I am so thankful for Mike Gendron, former Catholic, and his ministry to reach Catholics and others with the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, I am glad he addressed, specifically, The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Droves of people, including myself, watched this film and many endorsed it when it was first released, in 2004, including some big name evangelicals as seen on Wiki , who are incorrectly described there as “conservative.” I’ll provide the list here: Billy Graham, James Dobson, Mission America Coalition, Salvation Army, Promise Keepers, National Association of Evangelicals, Campus Crusade for Christ, Focus on the Family, Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Rick Warren, Southern Baptist Convention, Jerry Falwell, Max Lucado, Young Life, Tim LaHaye, Chuck Colson, Lee Strobel, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) and the United Methodist Church. But in the paragraphs that follow, you’ll see there are major problems with it. Namely, it promotes the Catholic religion and ecumenism.
The author of the Wiki entry records that Gibson uses a verse like this from the New Testament. It is stated as such in Wiki, “Behold Mother, I make all things new,” is taken from the Book of Revelation,” being used as such in the screenplay. That verse would be found in an extra-biblical Catholic bible. Further down in the Wiki entry is written “Virgin Mary” instead of “a virgin, Mary.” These are mariology titles of the false, man-made, pagan, legalistic Catholic religion which wrongly teaches that Mary is co-redemtrix and co-mediatrix. According to the Scriptures, these are lies. Only the Lord Jesus is Redeemer (Acts 4:12; Col 2:13-14; 1 Pt 1:3,19-21; 3:18) and only He is the mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5).
Icing on the cake for Gibson would have been an official declaration of endorsement by the pope, which they feverishly tried to get, but supposedly the Vatican makes it a point to “not comment on any artistic works.” You can see this documented in the Wiki resource, also.
In responding to criticisms of biblical and historical accuracy, as seen at Wiki, Gibson has responded like this, “I think that my first duty is to be as faithful as possible in telling the story so that it doesn’t contradict the Scriptures. Now, so long as it didn’t do that, I felt that I had a pretty wide berth for artistic interpretation, and to fill in some of the spaces with logic, with imagination, with various other readings.”
Did anyone just catch that!? Again, he said, “I felt that I had a pretty wide berth for artistic interpretation, and to fill in some of the spaces with logic, with imagination, with various other readings.” That dear friends would be called eisegeting Scripture, which comes from the spirit of error. It means to put into Scripture what you want in order to make it say what you want. Exegeting Scripture is to correctly study what the Scripture says pulling out of the text its true interpretation, content and meaning for proper application, without adding to or changing or taking anything away from the text. There is a warning in Revelation 22:18 for anyone who does the former, eisegetes Scripture.
I would like to continue to draw serious attention to the phrase “other readings,” as well. As noted on Wiki, Gibson’s resources for the making of the fillm included mystic Catholic devotional writings on the crucifixion from two nuns. Firstly, María de Ágreda who wrote The Mystical City of God. And secondly, Anne Catherine Emmerich who wrote The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Both of these were cited as being influential in such scenes as Christ suspending from a bridge after His arrest in the Temple and demons who came to attack Judas after he sold Christ for thirty pieces of silver. A couple more scenes described in Wiki are as follows: “Other scenes unique to The Passion of the Christ include the one in which the crucified thief who taunted Jesus has his eye pecked out by a crow, and the flashback of the carpenter Jesus building an elevated, four-legged table for a Roman. The scene of Satan carrying a demonic baby during Christ’s flogging has been construed as an imitation of traditional depictions of the Madonna and Child.” More Catholic resources for Gibson included two priests, William J. Fulco and Jonathan Morris, who were part of his consultation team for theological and/or language subjects.
Theses details provide a vivid enough picture, without completing exhausting everything that could be noted of the film. Suffice it to say, I think we can deduct that Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is more about Mel’s passion for the pope and promoting paganism. I heard it said recently that to re-inact the crucifixion is blasphemous and draws away from the sufficiency of the Scriptures alone. I agree. We are called to “remember,” the Lord’s death by the Scripture, with the Lord’s Table and everyday in our hearts filled and overflowing with thanksgiving! We are never called to reproduce it. “It is finished!” If anyone of us were supposed to see it, be an eyewitness, then we would have been there. This film, in doing so with a $30 million budget, grossed over $611 million dollars, all for the name and glory of the Catholic religion.
During this season of remembering and honoring Christ’s sacrifice, with Resurrection Sunday just around the corner, the sales continue to climb in the Christian bookstores, etc. Resist the urge to jump on the band wagon! May we be blessed in truly remembering what the Lord has done in a God-pleasing way without this film or re-inacting the crucifixion. Open your Bibles, be at Church for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday for the Good News! The tomb is empty! He has Risen! Hallelujah!!!