I just spent the last two hours watching an innocent man get brutally tortured and eventually murdered-in painstaking, striking detail. That is the thought that went through my mind as I walked out of the theater after viewing the much anticipated and highly acclaimed movie The Passion of the Christ. It is difficult to find words to describe the graphic nature of the film. Gruesome? Grotesque? Shocking? Sickening? None of these descriptions fully captures the movie's portrayal of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Collectively, perhaps they all do. The movie is two hours of relentless, wanton brutality with almost nonstop bloodshed, anguish and torture. Only the most unfeeling individual could watch this film and not have an emotional response. On the faces and in the eyes of those in the theater with me I saw tears, somberness, fright and shock-just to name a few emotions.
If the mission of the movie was to evoke emotion, producer Mel Gibson deserves an A+. However, there are several disturbing elements of the film that deserve comment. Before addressing some of these, allow me to frame the context of my remarks.
First, it must be understood that the movie is a Hollywood production, not a religious phenomenon. To be sure, it has captured the Catholic and evangelical communities by storm. Churches and other Christian institutions are purchasing blocks of tickets by the hundreds of thousands nationwide. Pastors and religious leaders are hailing it as "the greatest evangelistic tool in two thousand years!" Christians are captivated by it on the level of The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose Driven Life-two recent Christian books-turned-phenomenon. But the difference between these books and The Passion film is that the books are a creation of the Christian community; the movie is not. Christians need to be very cautious about boarding the bandwagon of a purely secular production. At the very least, the widespread ecumenical support that the movie has received should give us pause.
Read more: https://bible.org/article/review-mel-gibsons-ithe-passion-christi
Were Christians duped into believing that this was a Christian film? What many Christians considered "artistic license" is actually taken from Roman Catholic literature and doctrines. The movie was mainly inspired by the writings of Catherine Anne Emmerich, a Catholic nun and mystic. The film was created by a devout Roman Catholic, Mel Gibson. The movie tries to link the Catholic Mass and the Holy Eucharist to Christ's suffering and sacrifice. Most Christians are oblivious to the Roman Catholic teachings and rituals being promoted and portrayed in "The Passion" movie.
Also see: My Concerns With The Passion of the Christ by Tim Challies
Inside Mel Gibson's Church (emphasis added):
"There is no salvation for those outside the [Roman Catholic] Church," he said. "I believe it." He explained: "Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's just not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it." Later, in a 2006 interview, Gibson told Diane Sawyer his [Mel Gibson's] belief system did not bar the door to heaven to Jews, Muslims, and Protestants. "That's not the case at all – absolutely not. It is possible for people who are not even Christian to get into the kingdom of heaven."
Read full article here: http://www.people.com/people/mobile/article/0,,20272857,00.html