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Bishop Lester L. Williams Issues Opinion on `The Passion' Debate.

NEW YORK, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by Bishop Lester L. Williams:

The problem that I have with "The Passion" debate is that too much attention is being given to assessing blame for Jesus' death. The important issue is being overlooked and that issue is why He died in the first place. According to the sacred scriptures of the Christian church, no one took his life, the Romans or the Jews. He freely gave himself for all of us that we might have life eternal with Him. The only people who think that this movie is anti-Semitic are those who are devout Judaizers and are biased in their own Jewish beliefs. This movie is not about attacking any race or religious sect. It's about Christ's passionate display of sacrifice for the sins of this world.

Whenever anyone disagrees over Jewish matters, especially doctrines and historical facts, it is viewed as being anti-Semitic. In my opinion, that is wrong because it fosters religious prejudices that one religion is far superior than the others. It is a fact that all Eastern and Western religions have Judaism at its roots. For the record, I am not anti-Semitic. What I saw in the movie was an accurate attempt to visualize what has been printed in words for years. So, if the Holy Writ is wrong, then the movie is baseless. I see a greater danger and slanting toward labeling the Christian Bible anti- Semitic and that would be highly blasphemous and anti-Christian. There is a call for the Pope to condemn the movie. He could not in good conscience do that and remain as one of the great leaders of the Christian faith. To deny any Jewish involvement in the death of Jesus is a blatant contradiction of scripture. The Pope speaks authoritatively for the Catholic Church only. However, there is a universal church that does not agree with the views of the Catholic Church. Thus, this is why we have other Reformations.

As a new Reformation, I thank God for Mel Gibson and the courage it took to emulate Christ by suffering persecution for his story and his beliefs. The film is causing such a stir because souls are being snatched from Satan's snares and the Christian faith is being tested and strengthened. The movie is very compelling and accomplishes its objective and that is showing Christ as Savior of mankind. I would encourage Mr. Gibson to make preparation for the sequel that portrays Christ's ultimate passion, His Resurrection and Return.

 Bishop Lester L. Williams, 718-523-2612
 Chief Apostle and Presiding Bishop
 The Community Church of Christ and
 The Community Churches of Christ International

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CONTACT: Bishop Lester L. Williams, Chief Apostle and Presiding Bishop, The Community Church of Christ and The Community Churches of Christ International, +1-718-523-2612
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Date:Mar 4, 2004
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