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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In the Shadow of the Spear - My Response

Earlier this morning, I tried to compile most of what is being said in response to Every Tribe Entertainment's choice of casting Chad Allen, an openly gay activist, as a leading role in the movie The End of the Spear which is to be released tomorrow. In this post, I hope to share some of my thoughts and responses to what some of the people are saying. Since I have several different thoughts, I will separate them in bullets. 1. Probably the most disappointing part of this movie is not so much the issue of Chad Allen's homosexuality as much as the toning down of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This movie is being produced by a "Christian" entertainment company, and one would think that if the movie is about five men who gave their lives for the sake of the gospel, one would emphasize the centrality of the gospel in the movie. However, from what has been said by those who have seen it, the gospel is glaringly absent. One of my favorite books is The Journals of Jim Elliot. As I read about he and the other missionaries, I realized that they were hard core when it came to the gospel and the call of missions. They were men of great conviction, great courage, and great character. It is sad to see that the makers of this movie, and those cast in it, are so diametrically opposed to what these men epitomized. 2. What I have heard from many Christians is something like, "It doesn't matter that he is homosexual. What matters is that he does a good job portraying Nate Saint." Basically, the main rationale is that he is the best man for the job. Really? Is Chad Allen the best actor Hollywood has to offer? Is performance all that really matters? This is the post-Clintonian ethic. While Bill Clinton had his pants down in the oval office, his ratings/job approval went up. America said, "As long as the economy is good, my stocks keep rising, and the country is safe, who cares if the President practices oral sex and infidelity in the White House? In other words, the President's private life and what he does should not be our concern. What should be our concern is the way he does his job and how that affects us (how anthropocentric!). " So we say, "As long as Allen's performance is good, who cares if he is a homosexual?" And this could not be more self-centered and contrary to the gospel. It does matter. It seems that in our postmodern context, the scandal of the evangelical conscience (a la Ron Sider) is becoming more evident than ever. 3. Another response which troubled me was the missiological motive as expressed by Gene Bridges. In his comment on Challies post, he said On the other hand, would gay men and lesbians, a hard-to-reach people group have gone to see this film without Chad Allen or another openly gay actor in it? Probably not, so I have to wonder if this isn't a providential working of God that will show our short-sightedness if we don't latch onto it. In my opinion, not to use this opportunity to reach a hard to reach people, which is what this film is essentially portraying would be as much a disservice to the memories of these men as Chad Allen's use of this role to promote his social and political agenda, if not moreso. Bridges makes some stretching equivocations here. First, he makes a comparison between the Hourani (Auca) tribe and the homosexuals of America. He says that both groups were/are among the least reached in the world, and the movie would honor these men if it was used to reach homosexuals for Christ. Nice idea, but wrong and naive. The Hourani and homosexuals cannot be equivocated. The Hourani's had no access to the gospel. And when they received the gospel, it changed their lives. Homosexuals in America have access to the gospel, but as Scripture says, are "suppressing the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). They have heard the gospel (although probably won't get much of it in the movie) but have chosen to remain in the unnatural, depraved state of a homosexual lifestyle. Insert Chad Allen's comments on Larry King Live: KING: But did you choose it? In other words, did you sit down one day and say gay/straight, gay/straight I think I'll be gay? ALLEN: No. Larry, this is the way it is. From as early as I can possibly remember I was attracted to men and not to women. That's just the way that it goes. I didn't have somebody like me talking on TV about it. I didn't have gay influences in my family. It just is and I have come to accept that it is goodness and it's part of who I am. ALLEN: (midway through comment) I have a deep relationship with God in 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. CALLER: Chad, by whose standard do you think that it's right to live the way you have chosen to live? ALLEN: By the standard that I judge all of my actions. These days I judge all of my actions by my relationship with God of my understanding. It is a deep-founded, faith-based belief in God based upon the work that I've done growing up as a Catholic boy and then reaching out to Buddhism philosophy, to Hindu philosophy, to Native American beliefs and finally as I got through my course with addiction and alcoholism and finding a higher power that worked for me. You know, I had to sit down with that same God today and say, "Do you want me to go on this show? Do you want me to speak the things that are in my heart? And if not, I'm happy not to go. Do you want me to make this movie?" It's the same God that I go to for every decision. KING: You play a Christian, right? ALLEN: I play a Christian, yes. And they're going to be saying, "This is the way you be Christian, there's only one way." Well you know what, there isn't. I'm a part of a wonderful community church here in Pasadena that has a very different interpretation of those same gospels that they are speaking of. There isn't just one way to do this, there are a lot of paths. KING: Chad Allen, being honest, do you ever wish you were straight? You wish you were straight? ALLEN: There have been times in my life when I've absolutely wished that I was straight, without question. Today in my life, the acceptance of my sexuality is a beautiful gift from God that I get to share with the world, and my partner has made me happier than anything. And I think it's so important to address, because they keep coming back and saying, if you follow this path then it's going to lead to darkness; you follow this path, and it's going to lead to dangerous... KING: Do you ever think you're doing something wrong? ALLEN: Listen, I question myself all the time to make sure that I'm operating in the right way and the way that I want to operate in the world. And this what I've come to, again and again and again. It's been where my heart has been brought. You are whole, perfect and complete right now, exactly as you are. (in conclusion) ALLEN: Thank you very much. And I appreciate that. I couldn't agree more. Steve Saint called me today, and he said, I need you to know that I'm sitting here with Mincayani. We'll be watching you tonight. We love you. We are on your side. And I know that we have those differences, but we are walking through this together. That's where we're going to go. Emphasis mine. Comments are taken directly out of Larry King Live transcript. Now, with all that Allen said, being that he is the spokesman and figurehead of the "least reached" homosexual people in America, do you think this movie will influence homosexuals for Christ? Allen says that he is "whole, perfect, and complete right now." He says that his homosexuality is a "beautiful gift from God." He has accepted his homosexuality "as goodness" and that he has a "deep and profound" relationship with the "God of my understanding" ("a higher power that works for me"). He also said, "I am very much at peace in the knowledge that in my heart God created this beautiful expression of my love." Allen believes he is a Christian. He does not believe he needs to be transformed by God's grace. If Allen, being the leader, figurehead, and spokesperson for many, if not all, of the homosexuals going to watch the movie thinks this way, then why in the world do we think that this movie is going to impact homosexuals for Christ, especially given the placation of the gospel? Finally, let me add that the five missionaries gave themselves for the truthfulness and integrity of the gospel. They were true missionaries with a true message to deliver. The medium was not a movie screen but their very lives. Nothing could be farther and more misguided than to think this movie will evangelize homosexuals. They have their own gospel (see Allen's reference to the "God of my own understanding"). Now they are getting they their own platform to promote their propaganda. 4. Challies said, "So here's the rub: these Hollywood stars and starlets would not have a platform if we did not provide it to them. We provide them a platform when we support their films. The more popular a film becomes, the greater the platform we provide for the actors. " I agree with Challies that this movie is providing yet another platform for the homosexual agenda. Had this movie not casted Allen, I dare say he would not have been on the Larry King Live show nor would this movie be given the criticism it has received. So next to the performance priority, there is the problem of the platform. And do you know who props this platform up? Gullible Christians who have no problem being pick-pocketed by Hollywood by enticing them with a movie of their liking. Christians are going ga-ga and salivating over the idea that Hollywood would make such a movie. Are we so captivated by the culture and entranced by their acceptance of us that we express a hollow head and empty conscience? I am even more saddened by the fact that some solid Christian leaders whom I have respect for are not seeing the effects of this movie as a tell-tale commentary on the current state of evangelical thinking. 5. Finally, my last comment is with regard to Steve Saint's endorsement of Chad Allen. More than an endorsement is the acceptance of Allen and his homosexuality. Allen wanted Saint to bless his homosexual lifestyle, and he got it. He believes anyone who doesn't accept it hates him and other homosexuals. Steve Saint is being either a disingenuous Christian or an inconsistent Christian. He also read about Chad Allen in a gay/lesbian/transgender magazine called The Advocate. Not only does Saint gloss over the differences regarding homosexuality, he follows suit with the movie and is permissive of "another gospel" which should be outrightly condemned. I cannot reconcile the beauty of the life of Nate Saint and Steve Saint's dealings with Chad Allen. There are other issues which I will comment on later, such as the actual quality of the movie (I heard it was still a "B" quality movie), the so-called witch hunt of evangelicals with homosexuals, the pluralistic and New Age influence on Christianity, and Christianity's response to the propaganda of the homosexual agenda as a "civil rights" movement. However, my last thoughts are simple questions like, "Could this not have all been avoided? Did ETE realize what they were doing when they chose Chad Allen as a lead actor in a movie which is intended to portray the lives of missionaries who believed the gospel enough to give their lives? When worldviews collide as they have in this movie, do they not expect Christians to point that out? I remember sitting in front of the house of Nate Saint in Shell Mera, Ecuador and thinking about the legacy he and the other four missionaries have left behind. I pray this movie doesn't diminish or taint that legacy. As they lived their lives in the shadow of the Almighty, let us not remember them in the shadow of the spear. NOTE: I just heard on The Albert Mohler Program that Dr. Mohler will be talking about this controversy tomorrow, January 20, 2006. For local listings, check here. To listen to the show at your convenience, click here. Dr. Mohler can also be heard on XM Satellite Radio channel 170 nationwide from 5-6 p.m. and 1-2 a.m.


Blogger DJP said...

Thanks for linking to my blog, below. We have similar views of this. ETE did the Christian public a disservice -- but it did Allen no less of a disservice. Are Gospel issues clearer to him, or more muddled, because of his involvement?

Apparently, the latter.

1/19/2006 07:18:00 PM


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