A response to the misguided argument that if you haven't seen Mel Gibson's movie
The Passion of the Christ that you have no right to criticize it
A common argument that many well-meaning but misguided Christians (and some non-Christians) have been using against those who criticize Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ is that "if you haven't see it, you have no right to criticize it". I would expect this argument from non-Christians who don't know enough about God's Word the Bible to understand what it has to say about this matter. However, Bible believing Christians should know better than to say something as non-biblical as this to fellow Christians.
The truth is that today, it is completely unnecessary to go see the movie to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that it promotes serious heresies, and that the people behind it are heretics. Enough experts on the Marian movement and Catholic doctrines have reviewed it that it is now possible to determine from their reviews, from scriptures and using common sense that this movie and it's creators are a serious threat to Christianity. Here are two good examples of good critical analysis of this movie:
A pattern for how to critically analyze this movie already exists with known cults
One cult expert who's tapes I listened to several years ago said at that time, there were over 3,000 known cults. Many of them like the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and others are considered Bible based cults. With so many cults like these misusing the Bible to promote their false doctrines, how is the average Christian supposed to find the time to learn enough about all of these cults to have an effective argument against each of their false doctrines?
The solution to this dilemma is actually quite simple. Get very familiar with the most important Bible doctrines that cults most often misinterpret so that you can use that knowledge as a baseline to compare against. In other words, you don't need to learn 3,000+ wrong doctrines. Just learn the handful of correct doctrines that make up the foundation of Christianity and it will be fairly easy in most cases to spot the false doctrines and the heretics who promote them. In biblical terms, God calls this "testing the spirits" of those who bring any doctrine to you. Here's a good link that explains what some of the core doctrines that you should be looking at are:
It is also important not to go it alone. Tap into the expertise of others who have already done the homework for you. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Taking this approach is very biblical, and is one of the strongest arguments against those who say you can't criticize the movie until you've personally seen it. Consider these Bible verses:
The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.
Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
The link below on our web site goes into much more detail on how cults misuse the Bible, how they deceive, and the scars that often result from being deceived by them. The link contains a 12-tape audiotape series by Dr. J. L. Williams, who earned his Ph.D. in cults. If you're pressed for time and only have time to listen to one of the tapes, the one that is most relevant to what's wrong with this movie would be tape number 4 titled "How cults misuse the Bible".
If you read the link above about testing the spirits, and you understand the importance of tapping into expertise that already exists on the topic of what's wrong with this movie, then you already know that there are some important up-front questions you can ask about the people behind the movie, and the content of the movie itself. Probably the most important questions are what do the creators of the movie believe about Jesus Christ, and what doctrines about Jesus does the movie itself promote?
The Christian who is well grounded in core Christian doctrines will refine these questions down into more specific ones about the movie and those who created it. Some of the more specific questions should include:
- Is it clear that faith in Jesus Christ as the sinless son of God, who Himself was also God, is the only way to get to heaven?
- Has the biblical view of Jesus been altered by either subtracting important doctrines, or adding extra-biblical ones (both are true in this case)?
- Is the proper emphasis placed on why Jesus died, and why His resurrection was so much more important than his death and suffering?
- Was the proper emphasis placed on the fact that Jesus wasn't just a man, but he was God Himself?
- Was the fact that Jesus is the only mediator between us and God the Father made clear?
- Was it made clear that Jesus's death and resurrection fully paid for the sins of all who will enter heaven, and that no further suffering on Jesus's part or by anyone else is needed?
If through this initial investigation one discovers that the movie and/or it's creators are wrong any any of these points, then that alone should be considered such a serious problem that it is a complete show stopper. There is no need to dig any further to know that the movie is very bad news for Christianity.
Unfortunately, Mel Gibson, the producer, and Jim Caviezel the actor who played Jesus, are both deeply involved in the Marian movement. The movie also promotes this movement. They are also involved in promoting other serious Catholic heresies (the two links at the beginning of this article explain this in more detail). For more information about why this movie and it's creators are such a big problem for Christianity, see our link at:
Again, because of the serious heresies that the Marian movement promotes, and because of the demonic origins of the Marian apparitions themselves, this is a show stopper. It doesn't matter how emotionally powerful this movie is. It doesn't matter if some aspects of the movie might be usable for protestant witnessing. Once we realize that the people behind the movie are heretics, the following warnings from God should kick in and we should have nothing further to do with the movie except to warn others to avoid it:
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
2 John 110-11
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14
It is a sin to pressure someone to act against their conscience
Christians who use the argument that a fellow Christian can't criticize this movie unless they've first seen it should understand that by making such an argument that they may be committing a sin. If a fellow Christian has done the kind of investigation into this movie that is suggested in the previous paragraphs, and that Christian has concluded that the movie and it's creators are indeed promoting serious heresies, then the issue has now become a matter of conscience. In other words, the person who is reluctant to see the movie may be acting against his/her conscience of they then go see the movie anyway. They may have rightfully concluded that it would be improper for them to:
- give the money God blessed them with to heretics, and
- help raise the stature, credibility and prominence of those heretics by supporting and/or promoting their work.
It's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and accuse a fellow Christian of being closed-minded for taking a stand against this movie without having seen it. For those Christians who are engaging in such behavior, may I respectfully ask that you prayerfully reconsider your position and your tactics?
For those of you who are not Christians and who are engaging in this activity, unfortunately you will be held accountable to God on Judgment Day for your behavior as well. Your ignorance about God's word on this matter will not be an excuse. May I also humbly suggest that you consider finding out who Jesus Christ really is, and get more familiar yourself with what He has to say about these matters by becoming more familiar with the foundational doctrines of Christianity. A good place to start is at this link:
Founder of the Young Earth Creation Club