Defending FOX’s live Passion extravaganza

Stephen Woodworth

Stephen Woodworth
March 23, 2016

Say what you will about FOX's live Passion event, but at least it employed cultural relevance to convey truth.

March 24, 2016

Stephen, I really, really want to applaud what you're saying here. I think we're probably in agreement, but I'm getting hung up on what you mean by "commitment to truth over facts."

Are you suggesting that truth exists separate from factuality? Or are you simply referring to the APPLICATION of truth (as discerned from responsible exegesis of the biblical facts) to a new context?

Will H.
March 24, 2016

I FULLY AGREE with the statement, "Cultural relevance is a worthy enterprise only to the extent that truth is being conveyed." However, after watching The Passion, I had more frustrations [theologically] regarding the "truth" that was conveyed. Yes, Jesus, and the telling of the gospel narrative was creatively told. I will give the producers that. However, there appeared to be an over-focus on the cross [a big, bright, glowing cross], almost to the extent that the cross became an idol. Yet, I don't recall the mention of "sin," the reason for Jesus and the reason for the cross. Perhaps I missed that part? I suppose that my biggest concern came at the end when Tyler Perry said something to the effect of, "It's all about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...but, you are free to believe in whatever you want." What?!? While people can believe in anything they want, the "truth" is that Jesus stated, "I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. No one comes to the Father, BUT BY ME." [John 14:6]. That essential truth was not conveyed and Perry's statement, to me, did more harm than good and discredited everything up to that point.

S.L. Woodworth
March 24, 2016

JKana & Will H- Thank you to both of you for reading and engaging here. First, my original draft of the article spoke a bit more about the truth/fact distinction, but space inhibited the larger discussion it needed. The ideas were drawn from some thoughts by Cole Nesmith in the following article. I think it will help frame the conversation a bit better. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/film/why-are-so-many-christians-afraid-hollywood-bible-movies#7y3bT0J6kvv4O0ol.99

Secondly, I agree that Perry "shot himself in the foot" at the close of the show and I share your disappointment. With that said I still want to affirm that "all truth is God's truth" and to the degree that aspects of the Gospel that was shared were correct, I pray it may bear fruit. Ultimately, I concur that there can be no good news with the bad, and it would have been helpful if Perry and the gang emphasized the purpose of Christ's mission more clearly. I do think there were some assumptions made given the context (the bible belt and Fox TV) where some may have assumed that the audience already understand the contours of the story. I can't be certain, but I gave him I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

These are tricky waters. Thanks again for pressing into the uncertainty with your willingness to think out loud with me.

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