Mel Gibson’s Movie – ‘The Passion’ Some thoughts

In the run up to the release of this movie by Mel Gibson – ‘The Passion’ – I have received a number of inquiries asking for my views on it and to date I have not prepared an in-depth reply but in the wake of this very helpful article by Richard Bennett and Virgil Dunbar I would just like to quote a few extracts from some of the replies I sent to the inquiries I received –

Extract from email sent dated 27 January 2004

Dear… ‘I have been ‘keeping tabs’ on this film [I note the Pope has seen it but passed no real comment – clever man – waiting to see ‘which way the ball bounces’]. It is one thing to portray the last hours of Christ accurately, graphically and emotionally but it is quite another thing to explain the full significance of what those final hours meant for the salvation of sinners’.

Cecil Extract from email sent 19 February 2004

Dear… Just this morning I received an inquiry from a lady in Houston, Texas where ‘The Passion’ is being eagerly promoted by ‘pastors’ of every shade and herewith are copies of 2 replies I sent to her – you may wish to add them to your ‘collection’ on this issue

Yours because we’re His – Cecil

Dear… Thank you for your email – nice to hear again from you. I am currently ‘monitoring’ this Mel Gibson movie ‘The Passion’ – it has not yet arrived in our part of the world. I have been accumulating various reports etc many of them put out by the Roman Catholic Zenit News agency for of course Mel Gibson is a devout Roman Catholic and the Vatican will want to exploit anything that portrays Roman Catholicism as ‘Christian’. I think it is sinfully wrong to portray the Lord in any pictorial form but that aside a movie that simply shows ‘The Passion’ of the Lord cannot explain the theological significance of the events and especially if Roman Catholics carry out the task. Yes they will say that in the movie we see ‘Jesus dying for our sins’ but that has then to be understood in the context of what Rome teaches in her catechisms etc about ‘Jesus dying for our sins’ and we know only too well that she ‘preaches’ a false gospel on this whole issue.

I have no doubt that people will be touched emotionally when they see this graphic portrayal of ‘Christ dying’ but they will be none the wiser of the theological depth of what Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 15 as ‘the gospel’ namely that ‘Christ died for our sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES’ – by that he meant that Christ’s death was to fully propitiate the Father’s anger against sin and to fully expiate the sinner’s guilt because of sin. These aspects will certainly not be explained in this movie and therefore the movie will have no true ‘evangelising effect’ upon the lost. Hope these few thoughts are helpful.

Yours in Christ Cecil Andrews ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Dear…Just after I sent my email reply I received yesterday’s Zenit news agency report and herewith are a few extracts of a report that appeared today – it is a good example of what I outlined in my first email

Yours in Christ Cecil Andrews ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

“THE PASSION … FOR ITS AUTHOR, IS A MASS”

Vittorio Messori on Mel Gibson’s Work

ROME, FEB. 18, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Vittorio Messori is the first journalist in history to publish a book-length interview with a pope, the multimillion-selling “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” (1994), as well as numerous other works such as “The Ratzinger Report” (1987) and his best-selling “Ipotesi su Gesù” (The Jesus Hypothesis, 1976). After seeing Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” he wrote the following article for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera and offered the piece to ZENIT for publication in other languages.

A Passion of Violence and Love

By Vittorio Messori

‘…Gibson, a Catholic who loves the Tradition, is a strong champion of the doctrine confirmed by the Council of Trent: the Mass is “also” a fraternal meal but it is “above all” Jesus’ sacrifice, the bloodless renewal of the passion. This is what matters, not the “understanding of the words,” as the new liturgists wish, whose superficiality Mel mocks as it seems like blasphemy to him. The redemptive value of the actions and gestures that have their culmination on Calvary has no need of expressions that anyone can understand.

This film, for its author, is a Mass: Let it be, then, in an obscure language, as it was for so many centuries. If the mind does not understand, so much the better. What matters is that the heart understands that all that happened redeems us from sin and opens to us the doors of salvation.’

[Comment by Cecil – Christ’s death did not ‘open to us the door of salvation’ it actually secured the salvation of God’s people chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world].

Extract from email sent 20 February 2004

Dear… Thanks also for your exhortation to consider writing something on ‘The Passion’ – I think it will happen [DV] but not perhaps for a few weeks yet. One thing any movie will NEVER be able to portray is what happened in the 3 hours of darkness at Calvary when God “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” [2 Corinthians 5:21] or when as Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 53: “4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all….10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:”

I believe this movie is just one more devilish device to persuade the viewing world that Roman Catholicism = Christianity and to draw more ignorant, naive and unsuspecting souls into its soul-damning web.

  • Yours in Christ
  • Cecil Andrews
  • ‘Take heed’ Ministries

Extract from email sent 21 February 2004

Dear…I have no doubt that people will be touched emotionally when they see this graphic portrayal of ‘Christ dying’ but they will be none the wiser of the theological depth of what Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 15 as ‘the gospel’ namely that ‘Christ died for our sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES’ – by that he meant that Christ’s death was to fully propitiate the Father’s anger against sin and to fully expiate the sinner’s guilt because of sin. These aspects will certainly not be explained in this movie and therefore the movie will have no true ‘evangelising effect’ upon the lost.].

One other thought in closing and it refers to Paul’s encounter with some ‘free advertising’ for The Gospel in Acts 16:16-18. As you will know a young girl was speaking publicly on behalf of “the way of salvation”. The problem was that she was ‘tainted’ by an evil spirit. Did Paul overlook ‘the evil spirit’ and ‘cash-in’ on the free advertising. Well of course he didn’t because he was “grieved” and he didn’t want The Gospel to be identified with someone who was possessed with an evil spirit.

From the quotation above it is clear that Mel Gibson perceives his film as a mouthpiece for the Roman Catholic ‘gospel’ and many other comments by leading Roman Catholic authorities will seek to cash in on the film’s popularity to promote their false ‘gospel’ – I think as vigilant watchmen we must confront the ‘evil spirit’ inherent in this whole endeavour rather than co-operate with it. We must also of course use any openings provided to us by those who do watch the film to FULLY explain the truth of The Gospel.

I hope these few thoughts are helpful.

  • Yours in Christ
  • Cecil Andrews
  • ‘Take heed’ Ministries 

Extract from email sent 22 February 2004

Dear… Many thanks for this further ‘link’ in relation to ‘The Passion’. As for this conviction in professing ‘evangelical’ circles that seeing this film will lead many to ‘believe’ I am drawn to the words of our Lord to doubting Thomas when He said – John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

  • Yours in Christ
  • Cecil Andrews
  • ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Cecil Andrews – Take Heed’ Ministries – 22 February 2004

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