The End Of The Spear – Movie Review

January 20, 2006 — 12 Comments

WARNING: SPOILERS

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose”.
–Jim Elliot

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…

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Tim Sweetman

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Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

12 responses to The End Of The Spear – Movie Review

  1. :-) my dad’s conclusion on Allen was so funny “If God can speak through a donkey, then of course He can speak through a homosexual.”

  2. Good review Tim. We saw the movie today. It was an emotional movie that I thought was decently told. The scenes between father and son were powerful. I have to say if I didn’t know the story ahead of time I would be left with a few questions. While I’m not one to need a direct presentation of “this is what you need to do to be saved”, I did feel that the connection to Christ as Savior was weak. My friend who saw it with me thought the same thing. In the end Chad Allen was not as big a factor as I thought he would be. Although both my friend and I did say it was a little distracting when he interacted with his wife. I found myself feeling sorry for the woman actress. I know its all acting but it still seemed a little odd. Overall I give it a B.

    Our audience was not quite as silent at the end. The grocery store scene and Steve Saints dialogue about fast food and fat Americans was humorous and a nice touch. We all left laughing.

  3. Ah yes, that end part was quite humorous. I really didn’t want to give away all the good parts, so I didn’t mention that extra. After that, everyone did leave the theatre with smiles. It really helped relieve the anguish you felt.

  4. Rebecca LuElla Miller January 21, 2006 at 8:44 PM

    Tim,

    I dropped in from Sally’s site at http://paraklesis.com/childrens_publishing_news/

    Just a thought–might not Chad Allen’s reputation bring some people very much in need of the Savior to the movie, when they would otherwise have shunned it?

    I for one, applaud anything that portrays Christians as forgiving people. In our culture, we have gained a reputation for judgmentalism and bigotry when what God asks of us is to love our neighbor, to let our light shine. The job of judging is His.

    Sometimes I think too many of us, if we found ourselves in the shoes of the good Samaritan, would stand on the far side of the road and shout out a litany of questions to the wounded man, like, What do you think about homosexuality? What’s your stand on abortion?

    Of course these are sins. If given the chance, I would preach against them, too. But didn’t Jesus say the physician didn’t come to the healthy and whole but to the sick? How is it we think that is OK for Jesus but not for His followers?

    If He were walking the earth today, would He be more likely to hang out in churches or on the corners of inner city streets? Would He shun this movie about self-sacrifice and forgiveness because a gay man was in it?

    Thankfully yours is a voice of reason amidst this silly Christians-bashing-Christians foray.

  5. Good review, Tim! I’ll have to go see it when I have a chance.

    The fact that Chad Allen is in the movie isn’t that big of a deal to me. You can dig up “dirt” on any actor out there… I don’t know why he was specifically chosen to play Nate Saint, but maybe it is God’s plan for something. Maybe God will touch Allen’s heart through this movie.

  6. I came into the movie not knowing of Chad Allen’s gay lifestyle, so it did not figure into my thinking at all. Even now after the fact, it doesn’t even begin to change my way of thinking. I agree with the above comment, if God can speak through a donkey, then God can speak through a gay man. While I agree in opposing all his other agenda’s outside of the theater, I detected nothing of a gay agenda in the movie, or in Mr. Allen’s actions. And as such if anything, I agree and support Steve Saints decision to leave him in the movie.
    The message of the movie as I saw it was, Christian love/forgiveness, conquers tribal hate and killing. Now there are those even as I was walking away for the theater who expressed disappointment at the movie not showing the gospel more, but I would like to raise a question here. First, what really happened, when they were visited at Palm Beach, they did just try to gain friendship, and when Rachael and the others went into the forest, that is when they shared the gospel, and they showed they with Dayuma’s Waodani version of the gospel. While this was incomplete, consider something of the alternative. If Rachel had taken five minutes of the movie and gone through the four spiritual laws what would have been the effect? What is it that we want these movies to do? Do we want these movies saving people? Or planting a seed? In my mind, a lot of people would have been turned away from a blatant sharing of the gospel, shunning the movie as soapbox. Is there a place for such movies to blatantly share the gospel, yes, but that was not the point of this movie. Movies like The Passion of Christ are Perfect for that, this movie was not. I am not trying to weaken or stray away from sharing the gospel, quite the opposite, this movie works as a perfect seed. The seed planted begs the question, why would men die for their Christian faith. Because the movie makes it clear enough that no doubt can be had that they are Christians. The seed planted is powerful, and Christians should jump on it to share their faith with those who do see the movie. A quick comment I would make is that I do believe the movie could have done more, but much more, and I honestly believe people would have started to be repulsed by the gospel, and take offence. Without getting issues of sensitivities, I would give the movie an A-.

    An interesting question is why do we as Christians wait for a movie like The Passion of the Christ to decide to actually get up and share the gospel. Why do we have to wait until we have something blatant that screams the gospel? Why do we find ourselves unable or more truthfully, unwilling to share the gospel with every opportunity. Opportunities, such as this one, or the dozens, aye hundreds of movies that give us platforms for sharing the truth. Why do we wait for a movie that we feel shares the gospel for us, that does all the work, and all we have to do is real them in? When will get over our fear, and share the gospel after almost any movie? You can share the gospel off a movies that twists the gospel just as well as those who portray it correctly. Why? Well that’s a completely different question for another time.

  7. Thanks for an insightful and balanced review, Tim. :-)

  8. “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.”

    Very astute comment. Reminds us that God sees all sin equally, and that homosexuality is no worse than other sin.

  9. It doesnt seem beyond the pale that God may indeed use this opportunity powerfully in the life of Mr. Allen. Any engagement with the Gospel is bound to be frutiful for the healing of this man’s soul. How could Christians not support such an opportunity? Thanks for your perspective and valuable information!

  10. Tim–

    I think you largely overrated this film. The characters were shallow, the story was undeveloped, and there was far to many tribal thongs…. Saint’s ‘conversion was depicted as some sort of tribal resurrection, not a conversion. THE WHOADANI PEOPLE ONLY LOST THEIR LUST FOR VIOLENCE afet this ‘conversion’. Did the tribe convert (in real life)? Yes. I do not think the movie touched on the ‘God aspect’. As for Chad Allen’s casting, I see no difference in that than when two STRAIGHT actors, (Heath Ledger, Jake Gylenhaal) portrayed gay men in Brokeback Mountain! Yet there was no conroversey over that; just over the content of the movie, not who was executing it.

  11. Excellent review, Tim! It was a wonderful, very powerful movie!

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