House Church Talk - "The Passion"

Janet Murphy janet at
Sun Feb 22 15:39:46 EST 2004

I received this today and thought it was worth passing on.  Are many of you planning to see the film?


"THE PASSION - A Challenge to the CHURCH"
-by Andrew Strom.

I had the privilege of seeing an advance screening of 
the 'Passion' movie at a local cinema last night. It is 
strange, because yesterday I started getting emails from
Christians claiming that the film is a kind of  'Catholic 
conspiracy' and vowing that they would never see it. 
What hogwash! GO SEE THE MOVIE!!

Sure, there is the odd moment when there is a slight
'Catholic' tinge to things, but it is almost nothing. This
film is a majestic and powerful viewing experience that 
will cause a lot of people to truly consider the claims
of Jesus - perhaps for the first time.

Could it cause backslidden believers to turn back to 
Christ? Yes, I believe so. Could it cause a whole lot of 
people to start checking out their local churches? Yes, 
I can certainly see that happening. It is a very powerful 
film, and I believe God desires to use it greatly. 

But here is the crux of the problem. The churches simply 
cannot carry the 'weight' of this movie. By and large, they 
represent a different "Jesus" altogether from the one that 
we see torn and battered in the gospel accounts. A church
that has bent over backwards to make its services a 
"Seeker-friendly" mix of warm homilies and entertaining 
slickness, has nothing to say to a generation that is 
seeking the true Jesus of the Bible.

It is just like what happened after 9-11. The people came
flooding into the churches seeking a faith that could 
bear the 'weight' of the momentous events unfolding
around them. And they found we had erected a plastic 
imitation - a shallow, lightweight "Jesus" - complete with 
ambient 'muzak' and mindless appeals for money. A
comfortable Western counterfeit of the real thing. They
did not stay for long. And why should things be any 
different this time?

Every day we hear reports of big churches buying up
large blocks of tickets and urging their people to use 
this film as an "outreach opportunity". I believe it is an 
'inreach opportunity'. -A chance for us to look into the 
face of Christ and find that our shallow pretense of 
Christianity bears no relation to the real thing whatsoever.

We are nothing like Him - we really aren't.

How incongruous that we plan to use this blood-spattered,
shatteringly 'real' movie to invite people back to our
comfortable, plush-seated crematoriums - there to be 
wooed by our utterly "unreal" Sunday pantomimes. I 
don't think they will be staying long this time either. 

As I said, today's Western church simply cannot bear 
the 'weight' of this movie. It stops our mouths, just 
as it stops theirs. Our "Jesus" comes out looking like 
a cheap used-car salesman - for that is what we have 
made him. We invented him to perfectly fit our 
'Laodicean' lifestyle. And so we sit in our lovely buildings 
with our lovely music and our lovely smiles, wondering 
why the world cannot get as excited as we do by this 
plastic Jesus of ours. Meantime, all the earth sighs and
groans for the real thing.

Tell me, church, don't you think it is possible that God
intends this movie to challenge us,just as it challenges
the unbelievers? Will we be deaf to the voice of God,
or will we allow him to begin to dismantle this plastic
edifice that we have built - this prison of our own making
that prevents us from representing the real Jesus as He
really is?

Surely the time has come for another 'Great Reformation'
in the church. May this movie be just one of many 
"shakings" that is sent to remove the blinders from our eyes. 

God bless you all.

-Andrew Strom.

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