Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Proclaiming the True Passion of Christ

 Charles Terpstra


"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just of the unjust, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (I Peter 3:18).

"To whom he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).

The Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ" purports to tell, by way of dramatic characters and images, the biblical story of the suffering of Jesus Christ. In graphic detail it points the viewer to the immense and incredible physical suffering Jesus endured in the last twelve hours of his life.

Most professing Christians and churches are excited about the film and its prospects for evangelising the world. Many evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders are hailing it as the greatest opportunity for the spread of the gospel since the times of the apostles! Now at last the message of Christ's suffering and death can reach the lost and gain them to the Lord! People must see this film! It will be a life-changing experience!

But we are not excited. This film has many inaccuracies and additions that distort the true account of Christ's suffering. (It is, after all, a Roman Catholic film endorsed by the pope.) In fact, we condemn the movie and urge all true Christians NOT to see it. We do this for three main reasons.

First, it is blasphemous to portray Christ's suffering and death in this way. We believe Jesus Christ was not only real man but also true God, the eternal Son of God in human flesh! No man may portray this Christ either via an actor or any physical image. To do so is to blaspheme the Son of God and deny His great power and glory . That is what God means by His second commandment—no graven images of Him, and that includes His Son.

Second, the film fails to reveal the heart of the gospel, the once-for-all atoning and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. Christ's suffering was not merely physical; it was chiefly spiritual. It was a suffering in soul and body of the eternal wrath of God for the sins of His elect people. From that point of view Christ's suffering must not simply stir up feelings of sympathy for him. It must break our hard hearts and lead us to repentance and faith in Him!

Third, this film is not God's ordained means for the salvation of sinners. We are certainly in favour of the message of Christ's passion being proclaimed to the world. But we must use God's method for doing so: the preaching of Christ crucified through His official ministry instituted in the church. This is what Christ himself called his church to do (Matt. 28:20). This is foolishness to man in these modern, high-tech, visually-dependent days, just as it was in the days of the apostles. But the preaching is God's power and wisdom unto salvation to every one that believes, whether Jew or Gentile (I Cor. 1:18-24).

With these things in mind, we call you to avoid this movie and instead attend a church where the passion of Christ is purely preached. The Covenant Protestant Reformed Church is such a church. We welcome you to join us under the preaching of the true passion of Christ.