PASSION IS AS PASSION DOES
It's all true. Whatever you have heard about "The Passion of the Christ," it is true.
It is anti-Semetic (to those who go looking for it). It is a Catholic plot to promote Mary (to those who go looking for that). It is anti-Italian (for those who are looking for that). It is inaccurate, and accurate. It is too violent, and not violent enough. It appeals too much to the emotions, and too much to the intellect. It promotes a shallow repentance, and it promotes true repentance.
It's all there. I saw it.
What I really saw was a depiction of the price of sin. The sin of Jews, and the sin of gentiles.
The question is: What does "The Passion" do?
I believe it does whatever you are looking for it to do. Whatever agenda you carry into the movie will determine your opinion. My agenda was to understand the price of sin.
I suspect this was the agenda of quite a few viewers as well. Sure, some of the people going in will have a superficial repentance, but that is true of any evangelistic effort, isn't it?
We live in a world where surface appearance is everything. We all like to appear to be very spiritual. We even find little spiritual-sounding phrases to gloss over our weakness and sin.
Ever hear, "Christians are not perfect, only forgiven"? Or, "We all sin every day"? I hear these all the time on the streets when we go out preaching the Gospel and calling God�s people to holiness.
It is all a cover for the fact that we simply don't think sin � or at least some sins � are very serious. Christians tend to settle for what my former pastor used to call "an acceptable level of righteousness" and live on that plateau for the rest of their lives. Some don't survive this effort, so, as the Barna polls show, the American Church is little different from the world around them in divorce and other evils.
Rather than it being an acceptable level of righteousness, it becomes an acceptable level of sin in our lives � and that level apparently grows with age.
Most of our churches don't call us to a total commitment to righteousness, but Jesus does. What we hear from the pulpit is, "God loves you the way you are" and "Grace covers everything." The minimal truth contained in these clich�s is not enough to sustain a relationship with God, or to overcome the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Watching "The Passion," I was reminded of the price of sin. Each lash laid on the back of Jesus, each drop of spittle on His face, each thorn ground into His head, each hammer blow on the nails was a gruesome reminder.
What does "The Passion" do?
It made me wonder, "After seeing this, how can we continue in sin?"
"How can I?"
� 2004 Paul deParrie - All Rights Reserved
Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front. deParrie may be reached at: [email protected].
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"Most of our churches don't call us to a total commitment to righteousness, but Jesus does. What we hear from the pulpit is, "God loves you the way you are""