Showtime for the Sheep? Again, and Again, and Again…
When the Lord put it upon my heart to write a book about my concerns regarding Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, little did I know I would face a new kind of opposition. I was compelled to address the subject because of my background as a devout Roman Catholic, a former Hollywood screenwriter, and my experience in Christian apologetics. The “passionate” reaction I received was very different from other controversial issues I had written about in nearly three decades of ministry; in this case some who were very much opposed to the book were those whom I greatly respect.
To a man, their response to my long list of substantial criticisms (multiple distortions of and additions to Scripture, the use of the film medium to manipulate emotions, the false Catholic gospel of physical sufferings to expiate sins, story content taken from a mystical nun, Gibson’s goal of reproducing the Stations of the Cross ritual and exalting Mary, etc., etc.) was: “Yes, but God can still use this.”
At the time it was seen by many evangelicals as an exciting opportunity to witness worldwide to those unbelievers whose curiosity the popular movie piqued. Although predictions abounded that the film would bring about great revival, no such thingæeven on a local scaleæmaterialized.
I was told by sincere friends that the value of a book explaining the problems with The Passion of the Christ would very likely be short-lived because movies come and go and are soon forgotten. Generally speaking, yes; but not in this case. The evangelical church, credited for making The Passion an overwhelming box-office success, has lionized this movie. Churches not only purchased tickets for their congregationsæthey bought The Passion DVDs for their libraries, Sunday schools, adult and young-adult groups, Bible studies, outreach programs, and so forth.
Four years since the release of the film, its showing has become an annual Easter event for thousands of evangelical churches. This week Hank Hanegraaff’s Bible Answer Man program is having actor and conservative Catholic James Caviezel discuss his experience of playing Christ in “the making of the epic film.” Moody Bible Church has encouraged its congregation to register for Saturday’s free showing of “this powerful depiction of the last days of Jesus’ life on earth.” Other examples abound.
The most grievous aspect of all this is that this very Catholic production (Gibson calls it his “very Marian movie”), with all of its anti-biblical characteristics (see Showtime for the Sheep?), has become a permanent teaching tool within evangelical churches. This is certainly a major addition to the rapidly developing apostasy.
P.S.- Let me know what The Passion of the Christ events are taking place in your area.