Monday, July 12, 2004

Follow Up Passion of the Christ

George Barna, a Christian pollster, followed up on the effects of the Passion of the Christ movie by Mel Gibson.

Among the most startling outcomes drawn from the research is the apparent absence of a direct evangelistic impact by the movie. Despite marketing campaigns labeling the movie the “greatest evangelistic tool” of our era, less than one-tenth of one percent of those who saw the film stated that they made a profession of faith or accepted Jesus Christ as their savior in reaction to the film’s content.

Equally surprising was the lack of impact on people’s determination to engage in evangelism. Less than one-half of one percent of the audience said they were motivated to be more active in sharing their faith in Christ with others as a result of having seen the movie.

I can't say I was startled. I enjoyed the movie, for the most part (There were a few gruesome scenes that weren't necessary or Biblical.) But people need a heart change, an encounter with the living Christ. It was an important movie, but the "greatest evangelistic tool" ever was pretty over-hyped.

George Barna, the director of the research, commented that many people would probably be surprised that there was not a more lasting and intense impact from the movie. “Immediate reaction to the movie seemed to be quite intense,” he noted, “but people’s memories are short and are easily redirected in a media-saturated, fast-paced culture like ours.

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