I hate to give “The Last Temptation of Christ” any more publicity but a few people have asked, “How can you judge it unless you go and see it?” That is a valid question. Here is my answer.
1] There are other ways to test something besides testing it personally. Scientists use monkeys and rats before they try their inventions on people. As for the movie, others have given objective descriptions without their personal opinion. Those clearly tell me that the movie does not portray the same Jesus that is in the Bible.
But how do I know if it is the real Jesus without seeing it . . . ”
2] The false does not have to be studied in order to know the true. A friend once told me about a trip to the Franklin Mint in the United States. He described a display of dozens of counterfeit bills. He was amazed at their resemblance to actual currency so he asked the attending specialist, “How on earth do you recognize fake money? You must study this stuff all day?”
The expert laughed. “No,” he replied, “we don’t study it at all. We only study the real stuff. Then, when someone tries to pass counterfeit bills, we recognize them instantly.”
Anyone who belongs to Christ can spot the phoneys a mile from the nearest marquee -- because we know the Real Thing.
But how do I know this is not the real Jesus . . . ?
3] The people who made the movie say that it is fiction. The Bible clearly warns not to add, alter, or subtract from the truth it presents. The makers of this movie put a warning at the bottom of their advertisement saying the “fictional” account of Biblical events may offend some. Webster says fiction is “something invented, not fact.” Simply put, that means they made it up. Therefore, I know without seeing the movie that the truth has been altered. It is a made-up Jesus. The movie-makers said so themselves.
So what is wrong about a fictitious movie about Christ . . . ?
4] God tells me to follow the truth about His Son, not fiction. According to the Word of God, anyone who presents a Jesus other than the one presented in Scripture is doing a wicked thing. David said, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes . . . ” (Psalm 101:3). Christians are to fill their minds with truth, not deliberately look at evil.
But is it okay for non-Christians . . . ?
5] The Bible warns about false presentations of Jesus. Paul wrote to the Corinthians and said, “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray . . . if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached . . . ”
There are phoney Christs being portrayed or pushing themselves on the unsuspecting all the time. The Genuine Christ is entirely satisfying. Why look elsewhere?
6] Finally, it doesn’t pass the “heart test.” Our son has food allergies. One of the worst is strawberries. The odd part is that he has never eaten or even tasted a strawberry. He refused them from infancy. We used to say to him, “How do you know you don’t like them if you won’t taste them?” But he never would. Then we took him to a specialist who tested his reactions to certain foods. We discovered our son should never try strawberries. He already knew they were not for him, in spite of advice from those who meant well.
Jesus Himself said, “My sheep hear my voice . . . and they follow me . . . ” but I don’t hear His voice urging me to endorse this movie. To do so without His leading would be sin. Those who think it’s okay may mean well, but what does the Shepherd say?
I don’t have to try everything for myself. There are other tests. They show me this movie is a dark blot, not the shining Light I have found in the real Jesus.