“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
â€œHe is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot loseâ€.
First of all, let me begin by saying that The End of the Spear was a powerful movie. It was surprising how well done the film was technically, even with a lower budget. The story was, as I knew, incredible. The scenes were touching, and reached out to the audience, leaving a stunned audience to sit in silence at the end of the film, not moving anywhere to leave the theatre.
Before going into the theatre, I knew one huge fact about this movie. It’s name, or rather, his name was Chad Allen. Allen happens to be one of the nation’s leading gay activists, and the actor portraying the part of Nate and Steve Saint, one of the five missionaries killed by the Waodani in the 1950s. I believed that the knowledge that this was a gay man would ruin my experience. But it did not. The man was just like any other actor, a sinner, who was doing his job. The acting was superb, and I was glad that this man’s lifestyle had no affect on me as I watched the movie.
Yet still, we have seen a lot of legitimate concern with using the “worst man for the job.” This man is one who worships, as he says, the “God of my understanding. It’s very powerful, and it’s taken its own shape and form. And I am very much at peace in the knowledge that in my heart God created this beautiful expression of my love.” It is obvious that he was not the best man for the job. In fact, he could have been the worst man for the job.
World Net Daily reports Steve Saint’s interesting take on the situation:
Nate Saint’s son Steve Saint, who served as a producer, a stunt pilot and had a bit part in the film, believes it was God’s plan to have Allen in “End of the Spear,” according to Agape Press.
Saint admitted, however, he was shocked when he learned Allen was homosexual.
“I could feel physical pain,” he recalled, “thinking [that] somebody that lives a lifestyle like that is going to depict my dad.”
But after further reflection, he began to see Allen’s involvement might be God-ordained.
Some Christians might be offended by Allen’s role, Saint realized, but “I thought, ‘What happens if I stand before God someday and He says to me, “Steve, I went out of my way to orchestrate an opportunity for Chad Allen to see what it would be like to live as your father did.”‘ And then I could picture Him looking at me and saying, ‘Steve, why did you mess with my plan?’”
Also according to World Net Daily, Allen supposedly has made a “gentleman’s agreement” with Every Tribe Entertainment to not use the platform given to him through this movie as a way to promote his homosexual activities.
What concerned me the most was not a gay actor or a director of gay movies, but rather the power of the gospel given in this movie. For the majority of the movie, I put myself in the shoes of an unbeliever. I came to the conclusion that the power of the gospel could be received as powerful. Yet it is very possible to wonder what exactly those missionaries were willing to give up their lives for, other than to be friendly and stop the killing. Some have claimed that it is impossible to see the gospel in this film because it is so hidden, yet I will differ on that point. It will vary, as I said, from person to person, and their background. Beyond the Gates of Splendor did not “preach” the gospel. And really, we should be the ones proclaiming the gospel, not this movie. We need to make sure we don’t get hung up on details, or problems such as these and take our eyes off of what we really need to be doing.
As a Christian, the gospel was evident as the Aucas realized that these missionaries were trying to tell them something–that the God they knew was out there and had a Son, and he was the way to jump the great “boa.” Of course, one would need a foreknowledge of the gospel to understand the dual meaning of these words which were used to help the Indians understand the message.
Perhaps we need to go beyond the gospel even, and realize that this is a story for Christians. A story about the ultimate sacrifice of these men who were willing to do crazy things to give horrible sinners the hope of forgivness and eternal life. It is a challenge to us to take our Christianity seriously and to be willing to give up personal comfort to save our brothers and sisters from eternity in hell. Really, that is the essential part of this film, even above the gospel. It is a challenge to spread the gospel.
The story as a whole, as I said, is absolutely powerful. The main character, Mincayani, is well-portrayed. His is a story of hatred and fear, turned into love and forgiveness as he becomes a God-follower, following the “carvings” of God’s Word.
We also see Nate Saint and his son. Their relationship proves to be something that affects you when you witness the horrible slaying of Nate Saint and the other missionaries on Palm Beach. There is a wonderful set of scenes, starting with Steve Saint asking his aunt the words of “We are your sincere friends” in Waodani over the radio (she was friends with Dayuma, an Auca who escaped to the white men early in the movie.) He asks his dad to promise to speak those words if he gets in a jam on the beach. Sure enough, he does.
As Nate Saint lies there, gasping for breath, a spear in his chest, and Mincayani standing over him, he speaks those words to him. If you have a heart at all at this point you’ll need some kleenex.
Another scene is at the end, when Steve Saint is given the chance to take revenge on Mincayani, yet he responds by telling Mincayani that “no one took my father’s life, he gave it away.”*
The true story was the key ingredient in this film, mixed with enough humorous parts to keep the audience entertained, and plenty of moments that broke your heart. These moments made the audience sit silently as the filmed closed. Many were wiping away tears, and others were pondering what had just happened as they saw horrible sin being forgiven.
Overall, the movie receives a B, as the gospel is not as strong as it could be, you really didn’t get to know the other missionaries and the story behind the story, and while they picked a good actor in terms of his skills, the fact that he is a gay activist is disheartening, to put it mildly.
I would encourage you to see it for yourself. I do not believe it would be a sin to go see it, and I would preach day and night against anything Chad Allen says if he decides to use the platform that has been given him. I want him to know True Joy and Peace, not joy and peace run by his feelings and understandings.
Finally, I am asking myself the question of whether or not Steve Saint was wrong in what he has done. And I’m really not 100% sure. Some are saying he’s terribly wrong, and others still are saying we don’t know. I would give him the benefit of the doubt, believing that he wanted to witness to this man. I really would like to get in personal contact with him to ask those vital questions that really need to be asked.
*Not official quote…