A Pastor's Letter to His Flock about "The Passion Movie"
Patrick Burks

The following is a copy of a letter I sent to my congregation. This movie seems, to me, more than inaccurate, it is very dangerous to the undiscerning and immature. They are going to it being told how accurate it is and I am afraid most will accept that without ever comparing it to the Gospel the Apostles delivered to us.

I wanted to make everyone aware of something VERY interesting you can watch tonight [Feb 24, 2004] if you have cable or satellite TV. TONIGHT at 8 PM on the PAX television network there is a documentary coming on about "The Making of the Passion of the Christ." I wish everyone would make time to watch this show.

The reason is that after watching it will be CLEARLY EVIDENT that this film IS NOT what it is being billed to be. It is NOT historically accurate, it IS NOT scripturally accurate to be sure, yet it is being touted as the most accurate film ever made about Christ. As of today it is now the number one money making movie in history- The day BEFORE it even opens! The sad part about this is that it is Christians (many of whom are real ones) who have made it such a success. It will be easily apparent to any discerning Christian who watches even the documentary that it is what has been so many times in the past. A lost man (Mel Gibson) attempting to handle God's Word. His own ungodly Catholic views of the Gospel inevitably come out and the TRUE GOSPEL is perverted and distorted. As you watch, keep an eye out for some of the more OBVIOUS ungodly things about this film:

1) All those involved in the making of it CONTINUALLY POINT to all of the "weird coincidences" that took place during its filming as proof that God approves of this and is in it. Further, they point to public reaction as proof that it is all they say it is. Question: since when do "weird experiences" verify God's approval or involvement in something? Isn't this what's at the heart of the unscriptural Charismatic movement of our day? Do the claims surrounding this film stand up when measured by the Word of God alone? Obviously not.

2) Those involved in the making of it use this documentary as a platform to express their own views about the Gospel. You will note immediately what's wrong here. I call to mind especially the actress who played Mary Magdalene explaining how she didn't consider Mary (who was a demon possessed prostitute) a sinner because of her LIFESTYLE, but she considers her just a sort of materialist. The salvation Jesus gave her was a relationship with a man unlike the kind she had experienced before.

Wow. I don't even know where to start with that comment, but it's just a sampling of an entire ATTITUDE that surrounds the film. The attitude seems to be summed up by Gibson's own comments that he was trying to create something which would be an "experience" (there's that word again), something to shock and disturb his audience. Was that the purpose of the Apostles preaching? To shock and disturb? Was the heart of their Gospel all the minute details of how horrible crucifixion is and how violent, or was their message WHAT his death accomplished? I can't imagine 1st Century believers flocking to Roman coliseums to repeatedly relive the violent death of Christ can you? In fact those who actually SAW it that day were appalled by it, and NEVER recounted it in their Gospel "for effect." I am sad to see so many believers today have such a DESIRE within them to see the horrible things our Lord suffered. Why would we WANT to see that? 

It seems that overall, atonement for sin has been entirely LOST on this film and replaced with the gross violence of His death. This is a popularly employed "evangelistic" idea anymore, let's feel sorry for Jesus and accept Him as our personal Savior.

3) You will not be able to escape the overwhelming Catholic propaganda of this film. from the ENTIRELY fictitious flashbacks to Jesus childhood and young adult life, to the strange almost mystical "power" Mary (Jesus mother) seems to exhibit over her Son, Jesus. You should readily see that Mary in this film has been given the ability to see Satan physically behind the scenes manipulating the situation, as well as her ability to see clearly into the spiritual implications of what is happening to her Son. She becomes sort of a "cheerleader" for Him as He is made to endure the Cross. This portrayal of Mary as more than the Bible itself portrays her is easily explained by Gibson's Catholic views. 

I refer you to an interview done with MSNBC in which he stated it was a "shame" that those who were not Catholic were all going to Hell, but that it wasn't his idea, that was just the "edict from the chair" (meaning the Popes chair).  These are just a few of the things which again, will stick out to any discerning believer as to what's wrong here. 

To go to this film with the idea that it is great or that it is a great evangelistic tool is just wrong. Is it not the Gospel that saves? Is it not the RIGHT Gospel that saves? Then how can this unscriptural, Catholic Gospel portrayed in this film save? What can we hope that it will add to us as believers that will be of any real value? If the Holy Spirit through the Word of God can't impress upon us the "reality" of our Lord's suffering and death - can Mel Gibson? We should pray that God would grant repentance (a change of mind) to believers toward this film, that we would see it for what it is rather than for what the world and unfortunately most of "Christianity" is telling us it is. Call to mind Galatians chapter 1-10:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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."

I pray that so many of the Lord's people have not been duped by this nonsense, indeed I know they HAVE NOT. "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before." (Matthew 24.)

My hope is that like so many other pseudo Christian "fads" this passion will quickly pass. Last year it was the "Purpose Driven" nonsense, before that Jabez was hot. In regard to this movie there IS one good thing about the immature, weak Christianity we suffer under today - nothing keeps it's attention very long.

I love you all,


Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Sermons and Articles Collection" by:

Tony Capoccia
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