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Pray for the Bennetts in Australia as they with God's help and for His glory are seeking to establish: Western Plains Baptist Fellowship, and Gilgandra Baptist Fellowship as New Testament Baptist churches.



Missionary David C. Bennett. D. Min.

February 20, 2004

The battle being fought in the arena of Bible separation thirty one years ago was Key '73! George Dollar in A HISTORY OF FUNDAMENTALISM IN AMERICA wrote on page 282 that Key '73 "…may well be the most successful move yet to promote the ecumenical movment and drive all churches, Protestant and Catholic, into union as a prelude to the erection of Babylon the Great." Key '73 is long gone and more recently there was the Promise Keepers. Sadly many churches who stood against the compromise of Key '73 were participants of Promise Keepers. Promise Keepers has somewhat subsided and now, it is a movie, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. This movie according to one pastor "might be the greatest outreach in 2,000 years - since the Resurrection." This pastor went on to say "I don't know if that's the case, but we want to be a part of it if it is."

So what should be the position of the Bible believing Christian regarding THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST produced and directed by Hollywood's Mel Gibson? Is this any different from Key '73 or Promise Keepers? Is this something all churches, fundamentalist, evangelical, new-evangelical and Pentecostal should gather around and use as an evangelistic tool?

Too many it would seem so. The Toledo Blade 22nd January, 2004 reported that "More than 1,500 people turned out at CedarCreek Church in Perrysburg Township last night to get a glimpse of Mel Gibson's upcoming movie The Passion of The Christ and to watch a satellite interview with the Hollywood star about why he made the movie." One young seventeen year old girl said "…she thinks God is using Mr. Gibson to spread the gospel in a new way."

Mr. Gibson was in Orlando, Florida to address 5,500 ministers of at a convention of the Global Pastors Network (an ecumenical conglomeration). Then on 20 January, 2004 four thousand and four hundred people watched THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST in Chicago's Willow Creek auditorium. The following is from the Willow Creek website and has been edited by this writer. After the viewing Willow Creek's pastor Bill Hybel's said in introducing Mel Gibson that "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," and "With this movie, that was Mel Gibson." Then "As the popular actor walked onto the stage, the silence was broken. The audience rose to its feet, offering a thundering ovation."

A few well known names promoting this movie are: Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Jack Graham of the Southern Baptist Convention, Paul Crouch, Jr. of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Rick Warren, Brian Blomberg with Promise Keepers, Pat Boone and Dr. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral / Hour of Power. Shuller said to Gibson that "I can't tell you how I admire, respect and applaud you. May God give you the blessing you need, where you need it most. 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." He even mentions sins!

Then there is the multitude of Roman Catholic accolades. A few of these are; Archbishop John Foley who is Pontifical Council for Social Communications, The Vatican, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, The Vatican, Worldwide Prefect of the Clergy, and Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus

In Australia THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST will also be an ecumenical get-together as well. THE AUSTRALIAN 6th February, 2004 said there have been more than twenty thousand tickets "pre-booked by religious groups eager to see Mel Gibson's new film…"

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has "warmly received" the film as has many other denominations. It is reported that there will even be a confessional booth outside a cinema when the film opens nationally in Australia on 25 February, Ash Wednesday!

What about the maker of this film, Mel Gibson? Who is he? Gibson was reared as a Roman Catholic in Australia. According to Gibson he strayed away from his childhood teachings between the ages of 17 and 35. He has now come back into the fold of Rome even if it is a schismatic branch that only performs the Mass in Latin and rejects Vatican II.

The Toledo Blade said Gibson "…has been meditating on the suffering of Christ for 12 years and felt compelled to make a film about it, saying it was like 'a splinter that had to come out.'"

The Bulletin for 11 February, 2004 says "…Gibson has amalgamated the four Gospel accounts and was reportedly inspired by the visions of two nuns: Mary of Agreda (1602-1665) of Spain and Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) of France; Emmerich experienced the stigmata on her head, hands, feet and chest - wounds imitating Jesus'. The two nuns were creatures of their time, offering mystical testimony that included allusions to the alleged blood guilt of the Jewish people." It doesn't surprise one then when it is said Gibson carries a relic of the German mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich.

Relics are an important point in the life of a practicing Roman Catholic. Senior Lecturer at the Pontifical Milltown Institute, Christopher O'Donnell says that "There is always the danger of superstition or magic where relics are involved. The origin of relics was largely associated with the Eucharist, which was celebrated at the burial place of holy people. In time the custom grew in the Church that Mass should be celebrated on the relics of the saints in the altar stone or wrapped in the corporal. Indeed, since Nicea II churches are not to be consecrated without relics, a point made again in Church law as recently as 1977 in the revised Rite of Dedication of a Church." It is also true Rome not only continues to worship relics, but promotes the worship of saints and Mary the mother of our Lord. Rome is just as pagan as it has ever been.

In an interview in the Chicago Sun-Times 23 January 2004 Gibson is quoted as saying "…he recognizes his depravity and was in need of forgiveness." The reporter said "He told me, 'I need Him in my life. Without Him, I have nothing.'" It was during the making of this film Gibson said "he became a man of prayer and set himself apart so he could devote himself to the Lord and allow the Spirit to move him to direct this [epic]."

During the filming of THE PASSION Gibson says some people "…came to Christ on the set of the movie and that things happened on the set that made him think God was in this."

In concluding this paper I must say I am for evangelism. However, there are a few things to consider in the promotion of this movie as a tool for outreach.

1. In none of the articles I have read has it ever stated that Mel Gibson has repented of his sins and trusted Jesus Christ as His personal Saviour.

2. If Mel Gibson has come to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour then true believers ought to practice 1 Timothy 5:22 "Lay hands suddenly on no man…" and 1Timothy 3:6 where one who is to lead other believers is "Not a novice…" Those verses have to do with men called to the ministry but they would certainly apply in this and many other situations as well.

3. There is absolutely nothing in anything I have read that says Mr. Gibson is through with Hollywood and its ungodliness. It has been said he may not get another offer for a movie due to his involvement with this movie but nothing has been said he is leaving Hollywood out of conviction.

4. What does Mr. Gibson mean when he says some "…came to Christ on the set of the movie…"? Does this mean the same thing as someone trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour?

5. The interview between Bill Hybels and Mel Gibson on the Willow Creek website did not give a clear profession of faith by Gibson.

5. 2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" is certainly applicable for many reasons of which one is the placing a "confessional booth outside a cinema when the film opens nationally in Australia."

6. Luke 16: 27-31 "Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." is applicable to this situation. If the unsaved will not believe unto salvation through the preaching of the highest authority under heaven, the very Word and Words of God, then they will not believe unto salvation through a graphic Hollywood movie!

7. The Bulletin 11 February, 2004 said "The surprising alliance between Gibson, as a traditionalist Catholic, and evangelical Protestants seems born out of a common belief that the larger secular world - including the mainstream media - is essentially hostile to Christianity. Finding a global celebrity like the Oscar-winning Gibson in their camp was an unexpected gift." Note even the world sees this as a "surprising alliance."

8. Is this just another step in the erection of Babylon the Great?


Please click here for the Most Important Message of the Bible Concerning You. "
Is any of the following a blessing to you today?
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matthew 24:3

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9

Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett

The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.

Phone/Fax: 011-61-2-6884-2846

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