into the trap of changing "the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man" (Romans 1:23) and to violate the Second Commandment.

Every visual representation of Jesus is inevitably a lie. There are two main reasons for this.

The first reason why all visual representations of Jesus are lies is because the only wise God went to great lengths not to leave us with any description of the physical appearance of His Son lest we fall into the sin of image making. Therefore all of our representations of Jesus are inevitably speculations usually based upon our own desires. We create an image of Jesus that says more about the Jesus we want than the Jesus whom God sent.

For instance, isn't it remarkable that the Jesus of The Passion of Christ, as in almost all physical representations of Christ, is tall, slim, and handsome? Why should not The Son of David (Luke 18:38) have been a relatively small man like His great ancestor? It never seems to have occurred to most image-makers that Jesus could be relatively short, or stout, or even have had a receding hairline. This is in spite of the fact that one of the few details the Bible does give us about Christ's appearance is that "He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him." (Is. 53:2b) The fact that we have any concept of what Jesus looks like and that Gibson's Jesus looks like the traditional Jesus, is a testament to the abiding impact of past iconography. While the Gospels, purposely leave out any description of Jesus that we might use to construct an idol, people have created an image of Jesus that has become almost an industry standard, and it is solely for that reason rather than any basis in fact that audiences would have been outraged had Gibson cast Danny DeVito and not James Caviezel in the leading role.

The Second reason why all visual representations of Jesus are lies is that they can never hope to represent the glory of Christ in His true nature. The best an image of Jesus can do is to represent him as a man, and while Jesus was truly a man, He was not merely a man. Jesus was also God, and no artist or filmmaker who has ever lived could hope to create an image that captures the true Glory of Jesus as God. While this may not appear to be a problem to us, the separation of Christ's manhood from His deity is actually a grave heresy called Nestorianism. We must not therefore attempt to separate what God has forever joined together.

For the first four centuries of its existence the church did not use pictures of Jesus as an aid to evangelism. This was despite the fact that they were bringing the gospel to highly visual cultures that had always used imagery to convey religious ideas. The initial movements towards making pictures of Christ were initially strongly opposed, and the practice was formally condemned by the church as late as 753 AD. Unfortunately, once they had taken hold of the public imagination, the practice of making visible representations of Christ proved difficult if not impossible to eradicate and gradually, pictures and dramatic representations of Jesus became quite commonplace in the church. At the time of the Reformation, Protestants overwhelmingly rejected the practice of making images of Jesus as a clear violation of the Second Commandment. They also rejected the notion that such images had a necessary role as "textbooks for the laity" and then proved that notion false by producing generations of other Protestants well versed in the word and familiar with their Savior although they had never once owned or seen a representation of him.

Rather than visual imagery, they relied on the preaching of the Word to save souls, and the gospel made great advances. If we return to the use of imagery and begin endorsing movies like The Passion of Christ, we will be returning to the very state of affairs the first Protestants struggled and died to reform. We must not think that merely endorsing one form of visible representation of Christ will not lead inevitably to others. For instance, it is impossible to make a coherent argument against the use of the crucifix in teaching the Gospel if we have already endorsed the use of a movie that portrays the crucifixion. Merely because one display is static and the other moving does not change their essential nature at all. The Passion of Christ is in essence, an animated Crucifix.

In closing, let me address a common objection, namely that we must use tools like The Passion of Christ in order to reach the lost and that if we don't we are "missing a great opportunity."

Are we really missing an opportunity though? If we are convinced that using a Roman Catholic movie to present the Gospel is in essence a violation of God's law, how could we possibly use it? Should we sin that grace may abound?

Also, are we really certain that this will be as effective as we think in saving souls? J. Marcellus Kik in his Pictures of Christ addressed that very question and gave us some wise advice, which I think all Christians would do well to heed:

"But can it not help in the saving of souls, it is asked. But how? Looking at a picture of Christ hanging upon the cross tells me nothing. It does not tell me that He hung there for sin. It does not tell me that He hung there for my sin. It does not tell me that He is the Son of God. Only the Word of God does that. And it is the Word of God that has been given us to tell the story of salvation through the blood of Christ. It is not through the foolishness of pictures that sinners are converted but through the foolishness of preaching.

It is amazing how slowly unscriptural practices enter the Christian Church. We must at all times go back to the Scriptures. The Bible is our infallible guide. And if our practices and doctrines do not conform with the teachings of the Scriptures then we must eliminate them. The Bible instructs the Church not to make any likeness of Christ. The present day pictures of Christ are false and no one would make a serious claim that they resemble Christ upon earth. They separate His humanity from His deity. They do not at all give us a glimpse of His present glory. They are not condoned by the inspired apostles.

God has ordained the foolishness of preaching to evangelize the world. He has promised to attend the preaching of the Word with the power of the Holy Spirit. The so-called pictures of Christ are a hindrance and a temptation to idolatry. Let us cleanse the Temple of God from them." (14)

Perhaps The Passion of Christ will provide Evangelicals with a great opportunity after all. They are being given a rare opportunity to reject the world's methods and to recommit themselves to fulfilling God's commission to preach the Gospel and to trust that that preaching will always accomplish what He pleases. Let us hope that they will seize it.

Endnotes:

  1. 13-January-2004 -- EWTNews Feature http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=42801
  2. "Churches Make 'Stunning' Show of Support for Gibson's 'Passion'" Newsmax (Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004) 3. Interestingly enough, the actual death of Jesus on the cross produced hardly any conversions. It is the preaching of Christ Crucified that has historically been "the best opportunity for evangelism"
  3. Interestingly enough, the actual death of Jesus on the cross produced hardly any conversions. It is the preaching of Christ Crucified that has historically been "the best opportunity for evangelism"
  4. Papal Praise for "The Passion" "It Is as It Was," John Paul II Says ZENIT (2003-12 18) http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=46445
  5. "Mel Gibson's 'Christ' Reveals Crucifixion" Newsmax (Sunday, Jan. 5, 2004) 
  6. This is especially true when one considers that all the Gospels were written in Koine Greek the common language of the area and not Aramaic or Latin. 
  7. "The passion of Mel Gibson" By TERRY MATTINGLY, Scripps Howard News Service, January 21, 2004 
  8. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 29.2 
  9. Father Thomas Rosica on Mel Gibson's "The Passion", National Director of World Youth Day 2002 Weighs in on Film (2004-02-06) http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=48636 
  10.  The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich
  11.  Ibid.
  12.  "Churches Make 'Stunning' Show of Support for Gibson's 'Passion'", Newsmax (Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004)
  13.  "What Others Are Saying" http://www.passionchrist.org/
  14.  "Pictures of Christ," by J. Marcellus Kik


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Israel; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; catholics; christ; evangelicals; jesus; melgibson; movie; passion; protestants; theology; thepassion
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Long article, but well said. The movie may be worth seeing and may help evangelize, but it is also worth thinking about carefully.
1 posted on 02/27/2004 8:06:43 PM PST by Weirdad
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Weirdad
Well, didn't he say that he was giving 5 reasons NOT to see it? Bad advice, in my opinion. See it, think about it, pray over it-- I think that would be a better course of action.
3 posted on 02/27/2004 8:11:29 PM PST by walden
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To: Weirdad
I have a quibble with #5, and understand that I haven't seen the movie.

I was born in '56, and Jeffrey Hunter isn't burned in my brain as the face of Jesus.


4 posted on 02/27/2004 8:12:44 PM PST by JoJo Gunn (Intellectuals exist only if you believe they do. )
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To: PAC67
No matter how we cut it, it's the same Passion of Christ.

I tried to see it tonight but the theater was sold out for all showings. My wife and I will go see it on Monday during work hours.
5 posted on 02/27/2004 8:13:20 PM PST by rbmillerjr
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To: Weirdad
If but one person who does not know the Lord comes onto Him because of this movie, then it was worth making.
6 posted on 02/27/2004 8:14:57 PM PST by Diplomat
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To: Weirdad
Yes God forbid we should have Godless atheists turned in Catholics. Oh the horror!
7 posted on 02/27/2004 8:15:16 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (06/07/04 - 1000 days since 09/11/01)
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To: Weirdad
Well I just got back from seeing The Passion of the Christ tonight. I really do not see any of those reasons as valid.

Now should you take it as a replacement for The Bible, I would not think any Christian would. Nobody that I know of has claimed it has been Cannonized yet.
8 posted on 02/27/2004 8:16:32 PM PST by JLS
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To: Weirdad
Sounds like this guy has a real problem with Catholics.
9 posted on 02/27/2004 8:17:28 PM PST by jospehm20
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To: Straight Vermonter
Is the fire really better than the frying pan, then?
10 posted on 02/27/2004 8:18:12 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: All
I am probably an exception to most Christians, in that I do not want to see this film. Every time I see an excerpt, it makes me cringe. I am already a believer, plus one that believes and reads scripture, so its not like I would miss anything. I'm just glad that He paid this price so that I would not have to. That is the whole point anyway.....
11 posted on 02/27/2004 8:18:32 PM PST by Malcolm (not on the bandwagon, but not contrary for contrary's sake either)
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To: Weirdad
It logical to think that Gibson would make a movie based on catholic understanding of the cricifixion....and protestants and catholic disagree on certain details of this event....overall, I think its a movie worth seeing from what I've heard.
12 posted on 02/27/2004 8:18:51 PM PST by anncoulteriscool
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To: jospehm20
It's a shame that Christians are already attempting to divide the flock on this movie.

I'm sure God is so proud of us, yet again lol.
13 posted on 02/27/2004 8:19:46 PM PST by rbmillerjr
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To: Weirdad; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; ...
The anti-Catholic rant of the century. Read it, weep and critique please.
14 posted on 02/27/2004 8:21:26 PM PST by narses (If you want OFF or ON my Ping list, please email me.)
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To: Weirdad
So a Brit organization doesn't want anyone to see it, and the French can't find a distributor.

Where is the antisemitsm?
15 posted on 02/27/2004 8:21:30 PM PST by opbuzz
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To: Weirdad
More anti-Catholic bigotry and ignorance.

Let me adk my Protestant brethern who have seen the movie this question -- Is Satan happy with this film?

16 posted on 02/27/2004 8:24:27 PM PST by CWW (Go Bill Pryor!!!)
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To: Weirdad
Nothing against you personally, but this is an extremely foolish article writing. Christians battling Christians is exactly like some Conservatives refusing to vote for President Bush because he isn't conservative "enough."

Is God so foolish that He would not use a medium of motion pictures that he permits to exist to spread His word. Does "preaching" not work when it is transmitted on television? Does it lose all effect when the Preacher uses a PA system?

Complaints that Gibson did not use a short, fat man to play Jesus? The author needs a dose of reality.

Complaints that Gibson did not simply have the actors read the Bible as opposed to using a script? Which Bible should they have used? Which translation? There are at least 7 major translations of the Bible and 57 minor ones. Should they have made 64 movies... or made it about 140 hours long? To follow this logic, how can a preacher even say "have a good week" or "the church supper tonight will be fired chicken," because those phrases are not written in the Bible?

This is a small man trying to chop down a very good motion picture and the man who made it. This a picture that will cause many believers and nonbelievers alike to vastly increase their faith and the deeds that follow faith.

For that, it should be praised, not picked apart.
17 posted on 02/27/2004 8:26:47 PM PST by MindBender26 (For more news, first, fast and factual.... Stay tuned to your local FReeper station !!!)
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To: Weirdad
I am not buying these arguments. Any movie that is based on the Bible is worth seeing. I don't care if it isn't exactly perfect. We Christians can moan and complain and bicker about details till the cows come home and it doesn't matter. What matters is that Jesus went through hell to give us a chance at heaven. That is all that is really important, and all that really matters.
18 posted on 02/27/2004 8:27:15 PM PST by vpintheak (Our Liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain!)
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To: JoJo Gunn
Remember the Swede, Max Von Sydow in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." There aren't too many short, dark, fat, Arameic speaking Swedes, are there? :~)
19 posted on 02/27/2004 8:29:40 PM PST by MindBender26 (For more news, first, fast and factual.... Stay tuned to your local FReeper station !!!)
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To: Weirdad
I'm a staunch Protestant and yet I didn't see "The Passion" as a "Catholic movie." I see it as the best screen rendition yet on the last hours of Christ. It was made by and stars two Godly Christian men, both of whom happen to be Catholic. I'm perfectly okay with that and look forward to meeting them both in Heaven.

It should be obvious by the number of Evangelicals enthusiatically going to see this movie that this reviewer represents the opinion of a very tiny minority. This article really isn't worth debating.

20 posted on 02/27/2004 8:31:44 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: Weirdad
Long article, but well said. The movie may be worth seeing and may help evangelize, but it is also worth thinking about carefully.

Well said??

This article is nothing but pure and simple Romophobia from start to finish.

21 posted on 02/27/2004 8:31:49 PM PST by MegaSilver
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To: Weirdad
I get the impression this was written by an Ego-gelical.
22 posted on 02/27/2004 8:32:19 PM PST by MindBender26 (For more news, first, fast and factual.... Stay tuned to your local FReeper station !!!)
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To: MegaSilver
Me thinks there might be a touch of the Branch Dividians here.
23 posted on 02/27/2004 8:33:37 PM PST by MindBender26 (For more news, first, fast and factual.... Stay tuned to your local FReeper station !!!)
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To: BibChr; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; ...
What year was your church founded? What version of the Bible is your choice? When was it written and why is that somehow not "the frying pan"?

Christ appointed the Apostles. The Holy Ghost guided them and helped them select their successors, starting with the replacement of Judas in the very first days of the Catholic (Universal), Apostolic Church. Their direct, lineal successors are the Bishops of the Catholic and Apostolic Church of today, led by the first among them, the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness Pope John Paul II.
24 posted on 02/27/2004 8:33:56 PM PST by narses (If you want OFF or ON my Ping list, please email me.)
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To: MindBender26
Andrew J. Webb

info@banneroftruth.org
25 posted on 02/27/2004 8:34:25 PM PST by kcvl
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: narses
The anti-Catholic rant of the century. Read it, weep and critique please.
It's not even worth the time because it represents the view of a very, very tiny minority. Evangelicals are going to the movie in droves and 99.99% of us don't care whether Mel Gibson and Jim Caviezel are Catholic or Southern Baptist. It's a Christian movie made by a Christian man.

27 posted on 02/27/2004 8:35:41 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: Weirdad
Why should not The Son of David (Luke 18:38) have been a relatively small man like His great ancestor? It never seems to have occurred to most image-makers that Jesus could be relatively short, or stout, or even have had a receding hairline.

If the Shroud of Turin is any indication, Jesus Christ was, in fact, a man who was extraordinarily tall for that period of time. The image on the shroud doesn't seem to have a receding hairline, either.

28 posted on 02/27/2004 8:35:55 PM PST by Alberta's Child (Alberta -- the TRUE North strong and free.)
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To: Weirdad
Oh,please.We have enough atheists and knee jerkers slamming a film about Jesus Christ.I , a Protestant, am not proud of this article.There are are multitudes of protestants who have a different view.It is not those things that divide us that seem to be what is important about this film.
29 posted on 02/27/2004 8:36:26 PM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
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To: jospehm20
Sounds like this guy has a real problem with Catholics.

You'll hear the same radical fundamentalists all the time.
To them, Roman Catholics are not Christians, but followers of the Anti-Christ.

The only quibble I have with the movie, and it is only a quibble is about Latin being used, instead of Greek.

Greek had been the working language of the area since Alexander the Great and was the language of choice of Roman Aristocrats everywhere.

So9

30 posted on 02/27/2004 8:36:43 PM PST by Servant of the 9 (Goldwater Republican)
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To: jospehm20
That's what I thought at first, but then I saw that this letter is, in fact, directed specifically at Evangelicals and is written from a strictly Evangelical viewpoint.
31 posted on 02/27/2004 8:37:51 PM PST by Alberta's Child (Alberta -- the TRUE North strong and free.)
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To: kcvl
Nah, just my evening rant.

I'll sleep better..... :~)

Be well.
32 posted on 02/27/2004 8:38:22 PM PST by MindBender26 (For more news, first, fast and factual.... Stay tuned to your local FReeper station !!!)
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To: Weirdad
6. Because the movie puts Hollywood on notice that they will have to start working for a living. They can't have that.
33 posted on 02/27/2004 8:39:19 PM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (Proud member of the right wing extremist Neanderthals.)
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To: MegaSilver; Weirdad; All
This article is nothing but pure and simple Romophobia from start to finish.

One more thing I should add. One of the biggest reasons Christians are struggling to stay afloat in the culture war is because we allow ourselves to become divided over trivial issues. I understand what the author was getting at, but it was nothing but Romophobia, and that will do nothing but drive a wedge into Christendom even more.

Contrast this with the left and its intricate, carefully constructed network of NOW, ACLU, PAW, MoveOn.org, CRR, etc. all making sure not to work against each other.

34 posted on 02/27/2004 8:40:24 PM PST by MegaSilver
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To: Weirdad
"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
-----------------
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest." "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."

35 posted on 02/27/2004 8:42:10 PM PST by unspun (The uncontextualized life is not worth living. | I'm not "Unspun w/ AnnaZ" but I appreciate.)
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To: Weirdad
I'm not a Catholic and have NO intentions of becoming one. I couldn't become a Catholic since I am Bible based. The author raises many valid points that other non-Catholics need to be aware of.

"Even the worst physical torments inflicted by the Sanhedrin and the Romans upon Jesus were nothing by comparison to the anguish of having the sins of all the elect imputed to Him and making full satisfaction for them. "

This is very true. His death was horrible yet the focus is misplaced. The above phrase has it right. By far the physical was tolerable compared to the emotional pain.
36 posted on 02/27/2004 8:42:42 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: narses
What year was your church founded? What version of the Bible is your choice? When was it written and why is that somehow not "the frying pan"?

< devil's advocate>I just want to point out that the Protestant claim regarding the Church is that it is the body of believers in Christ as a whole, not some central institution. The concept of God sanctioning of a particular institution (i.e., the Catholic Church of the Roman Bishop) means little, if anything, to most Protestants.< /devil's advocate>

37 posted on 02/27/2004 8:44:36 PM PST by MegaSilver
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To: Weirdad
Is it wrong to think many Protestants have a problem with the Catholic Church and it's teachings? I am a Catholic and I feel that many protestants think my religion is weird. I think what he has to say many Protestants would agree, if they really understood Gibson's film. He's right, it is a very Roman Catholic film.
38 posted on 02/27/2004 8:45:07 PM PST by tbird5
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To: Weirdad
Based on this one passage:

The first reason why all visual representations of Jesus are lies is because the only wise God went to great lengths not to leave us with any description of the physical appearance of His Son lest we fall into the sin of image making. Therefore all of our representations of Jesus are inevitably speculations usually based upon our own desires. We create an image of Jesus that says more about the Jesus we want than the Jesus whom God sent.

it seems to me that for evangelicals (and even for Catholics?) no movies should be made about Jesus, or at least they shouldn't watch them or take them as anything more than pure entertainment (and why would you then want to be entertained by something that is the core of your faith?).

So that makes all of the rest of the author's reasons superfluous and gratuitous.

And maybe just a reason to bash the Catholic faith.

39 posted on 02/27/2004 8:45:26 PM PST by michaelt (I'm an ex-Catholic, by the way)
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To: Weirdad

In a society where the government is so hostile to religion that even the Ten Commandments are not welcome; where every cultural megaphone from Disney to the Teacher's Union preaches nature worship to children, this guy gets torqued because it was a Catholic who rammed a movie about Jesus Christ past the Hollywood "elite" and onto 4,000 movie screens.

Hello? The threat to Evangelical Christianity is not Mel Gibson. Never mind whether he's Catholic. Worry about Mel Gibson when you're done with the ACLU and the liberal judges. In case you haven't noticed, those people are out to stamp out Christianity altogether, and they are getting real good at it.


40 posted on 02/27/2004 8:47:07 PM PST by Nick Danger (carpe ductum)
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To: JLS
I have read my Bible more in the last 48 hours since seeing the movie than I have in the last year.
41 posted on 02/27/2004 8:47:27 PM PST by scan58
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To: unspun
Great comment.
42 posted on 02/27/2004 8:47:50 PM PST by Weirdad (A Free Republic, not a "democracy" (mob rule))
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To: Weirdad
It's interesting how mere mortals want Jesus to look handsome ... of course how we would LIKE to perceive Him. There is a Jewish historian, Josephus who described Jesus as VERY unattractive but charismatic in a loving way. All things considered ... I suspect that Jesus was NOT very attractive ... .
43 posted on 02/27/2004 8:48:41 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Weirdad
Leave it to christians to view an explicitly christian film and declare it to be wrong to see it. As I christian, I'm pretty appalled at the way other christians take pride in being so out of touch and hysterical.
44 posted on 02/27/2004 8:48:57 PM PST by CaptainJustice
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To: tbird5
"He's right, it is a very Roman Catholic film"

Being a Catholic, I'd have to totally disagree with you...my Catholic and Protestant friends have told me it is a universally Christian film with Jesus at the center.
45 posted on 02/27/2004 8:49:31 PM PST by rbmillerjr
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To: MegaSilver; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; ...
I understand. The problem with that is that it is both 1) unBiblical, and 2) leaves us with every man his own pope. We can choose the Bible written by the English Monarchy, a different one written by modern American liberals, we can embrace "Bishop" Vicki Gene Robinson the homosexual adulterer that now represents the American remnant of the English heresiarchs, or one we (re)write the Bible ourselves as Thomas Jefferson did.

God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, chose Apostles to run His Church. God, in the Person of the Holy Ghost, helped thos God chosen Apostles replace the ArchTraitor Judas and then has helped guide and govern His Church ever since then.
46 posted on 02/27/2004 8:49:35 PM PST by narses (If you want OFF or ON my Ping list, please email me.)
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To: Weirdad
I didn't read it but if they aren't busy crucifying Mel's father, it's already a step above the mainstream media in its critique.

Personally, though, I'm not really concerned that it is the "Catholic" version of the crucifixion. At least it's not the Jehovah's Witness version or the Mormon version.

I may disagree with some points of the Catholic faith but I think they've generally done their research into the subject matter. It's a movie, not Scripture. I don't hold it to the same level of authenticity in my life and beliefs and neither should anyone else without searching His Word for themselves.
47 posted on 02/27/2004 8:49:53 PM PST by Tall_Texan ((Tagline withheld pending notification of next of kin))
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To: Nick Danger
I've learned to look for your posts. They are usually clear, cogent and very much to the point. You have outdone yourself. Kudos.
48 posted on 02/27/2004 8:50:52 PM PST by narses (If you want OFF or ON my Ping list, please email me.)
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To: MindBender26
"...Complaints that Gibson did not simply have the actors read the Bible as opposed to using a script? Which Bible should they have used?..."

I think one of his points is Gibson went beyond the Bible and added many stories from Catherine Emmerich's visions. His statements that the movie are strictly scriptural are untrue. (BTW, see the recent movie "The Gospel Accoring to John - it's scriptural.)

Here's Emmerich's visions about the Passion. Compare to it to scripture, then Mel's movie.

http://www.emmerich1.com/THE_PASSION3.htm#CHAPTER%20XXVIII

http://www.emmerich1.com/THE_PASSION.htm#CHAPTER%20I
49 posted on 02/27/2004 8:52:41 PM PST by Shermy
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To: nmh
"I couldn't become a Catholic since I am Bible based.

FYI--the Catholic Church is Bible based too.

50 posted on 02/27/2004 8:52:42 PM PST by Bohemund
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