Exposing Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”

 

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

As Christians, our views must be founded in and supported by God’s Word, otherwise, a fall into darkness, error, and compromise is inevitable. Many questions are being asked about Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ”. Is it biblically accurate? How much Roman Catholic theology is embedded in the film? What gospel, if any, does it communicate? Does it bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ? There are many points to consider in regards to the spiritual validity of this film. The following facts, principles, & challenges, we believe, expose Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” not as the “godsend” many leading evangelicals are promoting it to be, but in reality, a demonically inspired counterfeit intended to promote Catholicism.

FACTS, BIBLICALLY VIOLATED PRINCIPLES, AND CHALLENGES REGARDING “THE PASSION”

FACT #1: “The Passion Of The Christ” is a movie.

THIS VIOLATES PRINCIPLE #1: God never promises to use film as a means to communicate the gospel; certainly not a method to usurp God’s primary means, “preaching.” Though we would concede that film, like tracts, signs, etc., may perhaps have some narrow use in communicating divine truth it can never stand alone apart from preaching. Many are declaring this movie as a profound and powerful medium that communicates the gospel in and of itself. The Bible declares God’s ordained method of communicating the gospel as the spoken, anointed Word, communicated exclusively through redeemed, sanctified human vessels. This is not only communicated in the N.T., but demonstrated as well. Jesus, nor the Apostles, used in any other method of evangelism but “preaching/teaching” the Word of God. The five-fold ministry listed in Ephesians 4 includes neither musician, director, or actor. Surely, this is no oversight by God. This being true, how are we to understand the term preaching? It behooves us to narrowly define preaching by the Word of God and the example of the holy men contained therein. The word “kerusso” (the most commonly used Greek word translated into the English word “preach” throughout the N.T.) literally means: a public crier, a herald, to proclaim. This is what the Prophets, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Apostles did, and likewise, it is what we should do (Prov. 1:20-33; Isa. 58:1). Liberal-minded Christians often desperately plead their cause for their favorite mediums of communication. Nevertheless, they are without one Biblical example; the gospel is not to be rock-n-rolled, rapped, mimed, or dramatized, it is to be preached. This is the Bible way. This is the Jesus way. This is what the Apostles and early church did. Yet, somehow, today’s professing church, with its worldly and compromising reasoning, has concluded that Mel Gibson, a confirmed Christ-rejector with a carnal mind, is wiser than Jesus and His church. This is utter nonsense and a pitiful and shameful conclusion indeed.

CHALLENGE #1: We challenge anyone to prove, by the Scriptures, that God has ordained film or drama as a replacement for His primary means of gospel communication, “preaching?” Can this movie, void of “preaching” or even the dramatization of much of Christ’s words be called a great work of evangelism? We boldly declare that God’s Word is still true as it concludes…

Romans 10:14 …how shall they hear without a preacher?

FACT #2: “The Passion Of The Christ” was inspired, written, produced, directed, and dramatized exclusively by sinners. If there is one Christian who worked closely with the making of this film we could not confirm it. On the contrary, the evidence of gross sin is readily apparent in ALL and every life. In the interest of time and space we will not document the sordid moral history of the actors and director. Suffice it to say, the movie’s official website, their own promotions and press releases, countless interviews with the actors as well as with Mel Gibson, and many of the actors own websites are all void of any evidences of true, Biblical Christianity. On the contrary, we found one actress to be an active porn star (Monica Belluci) and most, if not all, of the others to be previously/currently involved with secular projects that promote gratuitous sex, violence, and blasphemy. The fact that these people are unconverted is irrefutable and obvious.

THIS VIOLATES PRINCIPLE #2: Sinners cannot produce anything acceptable to God. This is the clear teaching of Scripture as is briefly expressed, but not limited to, the following verses:

Psalm 50:16-17 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.

Proverbs 15:8-9 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord…The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him…

Now, this is a very important point as the Bible clearly teaches that an accurate representation of Christ requires not only a sound message but a holy vessel as well (Matt. 7:15-20). Let us be reasonable: [1] if sinners cannot please God, and [2] the Bible teaches that the foolishness of preaching “pleased God.” How, may we ask, can we conclude that sinners accurately present the gospel? Furthermore, how is it that many say that a conglomerate of unregenerate perverts, porn stars, Christ-rejectors, and self-proclaimed Catholics produce, “…the BEST presentation of the Gospel since PENTECOST!” Unless we can prove these men and women are irrefutably born-again we suggest such statements are made with a grave disregard to Biblical separation. They are indeed sinners, yet many, and particularly Mel Gibson, claim to be believers, my Bible says…

1 Cor. 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

The church is not only eating with Mel, they are eagerly devouring and promoting what he is serving up in the spirit. This is unbiblical.

CHALLENGE #2: Do you believe this movie, filled with such sinners, is actually anointed of God? If not, how can something void of God’s Spirit accomplish God’s work? Indeed, if you believe this film is anointed of God can you prove Mel Gibson, the actors, and the collaborators for this film are Christian? If not, can you tell us why you are not following the Biblical command to separate from them and their so-called gospel? And lastly, would you attend our church and support our ministry if we decided to make a few porn movies on the side, promising not to allow any ill effects to spill over into our “gospel presentation”?

FACT #3: “The Passion Of The Christ” is not consistent with the Biblical account. We have not personally seen the movie, nevertheless, we have read many secular and spiritual reviews of the film. It is an irrefutable fact that many scenes are extra-Biblical (i.e., exaltation of Mary, etc.). This fact is not denied by the Director, the actors, or any of the film critics.

THIS VIOLATES PRINCIPLE #3: The Bible speaks for itself…

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Rev. 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

CHALLENGE #3: Do you deny there are extra-biblical information communicated in the film? Are you sure the pure, unleavened, and unmixed gospel is presented in this film? Do you really believe someone without ever being exposed to the Bible could walk away from this film with an accurate understanding of the gospel? If your answer to these questions is yes, please share with us how you believe men who have yet to submit to Christ Jesus as Lord were able to accomplish this?

FACT #4: “The Passion Of The Christ” cost money to attend, the poor cannot attend.

THIS VIOLATES PRINCIPLE #4: “…freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt 10:8). When the disciples of John the Baptist approached Jesus with this question, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” Jesus’ reply included this statement, “…the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matt 11:5) It is true, many in the churches are purchasing tickets for sinners to see this film, nevertheless, the fact remains: the makers of this film are not offering free showings to sincere inquirers. How different is this from the Apostle Paul who said, “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” (1 Thes. 2:9) How this “gospel for hire” must grieve the heart of God. Yet, apparently, it bothers very few in today’s church.

CHALLENGE #4: Do you believe it is right to charge money for men to hear the gospel? If so, would you approve of us charging a fee for men to attend our Sunday morning services? How about when we preach open-air in the streets or on university campuses, anything wrong with us requiring the sinner to pay a few bucks?

COMMENTS REFUTING THE USE OF PHILIPPIANS 1:14-18 TO JUSTIFY MEL GIBSON’S ” PASSION”

Philip. 1:14-18 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

To come to a proper understanding of this passage we must, as always, rightly divide the Word of truth by comparing spiritual things with spiritual. This is fundamental to proper Biblical exegesis. Sadly, many have mistakenly used this passage, and particularly verse 18, as a proof-text in chastising those of us who oppose this worldly film. They insist that we should “rejoice” as they mindlessly assume the Apostle Paul “rejoiced” over the preaching and message of the “pretense preachers” of his day. However, before we arrive at this simplistic conclusion we would be wise to consider several points:

[1] Regarding counterfeit spirituality, the tenor and tone of the N.T., and the Bible in general, is one of condemnation. False, counterfeit Christianity, its message, and its messengers are to be judged, exposed, and if they refuse to repent, avoided (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:14; Titus 3:10-11; 2 John 1:9-10; etc.). Rarely, if ever, are we instructed to overlook religious error, but in fact, are many times commanded to judge, prove, expose, and if need be, separate from all error (John 10:12-13; 2 Cor. 11:13; Philip. 3:2; Jude 1:3; 1 John 4:1). Moreover, this was the consistent example of the Apostle Paul as revealed throughout the N.T. (Acts 20:29-31; 2 Cor. 11:13; Gal. 1:7, 2:4; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:4-7, 4:1-3, 6:3; 2 Tim. 3:5, 4:3, etc.). Not only this, but the Apostle often exposed men by name (1 Tim. 1:20, 2 Tim. 4:10, 2:17-18; etc.). He even withstood the Apostle Peter publicly for error because as Paul explained, “he was to be blamed” (Gal. 2:11). Of course, we are speaking of heresy (alterations of gospel truth that could eternally effect souls, for example, Catholicism, as it is a different gospel) and not mere theological differences over non-essentials. Considering these facts, it is difficult to believe the Apostle Paul was taking a passive stance toward these hypocritical teachers. Do we suppose that if he had spoken directly to these “pretense preachers” he would he have offered them encouragement by exclaiming, “I rejoice in your preaching”? Or course not. We thus conclude that the Holy Ghost would never ask us to “rejoice” over a flawed gospel. This is confirmed by none other than the Apostle Paul as he was inspired to declare that charity, or love…

1 Cor. 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth…

Hence, although Philippians 1:18 teaches us that the Apostle Paul actually “rejoiced,” it is doubtful, if not impossible, that he “rejoiced” over the messenger, message, or method of the named “pretense preachers” as this would be unloving.

Galatians 1:8-10 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

[2] It is fruitless to discuss the merits of this film and God’s use of it without first making a distinction between God’s use of an ordained and sanctified vessel/method as opposed to His providential or Sovereign use of something other to accomplish His purposes in individual lives, families, nations, etc. The Bible clearly teaches that God’s Church, the Body of Christ, is His chosen vessel who He has given the distinct purpose of manifesting Christ (Mk. 16:15; 1 Tim. 3:15). Likewise, the “preaching of the gospel” (remember, preaching is narrowly defined by Biblical precept and example) is His ordained means and method for this purpose (Titus 1:3). God never steps outside of this order, meaning, he will not ordain, bless, or anoint another pattern. However, we certainly believe that God, in His Sovereignty, can use many, if not all things, to accomplish His perfect will in human affairs without divinely ordaining, blessing, or otherwise endorsing such things. For example, the Bible declares that the “way of a transgressor is hard.” The sinful life is often difficult and sin brings many a man into a terrible and desperate state. Such was the case with many of us as the wages of sin humbled us and brought us to a place of desperation. Without this, many of us would never have looked outside of ourselves for answers. Nevertheless, it could not be said that God ordains or blesses the use of “sin” to humble sinners. Several years ago, a young woman came to our church in desperation because her husband had left her. Eventually, this experience contributed to her conversion as her situation humbled and broke her to a degree that she had before never experienced. However, we know God did not ordain or lead her husband to leave her for the purpose of preparing her for the gospel. He simply turned what was evil into something profitable as this desperate young lady cried out to Him for answers (Rom. 8:28-29). Likewise, we obviously concede the possibility of some tender-hearted sinner, perhaps desperate in spirit, watching this film and being compelled to investigate the Bible for deeper truth. But this does not mean we should encourage sinners to submit to the mixture of this film. It certainly doesn’t mean we should promote and cultivate an interest in this film among believers as the Bible teaches separation from worldliness and sin. But yes, we could rejoice in the case of someone, somewhere, perhaps being provoked to seek the full-gospel, yet, this is no more an endorsement for this film than it is an endorsement for sin. Likewise, I believe the Apostle Paul was not rejoicing over the messengers or message of the “pretense preachers” but over the fact that some were apparently compelled to investigate Jesus Christ in spite of, not because of the “pretense preachers” and their defiled message. This is our position with Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion Of The Christ.” Some may come to repentance but it will be in spite of, instead of because of this film. We will not endorse it. We will not promote it. We will warn all Christians against it, but as always, we will joyfully preach to any sinner, anywhere, who asks us of the reason of the hope that is in us.

[3] Are we to assume, as apparently so many do, that “rejoice” means to participate, promote, and endorse? Even if we conclude that the Apostle Paul did literally “rejoice” because of the ministry of the “pretense preachers” (as we have established that it is doubtful that he did), surely he would not have wholeheartedly endorsed their message, encouraged sinners to hear their preaching, and God forbid, instructed other Philippian Christians to submit to their teaching. However, this is precisely what many in the visible church are doing today regarding Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion Of The Christ.” Many are actually lauding this film as the greatest evangelistic tool since Pentecost. Others are declaring it as the “best presentation of the gospel they have ever seen.” Few are warning of the errors and instructing Christians to avoid it (Eph. 5:11). It is important for us to note that though the Apostle certainly “rejoices” in Philip. 1, his very words also expose the “pretense preachers” for what they are, insincere hypocrites.

[4] The false application of this Scripture passage as a defense of Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion Of The Christ”, if applied consistently, forces us to accept several flawed and unscriptural positions. For example, according to this application, obeying Philippians 1:14-18 means we must “rejoice,” or refrain from criticism, and perhaps participate, and promote Mr. Gibson’s film. Now, as is readily apparent, this film is a mixture of truth and error, written, produced, and dramatized by brazen sinners and religious hypocrites. If it is unscriptural to judge, expose, and attack this film how can we judge, expose, and attack anything? For example: using this faulty interpretation/application we must also refrain from exposing the Charismatic errors of such ministries as TBN, the Word of Faith movement, Benny Hinn, etc.. Following this same flawed premise, if we must “rejoice” over Mel Gibson’s film, we must also “rejoice” over Romanism and all her abominations and crimes against God. Why, according to this reasoning, the Reformers should have “rejoiced with” rather than protested against Catholicism. If we reason thusly, whatever compels men to discuss Jesus Christ, is off limits. We should simply “be happy” and leave such men, no matter what they preach, alone. This is not only unscriptural, but illogical as well. Furthermore, those who are applying these verses in this manner will forever force themselves into a position of hypocrisy should they dare challenge anything deemed “Christian” in this hour. This leads me to my final point…

[5] Blinding hypocrisy in the application of this passage. Those who use these verses in this application are admonishing men like us to “rejoice” while they themselves violate their own foolish counsel as they are obviously not “rejoicing” over our preaching.

A SOLEMN WARNING FOR THOSE WHO ERRONEOUSLY, YET ZEALOUSLY, APPLY PHILIPPIANS 1:18 TO THOSE OF US WHO ARE PREACHING AGAINST MEL GIBSON’S CATHOLIC FILM, “THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST”:

In your darkened zeal to find something in the Bible to defend Mel Gibson’s, ungodly Catholic interpretation of the Lord Jesus Christ’s suffering, you have blindly painted yourself into a theological corner. You should have been searching for the truth, but instead, you searched for an excuse. Unfortunately, as all insincere inquirers do, you found one (2 Thess. 2:10-11). In your minds, you’ve hit spiritual paydirt. You’ve dug in and circled up around Philippians 1:18 and now you have a prooftext for your defense of this Catholic film. You have proudly assumed yourselves as spiritually tolerant and non-judgmental while boldly sermonizing to those who question the righteousness and legitimacy of this film. Citing Philippians 1:18 you openly declare that we, instead of finding fault, should be “rejoicing” with you over Mel’s dramatized abomination.

What of our position? We believe that we are “contending for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Are we judgmental? Yes. Are we intolerant? Absolutely (intolerant of anything/everything outside of Christ and His Word). Are we critical? Of course we are (consumed, no possessed, with a critical Spirit, His name is the Holy Ghost). Are we open-minded? Never (we are given over to a narrow mind). Yet, for all our perceived faults, we are nevertheless, consistent. Blessed consistency, a mark of those that walk in the light. On the other hand, you and your ilk, are anything but consistent. “How?” you ask. Allow me to continue. As we judge, prove, and expose Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion Of The Christ” you wax defensive as you confidently turn to your new found text…

“The spiritual thing to do would be REJOICE” Just like the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:18. See! He rejoiced when those he disagreed with preached. He didn’t debate, or expose, or seek to Scripturally correct those with whom he disagreed. He simply rejoiced!”

Furthermore, even though the Bible declares “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” you scoff at our warnings that this film is corrupted with, among other things, rank Catholicism. I can almost see your eyes rolling as you sigh with frustration, “What in the world does any of that have to do with the actual film content may I ask? Why can’t you just rejoice?” You wonder what all the fuss is about. You lament over our insistence on being difficult. “So spiritually immature,” you inwardly reason. And so, we go back and forth to no avail: us doing what we say we must, preaching against and judging this film and you failing to do what you sanctimoniously declare we must, rejoicing in the preaching of those we differ with.

Don’t you see? According to your interpretation of Philippians 1:18, we are very much like the “pretense preachers” of Paul’s day. Apparently, we are misguided, preaching, unbeknownst to us, out of an impure motive. We are, according to you, unnecessarily stirring up strife and creating trouble. Like the “pretense preachers” of Philippians, you have no choice but to believe we preach Christ out of “envy, strife, and contention.” Of course, remember, we still preach Christ ~ that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died at Calvary to redeem mankind, and rose from the dead. Surely, our gospel is at least as accurate as Mel Gibson’s, true? Now, this being so, why don’t you obey your own counsel? Why don’t you submit to your own sermon? Why are you so desperately trying to correct us?

Incidentally, as you are too blind to recognize the obvious (i.e., “The Passion Of The Christ” is antichrist) it should be no surprise that you march boldly forward without realizing the subtle and damning inconsistencies in your position.

-B.W.2 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.2 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.