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Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ"

March 1, 2004


With so many discussing Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of The Christ", and so many in "Christian leadership" endorsing this movie as Biblically sound, and many viewing it as an "evangelism opportunity," it seems appropriate to compile a list of comments about it. 

According to a press release, January 26, 2004, titled, "A Revival is Coming: Will you be ready?",  "...dawn is coming in the way of a revival sparked by "The Passion of the Christ."

Since January 5, more than 15,000 pastors had participated in three Pastor Premieres of the movie. They came from around the United States, to Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in southern California, Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek Church in Chicago, IL and Clark Whitten’s Calvary Assembly Church in Orlando, FL, to view the movie.

Bob Siemon Designs is the officially licensed manufacturer and distributor of jewelry and gifts products related to "The Passion of Christ". As the leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of religious jewelry and gift products Bob Siemon Designs has been producing designs from its factory and corporate headquarters since 1970. The company is most notably known for its sterling silver "Jesus Saves" ring, WWJD? products and Guardian Angel lapel pins.

The press release stated, "Signs of a revival are already starting to reveal themselves. "Just in the last week several churches have contacted Christian retailers to purchase thousands of our witnessing cards and lapel pins", said Dwight Robinson, Marketing Manager for Bob Siemon Designs. "This is not about product, this is about the Great Commission and spreading the gospel."" 

The press release also asked: "A revival is coming! Will you be ready?" [Source:]

And the "revival" is being helped along with the merchandising of witnessing tracts and memorabilia, mugs, pins, crucifixion nails and jewelry, for this "evangelism opportunity."

Teen Mania, a youth ministry, offers a CD-ROM and DVD package for youth based on the movie. The International Bible Society has created a special edition New Testament and Gospel of Luke with scenes from the movie. Among the publicists hired to promote the film are Larry Ross, Billy Graham’s publicist.

Mr. Gibson invested about $25 million of his own into the movie and has told supporters that he regards it as a spiritual calling. Instead of doing his own promotion using his own money to promote his movie, Mr. Gibson has used a strategy and wisdom beyond what most understand. Amidst controversy and campaigning to 'the converted," the dollars needed for promotion were whittled down to the use of religious leaders, religious organizations, churches and grass roots. 

In a promotional brochure for the movie given to 4,500 participants at a "Global Pastors Network" conference in Orlando, Fla., Mr. Gibson stated, "I hope the film has the power to evangelize." 

Some Jewish leaders suggest that the movie distorts the Scriptures and that they are alarmed at the prospect of the movie being accepted as gospel. David M. Elcott, director for inter-religious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, said, "And our anxiety, and I'm sure it is the anxiety of our Christian colleagues as well, is that this movie becomes gospel and it isn't gospel its just one man's telling."; "It would be a deep disappointment to the Jewish community if this movie would become the vehicle for teaching Christianity, even within Christian settings."


Endorsements by Public Figures or Religious Leaders

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association > Billy Graham, President, Tuesday November 25,> " After watching 'The Passion of the Christ,' I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus' death and resurrection – which Christians believe are the most important events in human history." "The film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we have all sinned," Graham continued. "It is our sins that caused His death, not any particular group. No one who views this film's compelling imagery will ever be the same." 

Mission America Coalition >Paul Cedar , Chairman/CEO > MAC Press Release 12/19/03 > Paul Cedar, chairman of MAC, believes the film "offers a tremendous opportunity for Christians across America to introduce people to Jesus Christ." Cedar adds that the meeting of leaders had significant potential for mobilizing Christians who will then invite their friends and neighbors to see and experience the film and prays "tens of thousands of people will come to believe in Christ through The Passion film." 

For Major Charles F. Gillies, Jr., the Evangelism, Prayer and Spiritual Formation Secretary for the Salvation Army USA Western Territory, "It (the movie) was very brutal and realistic – if that doesn’t move people, I don’t know what will. Mel has given the Church a tremendous opportunity to engage our culture." Dr. Cornell Haan, National Facilitator of Spiritual Unity for MAC, believes the film asked the key question, "Can one man die for the sins of another?" and "then gives the answer that Jesus shed His blood as atonement for the sins of each person. The film is a wonderful evangelism tool."

***The MAC National Committee includes some 500 national Christian leaders, from 80-plus denominations and over 350 Christian ministries, with a goal of uniting Christians for evangelism and revival. Honorary Co-chairs are Rev. Billy Graham (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), Mrs. Vonette Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ) and Dr. John Perkins (Christian Community Development Association).

Paul Cedar also made statements posted to Gibson's website :"...I highly recommend this powerful film to you. I believe that it is accurate and very consistent with the Biblical account of the passion of Jesus Christ of Nazareth...It is not exaggerated or glamorized in ways that many of the Hollywood films in the past have portrayed the life and death of Jesus. It is a film that I would encourage every young person and adult of every religion or philosophical persuasion to view..."

Promise Keepers >Brian W. Blomberg > VP and Chief Development Officer > "The Passion is one of the most amazing images of the real account of the Crucifixion. What struck me most was the gritty, in your face account of the ultimate hero Jesus Christ. Although graphic and brutal, it is a film worth taking your children and friends to witness on the big screen. This may be the next great evangelism tool of our time. "

National Association of Evangelicals >Ted Haggard , President > NAE Release, July 22, 2003: "...The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) affirms the importance of the authentic retelling of the New Testament accounts in Mel Gibson’s latest film, The Passion. The NAE has established this position of support for the film in response to numerous attacks leveled at Gibson and the film. In interviews on CNN and various radio networks, Ted Haggard, President of the NAE has described The Passion as, "A beautiful, wonderful account of the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ. It is consistent with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John." At a special showing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Haggard, along with 30 other prominent evangelical leaders, reviewed the film and encouraged Gibson to release it with minor stylistic adjustments. All acknowledged the biblical accuracy of Gibson’s creative dramatization of the historical account. ..."The movie portrays historical accounts realistically, but the Body of Christ worldwide does not blame Jewish people for the crucifixion.... He maintained that evangelical Christendom values the realistic portrayal of Jesus' last day and believes that the final effect of The Passion will be positive for Judaism in America and around the world...."

Campus Crusade >[Late] Bill Bright >"...Mel Gibson captures with explosive poignancy the final excruciating hours of Jesus’ life. Although it was humanity’s worst hour, it was God’s finest as He demonstrated His tremendous love for us when we all least deserved it. This movie 
will forever change your view of God Himself

Focus on the Family> James Dobson, Chairman: "...It is deeply moving, powerful, and disturbing. A film that must be seen - although the graphic scenes of the scourging of Jesus are emotionally wrenching. (From an email to Icon) 

Focus on the Family > Donald Hodel >President and CEO > July 14, 2003 "... For what I believe to be the right reasons The Passion was profoundly compelling and affecting. The quality and realism of the acting, the setting, adherence to the historical record, its intensity and pacing all amount to an outstanding and moving film. It is unusually provocative concerning vital spiritual issues. For both Christian believers and for non-believers The Passion will penetrate the mind, heart and soul in ways that can only be memorable and positive...While some of its depictions of violence are adult-level material, this stunning film must be seen by as many people as possible. For our part, Focus on the Family applauds The Passion and it is a film we will heartily recommend to our constituents. (From a letter to Icon) 

[official endorsement also said] "...For our part, Focus on the Family applauds The Passion. It is a film we will heartily recommend to our 10 million listeners and constituents in North America, and 220 million worldwide." 

Focus On The Family > Del Tackett ,Executive Vice President > "It has been nearly three weeks since I saw the rough cut of The Passion. It is still impacting my life. I can’t stop thinking about it nor can I stop talking about it. I have never seen a film that has so affected my life. It is powerful, moving, and disturbing. The film is true to the Bible and other historical evidence, yet it is alive with emotion and the harshness of reality. I do not want to see it again, yet I will be compelled from within to do so – not only again, but again and again. No one will be able to leave the theatre and not be moved at the core of their being. (From a letter to Icon) 

Christian Broadcasting Network > Pat Robertson, Chairman and CEO > "...the finest work that has ever been done on this subject. ... The action is gripping, and I believe that having the dialogue in Latin and Aramaic adds tremendously to the dramatic effect...More than anything your portrayal of the suffering of Jesus is with a few exceptions in total accord with the biblical narrative. It is therefore wonderfully authentic...I understand there are at least 50 million evangelicals in the United States and nearly as many Roman Catholics...It will be my pleasure to use whatever facilities we have available at The Christian Broadcasting Network to help you publicize this outstanding work. (From a letter to Icon) >Albert Mohler >Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary > Tuesday, February 10, 2004>  "....Without doubt, Gibson has based his movie on the New Testament accounts. He drew his narrative largely from the Gospels of John and Mark, though passages from Matthew and Luke also appear. The movie is a graphic account of the crucifixion and suffering of Christ, and the violence of the movie--true to the biblical accounts--has earned the film an R-rating...Christians have historically believed that the actual words of the Bible were directly inspired by God through the Holy Spirit.... Biblical Christians understand the Bible to be the very Word of God, and thus our responsibility in interpretation is to understand the text--not to correct it.... The controversy over the movie will produce many opportunities for truth-telling in the midst of the confusion. It's up to us to tell the rest of the story."

Trinity Broadcasting Network > Paul Crouch, Jr. > "All I can say is Whoa! And get ready! It is one of the most powerful things I've ever seen. ... ... it makes you want to take all Biblical epics and most "Christian" films and throw them right in the trash. (Including many of ours!!) This will do for "Jesus" movies what "Saving Private Ryan" did for war pictures. Every Christian MUST go see this movie and hold Mr. Gibson up in prayer. He's going to take a lot of heat for this project, but if we'll support him, this movie could have a profound spiritual effect on millions of people. (From a TBN email)

Ransom >Review by Denis Haack > > > "...My response to The Passion as a Christian is first and foremost one of worship. I would hope churches consider encouraging their people to see the film together, and to gather at the church for the Eucharist afterwards. Certainly I desired that after the film ended far more than I desired talking about it....After one of the advance showings, a Christian in the audience told Dennis Prager that he wished he could take a gun and shoot the people who had so mistreated Jesus. “I couldn’t blame him,” Prager, a practicing Jew, said...And my response is unequivocal: Christ forgave those who crucified him, so your desire is wicked, your speaking it aloud inexcusable, and your failure to identify with a sinful humanity a reason to doubt your acceptance of grace. Jews have been persecuted repeatedly by Christians over the past 2,000 years as “Christ-killers.” We must use this opportunity to repent and promise, Never again!..."

The King’s Seminary >Jack W. Hayford, Chancellor > "“The Passion” is a forthright, compassionate, evenhanded presentation of the historic facts of the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. I found it deeply moving, factually accurate and unprejudiced in its presentation. As a Bible scholar, I was impacted by the integrity of the film to the testimony of scriptures. ..."

Rick Warren >Pastor – Saddleback Church >Author – “Purpose Driven Life” >"Brilliant, biblical – a masterpiece." (Comments following a screening)

Southern Baptist Convention >Jack Graham, President >Baptist Press, Aug 22, 2003 > "The movie is biblical, powerful and potentially life-changing."

Worship Leader Magazine >Chuck Fromm > "...He makes all past Biblical narrative cinematic interpretation seem tepid or grossly unreal. As I said in the meeting, I thank God that my 17, 16 , 15, and 11, year old children will have an opportunity to experience the Passion of Jesus Christ in a language they can understand, and to be confronted with the killing of God, and finding their own lives washed in the blood of the redemption story. My hope and prayer is that Icon’s investment will pay off 1,000 fold so that you can continue to create and promote media art with eternal meaning for decades to come."

Crisis Magazine (Crisis, Aug, 2003) > Deal Hudson [Catholic] > "... My wife Theresa and I came away from the film with a sense that our faith had been revitalized. Make no mistake: this movie will convert and uplift hearts..." 

Evangelization 2000 > Fr. Tom Forrest> "In time, I expect the film to be declared a masterpiece, and more importantly believe that it could have stunning and very positive repercussions throughout the world. For sure, it will make people talk and think, and that alone is a wonderful thing. Count on it that he and you have our prayers and the prayers of everyone we can invite to join with us in storming heaven for the spiritual and artistic success of this fine work of art." (From a letter to Icon)

Santa Clara University Jesuit Community > Rev. Matthew Carnes > "... a deeply moving and reverent presentation of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. ... this film will have a special appeal to young adults. I think "The Passion" will give them a rich sense of the person of Jesus and the meaning of his suffering, and will invite them deeper into faith and exploring the Bible. I will certainly promote the film among the students with whom I work, and can imagine hosting student discussions of it after viewing it. (From an email to Icon)

Knights of Columbus > Carl Anderson >Supreme Knight > Carl A. Anderson, head of the 1.6 million member Knights of Columbus, attended a July screening of The Passion. In introducing Gibson to leaders of the Knights, Anderson said "The Passion" was a powerful depiction of Christ’s crucifixion. ....If there is going to be a public debate about "The Passion" and religious rights, Anderson said, the Knights "would not duck from it." Giving Gibson the opportunity to meet with the Knights, he said, "was making sure ‘The Passion’ gets a fair hearing. We hope such a hearing will promote better religious tolerance and dialogue among all religious faiths." (Knights of Columbus, Aug 12, 2003)

The Liberty Channel > The Liberty Channel >Dr. Jerry Falwell >Falwell Confidential, Sept 24, 2003 >  "I am praying that Mel Gibson's movie will have a powerful impact on our culture and that it will appeal to millions of movie lovers who are starving for a glimmer of honesty regarding the miraculous and life-changing story of the One who died for everyone, no matter their religious heritage, station in life, sexual preference or skin color."

Outreach Inc >Doug Martinez, Chief Operating Officer > " It is not a movie but an experience... It is my hope that the body of Christ will embrace this movie as one of the most opportunistic forms of Outreach of their lifetime and will be obedient to invite their friends, family members, and people they come in contact with to theatres to experience Gods love."

Max Lucado >Pastor – Best selling Author > "Thank you for allowing our congregation to preview the movie trailer of The Passion. In just four short minutes, the images and the authenticity left our members “spell bound”.  Something went right to the heart of those who watched the trailer. You have our prayers and support as we look forward to the release of the movie. "

Congress of Racial Equality >Niger Innis , National Spokesman > "...a compelling motion picture while staying directly consistent with the passages of the New Testament recounting the last hours of Christ. Those who would take issue with The Passion of the Christ would do so because they would take issue with the New Testament itself…which is fine. However, those same individuals should not use The Passion of the Christ as a vehicle to condemn the New Testament. Mr. Gibson’s rendition of the New Testament is consistent with the teachings of the New Testament...."

Michael Novak, President > American Enterprise Institute > Weekly Standard, 08/25/2003, Volume 008, Issue 47> "...It is the most powerful movie I have ever seen. A week after having watched a rough-cut version, I have still not been able to get The Passion out of my mind. At every Mass I have attended since, at the raising of the Body of Christ and then the Chalice of his Blood, its darkly colored, shocking images have flooded my memory, and suffused new vividness into the passion being reenacted on the altar." 
Cal Thomas> Syndicated Columnist > Tribune Media, Aug 5, 2003 > "...the most beautiful, profound, accurate, disturbing, realistic and bloody depiction of this well known story that has ever been filmed. ...To those within the Jewish community who worry that the film,.. might contain anti-Semitic elements, or encourage people to persecute Jews, fear not. This film does not indict Jews for the death of Jesus. It is faithful to the New Testament account. Gibson, a devout Roman Catholic, does not elevate Mary, Jesus’ mother, beyond what Scripture says of her..."

The Vatican > Pontifical Council for Social Communications > Archbishop John Foley , President > Associated Press, Sept 13, 2003 : "...I don't think they would be well-founded criticisms because all the material in the film comes directly from the Gospel accounts. There's nothing in the film that doesn't come from the Gospel accounts. "So, if they're critical of the film, they would be critical of the Gospel."

Crystal Cathedral / Hour of Power >Dr. Robert Schuller > "The Passion is an awe-inspiring portrayal of the last hours of Jesus’ life. It is an accurate account of Jesus’ real sufferings for the sins of the whole world. This is not a film anyone should miss. I make available to you the use our television program – the most widely viewed religious television program in the world – to promote your upcoming film! "(From a letter to Icon) 

Faith Television Network >Jim West , President > "The Passion” is the most graphic, gritty and gripping depiction of Christ’s arrest, trial and execution ever made." (From an email to Icon) 

Young Life >Denny Rydberg, President > "As President of Young Life, I am pleased to voice my strong support for The Passion. The Young Life sphere of influence includes tens of thousands of staff and volunteers, as well as hundreds of thousands of adults and kids who would be lining up in an instant to see this film."

Youth For Christ/USA >Roger Cross, President > "...I feel the film is the most powerful treatment of Jesus passion that I have ever witnessed. It is true to the text and done with the quality that it deserves. The range of emotions  caught me by surprise but the message is so powerful that it captures your soul. ...I am most encouraged by the fact that they will see a true representation of Jesus: fully God and fully man..." (From an email to Icon) 

International Bible Society >Stan Kellner > "...Mel has chosen the narrow road of staying true to the Scriptures." (From a letter to Icon) 

Harvest Crusades > Pastor Greg Laurie > "I think the Passion is going to make history...Mel has created a resource that will make a difference in the lives of many for time and eternity." (From an email to Icon) 

Tim LaHaye > Tim LaHaye Ministries > "THE PASSION is the finest presentation of the last hours of Jesus’ life I have ever seen. It is a scripturally accurate account of how He really suffered for the sins of the whole world...Everyone should see this movie. The believers who see this film will be renewed in their commitment to Christ....It is sensitive to the Savior, Biblically accurate, ...extremely impressed with Mel Gibson’s spiritual passion on wanting to present the true nature of Christ’s suffering for all the world to see. It gives a message that will benefit people of all faiths, cultures, and backgrounds. (From a letter to Icon) 

Chuck Colson, “A Passion for Getting It Right,” BreakPoint   Commentary No. 030715, 15 July 2003,  "Tolerance,’ you see, is no longer a two-way street. It’s a weapon to intimidate certain groups. And, as Gibson has learned, the list of groups definitely includes devout Christians. A film that unapologetically says that there is such a thing as Truth and that His name is Jesus Christ violates all the taboos our culture has embraced.”

Break Point > A Viewer's Guide By Jim Tonkowich and Gina Dalfonzo >February 20, 2004 > "...even a faithful film adaptation of the Bible...requires artistic license. ... To show a story rather than telling it, some imagination is needed....the question that we need to ask ourselves while watching The Passion of the Christ is not “Why are there differences from the Bible?” but rather “What differences are there, why are they there, and how important are they?”....Is this a Roman Catholic film?
Some evangelical Christians have worried that, because The Passion of the Christ was made by a Catholic director, it will reflect a specifically Catholic interpretation of Scripture—... that it might put too much emphasis on the role of Mary, or that the fundamental truths about what salvation is and what it requires might be obscured in some way. ... Gibson based much of the movie on a book by Anne Catherine Emmerich, a nun who wrote about her visions of the Crucifixion. Gibson was inspired by her book and used many details from her account...But what comes across in the film is not a reflection of the particular beliefs of any one denomination, but rather a painstaking, honest effort to give a faithful interpretation of the facts about Jesus’ death. As for Mary, although she does have a prominent role to play in the movie, this role is consistent with the biblical account of the Crucifixion. And she is not presented as a co-redeemer, as some Protestants might fear...."

Dr. Mark Roberts >Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church> Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard University> Teaches New Testament courses for Fuller Theological Seminary.> Review of The Passion of the Christ > ...."The Passion of the Christ meticulously follows the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ death,... As one who has spent thousands of hours studying and writing about Jesus, I had anticipatory doubts about the accuracy of The Passion of the Christ. ... I was gratefully surprised by a film that is faithful to the gospels without being slavishly bound to them. Beyond having his characters speak in original languages (Aramaic and Latin, with subtitles), Gibson skillfully depicts the historical and theological nuances of the biblical narratives....a distinctive, creative, and biblically-faithful one....though I recommend The Passion of the Christ highly, I do so with a major warning: only those who can bear to see depictions of graphic torture should view the movie. Parents and church leaders, in particular, should exercise careful discernment before exposing youth to this film...."

Dallas Theological Seminary >Dr. Darrell Bock >Research Professor of New Testament Studies > "...Sobering, Stunning, Haunting. ... I hope you keep the graphic nature of it complete in the film, because it will cause everyone to reflect on what His death was. ... The details are very accurate -- this is the kind of death our Lord died for me. (From an email to Icon)  

Richard Land>  Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission >"the most powerful and moving experience he has ever had as a moviegoer."

Bill Hybels > Willow Creek>  "...Senior Pastor Bill Hybels took the stage to address the crowd of 4,400 pastors and their guests....“After I saw this movie for the first time last month, I was in a state of dis-equilibrium. I was disturbed, drained, wrung out,”... “I was in awe of the price that was paid for our sin. I was dumbfounded at the suffering of the one who is our leader. “If I was seeing this for the first time today, I wouldn’t be able to stand in front of you now.” .... "Whenever there’s a strong work of God, you can always trace it back to a leader, somebody who got an idea, pursued it, paid the price when things got hard,” Bill said. “With this movie, that was Mel Gibson.” ... the silence was broken. The audience rose to its feet, offering a thundering ovation. “I believe I was faithful to the Gospels, but I was able to use my imagination somewhat,” Mel said in an interview with Bill... Author and former Willow Creek. Teaching Pastor Lee Strobel, ... “This is an anointed and powerful work of art. Art is good at asking questions — not answering them,” Lee said. “The people who see this movie are going to look for answers to their question.” The assembled guests experienced the power of The Passion. ... None of the pastors who experienced The Passion of the Christ at Willow will soon forget."

Lee Strobel > "I believe this is one of the most powerful evangelistic tools in our generation.”

Northern Baptist Theological Seminary > Chuck Moore , President > "...I see no basis for the ongoing allegation that the film is anti-Semitic in any fashion. Please express our deep appreciation to Mr. Gibson for his excellent work and assure him of our ongoing prayers in this important endeavor. (From an email to Icon) 

Mastermedia International >Larry Poland, Chairman and CEO > "Based on first century eyewitness accounts, The Passion is a historically accurate film ...My plea to everyone is, “Go see The Passion!” ... You will leave the film forever changed." (From an email to Icon) 

Vanguard Church >Kelly Williams , Senior Pastor > "Our team went to see the movie – ... came away from that movie greatly impacted and affected by the images and scenes... Without reservation we will recommend this film to our community. If there is anything we can do as an organization to help promote this film..." (From an email to Icon) 

American Life League >Judie Brown, Founder and President > "Please rest assured that we at American Life League will do all we can to help promote this amazing film." (From an email to Icon) 

Evangelicals For Social Action >Ron Sider , President > "“The Passion” is simply fabulous. ...John’s simple words, “the Pilate took Jesus and scourged him” feel vastly different as you watch two brutal Roman soldiers go on minute after terrible minute bludgeoning Jesus near-naked body with flesh-gouging whips..." (From an email to Icon) 

Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS)>Elisa Morgan ,President and CEO >"...I am still haunted by the images, the characters, the powerful action, and of course, the message. I find myself reviewing certain scenes in my mind, and longing to see the film again…and again. It was that compelling. The audience that MOPS represents is mothers of preschool age children. There are 14.3 million in the United States alone...This film offers a graphic picture of the hope all mothers’ want. It is a powerful telling of a message that families need to hear. I plan to encourage our audience to see this movie and to take their families with them." (From a letter to Icon) 

Berean Christian Stores >Roger Feenstra , President > "...producers have attempted to portray the life and death of Jesus Christ, but they were never able to get it right. Mel Gibson got it right!..." (From an email to Icon) 

These Last Days Ministries, > Protestants see the "Passion of Christ" film as a great evangelistic tool..." > "...influential Pentecostal and evangelical leaders have embraced it anyway, seeing its value as a tool in evangelism. Evangelical Christians account for 30 percent to 40 percent of the American population, ... their leaders declare that the nation is primed for a return of the ecstatic Great Awakenings that moved Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries to convert to Christianity in droves...."

Ron Luce, president of Teen Mania,> "... children would benefit from seeing it, "This isn't just violence for violence's sake," Mr. Luce said. "This is what really happened, what it would have been like to have been there in person to see Jesus crucified." 


Press Reviews


Fiona McIlwaine Biggins >Belfast Telegraph Home [Ireland]> March 6, 2004 > Church hits out over Christ film >  "....a statement from the Reformed Witness Committee of the Reformed Presbyterian Church said "evangelicals must reject it [the movie] and look to God to bless, as in former days, his own Biblically-appointed means of evangelism, especially the public preaching of the content of his own written Word, the Bible". ... The statement concluded that in rejecting the film and advocating the public preaching of the Bible: "Then needy sinners will be turned, not to Mel Gibson's non-existent pseudo-christ, but to the Christ who really saves, the Christ of the Scriptures." 

Rush Limbaugh, Radio Talk Show Host; Rush Limbaugh Show, July 28, 2003 : "... Some people are probably put off because they think this movie is religious. They shouldn't be, because it's not. There is nothing offensive about this film. It's a movie about a religious figure, but the movie itself isn't religious...There is violence, of course, and that's factually accurate. This movie does not preach; it doesn't try to convince you one-way or the other who or what Jesus was...."

A. O. Scott, The New York Times> Good and Evil Locked in Violent Showdown, February 25, 2004 >" so relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus' final hours that this film seems to arise less from love than from wrath, and to succeed more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it. Mr. Gibson has constructed an unnerving and painful spectacle...His version of the Gospels is harrowingly violent; the final hour of "The Passion of the Christ" essentially consists of a man being beaten, tortured and killed in graphic and lingering detail....has the feel of a horror movie..."

Matt Drudge From MSNBC: DRUDGE: "...It depicts a clash between Jesus and those who crucified him, and speaking as a Jew, I thought it was a  magical film that showed the perils of life on earth..."

Chuck Schwartz, CRANKY CRITIC® > "....Regardless of where your religious beliefs lie, parents should think more than twice about taking little kidlets to see The Passion of the Christ. Two hours of gruesome, sadistic, stomach-turning and hard core graphically violent torture detached from any background information is not something to expose kids to, regardless of religion..."

Lou Lumenick, New York Post Online Edition, "THE GORIEST STORY EVER TOLD"> " impressive, ultra-violent - and deeply troubling - take on Jesus' final hours....relentless violence is so difficult to watch - even for a hardened critic like myself - that it ends up overwhelming Gibson's movie. This R-rated epic is wildly inappropriate for children, as well as posing problems for adults with normal sensibilities who may have trouble enduring a seemingly endless sequence where Christ is brutally scourged by sadistic Roman soldiers (a couple of lines in the Gospels, 15 minutes on the screen), as well as a sickening, blood-spurting crucifixion..."

Tom Long, DETROIT NEWS >Wednesday, February 25, 2004 > "...The Passion of the Christ” will surely be the feel-awful movie of a lifetime, a filmed bloodletting like no other on record, essentially a terribly graphic two-hour torture sequence. It may also be more than a bit confusing to those not schooled in the history of Christianity, since director/co-writer Mel Gibson offers virtually no background or context...It’s hard to imagine anyone enjoying this film, but it’s easy to imagine people being moved by it. Myself, I wish I’d never seen it. The film’s images are likely to haunt me for a long time. And while that may be the intent, this world has nightmares enough."

Peggy Noonan , Author, Columnist [Catholic] > "It is a powerful film, and I believe it will prove historic -- a real moment in the history of cinematic treatments of the greatest story ever told. Be happy and proud. It is going to be huge." (From an email to Icon) 

Richard Roeper, EBERT & ROEPER >"This is the most powerful, important and by far the most graphic interpretation of Christ's final hours ever put on film."

Richard Roeper >February 24, 2004> Chicago Sun-Times Inc.> "....This is the most violent film I have ever seen.....You must be prepared for whippings, flayings, beatings, the crunch of bones, the agony of screams, the cruelty of the sadistic centurions, the rivulets of blood that crisscross every inch of Jesus' body. Some will leave before the end."

Note: I said the film is the most violent I have ever seen. It will probably be the most violent you have ever seen. This is not a criticism but an observation; the film is unsuitable for younger viewers, but works powerfully for those who can endure it. The MPAA's R rating is definitive proof that the organization either will never give the NC-17 rating for violence alone, or was intimidated by the subject matter. If it had been anyone other than Jesus up on that cross, I have a feeling that NC-17 would have been automatic..."

Steve Rhodes, STEVE RHODES' INTERNET REVIEWS >"With a pervasive NC-17 level of gore, its simplistic and relentlessly pedantic but effective with its single theme that Christ suffered. But where is its spirituality?"

Dennis Schwartz, OZUS' WORLD MOVIE REVIEWS > "Has such anti-Semitic possibilities and no upside for anyone but believers in Mel's vision that the execution of Christ is more important than his life."

Nick Rogers, STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER (SPRINGFIELD, IL) > "As it plays out, the brutality brings about more numbing revulsion than the revelatory empathy that Mel Gibson intends."

Jeffrey Westhoff, NORTHWEST HERALD (CRYSTAL LAKE, IL) > "...If Jesus ... actually received the amount of punishment dished out in this film, he would have been dead three times over before arriving at Calvary...The brutality begins right away. As soon as they arrest Jesus in Gethsemane, the temple guards repeatedly belt him in the face, then drop him off a bridge and dangle him from the chains that bind him. These preliminary beatings do not occur in any of the four Gospels...the scourging, which is the film’s monstrous centerpiece. Roman soldiers cane him until he drops....That’s when they reach for the cat o’ nine tails and filet him for perhaps the 10 bloodiest minutes in film history...Why would Jesus need to prove how tough he was to these soldiers? Was he wearing a wristband with initials that stood for “What Would Rambo Do?”...."
Mark Palermo, COAST (HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)> "...the last thing this blood opera needs is more attention....Unless you view movies as punishment, or as a means of feeling your own Christian guilt, there’s nothing of interest in The Passion of the Christ. Watching it is an act of self-flagellation."

Austin O'Connor, LOWELL SUN > "[A] stunning film, sometimes remarkably moving — at times sublimely beautiful, often sickeningly brutal, but never banal, nor specifically blameful...there will inevitably be a divide among people who see it. ... straddles the line of fiction and nonfiction, depending on your perspective...unbendingly bloody vision will also prove divisive...certainly not a movie for children. Teenagers might be able to handle the violence, but a parent who brings in a younger child simply isn’t being responsible..."

Terry Lawson, DETROIT FREE PRESS February 25, 2004 >Gibson's vision is one of beauty amid violence > "...even those who believe that the four gospels of the New Testament are literal and contemporaneously written accounts will find little of them in the film....There are scenes in The Passion that will remain forever with those who see it."
Patrick Butler, Tyler Morning Telegraph, February 25, 2004> "...most horrific series of images ever captured onscreen...such horrific detail and at such length it becomes almost impossible to watch. The barbarity and gore continues interminably after Gibson makes his point - then makes it, and makes it some more - and regardless of his spiritual bent and the ultimate power of his images in intellectualizing the Christian construct of "love thy enemies," the carnage is so unrelenting as to eventually become pornographic

Mark Collette Staff Writer > Tyler Morning Telegraph> "I can't see how anyone's faith (or lack thereof) might be challenged by this film - I didn't walk away with a sense of any challenge other than the endurance it requires to watch an execution in all its brutish, extreme, perfunctory gore..."


Next Article:

Pro & Con Comments About Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ"

Other Articles: 

A Different View of Mel Gibson's  The Passion of The Christ >

[also available split into 2 parts > gibson1, gibson2]

Comments About Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ"

Pro & Con Comments About Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ"             

Mel Gibson, Biblical Accuracy & The Other Passion Source: The 15 Prayers of St. Bridget

God Can Use Anything...But Should We? Q & A About The Passion of The Christ

Q & A: More Scriptural Comparison's of The Passion of the Christ

Q & A: About the Cast & Crew of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ

NewsFlash!  Mystic Anne Emmerich to be Beatified

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment & Zondervan To Distribute 

DVD/VHS of Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ


Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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