"Passion Of The Christ" Tickets Selling Out - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/16/04

"Passion Of The Christ" Tickets Selling Out

Pastor Doug Anderson, of Rose Heights Church of God in Tyler, is one of about 2,000 pastors from around the country who got the chance to watch "The Passion of the Christ" with Mel Gibson last month. Gibson answered pastors' questions at the special screening at a Los Angeles church.

It's a film that has sparked controversy around the world--Jews fearing "The Passion" will incite anti-Semitism. But Pastor Anderson says he doesn't see why the movie is so controversial.

"What we have to realize is that the Jewish nation didn't kill Him," Anderson said. "The Gentiles didn't kill him. He [Jesus] said in His own words, 'Nobody takes my life but me. I lay it down willingly.'"

Gibson produced "The Passion" himself because he reportedly could not get people to fund it. So why did he spend about $50-million of his own money for the film?

"He said that three years ago, he had an experience with Christ and that he committed to do this, in obedience to the Lord," Anderson said.

Anderson says he will use the film as a witnessing tool to non-believers. His church has already bought out nine showings.

"When you leave the movie, you'll have questions," Anderson said. "You'll have questions like, did this really happen? And if so, why? I mean, if God is such a big God, why couldn't He just snap His fingers and save humanity? Why did Jesus have to be tortured to death?"

Anderson says the purpose of the question-and-answer session with Gibson was to prepare pastors to answer such questions. Most pastors who attended the special screening had a positive view of the movie.

"The opinion was that it was very accurate -- historically accurate, biblically accurate to the Gospels," Anderson said. "And it was well done. I mean, it's Mel Gibson, for crying out loud. He does things well. It is without a doubt the best movie that I have ever seen about Christ."

Anderson says the movie had a powerful effect on him and no doubt other Christians as well.

"It's convicting," Anderson said. "It's compelling. The first scene convicts my prayer life. I'll never be able to take Communion the same. I'll never be able to pray the same. The images are forever burned in my brain."

Anderson says "The Passion" is not just a movie; it is an experience. The movie is R-rated for its graphic content. Pastor Anderson says parents might want to watch the film before letting their children see it.

In Tyler, you can see the movie at Times Square Cinema and Hollywood Theaters. In Longview, at the Carmike 10 Cinemas; also, at 4 Star in Kilgore, Cinema Four in Athens, Dogwood 6 in Palestine, and Southside 4 in Mt. Pleasant. Some shows are already sold out because many church groups and individuals have already bought out showings in advance.

You can find out more about the film at "The Passion of the Christ" website. The link is on our home page at the "Know More on 7" icon.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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