"THE END OF THE SPEAR" MOVIE IS RUSTY
A CRISIS &
In my opinion, the movie, THE END OF THE SPEAR is "rusty!" Why do I say this? Let me explain. It is not "rusty" because the cinematography was poor. On the contrary, I understand it was absolutely beautiful and professionally done. It wasn't "rusty"because the acting was unprofessional. NO! I understand it was excellent. But there are basic lacks in the movie's Christian testimony for other reasons. To put it in a nutshell, there are two major flaws in the production of that Hollywood movie. There may be more, but that is all I am aware of.
Even though I did not see the movie, I know that the Every Tribe Entertainment film's portraying of the slaying of five brave missionaries, fifty years ago in the rain forests of Ecuador, has two failures. The first is the way of salvation was not clearly given. If it was, it were so unclear that an unsaved friend of mine, who saw the movie, did not get the salvation message at all. She thought the message was to save the rain forest.
The other "rusty" reason is that movie star, Chad Allen, who portrayed martyred Nate Saint, as well as the adult son, Steven Saint, is an outspoken, self-proclaimed gay-rights activist. Also you may remember him in "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman." I do not think that the Nate Saint, missionary pilot of 1956 would have wanted his name associated in any way with approval of the homosexual lifestyle. I may be mistaken but I don't think so.
I am personally disappointed that the martyred memories of five brave missionaries have been maligned by the association of a gay rights activist with a movie honoring those missionaries featured in THE END OF THE SPEAR. The young Christian men were real people dedicated to the cause of Jesus Christ. Their names were Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint.
Perhaps you are not old enough to remember the year 1956. I do. That was the year in the month of November that our daughter was born. Only a few in our family and among our friends noted that birth. Our names were not splashed on every headline in every newspaper. We lived in Miami, Florida at the time. My husband was a chaplain in the Navy then. But thousands of people all over the world--Christians and non-Christians--knew of the slain missionaries. We were shocked that year when the news of the Ecuadorian massacres took place! It was an event that shook all of Christendom!
Let me refresh your memory. There was this savage Indian tribe whom we readers of the news and listeners to the radio soon called the Auca Indians. "Auca," which means "savage," was a name given to these people by the grieving widows of the murdered victims. As time went on, the public learned the true identities of that violent group. They were called the Waodani. The Waodani lived in the tangled jungle of Ecuador's dark depravity. The only life they knew was a life of primitive savagery--an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Life was not pretty or precious among those people of self-pride and barbarian brazenness. They had never heard of the true God nor of His Son Jesus Christ! Sin had no restraints, no bars against it, nor any rescue from it.
The burden on the hearts of the four missionaries and their pilot, Nate Saint, was deep-seated. They wanted to reach the Waodani for Christ. It had been only two short days, prior to the spearing of the men, that the missionaries had contacted the savages. The Indians had responded that time with warm greetings. Alas, the next contact was far different. On what the white men called "Palm Beach," the shallow Curaray River became the missionary men's death trap. One can't help but reflect on Jim Elliot's words when he described him and his co-workers as a "bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody." That "SOMEBODY" was the Lord Jesus Christ. Their whole thrust of love was the love of Jesus. They went to the jungle to win the Waodani tribe to the Lord Jesus Christ. You who have lived any length of time at all know that life has a way of turning our plans around, doesn't it? Instead, being "unknowns" to the world, five sharp spear-thrusts into the bodies of "nobodies" turned them into "somebodies."
On that day that made "NOBODIES" become "SOMEBODIES," their noisy flying bird brought frightened attention to the sparsely dressed, bronzed-skinned, men with tribal markings. Frightened, the savages did what they always did when smelling danger. They killed. Within minutes, five healthy, happy, joyful men lay bleeding on the sand. Dying men, whose only hearts' themes were to tell the Indians of the Lord Jesus Christ's sacrifice for their sins. Instead, the men suffered, bled, and died for the very cause of the Christ they came to preach. Their desire was to tell of Jesus and how He was pierced for them. Instead, they were pierced for Jesus. Their death spoke more than a thousand words. No longer would those brave Christian men's mouths sound another syllable in prayer or praise.
As the murderers screamed, they plunged their spears into missionary flesh. Their hearts ceased beating. Their lips were silenced. Their eyes were shut in death. With such senseless killings, their deaths spoke more than their lives ever said. But, the Word of God did not return void.
The seed that died on Ecuador's beach that day sprouted, in time, into the fruit of salvation of the very savages that threw their deadly spears. The killers became born-again Christians. Eternal Life sprang forth. The sister of Nate Saint and the wife of Jim Elliot stayed with the savages, translated their language into God's Words and taught them of the Saviour for whom the martyred men had died. We have all heard this story. Many of us have read Elizabeth Elliot's book THROUGH GATES OF SPLENDOR. What a living lesson of true forgiveness.
The celebration of fifty years of missionary harvest in the Ecuadoran jungle was welcomed by many of us. With mixed feelings we learned of the movie, THE END OF THE SPEAR, which was released in January of 2006, that would celebrate triumph over tragedy.
I am personally sorry in this twenty-first century that Christians have resorted to the commercial film industry to get their message out to lost souls. The Bible says "the preaching of the Cross . . . is the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:18). Though I do not attend Hollywood movies, I could not help but have an interest in the film because of the shattering news of 1956. Who could forget it?
You see, I had heard of the Saint family long before Nate Saint's martyrdom. One of my best friends from Bible-school-days had an older sister who had married Nate Saint's brother. If my memory serves me right, this brother-in-law of my friend from Philadelphia was in aviation also. I may be wrong. You know how memories are? Then in recent years, I saw Nate Saint's widow on a bus in Lausanne Switzerland. By then she had remarried. For all I know, little Steve Saint could have been on that bus also.
One day, at the nail salon, for something to say to my Vietnamese-nail technician, I said,"I plan to do a radio program on THE END OF THE SPEAR MOVIE." She enthusiastically said, "I SAW IT!" I was surprised and said, "You did? Tell me about it!" I was purposely very quiet for I did not want to interject anything into her thoughts. I knew about the homosexual actor playing Nate and his adult son, Steve Saint, but did not want to color her thinking. Nor did I want to tell her that one of our sons had seen Steve Saint's disappointing interview on Fox News. She was an unsaved woman and I did not want to hinder any moving of the Spirit of God in her life. I've tried to witness to her about Jesus and I know her soul is more important than my critique of a movie. Our son, who is a preacher himself, was very disappointed that in real life, on a television interview, Steven Saint, when asked why his father went to the jungle in the first place, gave the impression to millions of people watching him on television, that it was for ecological reasons. In other words, the conclusion was that Nate Saint went to Ecuador and was speared to death to save the jungle.
I questioned my nail-girl very carefully. I asked, "Why did the missionaries go to Ecuador anyhow?" (I knew the reason--at least it was the reason fifty years ago.) Her face looked pensive. Then she said, "I THINK IT WAS TO SAVE THE JUNGLE!" Dismayed, I asked, "Did the movie say anything about the missionaries going to the Waodani Indian tribe to tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ?" "No," was her reply. I tried again. "Did they say anything about the missionaries going to the jungle to tell the people that the Lord Jesus Christ wanted to save their souls and give them Eternal Life?" She pondered, "Maybe I didn't listen carefully enough." I asked again and she replied, "I did not hear anything like that!" I was appalled. I really was.
She explained all about the spearing of the men and how her heart beat fast during the movie. She knew all about the killings but nothing about the Saviour. It broke my heart. Here was an unsaved woman from another country who needed Jesus; yet this film that was supposed go tell of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ did not communicate such a message. How many others left the theaters without hearing the gospel?
But then, I was not surprised, remembering that one of our sons had said what Steve Saint had told the world-wide audience on an early morning Fox News television program. He implied that Steve's father and the other slain missionaries gave their lives to save the jungle.
Later I read a review by Rusty Benson in the AFA JOURNAL that said the following:
". . . the authentic and passionate Christ-centered motive of the missionaries is lacking, rendering an incomplete portrayal. In contrast, Elliot's
(Elizabeth Elliot) book (THROUGH GATES OF SPLENDOR) clearly documents the Gospel zeal that drove the mission endeavor."
How could Jerry Falwell and FOCUS ON THE FAMILY wholeheartedly recommend such a movie? Not only did the movie NOT proclaim the clear gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to its viewers, but also it had a committed, homosexual actor and gay advocate play the leading role.
In a paper that came to us recently written by Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer, I read that this Chad Allen has a homosexual agenda. In an interview in LA Magazine, when asked about his first gay love scene in a movie, Chad declared,
"I want beautiful, positive representations of gay male sexuality out there. So it was very important to the director, Ron Oliver, and me to make a
really good sex scene that wasn't gratuitous or gross but was healthy, sexy, and beautiful."
The actor went on in his interview to declare that he believed THE END OF THE SPEAR would bridge the gap between the "gay and Christian communities." Dr. Stauffer wrote that Allen's homosexual agenda is very clear.
"He is attempting to recast homosexuals in a positive light
He is fighting for legal recognition of homosexual marriages
He wants tolerance, acceptance, and recognition of the homosexual lifestyle and agenda
He gives generously to the "Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund" which helps elect openly homosexual candidate to public office."
The controversy over this homosexual choice began, according to an recent E-mail that we received here at the Bible For Today, when a Rev. Jason Janz, an assistant pastor in Denver Colorado, posted critical comments about Chad Allen playing the part of both Nate Saint and his grown-son Steve. Those comments led to a widespread boycott in many evangelical communities. Perhaps it was this alert that warned my husband, Pastor D. A. Waite, and me concerning the situation. I don't remember.
Although there are many others from whom I could quote, let me continue to quote from Rusty Benson:
". . .Christians may be ambivalent at the choice of Chad Allen to portray both Nate Saint and a grown-up Steve Saint. Allen is an out-spoken
gay activist who crusades against a federal marriage amendment."
After broadcasting this paper on "Just For Women," my weekly radio and Internet program, I was surprised to read Marvin Olasky's comments on the THE END OF THE SPEAR movie-controversy in the WORLD magazine (the February 18, 2006 issue). It was too late for me to incorporate my feelings about the Editor-in-Chief's five conclusions on the radio program; but I want to convey them to you as you read. The long and the short of it, from my understanding, was that Mr. Olasky was sympathetic to keeping the gay activist in the leading role, as the film company chose to do. He agreed with their decision. Truthfully, his answer disturbed me. Let me summarize his reasons for you:
(1). The film-makers should have done their homework. [That goes without saying.]
(2). The film-makers had offered a contract which they were right to honor, so they should keep their word. He used Joshua's honoring the Gibeonites' deceit as an example of keeping one's word in a bad situation.
(3). He said "Beyond prudence and law lies grace."
(4). Dumping gay Chad Allen would have shown that Christians can forgive murder but not a homosexual activist. [The savage murderers forsook their murdering when they accepted Jesus Christ. Mr. Allen continues his sinful lifestyle and has not received Jesus Christ as his Saviour, as far as I know.]
(5). We should thank the film makers who have made the best of their mistake. Then the editor asked us readers, "Haven't we all made worse mistakes?"
All of this compromise really upsets me! The self-justification of sin disturbs me almost as much as the hiring of a gay activist to play the lead of Nate Saint. How does it affect you?
The theme of the World editorial appears to be that "the end justifies the means." The late Dr. Charles Woodbridge called such attitudes and behavior "casuistry." What ever happened to the other old adage, "Never do wrong in order to have a chance to do right"? Sad to say, paying a gay activist, as in this case, who uses a goodly portion of his salary to promote his homosexual causes, made the actions of the employer, Every Tribe Entertainment, a company that is aiding and abetting a criminal action against God's Words! The movie star's salary did "aid" and "abet" the cause of sodomy in all the areas mentioned above in previous paragraphs.
As to Joshua keeping his word to the lying Gibeonites. Mr. Allen did not pretend to be "straight." He did not deceive. His homosexuality was well known among the film elitists. He did not come with worn-out shoes and stale bread, so-to-speak. It appears that the film-makers did not know him or his background.
Suppose a church called a pastor. Suppose he was an excellent speaker, knew the Bible well, was personable, and had a beautiful wife and children. Before the man moved into the parsonage, the truth about his homosexuality came to the front. Everyone in the church was shocked. Then it was discovered that he was a gay activist. He used his talents, when not in the pulpit, to promote the Sodomy he enjoyed. He also practiced it many nights a week away from his home, wife and family. Would that church be required to have that man as their pastor just because the church voted to do so? You know the answer. Do you get my point?
When discussing with my husband, Mr. Olasky's views--a writer, by the way whom I usually enjoy--Dr. D. A. Waite reminded me of King Amaziah who had a similar predicament in the Old Testament. Let's look at 2 Chronicles 25 and learn. Until this time, Amaziah did right in the sight of the Lord but not with a perfect heart. I suppose it was this flaw that made him hire three hundred mighty men out of Israel to help him fight a battle. Remember that Amaziah was king over Judah, not Israel. If you recall, when he became king, he killed his servants who had killed his own father; but he did not slay the children of those servants. He followed the law. He did not make the servant's children die for the sins of their fathers.
A man of God came to King Amaziah and rebuked him, "Don't take the army of Israel with you!" The Lord was not with Israel or any of the children of Ephraim for that matter. Amaziah should have known that! But the man of God said, "Go ahead, if you must and use the Ephraimites; but if you do, you will lose the battle." Amaziah was reminded that the LORD had power to help or to cast down.
But there was a problem! Amaziah had already given his word and paid the Ephraimites a hundred talents to fight in that battle. The man of God stilled the kings financial fears with the words we have often heard, "The LORD is able to give thee much more than this!" (2 Chronicles 25:9)
The point in my reviewing this Biblical account is the Lord did not want King Amaziah to be dismayed over the loss of the money. God wanted him to be obedient to His commands. Sometimes you and I become so very concerned about money that we are willing to compromise the teaching of Scripture. As the account continues in the chapter, we see that Amaziah continued in his compromising. It seems he learned absolutely nothing from his experience. How much he was like the rest of us.
Now I realize that some evangelical, as well as some so-called fundamental, churches showed a part of this movie about the slaughter of five brave missionaries to their church congregations. It had been released to churches for promotional purposes. I do not know if the movie shown in churches was edited to fit the fundamental/evangelical mind or not. Someone told me that a church nearby us showed snatches of the film. Pastors were buying handfuls of tickets for their parishioners. My friend said the promotional movie was moving and beautifully done. She said Elizabeth Elliot was in it as she looked in the mid-fifties when the murders were committed and how she looks now. I do not know if she is in the movie-theater version or not. All I know is my friend, the nail technician, saw the whole movie in the movie house and claimed that she never heard the way of salvation at all.
There was a time when church meetings were for the preaching of the Bible and not movie viewing. Any entertainment like a movie or puppets or plays was saved for class parties or special banquets. Back when those young men gave their lives in death, a Bible-preaching church would NEVER show a Hollywood movie under its roof. No more! Times have certainly changed, haven't they?
In closing I want to tell you one more interesting fact. According to CHRISTIANITY TODAY which I read in the FBIS News Service, The Every Tribe Entertainment film makers did not know that Chad Allen was a homosexual when they first offered him the part. This was discovered AFTERWARDS but BEFORE the contract was signed. So WHY did Steve Saint support the gay man in the role of his father? For two reasons. REASON ONE was because of a dream Steve had. God told him in the dream that he (Steve Saint, the martyred pilot's son) should not be alarmed with the angry Christians who would not approve of a homosexual in the lead. REASON TWO was that the film makers would continue with Chad Allen in the lead because they wanted to keep their word. I guess that is how Judas felt when he kissed Jesus on the cheek in betrayal. He had to keep his words to the chief priests. After all, they'd given him thirty pieces of silver, hadn't they?
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
And what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
For ye are the temple of the living God;
as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them:
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them,
and be ye separate,
saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing. . .
2 Corinthians 6:14-17
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