End Of The Spear, My Perspective

There has been a lot of controversy over the past couple of weeks in the blog-world over the movie, End Of The Spear. Up until just one day ago I was undecided as to whether or not I would even see the movie. I decided not to see the movie.

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.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “End Of The Spear, My Perspective

  1. Steve Weaver

    Good post! Sound reasoning!

  2. Jeremy Weaver

    Wow! Thanks.
    For the record, that’s the nicest thing my brother has ever said to me!

  3. Randy

    Thanks for the heads up on the movie. Someone got me the DVD Beyond the Gates of Splendor as a Christmas gift, and now I think that’s all I’ll be watching.

  4. sally apokedak

    Oh, I am so sorry to read this.

    I went to the movie yesterday and was bowled over by the grace of God in the lives of this violent tribe.

    The movie is produced by Christians not unregenerate men. And did you read whatSteve’s Saint’s reaction was when he found out they’d hired a homosexual actor?

    Oh, I wish that Christians would go and see a movie before they judge it. It is such a good movie.

    No, it was not made clear in the movie that Jesus bore our sins on the cross.

    But these things were clear:

    >God speaks through the Bible
    >God tells us he hates killing
    >God has a son who was speared but refused to spear back. He did this so the ones who killed him could live a good life
    >Now you must give up spearing and follow God’s path

    For the Christian who knows what the five martyrs believed it is a wonderful movie, full of God’s grace and the power of the gospel.

    for the unbeliever it is a movie that does not ask them to follow along in the sinner’s prayer but can not help but make them know that there is a power, a love, a God, that is far beyond their wildest imagination. It will cause some to hunger and some to scoff.

    I’ve written on this for the last three days on my blog if you care to investigate it more fully. I have some good links to reveiws there, too.

    Thanks for listening.

  5. Jeremy Weaver

    Sally,
    I do not want the movie to give the sinner’s prayer. I want it to be historically accurate. It’s not. You can’t omit the Gospel in a missionary story, especially this one, and expect to come away with a clear picture of what took place. These men died for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and if that is not portrayed, then the movie is pointless. It doesn’t do what it is supposed to do, namely, tell the story of the missionaries who died.

    As for Steve Saint’s reaction, it is very subjective. We would do better to follow the objective standard of Scripture than our own thoughts about what might happen at the judgment. One thing we know from Scripture, we will be judged for our lives, therefore we should live by the standard of God, not the standard of what I think God might do or say.

    Chad Allen worships a god like that. A god he has created who allows him to do whatever he wants.

  6. Mike Garner

    Or, as Tom Ascol suggests, get the DVD documentary, Beyond Gates Of Splendor.

    You and I probably agree at some points and disagree at others about The End of the Spear. However, this is definitely solid advice. The documentary was fantastic. This is a faithful representation of the lives of these men, their wives, and their children. It shows the transformational power of the Gospel.

  7. Bhedr

    I like you doxo, but disagree here.

    Stop looking for the living among the dead. Its Hollywood not the Pulpit.

    Why do a lot of Christian’s who use Hollywood use the same actors?

    (Steve Martin is right, in some form there all gays and bi’s and what goes on in Hollywood is appauling.)

    I don’t know and its a fine line as to what is right, but the bottom line is that its not the pulpit nor is it Scripture, so why do we all have to think we can find the living among the dead.

    I enjoyed the movie as I watched it last night and knowing the full story from having read it and being told it all my life…well i couldn’t stop weeping throught the whole movie. Gay guy or no.

    Woman what have I to do with you?

    or

    How does this concern you or me?

    Nevertheless God took the time to turn the water into wine and meet our demands among the dead and so I see his fingerprints here just like I did in Passion.

    Is there synergism? Yes

    There always is…

    Its Hollywood not Antioch.

  8. Jeremy Weaver

    The point is, the Gospel was left to Hollywood, and they demolished it, from the reviews I have read.
    “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Mat 7:6)ESV

    Relevant? I think so.

  9. Jeremy Weaver

    And I’m not looking for the living in Hollywood. Just the opposite. I’m stating that they’re not there, so don’t leave the Gospel to them.

  10. Joe

    Most of the world thinks of Christianity as one of the major religions of the world, with or without Jesus.

    Omitting Jesus from the story misses the point of the story which was Jesus, not “God speaks through the Bible” or “God hates killing.”

  11. Bhedr

    Anytime we turn to Hollywood we give what is holy to the Dogs.

    I’m tired of us Christians always looking to Hollywood for hope period or to Rock and Roll or anything else.

    Prayer and the Holy Spirit is the only witness and the power. let us look no where else.

    Tozer wrote on the menace of the religious movie and I think he is right. I am neither going to sell it or abase it. No hope lies there. It is the catacombs.

    Having said that…I enjoyed the movie and wept through the whole thing.

    I am just tired of Boycotts; but I respect your choice.

    Hollywood will always disapoint. Ever since I have been alive, I have never known them not to. It is one of Satan’s thrones. Jesus need not bow there.

  12. Bhedr

    Did you see the Passion of the Christ?

    What is more important to you?

    The witness of Jesus Himself and His death or a left of center account of the Acuas with a Homo playing the part of Nate Saint?

    Did the Synergism and witchcraft in Passion bother you?

  13. Mike Garner

    Did the Synergism and witchcraft in Passion bother you?

    It was the Pro-Roman/Pro-Mass that disturbed me the most. I’m somewhat shocked at how many Protestants loved the movie. Then again, I’ve always believed that if most people in Protestant Churches had to choose to have a Reformation or not, they would choose not to.

  14. Jeremy Weaver

    Brain said,
    “Anytime we turn to Hollywood we give what is holy to the Dogs.”

    Exactly. Let’s stop doing it. It is in violation of a direct command from Jesus Christ.

    No, I did not see the Passion for the same reasons stated in this post. Hollywood doesn’t have the charge, capability, or capacity to deliver the Gospel. That is the church’s job.

  15. Edward

    Interesting that you take Jason’s comment the the Gospel is “dumbed down” as gospel. Apparently he is more discerning than…

    Ted Haggard
    Dennis Rainey
    John Maxwell
    Jerry Falwell
    Jerry Vines
    Joel Osteen
    Kay Arthur

    and about 40 other Evangelical Christian leaders who have endorsed the film.

    What makes a movie a “Christian” movie?

    The Christian world celebrates that Disney didn’t “mess up” the Narnia analogy (or “supposal” more accurately), and their cast managed to escape the scrutiny of the evangelical church (one cast member publicly endorses adult films), but stones are picked up off the ground and cast at the Every Tribe Entertainment team for their INCREDIBLE work.

    Shame on all of you.It’s hypocrisy. By your standards, you should never set your foot in a theater again.

    As a point of SOLID FACT. Jason Janz is basing his “facts” about Every Tribe Entertainment from a news story written by homosexual advocates. If he actually went to the source, he would find out that the filmmakers didn’t know he was gay until after a contract had been offered and then didn’t find out he was a public advocation until a few days before shooting when he was on Larry King Live.

    The CEO and founder of the film company is part of the family that started Hobby Lobby which proclaims the Gospel in newspaper ads in Full Page Christmas and Easter ads and is closed on Sundays. I’ll take his word and integrity over Jason Janz’s “mission to create a cause”.

  16. Jeremy Weaver

    A fictional story that is not meant to present the Gospel is one thing, and a story about five missionaries who gave their lives for the Gospel is a totally different thing.
    Please don’t compare the Chronicles of Narnia, a great work of fiction, with the real historical fact that missionaries went to Ecuador to give their lives to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ, NOT MORALITY, to the Waodoni tribe.

    All of the reviews I have read by secular reviewers totally missed this point about the Gospel being the reason for the missionaries activity in Ecuador.

    If you are mad at Jason Janz, don’t take it out on me. Maybe you should read his article and comment on it.

    What’s more, producing a list of names of ‘Christians’ that endorse the film is ridiculous. Base your decision on the Word of God and not Joel Osteen.

    BTW,
    The only names there that I would put in confidence in are Vines and Falwell, and Falwell pushes the limits.

  17. Bhedr

    >Hollywood doesn’t have the charge, capability, or capacity to deliver the Gospel. That is the church’s job.< Amen. We both agree on that, so it is a good thing and a very little thing that we disagree on the other. ‘Nuttin’ but a thing, a little chicken wing’ as a guy in my platoon used to say. I’m glad you are a teacher of the word and that men will hear the gospel from your lips. Enjoy your blog and I hope that I did not offend you in any way.

  18. Jeremy Weaver

    Of course you didn’t offend me! You’re too kind to be offensive!

  19. Shawn L

    I’m thinking of watching the movie and agree with Brian.

    Though I appreciate you Doxo and Steve Camp and others I guess I’m more of a person who doesn’t think that much when I watch a movie and it sounds like a great topic get me thinking and praying about.

    Isn’t a movie that lets you reflect on the glory of God and pray for more missionaries a good idea. I know their are problems, with it but I like Lord of the Rings and saw God’s glory in it as well though it wasn’t a Christian movie. I think I might be able to see more of God’s glory in this movie than alot of movies.

    I’ll keep thinking and praying about this one before I decide.

  20. centuri0n

    Oh, spot on. The issues, in order of importance, are:
    (1) What is the Gospel?
    (2) Are we proclaiming it without shame?
    (3) What means are we using?
    (4) Who is qualified to use them?

    Really: I don’t care if Chad Allen works in Hollywood. I’m sure he’s a fine actor. The question is if he is qualified to present the Gospel even in a fictional or cinematic context.

    If Spear is not the Gospel, the rest is moot — play on. But if Spear is supposed to be the Gospel, or a vehicle for the Gospel, it cannot also be the vehicle for a self-invented religion that mixes American Indian, Buddhism, Hindu and Roman Catholic plates from the ideological buffet.

    Good stuff. I’m calling my lawyer and telling him to hold the lawsuit over the shekinah thing in your avatar.

  21. Jeff Fuller

    Quote: “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.”

    That is a great one-liner. Just the message people need to hear when they label this a “Christian” film!

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