The thousands of Christian leaders who were able to view the much-anticipated The Passion of the Christ express hopes that the film would become the next JESUSfilm an evangelistic movie portrayal of the life of Jesus that has had over 5 billion viewings since 1979.
While The Passion of the Christ will be open to public on Feb. 25, the films director and main actor, Mel Gibson, said the idea had been coming to him for years. The story is "the pinnacle of history and needs to be told realistically, said Gibson.
In media reports, the film has been receiving a wide array of reactions.
"You either love it or you hate it," Gibson said.
Christian leaders overwhelmingly love it.
Dr. Paul Cedar, chairman of the Mission America Coalition, believes the film "offers a tremendous opportunity for Christians across America to introduce people to Jesus Christ." Cedar added that the meeting of leaders had significant potential for mobilizing Christians who will then invite their friends and neighbors to see and experience the film and prays "tens of thousands of people will come to believe in Christ through The Passion film."
Dr. Cornell Haan, National Facilitator of Spiritual Unity for MAC, believes the film asked the key question, "Can one man die for the sins of another?" and "then gives the answer that Jesus shed His blood as atonement for the sins of each person. The film is a wonderful evangelism tool."
Rev. Wayne Pederson, President of MAC, says the movie could well be one of the most powerful evangelistic tools in the marketplace because "The most important day in history is the day Jesus died on the cross and took on Himself all my sins and the sins of the world. The Passion effectively and powerfully tells the story of the great price paid by the Son of God for our disobedience."