I've heard some of my Evangelical friends ask if Mel Gibson is born again. Catholics see this "born again" issue a bit differently from Evangelicals. Evangelicals believe the "born again" decision is the critical moment of salvation for the individual. Catholics view "Baptism" as the critical event in the salvation. (Acts 2:38, 22:16, 1 Pt. 3:21, Mk 16:15-16 Acts 2:38).
Mel's DUI made it clear that Mel "backslided" much like many well know Evangelicals who have fallen back into sin. For example, Martin Luther King ended up in adulterous relationships. Bob Dylan had a very powerful born again experience in 1979. There is no doubt that his song "You Gonna Have to Serve Somebody" was inspired. Yet years later it's hard to know where he stands. Kirk Franklin got into trouble with Pornography. We don't think we should look at fallen celebrities and make blanket statements about the denominations they align themselves with.
Most of us who are born again don't drift too far from the faith but I think every "born again" person who is honest with themselves can identify areas of their lives, perhaps only small areas or perhaps large areas, where they have not fully surrendered. This is not an excuse, it an invitation to all of us to surrender completely.
Rather than compare the Evangelical "born again" experience to Baptism, We should compare the "born again" experience to what Catholics call a "second conversion." This is when a Catholic surrenders to Jesus with an attitude of "Jesus, take my will and my life, I give everything to you." This is a personal decision that happens during the journey of faithful Catholics who "get it." Yup, the Catholic Church teaches a personal relationship with Christ, (Catechism 1428)
If you have never made a personal commitment to Christ. If you have never asked him into your heart and to be Lord of your life, I encourage you to do that now.
(Mel Gibson's own words, compiled from various articles that have been published with his comments.)
"My hope is that this movie will affect people on a very profound level and reach them with a message of faith, hope, love and forgiveness." -- Mel Gibson --
Concerning "The Passion:"
"Other versions suffer from bad hair or stilted acting. I wanted to make the story real and not portray it as a fairytale. We don't think other films have tapped into the real force of this story. We've done the research. I am telling the story as the Bible tells it. The story, as it really happened, speaks for itself. The Gospel is a complete script, and that's what we are filming."
"The decision (to use ancient languages) was made very early in the process. I want to transcend language with the visual."
"The woman we cast is very beautiful. I didn't want the stereotypical devil with horns. I don't believe that is how the devil presents himself/herself. He/she is very seductive and doesn't put out signposts announcing who he/she is."
God at Work on the Set:
"There have been a lot of unusual things happening-good things like people
being healed of diseases; a couple people have had their sight and hearing
restored. There was even a little six year old girl (visiting the set) who had
epilepsy since she was born and had up to fifty epileptic fits a day. She
doesn't have them anymore, for over a month now."
"It was a strange mix of the most difficult thing I have ever done, along with this incredible ease. Everyone who worked on this movie was changed. There were agnostics and Muslims on the set converting to Christianity."
"(In my 30's) I got to a very desperate place. And I didn't want to hang
around here, but I didn't want to check out. But when you get to the point where
you don't want to live and you don't want to die-it's a desperate, horrible
place to be. And I just hit my knees. I had to use the passion of Christ
to...heal my wounds."
"During the course of one's life, one is presented with circumstances that could shake it. We don't think I ever lost it. See, basically, I'm too scared. I'm too scared of getting a lightening bolt up my posterior."
"I'm not a preacher and I'm not a pastor. But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize."
"It's time to sort of get back to a basic message, the message that was given. At this time, the world has gone nuts, I think. And this film speaks -- well, Christ spoke of faith, hope, love and forgiveness. And these are things We need to be reminded of again. He forgave as he was tortured and killed. And we could do with a little of that behavior."
"(Jesus could have paid the price for the sins of the world) by pricking his finger and shedding a little blood. He didn't; he wanted to go all the way."
Other apologies in order
How many times does Mel Gibson have to apologize before certain gods of U.S. morality accept it? At least he has apologized, over and over.
I and thousands of others are still waiting for apologies from the following parties: all those involved with the "Last Temptation of Christ" book and film; the creator of, and the museums that displayed, the photograph of a crucifix immersed in a vat of urine; the artist who created the image of the Virgin Mary smeared with elephant dung, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the museum that displayed it; all those who had to do with the anti-Christian and blasphemous "DaVinci Code" book and movie; and all the news commentators, comics and others in the public eye who have mocked, derided, and lied about various Christian teachings, people, institutions and Christ himself.
I'm not holding my breath, as the above anti-Christian works are politically correct in today's "ultra-tolerant" and "open-minded" society.
The Passion is a blockbuster hit and all of the anti-Christian newspapers like the New York Times who compromised their integrity by giving it lousy reviews and stirring up untrue controversy have demonstrated their irrelevance. Take THAT New York Times - Christ is sovereign, not you! I'm sorry I just had to get that off my chest :-)
Billy Graham says:
I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. Every time I preach or speak about the cross the things I saw on the screen will be on my heart and mind.
During the shooting there were many conversions on the set. Lightening that struck James Caviezel (who played Jesus) while he shooting the Sermon on the Mount. "I was lit up like a Christmas tree," the actor told a radio interviewer. "It felt as if I had two hands slapping my head and all of a sudden I had 200 extras scurrying. I had no idea what happened. All I was seeing was pink and a kind of a fuzzy static in front of my eyes." Another crew member was also struck. The two survived. There was a spiritual battle on the set. Jesus won! Mel and Caviezel attribute that victory to their obedience, prayer and the strength they received at Mass and Communion every morning on the set. This movie is a triumph.
After Evangelicals see this movie they will understand why Catholics have been kneeling in front of the crucifix (Jesus on the Cross) for 1700 years. They will also understand why we love Mary so much and how she suffered.
The movie is based on the book "THE DOLOROUS PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST" from the Meditations of the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich. A nun who lived from 1774-1824. And yeah, she was "born again." She had a kickin' relationship with Christ. When Mel Gibson was praying about making a movie about the Passion, this book in his library, "fell off the shelf" into his hand.
Download the book (PDF) The Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ
Those who have difficulty accessing the PDF can find the "Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ" in HTML here.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich
The Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich was a Catholic nun of the Augustian order who lived in Germany from 1774 to 1824. The term "Venerable" means the Catholic Church considers her a candidate for canonization as a "Saint." Many theologians believe that during her life, God gave her extensive visions of the past, the present and the future. The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ is about documenting the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich concerning the Last Supper, the Agony in the Garden, the Arrest, the Scourging, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no claim that these revelations are accurate accounts of the historical fact of Christ's Passion. The preface says they are "at the very utmost as the Lenten meditations of a devout nun..." But they sure do draw the reader/viewer into a personal encounter with the One who loved us enough to die for us in a most brutal way.
Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.