The book has two objectives. The first is to expose the unbiblical teachings found in Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ. The movie is largely drawn from Catholic legends and mystical literature that grossly distort the biblical view of the nature and meaning of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Gibson has produced a strict Catholic film with a distinctive Catholic message derived from Catholic legends and superstitious beliefs. For example, throughout the movie Mary is portrayed as a co-sufferer with her Son at the 14 Stations of the Cross in order to function as a co-redeemer.
In accordance with Catholic teachings, in the movie Christ is brutally and relentlessly tortured from the time of His arrest until His death, in order to satisfy the demands of divine justice. In other words, for Catholics, Christ had to suffer the punishment for all the sins ever committed by mankind in order to satisfy the demands of divine justice. Is this what the Bible teaches? Are we saved by the intensity of Christ’s suffering or by His perfect life, sacrifice, and intercession for our salvation? This important question is discussed at length in the book The Passion of Christ.
The second objective is to investigate the biblical teachings regarding the centrality, necessity, and achievements of the Cross. The study shows that the Cross has both a subjective and an objective dimension. Subjectively, through the Cross God reveals the depth of His love in being willing to offer His Son for undeserving sinners.
Objectively, the Cross reveals how God dealt with the objective reality of sin, not by minimizing its gravity, but by revealing its costliness in assuming its penalty. God did not cause His Son to suffer the harsh punishment portrayed in Gibson’s movie to meet the demands of His own justice, but was willing through His Son to become flesh and suffer the punishment of our sins in order to redeem us without compromising His own character.
To understand the achievements of the Cross, I have examined in their socio-historical content the following five word pictures: propitiation, redemption, justification, reconciliation, and intercession. These word pictures take us from the sacrifices in the Temple court (propitiation), to the price paid for the manumission of the slaves in the marketplace (redemption), to a law court where a judge pronounces an accused person “not guilty” (justification), to the renewal of relationships with family and friends (reconciliation), to Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (intercession). These word pictures represent partial attempts to capture glimpses of the significance and value of Christ’s death for our present life and future destiny.
Three chapters can be accessed by clicking their titles below: