Passion: Mixed Film Reviews

Thanks for your review of The Passion of the Christ ("Screen Savior" by Erika Larson, March). I'm thankful that Mel Gibson brought this movie to us. It's time we saw what our Lord really went through.
Debbie Jones Kerlin
Jackson, Georgia

My Bible says the Savior paid the price for me. I'm not required to punish myself by engaging in a masochistic religious rite or subjecting my children to such an ugly, brutal movie. There is no need for me to relive His agony. Go ahead and see The Passion--but don't save me a seat.
Valerie Emanuel
Altamonte Springs, Florida

In all of the movies I have seen about Jesus, I have never been as touched as I was witnessing the things He suffered for me, as depicted in The Passion. I am praying that the gospel will come alive for the entire world through this movie.
J. Crocker
Groves, Texas

Your review of The Passion claimed that the film "stays true to the biblical account, taking some liberty only with the inclusion of a mesmeric Satan character." To the contrary, the number of unbiblical concepts in the movie is startling: Jesus thrown off a bridge, a group of satanic children tormenting Judas, a bird acting out divine retribution on one of the thieves, and Mary garbed in a medieval nun's habit.

Much of The Passion is extra-biblical myth that lends support to the Catholic system. Film critic and former Catholic altar boy Roger Ebert noted in his review that the film did not awaken a greater appreciation for the truth of the gospel but rather a renewed appreciation for the Roman Catholic system in which he was raised. The movie contains enough distortions to give the viewer an out-of-focus picture that replaces the absolute truth of the Bible with a mix of mythology and tradition.
Edwin L. Newby
Prineville, Oregon

I have read of the death of our Lord for years, but to see and feel the pain that Jesus suffered was heartbreaking.

The movie is very moving and powerful. Everyone should see it. You might have to close your eyes, as I did, during the beatings and the hammering of the nails.
Louise Mabry
Maple Grove, Minnesota

All the controversy about The Passion comes down to this: The movie confronts us with issues we would rather avoid. The cross of Jesus is offensive and unsettling. Sin is ugly and violent. Having to face that sin is uncomfortable and convicting.
Karen A. Nelson
Cary, North Carolina

The Passion was the most beautiful film I've ever seen. I was not reminded just of how much Jesus loves me but also of just how much I love Him. I've found that most Christians feel the same way.

I've also found that the Christians who have a problem with the film are usually backslidden and running from such a powerful depiction of Jesus' love.
A. Schilder
Woodstock, Illinois

My toddlers love to go through the mail that comes to my house. I don't want a magazine arriving at my door that features a close-up of a mutilated face on the cover. I know Charisma said: "None of the violence is gratuitous ... it is necessary in order to maintain the realism for which Gibson was aiming."

So where are you going to draw the line? Just because a scene is in the Bible doesn't mean it's suitable for graphic dramatization.
Mark Hanson
McAllen, Texas

God bless Mel Gibson for producing a film of this caliber. He will never know how many lives were touched by it.
Linda Comfort Fredericksburg, Virginia

The secular media has been ignorantly baiting the public with the wrong question: Who killed Jesus? The lesson of the cross is simple: Jesus laid His life down. He didn't hold the Jews or the Romans responsible. You have crucified Jesus if you reject His free offer of salvation.
Olusola Fadare
Queens, New York

Bashing Mr. Bush

Many of those who wrote negative letters about your cover story on President Bush ("The Faith of George W. Bush" by Stephen Mansfield, October) are consumed with unforgiveness. Jesus told us in Mark 11:25-26 to forgive. I urge these people to repent.
William Behrens
Champaign, Illinois

I was in shock when I read the negative letters to the editor about Bush. I believe God answered our prayers when He gave us a God-fearing president who takes a biblical stand on abortion and marriage.
Helain Steele
Fort Collins, Colorado

I was stunned at the number of malevolent remarks your readers made about President Bush. Given his stand against abortion and homosexual marriage, I was surprised that so many would react so hatefully. How could so many readers of such a strong Christian magazine align themselves with the accusations of those who would destroy faith?
John De Sousa
Denton, Maryland

One of your readers commented that George W. Bush must not be a Christian since his wife reads the Harry Potter books and his daughters were arrested for drinking. I have two sons who are not saved, and I am praying for them. Does this mean I am not a Christian?

We have a godly president. We ought to praise God for him.
name withheld

A reader said that President Bush hasn't found God because his wife reads Harry Potter and because he has struggled with his kids. Hold it, Satan!

I am a preachers' kid who was on my way to a burning hell six years ago. Was it my mother's fault that I didn't do what I knew to be morally and ethically right? Christianity is an individual choice, not a parental decision.
name withheld

Where in the Bible does it give us the right to judge whether our president is a Christian or not, or to call him "pure evil" and "a liar"--as some of your readers did in their letters? Instead of bashing, let's have love for one another so the world will know we are His disciples.
Jarrod W. Strong
Ivanhoe, California

I hope the Christian community is not stupid enough to believe that these hateful letters about our president are from Christians. Of course not. I think Jesus-hating liberals saw President Bush on the cover and organized a hate campaign. I am sure none of the writers are subscribers to Charisma.
name withheld

Why do some of your readers think that anyone who doesn't support President Bush is not a Christian? I am as good a Christian as any of your readers are. And I have read many news articles documenting the fact that Bush lied about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction.

So many Christians overlook anything that Bush does wrong. Meanwhile they were too quick to judge Bill Clinton. Clinton committed adultery, but he asked God and the American people to forgive him.

Meanwhile, Bush has sent our American troops to Iraq and hundreds of them have died. And he is going all over the nation raising money from his wealthy friends for his re-election while people are going hungry. Bush has ruined this country and the economy. I don't know how people can support such a failure.
Bill Detting
Akron, Ohio

One of your letter writers defamed our president when he accused him of belonging to the Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale University. My husband checked on Bush's involvement in this demonic organization. We were told he was never a member.

Bush's father and his grandfather were members. How dare this reader assume George W. Bush hadn't repented even if he was a member.
Muriel MacKay
Novato, California

Editor's note: During his presidential campaign, Bush told Time magazine in August 2000 that he did indeed join Skull and Bones at Yale. He has made few public remarks about it since. The Palm Beach Post revealed in March 2004 that Democratic presidential contender John Kerry was inducted into the secretive organization in 1965.

Someone wrote Charisma and said President Bush was "evil" because he was a member of the Skull and Bones fraternity when he was younger. Let's remember that Paul persecuted Christians before he became an apostle. God forgives the repentant. Hey, I'm only 14 and I know that!
Abigail Coats
Anderson, Missouri

I am aware that President Bush has made some mistakes, but let's remember he is only human. The devil would love to put a pro-abortion supporter of gay rights and partial-birth abortions in office.
Edythe R. Jones
Columbus, Ohio

Charisma, your blatant promotion of a political figure in an election year is disgusting. The question isn't whether George W. Bush is a Christian, but whether we want to elect him to office.

There have been few presidents who have been willing to challenge corporate greed in this country. Why are children in America still going hungry and families living in automobiles? And why are Christian magazines endorsing politicians? Did Mr. Bush buy your business?
Penny Parker Dewberry
Gulfport, Florida

Crossing the Color Line

Thanks for allowing me to be quoted in your article on racism ("Crossing the Color Line in Memphis" by Anahid Schweikert, February). Though my comments in the article seemed to be against the norm, they were purely from the heart.

Many black ministers have tried to bridge the gap here in Memphis, but it is our white brothers and sisters who are proportionately unwilling. Black people will worship under black or white leadership, but how many whites will worship in a ministry led by a black man?

My white, pastor friend in Denver has more than 15,000 members, and 80 percent of them are black. Yet there is no black-led ministry in the country that has that kind of percentage. Tell the truth and shame the devil! Don't sweep this topic under the rug!
Rev. Brandon B. Porter
Greater Community Temple
Church of God in Christ
Memphis, Tennessee

I am reminded that there is actually one place where all races and ethnic groups of Christians do meet without much problem: the Internet. We see amazing things in Christian chat rooms and Web forums. As people become friends, they are often surprised to find they were talking, praying with and worshiping with someone from another ethnic or racial group. Perhaps we need to "pretend" we see beyond skin color.
Diane Roberts
Glendale, California

Black ministers often oppose integration strongly for fear they will lose their congregations. For a long time the black church was the center of life for African Americans. It is only understandable that many want to maintain this cultural heritage where they feel emotionally safe. Roy Lechtreck
Alabaster, Alabama

The Bible and Face-Lifts?

It is offensive that you ran an advertisement for a face-lift cream in your March issue, and worse that the ad was on the page preceding a two-page photograph from The Passion depicting Jesus in agony on the cross.

The ad implies that the world won't accept you if you have wrinkles. Never mind that God says gray hair and aging are signs of wisdom. Try looking to the Word of God and see what He says regarding face-lifts.
Sarah Hunsberger
Colfax, Iowa

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