Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Will I find Jesus in "The Passion of The Christ" Film?

Rev. Peter Ratcliff


Some think this film is great while others have criticised it for being anti-Jewish. The truth of the matter is that from before the world was made it was God’s plan for Christ to be crucified for the sins of those who will turn to Jesus. It is not specifically the Jews but the whole world that is guilty before God. According to the Bible nobody wants Jesus. We are actually "enemies of God" and "children of wrath." We are "dead in sins" until God’s grace revives us, convicts us and we despair of ourselves and turn to Jesus alone to save us. However, we will not find that true Jesus in this film.

In this little tract we present you with several sure reasons why you should turn to the real Jesus rather than to Hollywood.


Mel Gibson’s passion film is not the Gospel but Roman Catholic idolatry. It is nothing new but a Hollywood version of the old medieval passion plays in which Mary, instead of God the Father, "offers" her son in a sacrifice that is carried over into the continuing sacrifice of the Mass. The goal of the film is to bring together the "sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar—which is the same thing," said Gibson. The film does not teach a once and for all finished work of Christ dying for his people as a substitute, bearing God’s wrath in His body for their sins. Therefore it also denies justification by faith alone which gives the Christian peace with God and joy in the heart. According to a Roman Catholic website, Catholic Passion Outreach, "The Passion of The Christ offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to spread, strengthen, and share the (Roman) Catholic faith with your family and friends." It is not Christian. It is full of apocryphal "visions" from the tales of a Roman Catholic mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich in her The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The film massively exaggerates the role of Mary at the expense of truth and creates an imaginary Christ who is no Christ at all. See Richard Bennett’s testimony video on where there is also a longer article about this film. Mr. Bennett, a converted Roman Catholic priest, also shows how many so-called evangelicals today, like most Roman Catholics, are sadly people trying to save themselves. This is the sort of false religion that this film fosters. But the Bible teaches that on the cross Jesus bore the wrath of God as "He became sin for us," and that we are saved by grace through faith, not by idolising or imitating the physical pain of the crucifixion.


Even more wicked than the human failing of false Christianity is the idolatrous sinful attitude that such a film exhibits toward God Himself. King David, when he committed adultery and killed the woman’s husband cried out to God, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned ..." (Psalm 51) showing that the most evil aspect of sin is that which is against God. This is what we have in this film because those who made it and those who watch its images break the Second Commandment.

A puritan minister, Thomas Vincent writing about pictures of Christ in his Exposition of the Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism proved such images to be sin in just a few words. Wake up friends! Please read slowly, a few times if need be, and think about this for yourself.

Vincent wrote: "It is not lawful to have pictures of Jesus Christ because:

1. His divine nature cannot be pictured at all,

2. His body, as it is now glorified, cannot be pictured as it is,

3. if it does not stir up devotion, it is in vain;

4. if it does stir up devotion, it is a worshipping by an image or picture, and so a palpable breach of the second commandment."

As the image is of the Son of God it should be worshipped or cause worship, but this is idolatry and strictly prohibited. So no film!

J. Marcellus Kik in his Pictures of Christ writes: "But can it not help in the saving of souls, it is asked. But how? Looking at a picture of Christ hanging upon the cross tells me nothing. It does not tell me that He hung there for sin. It does not tell me that He hung there for my sin. It does not tell me that He is the Son of God. Only the Word of God does that. And it is the Word of God that has been given us to tell the story of salvation through the blood of Christ. It is not through the foolishness of pictures that sinners are converted but through the foolishness of preaching. It is amazing how ... unscriptural practices enter the Christian Church. We must at all times go back to the Scriptures. The Bible is our infallible guide. And if our practices and doctrines do not conform with the teachings of the Scriptures then we must eliminate them. The Bible instructs the Church not to make any likeness of Christ. The present day pictures of Christ are false and no one would make a serious claim that they resemble Christ upon earth. They separate His humanity from His deity. They do not at all give us a glimpse of His present glory. They are not condoned (approved) by the inspired apostles. God has ordained the foolishness of preaching to evangelise the world. He has promised to attend the preaching of the Word with the power of the Holy Spirit. The so-called pictures of Christ are a hindrance and a temptation to idolatry. Let us cleanse the Temple of God from them."


Andrew J. Webb on the Banner of Truth Website writes: "Perhaps 'The Passion of The Christ' will provide Evangelicals with a great opportunity after all. They are being given a rare opportunity to reject the world’s methods and to recommit themselves to fulfilling God’s commission to preach the Gospel and to trust that that preaching will always accomplish what He pleases. Let us hope that they will seize it."

Finally, I must ask you, are you saved, or are you an idolater?