Responding to the Critics

The Passion: My Take

Several have asked that I give my opinion on the movie, The Passion of the Christ. Over 70 members of our congregation went together to see the movie on opening night. My response to the movie? In a word, it is awesome!

The first thing I have been asked is, is this movie Biblically accurate? In the main, yes, very accurate. Are there some examples of dramatic license? Certainly. Are there any glaring historical or Biblical errors. No.

The second question I have been asked about is the issue of anti-Semitism. Is this movie anti-Semitic? No, no, and absolutely, no!

It is fascinating to me that not one of the reviewers I have read or heard has taken note of the fact that in the movie, when Jesus is on trial, two members of the Sanhedrin objected to the illegality of the trial. Is that 100% Biblically accurate? We have no proof, but this may well have happened. Remember that Nicodemus was a believer, and actually defended Jesus in an earlier situation (John 7:50-51). The movie depicts Jews that sought to save Jesus’ life! Why is no one calling attention to this?

The charge of anti-Semitism is very serious. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League has stridently labeled this movie as such. This movie, however, is no more anti-Jewish than it is anti-Roman. I was struck by how "anti-human" the movie is: depicting mankind — all men — at their very worst. The Jews and Romans were, to be sure, on center stage at that moment in history, but they were human beings sinning as all human beings tragically do.

One thing that is deeply disturbing to me is the open “anti-christ” animosity generated by this film, among many reviewers. One reviewer said his complaint against the movie was that it portrayed the gospel records as if they were true Well, DUH! Yes, that is, by and large, how the movie depicts the story. But, according to some reviewers, you aren’t supposed to tell the story unless you tell a perverted, distorted, version of the gospels. Nonsense!

Another reviewer said that the movie was "A Vicious Attack on Jews." He castigated the movie because the scourging scene was 10 minutes long, while three of the gospels devote only a line or so to recording the the scourging. Mel Gibson has said repeatedly that he wanted not only to give an accurate portrayal of scripture, but of the history of the event. Does this individual think that the scourging only lasted 10 seconds or so? Such illogical "reviews" do only one thing, they reveal the anti-Christ bias of the reviewer.

The violence is graphic, extremely so, but, the reality is that the crucifixion was every bit as bad. Ironically, the movie Saving Private Ryan has some of the most violent and realistic war scenes that one can imagine, yet virtually every review of that movie praised it for its "realism." Why is the "realism" of Saving Private Ryan so great, but the realism of the suffering of Jesus so offensive? This is hypocritical, to say the least.

As the movie closed, I wanted to sing, and I am no singer except in my mind, but two songs came to mind immediately and repeatedly: Jesus Loves Me, and, Oh, What Love.

How can anyone consider the suffering of Jesus, say that they believe in him, and then be so casual about the way that they live? We say so easily that we "believe in Jesus." Well, do you, really? How does the world know that you believe in Jesus?

Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me." (Luke 9:23) If you have seen the movie and what Christ suffered, are you willing to truly take up the cross and follow him?

Do you complain about having to go to church or read your Bible? Is worshipping Him bearing a cross? How much of his cross are you truly willing to bear?

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