Lights, Camera, Salvation?
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ had not reached most theatres at the time of this writing. Yet, the excitement it has created among well-known Christian leaders who have previewed the film and are very enthusiastic about it is amazing. One article that addressed such enthusiasm began with this comment: “For years it was an article of faith for many Christians that the most powerful vehicle for bringing nonbelievers to Jesus was a Billy Graham crusade. Now, they expect it will be a Mel Gibson movie.”
Not having seen it as yet, we can offer nothing definitive. We shall see it as soon as it arrives here in Bend and follow that with our review.
In anticipation of reviewing the film, here are a few of the issues we will consider and which we encourage you to contemplate if you’ve already seen it: 1) How does presenting “Jesus” on the screen square with the Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4)? 2) Is the film (as John Paul II said, “It is as it was.”) visually true to the Word, or is it “adding to” the Scriptures? 3) Will the emphasis on Christ’s physical sufferings (the Catholic gospel?) divert people away from the biblical gospel (His suffering on the Cross the wrath of and eternal separation from God due us, to completely expiate our sins)? 4) To what degree is Mel Gibson’s extremely conservative Catholicism reflected in the film? 5) Is this motion picture event another (albeit highly significant) inducement for the rapidly developing market-oriented, entertainment-hungry, ecumenically prone evangelical church?
T. A. McMahon