I hate to bag on creative ways to share the Gospel, but not at the expense of the correctness of God’s Word.
You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.–Deuteronomy 4:2 (ESV)
I watched about 15 minutes of The Passion last night. While I applaud the sentiment of Tyler Perry (the producer) to present the Gospel in a new and fresh way, there were two things right away that indicated to me that he was really watering down the message of The Passion to be politically correct.
1) Mary singing Jewel’s Hands: the line that troubled me in the chorus is when she sings that her hands are “not yours, they are my own.” Why would Mary tell her Creator that formed her that she did not belong to Him or was withholding something from Him? Maybe I misunderstood the point of the song, but this is not the Mary we read about in Luke 1:
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”–Luke 1:46-49 (ESV)
2) Judas characterized as a torn, conflicted character: in fact, Tyler Perry stated outright that the Bible doesn’t tell us explicitly if Judas was evil or not. Really? Selling out someone for a crime they didn’t commit isn’t explicit enough for you? The Bible refers to Judas Iscariot as a betrayer (Mark 14:43-45) who didn’t have second thoughts until after he committed his sin (Matthew 27:3-10) and was so grieved at his sin that he killed himself (Acts 1:16-25).
He was known for his greed and rebuked Mary Magdalene for anointing Jesus with expensive ointment while he was stealing from Jesus’ moneybag (John 12:4-6). Jesus even quotes Psalm 41:9 after washing the disciples’ feet, so Judas’ betrayal was in the Old Testament as well. I could probably go on, but I feel like this mostly covers it (so much for sticking to a word count).
I guess if you read John 13:2 from a modern, morally relative point of view, Judas was not at fault, because the devil made him do it. And that, fundamentally, was my issue with The Passion… the work of the cross is simply treated as a supernatural oddity that a man came back from the dead. From the network that brings you The X-Files, here’s an X-File from 2000 years ago.
There was no mention about how we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) or that Christ’s death was to fulfill the purpose of redeeming us from our penalty for that sin (Romans 3:24). When sin is taken out of the story, then the real miracle of the story (not Christ’s resurrection but that he took our punishment for us and gave those in Christ that same resurrection) has been taken out as well. That rings empty to me.
Like I said, I am only picking apart 15 minutes of it, but I decided after that it wasn’t worth spending more time. I thought that visually, it was well-done, especially the passing of the cross through the streets of New Orleans, but don’t get me started on how that city has a history of being dominated by the occult. Biblically, they have more in common with Athens than Jerusalem.
At the end of the day, presentations like this one just highlight how much catching up the church has to do with the culture we live in. Jesus didn’t give Hollywood the Great Commission, he gave it to His church. If those who don’t know Christ are seeking Him on the Fox Network, then there is a breakdown in the church that we are missing. However, if we are making the same edits to God’s Word to appease a modern audience, then we are just as guilty of not keeping God’s Commandments.