1 Thess. 5:21 "Prove all things things; hold fast that which is good."
The following quote is from an article titled "Some Christians See 'Passion' as an Evangelism Tool" (New York Times, February 5, 2004): "Three weeks before the release of 'The Passion of the Christ,' a graphic portrayal of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus, Christians nationwide are busy preparing to use it in an immense grass-roots evangelistic campaign."
I'm not a bit ashamed to boldly state that this preacher and his church will NOT be using this movie for evangelism. I set forth the following reasons for our turning away from this "tool" which is already wildly popular by many "evangelical" Christians.
1. WRONG METHOD
In a booklet that A. W. Tozer published in the 1950's he reminds the reader that when God gave Moses the plan for the tabernacle in the wilderness the Almighty demanded that Moses fulfill every detail of God's design. As Tozer said, "No one dare alter it so much as a hairbreadth." That old-time preacher went on to state, "From God's revealed plan we depart at our peril . . . The temptation to introduce 'new' things into the work of God has always been to strong for some people to resist . . . Every generation is sure to have its ambitious amateur to come up with some shiny new gadget which he proceeds to urge upon the priests before the altar. That the Scriptures do not justify its existence does not seem to bother him at all . . ." When it comes to evangelism the Word of God is specific. "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." God uses old-fashioned, Holy-Ghost anointed, hell-fire and damnation, compassionate preaching of the Gospel to bring sinners under conviction and unto conversion. We don't need the world to help us to "improve" on God's plan. We need to get back to GOD's way and He uses PREACHING.
2. WRONG MESSENGERS
I respect Mel Gibson as an American. It is amazing to see anyone stand up to the political pressure of the history-revisionists and political-correct crowd today. My hat is off to him as a man that stands for what he has come to believe and has persevered in the face of adversity. But, the Great Commission was not given to Roman Catholic works-religionists! Mel Gibson is a Cainite who desires to please God with works! Referring to the whorish Roman church, Mel Gibson is on record stating that he believes "there is no salvation for those outside the Church" ("The New Yorker", September 15, 2003). God did not give the GOSPEL message to those who have not been saved by GRACE THROUGH FAITH!!! God gave the commission of preaching the Gospel to every creature to HIS NEW TESTAMENT CHURCHES THAT HAVE THE MARKS OF NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY!!! By the way, this movie is already becoming wildly popular in the world and God's true messengers have never been embraced by this world.
3. WRONG MOTIVES
The motive of the man who plays the part of Jesus, Jim Caviezel, was plainly stated by that poor, lost, Roman Catholic man. He said "that his goal with the movie is to 'bring mankind back together.'" (David Cloud, in an article he wrote dated February 6, 2004). Friend, that motive is not in keeping with God's plan for the ages. God is a divider and if you don't believe that you haven't been reading your Bible! Check out Matthew 25:31 for just one instance of this truth. Another unbiblical motive of this production is to make the Gospel acceptable to those who will not hear the Scriptures. But, Jesus tells us in Luke 16 that Abraham declared to the rich man in hell, "if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Godís plan and program is the PREACHING of the GOSPEL through the churches of the LORD JESUS CHRIST and if the lost won't hear God's messengers preach God's Word then they will be damned for eternity.
4. WRONG MOVEMENT
Look at who has jumped on the band-wagon! Wheaton College, Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, The Catholic League, Vatican Secretariat of State, Pontifical Council for Social Communications, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Roman Catholic apologist Keith Fournier and all of the rest of the ecumenical, non-separated, movement of liberals, modernists, catholics, and new-evangelicals are IN LOVE with this. Iím not part of that movement! Iím in the old-time way! I am in the New Testament separatist crowd! "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17) A. W. Tozer said it right when he said, "They tell me that I missed the boat, but I wasn't looking to get on board!
5. WRONG MESSAGE
According to the New York Times, "the movie is replete with Catholic touches, like the Stations of the Cross and the centrality of Mary." Friends, this production adds to the accounts given in the Holy Bible. Remember what the Bible says, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6). Is the Bible the Final Authority or not? As Baptists, we say "AMEN! THE BIBLE IS THE FINAL AUTHORITY!" Then we should turn away from ANYTHING that claims to be Gospel but tampers with the Word of God.
6. WRONG MESSIAH
The Jesus of that movie is not the Jesus of the Bible! To start with, I personally have a problem with anyone attempting to dress up and and act like they are the Holy Son of God. Maybe I'm just too picky, but it bothers me to see any one of us trying to play the part of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can't find anywhere in the Bible where God ever condones such nonsense and I fear that it is dangerously close to making God into an "image" made by man. Having said that, the "Jesus" of Hollywood is not the Jesus of history, the Jesus of the Bible! For starters, Jesus did not have long hair! His Word tells us that it is a shame for a man to have long hair (1 Corinthians 11:14). How ludicrous to think that Jesus would have lived contrary to His own Word! Believe me, that is just "for starters," but that is all I have time for for now.
Of course, the numerous pictures, paintings, and movies that seek to portray Jesus never really reveal the awful agony, sorrow, and suffering that he endured on the cross, nor do I think we need such items! We need to tell people of JESUS, the LORD OF GLORY, not point them to a production of man.