Passion of Christ – the movie

Don Fortner
Don Fortner Don Fortner lives in Danville, Kentucky, USA, where he is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church. He is a regular conference speaker in the US and throughout the world.
01 April, 2004 4 min read

Many Protestant and Baptist religious leaders, as well as Roman Catholics, not only endorse the movie but even see it as an excellent means of evangelism and teaching. The fact that Billy Graham and James Dobson are among them ought to raise red flags for anyone who believes the biblical gospel.

The media line is that this movie is historically accurate and based entirely on the account of the crucifixion given in the Bible. But that simply is not the case. The film is pure Roman Catholic propaganda, designed to portray just what they teach in their mass.

Fact or fabrication?

This movie was made by a devoted Roman Catholic with the advice of papist theologians, and is endorsed by Pope John Paul II. Is that not enough to say, ‘Believer beware; there is danger here for your soul and for the souls of your children’?

Mel Gibson asserts: ‘The movie reflects my beliefs’, adding, ‘the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the altar [the mass] is the same thing’.

James Caviezel, who plays the part of Christ, said, ‘I think it’s very important that we have mass every day. I need that to play this guy. If I was going to play him I needed the sacrament [mass] in me’.

Still unconcerned? Speaking on the Eternal Word Television Network (a RC television network) Gibson told viewers that his inspiration for the movie’s script was a book by a German nun, Anne Emmerich, called The dolorous passion of Christ.

The word ‘dolorous’ refers to pain, sorrow and grief. Gibson clothes the imagination of a nun with the narrative of John’s Gospel to make fabrications look like facts. The Passion of the Christ is papal dogma and Mariolatry disguised as historical drama and entertainment.


The movie is apparently a real tear-jerker. Paul Harvey saw the movie and declared, ‘Frankly, having now experienced it (you do not “view” this film) this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced … I will never be the same.

‘When the film concluded I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place. The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate.’

That is precisely the desired effect – exactly what makes the movie appealing to men, especially to religious leaders. Catholics and Protestants equate feeling sorry for ‘poor, suffering Jesus’ with either conversion or a sure move towards conversion.

But that is not the case. On his way to crucifixion our Master said, ‘Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children’ (Luke 23:28). Those who today weep for Jesus, not only ignore this command, but fail to see that Calvary was the place of his triumph, not defeat.

Animated idolatry

Why would anyone who would not think of attending mass or wearing a crucifix want to see a film like this? It is nothing more than animated idolatry. Our God forbids the making and use of religious images (Exodus 20:3-4).

That prohibition certainly includes images and pictures that represent Christ. If it is idolatrous to have an image of God – in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ – in your living room, it cannot be less evil to watch a man playing that role in a movie or play.

You may think, ‘The Lord might use this movie to bring some to faith in Christ’.

Well, after viewing this movie, I am sure that many will convert to Catholicism and some may join Protestant and Baptist churches; but none will be converted by it.

There is no indication in Scripture that anyone was converted merely by watching the Saviour die upon the cursed tree.

What about the centurion and the penitent thief? Both read the inscription, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews’, and heard the jeer of the scribes, ‘He saved others, himself he cannot save’.

These were declarations of gospel truth. More than likely too they had heard the Master before the crucifixion.

Complete redemption

The physical sufferings of Christ, those things inflicted upon him by wicked men, did not accomplish our redemption and satisfy the justice of God. Very many others suffered those same physical agonies.

Our redemption was accomplished by our Redeemer’s death, when he, by his one sacrifice for sin, satisfied the wrath and justice of God and put away the sins of his people (Hebrews 10:12-14).

Moreover, it is not only by Christ’s dying that we are saved. Believers are justified (declared holy and righteous before God) by his death and resurrection from the dead (Romans 4:25).

Also, his death was but the finishing work of his life of obedience as our Representative and Substitute (Philippians 2:8), by which the Son of God brought in everlasting righteousness for us.

Convincing sinners

Gospel preaching, not drama, is God’s ordained means of calling his elect to faith in Christ. Romans 10:17 makes plain that ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God’.

And gospel preaching is not only reminding people of the historic fact of the cross, or the agonies of our Redeemer. Gospel preaching is the declaration of justice satisfied and redemption accomplished by Christ’s sin-atoning death.

Do I plan to see the movie? Not until snow falls on midsummer’s day! If that should happen, I’m still not going to see it – and I urge you not to do so either.

Gospel preaching is not playing on the emotions of people to trick them into religion. Gospel preaching is convincing sinners of sin, and righteousness, and judgement, causing them to lay hold of the finished and effectual accomplishments of the omnipotent Lamb of God.

The cross is over. The sufferings of Christ are finished. Redemption is done. It does not need re-enactment, but proclamation.

The re-enactment of the crucifixion is nothing less or more than an observance of the superstition of the mass – served up Hollywood-style

Don Fortner
Don Fortner lives in Danville, Kentucky, USA, where he is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church. He is a regular conference speaker in the US and throughout the world.
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