MORE ABOUT MEL GIBSON’S
MORE ABOUT MEL GIBSON’S MOVIE – March 2,
2004 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box
610368, Port Huron, MI 48061). [Adapted and/or excerpted by BDM.]
I am receiving much mail about Mel Gibson’s movie The
Passion of the Christ, both pro and con, but mostly pro; and a lot of
the mail that is written to defend the movie is coming from fundamental
Baptist church members. I have decided that more needs to be said for the
sake of those who are willing to listen to some warnings and have not
completely closed their minds.
CHALLENGE FROM A READER
First of all, I am a 47 year old woman who is saved
and faithfully serving my Lord daily the best that I can. I am a
soulwinner, an avid studier of God’s Word and I cherish my Lord and
Saviour and serve and worship Him in a strong, fundamental, conservative,
Bible believing Baptist Church.
I ask that you reconsider what you have been saying
about the movie The Passion of the Christ. Please consider
1. Nothing takes the place of God’s Word. I am
‘not ashamed of the Gospel,’ and it is ‘the Sword of the Spirit.’
It always will be. But God also gives us other tools to use in witnessing,
the list of which is too long for the purposes of this email. I believe
the Passion is one such tool. I and my husband have seen this movie, and I
can tell you that the visualization of what Christ endured has only
strengthened our desire to be better Christians and better witnesses for
Him. The reaction of all my Christian friends has been the same. To say
that it is idolatry is to condemn any movie that has ever been made on the
subject of Christ. The 10 Commandments, The Greatest Story Ever
Told, etc., etc., are God-honoring movies, and I personally wish
Hollywood would produce more of such.
2. I did not see anything in the movie that
contradicted Scripture. Yes, there were things in the movie that are not
in Scripture, but they did not contradict it. The Bible says, ‘And there
are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be
written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain
the books that should be written. Amen’ (John 21:25). It is not
‘wrong’ to ponder about the events that took place during that time,
especially in an artistic endeavor. It would be wrong only if these things
were in contradiction to God’s Holy Word.
3. Mary was not portrayed as anything more than a
mother who loved her Son and anguished over what He went through. She was
not portrayed as a co-redemptress, nor was she portrayed as ‘holy.’
Frankly, she did not do anything or act any way that I would not have done
myself had I watched my son go through what Jesus did.
4. There was nothing anti-Semitic about the movie. It
was clear from the beginning that Christ freely sacrificed Himself because
of each of our sins.
5. Saved people see this film, and are moved to be
better Christians and convicted to work even harder to reach the lost.
6. Lost people are seeing this movie, and asking
questions. We who are born again need to be ready to answer their
questions and ‘be ready always to give an answer to every man that
asketh ... a reason of the hope’ that is in us.
7. This movie is a powerful tool. I believe every
Christian should see it. I hope every lost person does as well, and that a
Christian friend will be there at their side, ready to lead them to the
Lord who suffered, died, and rose again to pay the penalty for our sins.
8. Catholics may read more into this movie than what
is there, because they want to. It does not, however, come across as a
‘Catholic’ movie. And since I was raised in Catholicism, I am very
familiar with all the false doctrine and confusion within that religion. I
personally believe that even though Mel Gibson is wrong in a lot of his
doctrine, and should come out of the false Roman church, I think he is
saved. Only God knows for sure. But God can use a lost man to accomplish
His purpose if necessary. I believe this movie could cause revival in our
country. Christians needed a wake up call. This movie could be it.
Brother David, please do not throw out the baby with
the bathwater. The movie is powerful, and has made an impact on my life
that I pray will never subside. I love my Lord and Saviour and am humbled
by His great love that He showed for me on that cross. And yes, I thank
God for using a sinner like Mel Gibson to touch the hearts of many through
such a powerful depiction of Jesus’ suffering for us.
I pray you will reconsider. Go see the movie. It
doesn’t claim to be a documentary. It is a tool to bring the Gospel to
many who would not necessarily otherwise be reached.
REPLY FROM BROTHER CLOUD
I have decided to address some of the things you said
because your statements represent the thinking of many today, and also
because you are a member of a fundamental Baptist church. It is so very
sad to me to see what is happening in these churches.
What is Idolatry?
I am a missionary in one of the most grossly
idolatrous countries of the world, and I have learned many things. For
one, idolaters do not worship images themselves; they worship the god that
the image represents. By pretending to be Jesus Christ, the actor in
Gibson’s movie (or any other such movie) is playing the part of an idol
and those who support and defend it are idolaters. Beware. This is not a
light matter. 1 John 5:21 exhorts believers to avoid idolatry, and the
Bible would not say that if we were not capable of idolatry.
Billy Graham said that after seeing this movie he
would see the actor from The Passion every time he read the
Gospels. That is idolatry. The Bible plainly forbids us to have any sort
of image of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ is God.
The Jesus of this movie is simply nothing like the
Jesus Christ of the Bible. At the very best the “Jesus” of Mel
Gibson’s movie is a false christ. For example, when Jesus Christ was
smitten, He blessed his smitters. When actor Jim Caviezel was smitten, he
cursed. During scenes in which Caviezel was being beaten by actors playing
the part of Roman soldiers, he was chained to a post with a board set up
behind him to absorb the blows. When one of the lashes missed the board
and cut a 14 inch gash in his back, Caviezel turned to the actor wielding
the whip and cursed him. Speaking about this event later, Caviezel said:
“I turned around and looked at the guy, and I tell you, I MAY BE PLAYING
JESUS, BUT I FELT LIKE SATAN AT THAT MOMENT. I TURNED TO HIM, A COUPLE OF
EXPLETIVES CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH” (David Germain, “Playing Jesus an Act
of Faith, Associated Press, 2/20/04). I am not saying that many of us
would have done much differently or that Caviezel is some sort of special
sinner. All I am pointing out is the blasphemy of a sinful man playing the
part of the holy Son of God.
In his warning about this movie Andrew Webb gives two
reasons why all depictions of Christ are lies. “The first reason why all
visual representations of Jesus are lies is because the only wise God went
to great lengths not to leave us with any description of the physical
appearance of His Son lest we fall into the sin of image making. Therefore
all of our representations of Jesus are inevitably speculations usually
based upon our own desires. We create an image of Jesus that says more
about the Jesus we want than the Jesus whom God sent. ... The second
reason why all visual representations of Jesus are lies is that they can
never hope to represent the glory of Christ in His true nature.”
By the way, I apply these same principles to any
movie, whether it be The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Story
Ever Told, Ben Hur, etc. The Bible believing Christian has no
need whatsoever for any of these
truth-intermingled-with-error-and-extra-scriptural-tradition things. The
Bible believer has the infallible Truth in ALL of its pure loveliness and
glory in the Scriptures. Why should he be satisfied in any sense
whatsoever with some incredibly shallow, vague, distorted Hollywood shadow
of the truth?
What About the
Role of Mary in this Movie?
As for the role of Mary in The Passion, it is
clearly a Roman Catholic presentation. The Bible says absolutely nothing
about Mary in the context of the trial and crucifixion of Christ, except
when Jesus gave her away to John. That is not an important fact. There is
a reason for this, and it is because Christ had no help whatsoever at that
point (he was “by himself” Heb. 1:3). By putting Mary so prominently
at every point in Christ’s suffering, Rome has committed blasphemy. Just
the fact that Mary is depicted in The Passion at the foot of the
cross holding Jesus and looking intently into the camera is evidence of
the Roman Catholicism of this movie. That type of thing will stay in the
minds of those who watch this movie.
Upon what Biblical authority does Mel Gibson add all
sorts of things about Mary to the account of Christ’s suffering? Of
course we know from his own testimony that he based his account of
Christ’s sufferings, not only on the Bible, but also on the dreams of
You say that the movie does not contradict the Bible,
that it is not wrong to “ponder about the events that took place,
especially in an artistic endeavor.” I am amazed at such a statement.
Where does God give us permission to add our human imaginations to the
Gospel story? The Bible warns, “The secret things belong unto the LORD
our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our
children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut.
29:29). It is not our business to try to delve beyond the pages of
Scripture with our uninspired, easily-deceived imaginations. We have no
divine authority whatsoever to do such a thing.
Yes, the Bible does not tell us everything that
happened that day, BUT IT TELLS US EVERYTHING GOD WANTS US TO KNOW THAT
HAPPENED THAT DAY! You are unwittingly taking the Roman Catholic approach
to the Bible and Christianity by allowing uninspired, man-made additions
to be added.
You say that you are a mother and that you can thus understand the depictions of Mary in this film. That is precisely the error! That is exactly what Rome says about Mary; she is our mother; we understand her motherly empathy! They say that to understand Mary’s role in all of this we must understand how a mother would look upon Jesus’ suffering. Away with this error! The Scripture does not tell us to delve into such things. There is no doubt that Mary was hurt deeply by what she witnessed. But what Mary felt has nothing to do with Christ’s suffering. That is a naturalistic approach to the gospel story, which is precisely what we see in Rome’s doctrine of Mary. You have no biblical authority to insert your motherly feelings into the gospel story. Long before the hour of suffering arrived, Jesus had made His relationship with Mary clear, as follows:
“Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matt. 12:47-50).
Jesus did everything He could to DE-emphasize His
natural relationship with Mary, yet Rome does just the opposite, and it is
Rome’s approach that is depicted in The Passion of the Christ.
“The Visualization of
Christ Has Helped Me Be A Better Christian”
Referring to the depiction of Jesus’ suffering in
Mel Gibson’s movie you say that “the visualization of what Christ
endured has only strengthened our desire to be better Christians and
better witnesses for Him.”
I have no doubt that you have been deeply stirred by
this Hollywood drama, but you are being emotionally moved by a false
depiction. You are being stirred by a lie. The man you saw was nothing
like Jesus Christ and the things you saw depicted were not what happened
that day. At best it is a vague and distorted image of what happened. Too
many liberties have been taken.
There is no biblical evidence in the Bible that Mary
followed Christ all along the way during his suffering. There is no
biblical evidence that Jesus was beaten after the fashion of this movie.
There is no biblical evidence that Satan is a woman. All of this is a mere
figment of a Hollywood director’s imagination and the dreams of Catholic
It is easy to be deceived. The heart of man is
inherently deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and that does not cease to be true after
salvation. Without great and continual caution, we will be deceived. That
is why the Bible warns that “the simple believeth every word: but
the prudent man looketh well to his going” (Prov. 14:15). We have a very
wily spiritual enemy who is a master of spiritual deception. “But I
fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety,
so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”
(2 Cor. 11:3). The devil is a sly old fox who transforms himself into an
angel of light and transforms his ministers into the ministers of
righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15).
The Galatian churches were deceived (Galatians 1).
The Corinthian believers were in danger of being deceived (2 Cor. 11). Are
most evangelical or fundamentalist churches today stronger, less carnal
than that at Corinth? I think not.
You say, “I know all of this.” Perhaps you do,
but in my estimation you are not applying it to this situation. It is one
thing to know a truth; it is quite another to apply truth consistently to
our daily lives, ESPECIALLY WHEN OUR EMOTIONS ARE INVOLVED IN AN ISSUE AND
WE GET INTO A DEFENSIVE POSTURE.
Your pastor should be saying the things I am saying,
but I have the impression that he is keeping his mouth shut in the fashion
of the (all too typically) uninformed, spineless fundamental Baptist
pastor today. Thus in a practical sense you are in a leaderless,
shepherdless situation in an evil hour, and where there is no vision the
I can be moved by all sorts of things in life,
including a powerful rock song and a vivid movie, but unless I am being
moved by the Word of God as it is used by the Spirit of God, it is of the
flesh and of the world and it will not produce true spiritual fruit.
Ponder this question: Why does the Bible say that
faith comes NOT BY SIGHT and that HOPE THAT IS SEEN IS NOT HOPE (2 Cor.
5:7; Rom. 8:24)?
And this question: Why does the Bible not describe
Jesus’ suffering in graphic terms?
And this question: Why does the Bible not describe
Is the Movie an
Everyone is making much of this movie as an
evangelistic opportunity. Yes, it can be with a serious qualification. It
can be an evangelistic opportunity for those that seek to assist the
unsaved who have seen the movie AS LONG AS THE MOVIE ITSELF IS NOT USED AS
THE MEDIUM FOR EVANGELISM.
I have heard from several brethren who are doing
this. They themselves know that the movie is not godly or scriptural and
they are not using the movie itself for evangelism, because they know that
it is not a proper medium and that it has as much potential to confuse the
gospel as to present it; but they have prepared gospel materials to
distribute to those who have seen the movie or who are thinking about the
subject of the movie in order to lead them to the truth.
I must be quick to say, though, that I doubt that
many people who see and love this movie will subsequently be open to
full-orbed biblical truth that includes an exposure of idolatry, an
emphasis on the pre-eminence of faith, and a bold defense of the faith
against every heresy. Think about that.
Will Great Good
Come From This Movie?
Amazing statements are being made about the potential
this movie has for good. I do not believe that is the case. Just the
opposite. I believe great evil will come because of this movie.
FIRST, IT HAS ALREADY BEEN A POWERFUL MEDIUM FOR
ECUMENISM. Few things have more effectively united evangelicals and
fundamentalists with Roman Catholics than this movie. No, they are not
uniting organizationally, but they are uniting in spirit. The professing
church is rapidly succumbing to the spirit of New Evangelicalism and
worldliness. To shut ones ears to biblical warnings, to attack the
messenger rather than heed the message, to want to focus on any perceived
good in something rather than the error that is there (contrast Psalm
119:128), that, my friends, is the very essence of the New Evangelical
ecumenical spirit, and it will not stop here.
Why, behold, they are all on the same page, praising
the same movie, and exalting the same staunchly Roman Catholic director
and actors, refusing with one accord to hear any clear warning about
spiritual dangers, uniting in one accord not to be “judgmental” and to
take the positive approach.
For example, on the evangelical side Morris Chapman,
president of the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
said, “I don’t know of anything since the Billy Graham crusades that
has had the potential of touching so many lives.” Not to be outdone,
popular SBC preacher Adrian Rogers, an icon of the conservative side of
the Southern Baptist convention, even believes this Hollywood movie “is
going to bring the Church away from me-ology back to theology”
(“Gibson’s Words Fuel Controversy,” AgapePress, 2/20/04). What
church? The “church” composed of all professing Christians in America?
The Southern Baptist Convention “church”? The Roman Catholic Church?
What an amazing statement to make about a Hollywood movie, of all things!
And yet compare those evangelical sentiments with the following statement
made by the Roman Catholic governor of Connecticut, John Rowland, after
watching Gibson’s movie together with an evangelical pastor: “It is
amazing. It shakes you to the very core of your being. I think there is an
explosion of faith taking place in our country.” Mel Gibson’s movie is
an ecumenical tool extraordinaire.
SECOND, THE MOVIE WILL INCREASE THE STATURE OF ROMAN
CATHOLICISM AND WILL PROMOTE THE ROMAN CATHOLIC APPROACH TO THE GOSPEL.
The Roman Catholic Church has always been image-oriented rather than faith
oriented. It is not founded strictly upon the blessed Word of God, but
upon man-made tradition. It has no fear whatsoever of adding its
traditions to the Word of God (all the while protesting, falsely, that its
traditions do not contradict the Scriptures). It is oriented toward
religious sight and smell and emotion rather than the apostolic faith-only
orientation. The New Testament plainly states that the true Christian life
is one of faith based on God’s Word and NOT SIGHT (2 Cor. 5:7; Rom.
8:24). Roman Catholicism is not content with that. It is not enough. It
needs images to assist faith. Now we see evangelicals and fundamentalists
boldly supporting this idolatrous approach to Christianity.
Tell me the names of the well known evangelicals and
neo-fundamentalists (in the leadership of the Baptist Bible Fellowship,
for example) who have lifted their voices plainly to warn about this
danger in regard to The Passion. Who are they? Where are they? The
Bible warns that “where there is no vision, the people perish...”
(Prov. 29:18). The churches in America are perishing because they have no
bold Scriptural leadership. The leaders (speaking generally) have
abdicated their responsibility to warn, to reprove and rebuke plainly, to
earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. They are
content to speak a mostly positive message to a weak people who love to
have it so, but in doing so they condemn the people to grow weaker in the
faith with each passing decade. They are content to reduce even the very
Word of God to the pathetically childish level of dynamic equivalency
“Bibles” and thus perpetuate and exacerbate the shallowness of
Christianity in our day. Instead of giving meat, they keep the people on
pabulum. Woe unto these compromising church leaders!
Depiction of the Jewish Role in Christ’s Death
You say, “There was nothing anti-Semitic about the
movie.” That is yet another of its problems. The Gospels plainly
identify the Jewish leaders and the nation Israel as chief culprits in the
death of Jesus Christ. That is one of the themes of the Gospels. “He
came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). When the
prophet Isaiah says, “we hid as it were our faces from him; he was
despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3), he was referring
specifically to his people, the Jewish nation. Jesus came and presented
Himself, after all, as ISRAEL’S Messiah. That is why He began His
preaching with these words: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Jesus
was here referring to the covenants and promises of God TO ISRAEL. Only
later did He turn to the Gentiles. Before He was condemned by a Roman
tribunal He was condemned by a Jewish council. It was the Jews and the
Jews alone who delivered Jesus to Pilate and who demanded His crucifixion.
This is a fact of history.
Mel Gibson responded to the attack by the modern-day
Jewish Pharisees by cutting the English sub-titles to the scene in which
the Jews cried out, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matt.
27:25). And those fearful words were not spoken merely by the Jewish
leaders but by “all the people.”
It is nonsense to say that the Bible is anti-Semitic
even though it depicts the Jewish people often in a negative light. To the
contrary, the Bible is truth, and it depicts the Jewish people (and all
other people) in the light of perfect truth. The Jewish nation did not
choose God; God chose them and raised them up from the stock of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob; but the fact is that from the days of their journey out
of Egypt to this very day they have been a spiritually stubborn people as
a whole. That is not anti-Semitism; it is the truth according to the
Bible, God’s Word. They were scattered to the ends of the earth and have
endured horrible troubles for the last 2,000 years for the very reason
that they have rebelled against their God and rejected their Messiah.
The fact that Mel Gibson in some ways downplays the
role of the Jewish nation in the crucifixion of Christ both in his movie
and in his interviews is another example of how unscriptural the thing is.
To the contrary, the Gospels pull no punches in this regard, let the chips
fall where they may.
It is true to say that the Jews crucified Christ. It
is also true to say that the Roman government crucified Christ. It is also
true to say that man’s sins crucified Christ. Why should we downplay any
one of these historical facts? Yet today, because the truth is so
soft-peddled on every hand by professing Christians, if you speak the
truth in these matters, regardless of how loving and factually, you are
labeled as some sort of dangerous near-lunatic.
God has not called us to downplay and soft-peddle the
truth for some Greater Good, whatever that alleged good is—yea, even for
evangelism—but that is precisely the foundational characteristic of the
New Evangelical philosophy that controls most churches today.
Is Mel Gibson
Saved?; Is He a True Christian?
You say that you think Mel Gibson is saved. In light of your background as an unsaved Roman Catholic prior to your conversion, I find your statement simply amazing. On what scriptural basis do you say he is saved? Where has Mel Gibson given a scriptural testimony of having been born again through faith in the finished work of Christ? He talks about having been reformed; he talks about being religious; but that is not scriptural salvation. Some say, “Well, he “loves Jesus.” What Jesus does he love? Some say, “Well, he preaches the gospel in his movie?” What gospel does he preach? Some say, “Well, he talks about the Spirit.” What Spirit does he follow? The Bible tells us that there are false christs, false gospels, and false spirits, and this danger will be enlarged greatly as we near the end of this age and the return of Christ.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Cor. 11:3-4).
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. ... But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:1, 13).
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
I have no doubt that Mel Gibson is entirely sincere
in what he believes and that he made this movie as an expression of his
faith. But what does he believe and what is his faith? He has not left us
to wonder about this.
Gibson belongs to a Traditionalist Catholic group
that performs the mass in Latin, abstains from meat on Fridays, eschews
ecumenism and other such things that were changed at the Vatican II
Council in the 1960s. Gibson is committed to the Roman Catholicism that
was promulgated by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. It is the
Catholic gospel of sacramentalism.
This is the official teaching of Rome’s Council of
Trent -- which, by the way, has never been rescinded -- and this is
exactly what Mel Gibson believes, according to his own testimony.
If you disagree with me in this matter, I have a
challenge for you. Ask Mel Gibson if he rejects the Council of