Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including "The Culture-Wise Family" with legendary entertainer Pat Boone. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.More ↓Less ↑
Recently, our friend Robert Knight chastised another friend David Horowitz for writing an article contending that Christian theology doesn’t classify homosexuality as a sin. Knight pointed out that both the Old and the New Testament treat homosexuality as a sin, and that it was bigotry for Mr. Horowitz to be lecturing Christians on their theology. David may not have considered the implications, but he reacted with a more strenuous broadside demeaning Christian theology.
In a USA Today op-ed, Rabbi Gerald Zelizer complained that Christian leaders “are too facile in generalizing their criticism about Hollywood’s portrayal of God and faith” after taking Christian comments out of context and denigrating Christian theology. He then prescribes what Christians should believe.
Surely this contributing writer would be upset if Christians started criticizing Talmudic theology. Furthermore, it’s hard to believe that he would take statements by renowned Christians out of context, and then criticize them on theological grounds that he does not understand since he is not a Christian.
The Bible is clear that “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The matters that Rabbi Zelizer is talking about concern a movie made by Christians treating issues from a redemptive perspective.
Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece by two people from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a worthy Jewish organization dedicated to helping people remember the evil slaughter of millions of Jews in the Holocaust in World War II. The men cautioned Mel Gibson about how he was depicting Jewish leaders in his new movie about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, “The Passion.”
Apparently, these men get very upset, as we have and they should, whenever someone tries to revise Holocaust history by questioning minor historical details about Hitler’s horrible genocidal program. Then, they contradict themselves by wanting to revise the historical record by hiding the truth about the religious leaders who were involved in the trials that resulted in the death of Jesus. As these men say, it was Pontius Pilate who ordered the crucifixion, but they leave out the fact that it was religious leaders who incited the mob into demanding the crucifixion.
Telling Christians what to think about their own faith has become the fashion in the media, but that does not make it right. It is a base form of religious bigotry and exposes the agenda of the bigots who want to eliminate Jesus, the Bible and Bible-believing Christians from the marketplace of ideas.
The persecution represented by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ led to brutal persecutions of the apostles and thousands of Christians throughout the Middle East and in Rome. Only the peaceful martyrdoms and loving actions of Christ’s followers stemmed this bloody tide of terror. Regrettably, the persecution of Christians was renewed in the 20th century, which saw more than 100 million Christians persecuted and martyred in Africa, Asia and even Europe. Today, this persecution continues unabated in the Sudan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Now in the United States, some intolerant people are effectively calling for the exclusion of all things Christian from public discourse. These revisionists want to remove all the voluminous historical evidence about Jesus from schools, government and the mass media. For these intolerant people, all speech is acceptable … except references to Jesus Christ and the Bible, which they have forbidden in their politically correct purge of all public discourse. In their attempt to revise history and erase the historical record, they are effectively crucifying Jesus Christ once more, though more subtly than those who incited the mob before Pilate to yell, “Crucify Him!” To which Pilate replied that Jesus’ crucifixion was upon their heads (See Matthew 27:15-25).
If we fail to remember this history, we will be doomed to repeat it. Don’t let the kibitzers take away your freedom to think about God in a historically accurate way. If they can let Martin Scorsese defame the real Jesus by producing “The Last Temptation Of Christ” in the name of the First Amendment, surely they can let Mel Gibson release the kind of movie about Jesus he wants to make.