What is the Big Deal?

   Perhaps, you are like me. You are sick of the controversy over the movie “The Passion.” You wonder why so many people seem to be making such a big deal about this movie. After all, we have had movies in the past about Jesus that have been embraced by the religious community without any uproar. In fact, one of my favorite series on Jesus is the “Matthew Series.” It is balanced because it sticks to the Word, and it shows Jesus' teachings, ordeal with the cross, and His glorious resurrection. It is a movie that feeds my spirit and gives me a sense of awe and love for my Lord and Savior.

   So why the conflict over this movie? Clearly, people are being impacted over it. Some claim that the experience has made them feel closer to Jesus. So, one has to wonder why some people seem paranoid and fanatical about this movie, while others appear to be unteachable, opinionated and judgmental.

   Keep in mind, Jesus said that we know matters by their fruits (Matthew 7:20). The fruits of this movie are already manifesting, and I must admit that I am not impressed. The biggest fruit is division among the brethren. Anytime there is such division, the arrogance of man and Satan has its fingers in the pie.

   At this point, it is easy for each side to point a finger at the other side as being the culprit or the avenue through which Satan is working. However, before each respective side aims its fingers of accusation, let's consider why a mere movie would bring such a division. After all, if the division is over just a movie, the conflict is not only ridiculous, but it shows a tremendous immaturity on the part of both sides. No movie is worth division among the brethren or bringing a reproach to Jesus because of such dissention, which brings us to an important question that both sides must answer.

   What is the conflict over?  It is important to address this because God hates dissention among the brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19). For one, I have no desire to partake of this sin, especially over a Hollywood movie. It is time we pull ourselves up short, humble ourselves, and come into a place where God can reason with us about this matter (Isaiah 1:18). It is time to consider what the conflict is over concerning this movie, and if the concerns of others are warranted.

   Most movies are for the sole purpose of entertainment. However, once in awhile, a movie comes along with a purpose. Obviously, the movie, “The Passion,” has such an agenda. If something has an agenda to it, it means there is a spirit behind it with the intent of persuading or creating a reality that is in agreement with that particular agenda. In order to do this, a person must be brought under another spirit. This is why we are told to test the spirit behind something to maintain and uphold truth (1 John 4:1). In order to do this we must find out what the agenda or purpose behind something is.

   This brings us down to the real core of the conflict surrounding this movie: That of the spirit and intent behind it. What was Mr. Gibson's purpose for making this movie? The truth is, Mr. Gibson has made known the purpose and intent of making this movie; therefore, there is no room or excuse for ignorance. “The Passion” is clearly not a documentary movie that is based on the Word of God, but is based on a book written by a nun who supposedly had a detailed vision of Jesus' suffering. Granted, there may be scriptural references in this movie, but do not forget that Satan is religious and knows how to quote the Bible (Matthew 4:5-6).

   Adding Scriptures to something does not make it right. Rather, lining something up to the right Spirit in light of the Word is what establishes something as true.  In fact, to take something of God and tack it onto that which is unholy is to defile it (Haggai 2:11-14). The problem is that few Christians know how to test the spirit. They go into certain events ready to test something according to their personal knowledge, and not according to what is right before God.

   This ignorance has to do with the fact that most people do not really know God. To test something means that you test it in light of God's character, and not according to what you know or how something makes you feel. Testing that is based on personal preference or understanding is nothing more than fleshly judgment.

   The next question we must ask is what reality is Mr. Gibson trying to establish in this movie? According to the reports that have come out, Mr. Gibson is promoting the Catholics' perception of redemption. He stated to Christianity Today that he considers Mary “a tremendous co-redemptrix and mediatrix.” According to one individual who attended the movie, she noted that Peter sought forgiveness from Mary, and not from Jesus. I am no expert on the Catholic belief, but this is a blatant affront against the only true Gospel, for only Jesus saves, and only God can forgive (Mark 2:7; Galatians 1:6-9).

   Clearly, there is another gospel being presented. According to people who knew what they were looking at in terms of symbols and emphasis, not only could they clearly see the influence of Mr. Gibson's Catholic belief in the movie, but they also could see that the Jesus being presented in this film was the Christ of the Illuminati. Remember, Jesus said many different Christs would be presented in the end days. He went on to stress that if it were possible even the very elect would be deceived (Matthew 24).

   How would so many people be deceived in the end days? It is simple. Just present a different Jesus in light of religious, emotional hype that is condoned by much of the religious world. By changing the face of Jesus and the Gospel, you will create what New Agers refer to as a Paradigm Shift. This is necessary to bring the fundamental church into a one-world religion, under the counterfeit Jesus. Was this one of Mr. Gibson's goals?

   According to the watchmen who viewed this movie, there were many different subliminal messages planted throughout the movie that clearly confirmed and reinforced the fact that the movie had a clear agenda. If you ask Christians if they recognized these messages, some would think you were being ridiculous and judgmental.

   It is at this time that I need to explain how subliminal messages work. They are cleverly planted in the text. The purpose of these messages is to reach the subconscious of a person without the individual ever realizing it. This is a clever way of changing a person's frame of reference. In other words, it changes their perception of reality.

   It is quite easy to change a person's perception without him or her knowing it. You simply change their focus. This was proven by an experiment that was shown on a TV magazine. A group of young people were told to pass a ball between each other, while moving around in a circle. These young people became so caught up with the ball, that they never even noticed a man dressed in a gorilla suit walking right in the middle of their activity. Keep in mind, the ball had to be thrown around this person at times. When they told the young people about this individual walking right in the middle of their circle, they had a hard time believing it until they saw it on film.

   What was the main focus of this movie? After all, it is from this focus that all else will be judged. Was it Jesus Incarnate who came down to die for man's sins? Was it the love of God that was poured out to mankind from the cross? Was it about how Jesus rose from the grave to prove victory over sin and death? In fact, according to the movie, Jesus came out of the grave without a stitch of clothes on, rather than in a glorified body.

   From my understanding, the main focus of this movie is what the nun wrote: that Jesus endured on His way to the cross, which included 13 out of 14 stations of the cross in the Catholic Mass. It was so graphic, people admitted they were actually having spiritual experiences. In other words, it became an emotional experience. Let me state, our emotional state originates in the flesh. When people are in such an emotional arena, they are the most susceptible to subliminal messages. In other words, it is a form of seduction.

   If you understand how seducing spirits work, you will understand that they create a different reality, by appealing to the emotions. A heightened emotional state is no different than what those who are on drugs experience. Such experiences seem very spiritual because they heighten the person's senses, while dulling their ability to sense what is really going on around them. What many do not realize is that, in this heightened state, a person is only aware of the reality he or she is caught up with, which makes the individual indifferent to the reality or environment around him or her. 

   I say this because those who are adamantly defending this movie do so on the basis of the experience they had while watching it. But, experiences do not determine reality. Rather, the Word of God and the right Spirit must test all experiences to see if they are of God or a counterfeit of the wrong spirit.

   I might add that Jesus experienced the cross, so that we would not have to experience the consequences of our sin. This is why we are told that we must become identified with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection. Identification with Jesus and experiencing His ordeal are completely different. One causes transformation, while the other one causes sympathy.

   If Mr. Gibson was trying to influence people's reality, we must consider what part of their reality he was trying to change. What was this movie all about? Most people would say that it was about Jesus' ordeal on His way to Calvary. Let me ask you, what can be changed about Calvary? You would be surprised. You only have to change the meaning or emphasis of something to change reality.

   For example, this movie implies that Jesus was gaining strength from Mary during His ordeal to Calvary. If this is so, Mary was subtly being exalted above Jesus. This would subtly change your perception of Mary and the identity and work of Jesus. Those who discerned this movie, stated there were a lot of subtle changes that could not be seen by those who were simply caught up with experiencing the ordeal.

   The only reason a person would change Calvary is to change the perception of Jesus as the only way to salvation, the only truth about God, and the only life that is real and lasting. Did Mr. Gibson successfully change people's perception of Jesus? The problem with changing a person's perception is that it takes a while to recognize the destructive seeds that have been planted. However, I can testify that the attitude that has come from some people who are taking offense towards those who warned against it, is very self-righteous and judgmental, rather than Christ-like.  This is not an acceptable fruit of the Spirit.

   I have heard that this movie is an evangelistic tool, to justify the enthusiasm that many Christians have shown towards it. After all, the main responsibility of the Church is to preach the Gospel, not to be entertained by Hollywood's version of spiritual matters. Is Mr. Gibson's agenda to preach the pure Gospel, so that people can be saved?

   Many Christians have attended this movie with an understanding of what Christ did on the cross, but how many unbelievers have attended it? The Gospel is not meant to be presented for the sake of those who are saved, but for those who are unsaved. Right now, there are commercials being aired in light of this movie to bring people into churches.

   From my conclusion to the advertisements, the Gospel was clearly missing from this movie. Clearly, this movie would leave unbelievers shocked, confused or full of questions, but not convicted of sin and their need for Jesus. Obviously, this film was not made with unbelievers in mind, but for those who claim religious heritage or associations.

   The question is, why make a film for the religious world unless you have an underlying mission to influence or change the emphasis and perception of the religious people who attend it? To me, a film that advertises Jesus, but lacks the Gospel, is an absolute farce and should be boycotted by Christians instead of supported.   

  For the record, the Lord impressed upon us not to expose ourselves to the movie long before we ever received any information on it. I admit that I do not always trust my personal opinions about such matters, but I do trust Him. Therefore, I really have no need to justify actions or opinions about this matter because there is nothing in the Bible that commands me to subject myself to that which is unnecessary and controversial for the sake of others.

   As we had various people insist that we go and expose ourselves to this movie, regardless of our personal concerns, declaring that such concerns were from Satan, I became even more thankful that I initially trusted the instruction of the Lord. As I heard some of the adamant defenses of this movie, I had to shake my head. It all seems so ironic, as I realize that few of God's people show the same enthusiasm for God's Word as they do for this movie.

   As some sharply rebuked our refusal to expose ourselves to this movie, I wonder how many would stand for the truth of God in such fierce way. At this point, I have to wonder how much sorrow God must have over this scenario.

   Our warnings are sincere, confirmed and warranted. If such warnings cause division, they do so because others have taken offense for disagreeing with them, which is nothing more then the sin of pride. My question is, why are such people taking offense? I do not have all the answers, but I am sure of one thing, I can only trust the Word of God to establish spiritual truths. I refuse to trust any other sources, especially Hollywood, to maintain the integrity of the Word for me.  The Word is truth, and the truth will stand when all else falls to the wayside or is exposed for deception (2 Corinthians 13:8).

   Our concern when we forwarded information about this movie, was not to defend the truth, but to maintain it. At GSM, we feel that it is our responsibility to warn, so that there will be no accusations when a fallout occurs, which is inevitable when there is a wrong spirit present, another Jesus being offered, and another gospel being preached (2 Corinthians 11:1-4; 13-15).

   I do not take offense if someone does not agree or appreciate my concerns about something. After all, we will individually answer to God for personal actions and attitudes. We have learned that if a person does not love the truth, he or she will not value it or prefer it whenever it challenges their preferred reality. Therefore, it is not up to us to convince people of the truth. Rather, it is up to God's people to love the truth and choose it, regardless of how it might challenge their present reality (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Sadly, most people prefer to hold onto their fleshly experiences, rather than know the heart, mind and will of Jesus. Such people will have to taste the bitter fruits of such preferences down the line.

   In the past, I have encountered the fruits of that which is of God. There are two main fruits: 1) A greater love for God. This love is not an emotional experience. Rather, it is expressed in godly attitudes towards others, including those we do not agree with, and 2) there is a renewed vision for the lost.

   To be honest, I have not seen either fruit coming out of this movie. Rather than Jesus being lifted up in greater adoration to bring agreement among those who love Him, I see the movie being exalted, which is not only idolatry, but is causing division. Instead of seeing a vision for the lost, I see churches using the movie as a platform to invite people to their church building, so that they can understand why Jesus died on the cross. To have a vision for the lost does not mean that you invite the harvest field to your church. Rather, it means that you go out into the harvest field to find the lost (Luke 10:2).

   Finally, who, how and where must this issue be settled? Scripturally, the Word of God must be our final authority, as we humble ourselves before God, and allow it to be settled in the right spirit in line with the truth of Jesus Christ. What issue must be settled? To me, those who have taken offense or who are confused by this issue must come to a place of reasoning with God and not with others. Where must this conflict be settled? It must be settled in our hearts before God, as we seek out and submit to His wisdom, and not depend on our personal feelings or intellectual understanding.

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