By Dr. Richard Ing
March 22, 2004
A few Sundays ago, I made comments regarding The
Passion of Christ movie, taken from excerpts out of an article published by
Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph.D., retired Professor of Theology and Church History at
Andrews University. That article was pinned to our bulletin board
over a week ago for all those who care to read it. Some members expressed dismay at my comments
because they loved the movie.
I misquoted one item where the Roman Catholic Church was
designated as the only way to salvation and heaven. I thought it was at the end of the movie, but
it was apparently found in several newspaper and magazine interviews with Mel
Gibson, the producer and director, a devout Roman Catholic. My other comments about the movie stand;
especially about Mary following along the path up the hill to Golgotha and ministering
to Jesus when He fell, her being there when His body was taken down from the
cross, Satan being among the crowd and talking to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane,
etc. Gibson and other supporters claim
that this is the most accurate movie of Jesus ever made and in strict
accordance with the Bible gospels. This
is false. The overall theme of the movie
came directly out of Roman Catholic theology.
The movie is not accurate when compared with the four gospels in the New
Some may be of the opinion that the “minor” liberties
taken by the director for art’s sake is no problem and that it won’t change
anyone’s belief system. However, I
differ on a number of grounds: (1) it
may not have a major effect on people who are already Christians, but may have
a negative effect on non-believers and perhaps new converts who do not know the
Bible and will take it as “Gospel truth“; (2) the minor liberties are actually
Roman Catholic theology, not for art‘s sake; (3) it promotes and bolsters the
Roman Catholic Church, the false harlot religion (being essentially Catholic
evangelism); (4) it is only a conjecture, but a substantial amount of the
profits from the movie will likely end up in the Roman Catholic Church to bring
many down to hell; (5) it promotes the Ecumenical Movement by telling
Protestants that Catholics worship the same Jesus and are Christians too, since
they can find no “substantial“ difference between the Catholic and Protestant
versions (therefore, we should emphasize our sameness and forget unimportant
differences); and (6) the Roman Catholic Church started with little distortions
of the Gospels here and there and ended up with big-time deception. A little leaven spoils the whole batch.
God recently warned us against subtle deception. The Passion is a classic example. A little distortion here and there and a few
liberties taken by the director and the whole thing becomes false. In a book entitled The Spirit of Truth,
written by Arthur Katz and Paul Volk, the authors point out that the Holy
Spirit is the Spirit of Truth - not “mostly true” or “generally true,” but
absolutely and wholly true. A little
untruth taints the truth and makes it untrue.
There is no such thing as 95% true.
It is either all true or all false, just as a door that is a little ajar
cannot be mostly closed or a little open.
It is either open or closed.
One of the authors took a 30 day vacation and visited the
large church his friend attended, the latter having asked him to come and
listen to a good sermon. Upon arrival,
he saw a bunch of stiff, old people dressed formally on one side and on the
other side, some youths dressed in hippie clothes, brightly colored hair, long
earrings, nose rings, lip rings, tattoos and boots on both men and women. He thought it strange. When it came time for the sermon, the pastor
was a great speaker and what he spoke was straight out of the Bible. But something was not right. As he prayed over the strange feeling in his
spirit, the Lord spoke to him and said, “The truth spoken out of an untrue
heart becomes untrue.” “What do you
mean, Lord?” “This pastor receives a
large salary and in his heart he is saying, ‘So long as you take care of me
financially, I will take care of you. I
will give a great sermon every Sunday and you can go home happy. If you don’t push me, I won’t push
you.’” You can quote the Bible
accurately, but if your heart is different, it becomes hypocrisy and false
appearances. Intention matters.
deception is that The Passion will bring many into the kingdom of God. It is true that it will arouse the emotions
of many, but it is the Holy Spirit, not a movie, that convicts and draws men to
Jesus, and brings genuine conviction and true repentance that cleanses.
No one enters into the kingdom of God
unless he is first born of water and of the Spirit. Jn. 3:5.
Can the Roman Catholic Church that claims that only they can bring
salvation and the Holy Spirit is not enough, truly save anyone? Can Catholics, who do not believe in being
born of the Spirit enter the kingdom
of God? Jn. 3:4.
Of the people who become “Christians” because of the movie, what
percentage will go to the Roman Catholic Church to be doomed forever?
Another subtle result is that Christians will never get
out of the notion that it is the responsibility of the Church to provide
programs, social events, movies, plays, etc. to bring people into the kingdom of God.
The truth is that each and every saint has the responsibility to preach
the gospel, whether or not the organized church provides movies, plays, or any
other forum. A true saint will
evangelize anywhere and everywhere, with or without help from the church or
anyone else. A few months from now, the
movie will become pass and Christians will cool down and go back to their
selfish and backslidden ways with hearts unchanged.
we enter the last phases of the end times, deception will become particularly
subtle and cunning. It will enter inch
by inch and before you know it, you will be standing side by side with the
enemies of God. You may disagree with
me, but it is my job to be vigilant and to stand on the side of truth. Some may think that I am being picky and
small-minded, but I need to protect the sheep.
I’d rather be overly-protective than under-.
While we are not perfect and there are areas in our
hearts and minds that do not square up with everything in the Bible yet, we
need to keep striving to be God’s pure and true church and to be careful and
discerning. Otherwise, we will be
OTHER JESUS MOVIES
What about past Jesus movies? Have they not been used to bring others into
the kingdom of God and weren‘t there some errors in them? Yes.
There are a few movies that have been used to evangelize the
masses. In non-Christian countries such
as India and Africa, these movies have proven to be very useful. There are a few differences, however:
(1) These movies were intended to be
evangelistic tools and were not released to the general public as The
Passion was. They were sold to
Christian organizations mostly, with the intention that the movie be used as a
tool for evangelism in non-Christian countries such as India, China and various African
nations. In most cases, after a viewing
of the movie (such as Jesus of Nazareth), an altar call is made and people
asked to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. These movies never involved the Roman
These past movies contained errors that were indeed artistic liberties
taken to enhance the story, but they were not taken from the viewpoint of any
established doctrines or theologies such as Roman Catholic doctrines that
uphold Mary, the mother of Jesus, as co-redeemer worthy of worship. In The Passion, the “errors” were
Roman Catholic theology often garnered from visions received by Catholic
saints. You may not be swayed about the
role of Mary, but others may.
People who watch these movies come away remembering scenes and
conversations in the movie more than they would if they read the Bible. The movie is a substitute for the Word of
truth. If the movie, errors and all, is
implanted in their minds, then untruth has invaded their minds and hearts. Bear in mind that The Passion is being
touted as complete truth. Even other
Jesus movies are subject to this criticism, although the effects are not as
fundamental as The Passion’s inaccuracies. Worshipping Mary and using the visions of
various Catholic saints is a substantial error and distortion.
What if a Jesus movie was made exactly as stated in the gospels except
that Jesus says plainly, “I am not God, never was, and never will be. Jehovah is the only God and there is no Holy
Spirit or trinity.” Or, what if He says,
“I have a brother called Lucifer, and every man that believes in Me shall have
his own planet and millions of wives.”
Would Christians rave about the movie?
The Devil is much more clever than that.
First, he lays the foundation carefully by appealing to your
emotions. Then he sneaks in a few
artistic liberties and opens the mind to the introduction of false
theology. He might put in a few episodes
wherein Jesus says, “Worship Jehovah, the only true God.” or “Do not worship
me. I am only a man.” Remember, Jesus always claimed to be the Son
of God, making Him God and He always claimed to come from heaven. On the Lucifer issue, a scene might be
introduced in which Jesus says, “There is good and evil in every man, good and
evil in the world, Lucifer and God in everyone.
So it was from the beginning.”
The widespread, overwhelming and enthusiastic raving over the movie by
most Christians makes it easier for Roman Catholics to promote their Babylonian
brand of theology since all Protestants apparently agree with and see nothing
wrong with the movie. Once new converts
join the Catholic church, other false doctrines are easy to instill. Keep in mind that we are talking about people
who are largely uninformed about the differences between Roman Catholicism and
Protestants. If even Protestants agree
with the Catholics, why should any Catholic leave and join born-again
Christians. If they do, it will not be
because of theology, but for social and other reasons.
Roman Catholic theology still embraces the idea that Mary is co-redeemer
of mankind and a co-savior, that she is higher than Jesus because she is His
mother and deserves to be worshipped even more, that praying the rosary is more
important that praying to Jesus, that Mary is the wife of the Holy Spirit, that
Jesus is an angry God and His wrath can be quieted only by His mother, Mary,
that all religions ultimately worship the same God, whether His name is Buddha,
Krishna, Allah or Kane. Do you agree?
It is a trick of Satan to give 95% truth and then introduce the 5% lies
after minds and hearts are open to receive lies. The New Age Movement is filled with such
tactics. They lead you down the path and
then introduce false doctrines. They
agree with you that Jesus is God and that they too worship Jesus. Then they teach you an occult healing method
and say that it came from Jesus. Once
your mind and heart are open, it is easy to deceive because you have come to
their side. Deception is going to be
even more subtle in the future, and “(I)f it were possible, they shall
deceive the very elect.“ Mt. 24:24. One world religion is only a step away and
you may be unwittingly and vicariously supporting it.