I know a lot of people are emotionally charged over this movie, and I was very excited about the movie when I first heard of it last year. I had been looking forward to seeing the lives of these faithful servants of God portrayed on the big screen, and equally excited about the fact that Steve Saint continues their work among the Waodoni people.
Then last week, my world crumbled. And I am glad it did. I read Jason Janz' article at SharperIron, and I must admit, I was stunned.
First, there was the revelation that Nate Saint was being played by a gay activist. Not just a homosexual, not just someone who had marched for gay rights a couple of times, but Chad Allen, a man known for his activism in the gay community. But even that I could have overlooked at first, if not for this second point.
The Gospel is hardly present, if present at all in the movie. They cut the heart of the story out. It is like a passion play without a Jesus, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory without a 'Chocolate Factory', or The Lord Of The Rings without a ring. Jim Elliot was a man consumed by the glory of God and passionate about spreading His glory. The whole reason the missionaries were in Ecuador was to spread the Gospel. The fabric of the story revolves around the Gospel. And it has been omitted.
When you cut the Gospel out of those missionaries' stories, then they died for nothing. I don't particularly want to watch a movie about people who die for no reason.
How are these two points related? Well, in a story such as this, where the Gospel is intricately woven into the fabric of the story, you must take great care who portrays the story. As Christians, we have a sacred trust, the Gospel.
We who have had the Gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it, nor sit by and hear it denied by traitor, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it... (Charles Spurgeon).Where is the wisdom of turning this Gospel over to the world to proclaim for us? We need look no further than the movie 'End Of The Spear', which has been produced by the unregenerate, to see what the outcome is. A denial of the power of the Gospel in the lives of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Peter Fleming.
To top it off, today I read Tom Ascol's review of the movie. He confirmed my decision to not see the movie. Thank you, Tom.
So I would encourage you to not waste your time with the movie. Read Through Gates of Splendor, instead. Or, as Tom Ascol suggests, get the DVD documentary, Beyond Gates Of Splendor.
More resources for researching the movie:
What Were They Thinking? The Controversy Over The End Of The Spear, Coming Soon: The End Of The Spear, The End Of The Spear: Is The Messenger The Message?, and End Of The Spear, Redux. Centuri0n, at ...and His Ministers a Flame of Fire, will also be discussing this in the future.
I think this is a fair sampling, along with the links in the post body, for making an intelligent decision to view or ignore the movie.