|This is a minimally edited transcription of a message delivered in the Adult Bible Class of Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday, February 22, 2004. The full recording is available on the church’s website at www.tbcnj.org.|
Ash Wednesday, one of the most important days in the Roman Catholic Church calendar, was chosen as the date for the premiere showing of Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ. For many weeks magazine articles, newspaper columns, TV interviews, and Internet websites discussed and debated both the virtues and the potential vices of this film. The movie itself is a two-hour, graphic, brutal, and shocking attempt to visually capture the last twelve hours of our Lord’s life, culminating in His death upon the cross.
Michael Medved, the nationally known film critic, columnist and radio broadcaster and a practicing Orthodox Jew, has stated regarding this film:
It will draw eager audiences and become a box-office hit; due in part to prerelease
controversy, the "must see" factor has reached an almost unprecedented level of intensity among both committed Christians and the cinematically curious. Mainstream Christian
leaders of every denomination will embrace the film as the most artistically ambitious
and accomplished treatment of the crucifixion ever committed to film. Some critics and
scholars will criticize Gibson for his cinematic and theological choices in shaping the
film. But any attempt to boycott or discredit the movie will, inevitably and
No one who has actually seen the movie, as I have, would seriously challenge these conclusions . . .
Gibson financed the film on his own precisely due to his determination to realize his own traditionalist Catholic vision of the gospel story without compromise to the sensitivities of profit-oriented accountants or other religious perspectives. Jewish leaders feel wounded that he never consulted them on the script or historical details, but he also left out Protestant and Eastern Orthodox traditions.
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