Proclaiming the True Passion of Christ
"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
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).
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.