Scott Tibbs
blog post
March 19th, 2004

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More on The Passion

I usually don't read the World Mag Blog, but I do keep up on Pastor Tim Bayly's blog on that page. I would like to point out a good post by Pastor Bayly regarding "veneration" of symbols in the Roman Catholic Church and as it relates to Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ.

Pastor Bayly raises a good point regarding the Roman Catholic Church's "veneration" of symbols like the Virgin Mary and the saints. I think the Roman Catholic Church misses the boat on this matter. Mary, or any other saint, is not inherently more special than other Christians throughout time who have served the Lord and devoted themselves to His will. All men and women, throughout time, are sinners by nature and by choice. Romans 3:23 reminds us that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God". Romans 3:10 says "there is none righteous, no, not one". Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear where we are to put our trust: "for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." The saints have been used by God for great things, and while it is good to look at them for examples of how we are to live, there is only one Perfect Example we should pattern our lives after, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I respectfully disagree, though, that a symbol represents a violation of the Second Commandment. I think the context of the verse is that we are not to bow down and worship images, not that we are not to have images at all. (Wasn't the Ark of the Covenant an image?) But Pastor Bayly is right to be concerned that Christians are going to this movie as an act of worship, and are "venerating' the images on the silver screen. The Passion may be a cinematic masterpiece, but it is a movie, not a message from God Himself.

I don't find it to be spiritually troubling of people admire The Passion as a film, but it is not, nor should it be, a substitute for worshipping God. We in America want things to be packaged in a nice, neat little package so we can do our chores easily. But the Christian life is not summed up in some light shined onto a large screen, but in the day-to-day, moment-by-moment application of His Word to our lives.