Sep 1 2006
Question: As a long-time fan of TBC, I was terribly disappointed by your negative remarks about the movie, End of the Spear, in the May Q&A. You stated, "The film does a disservice both to the missionaries...and to the Lord...is an insult to the five martyrs, dishonoring to their Lord, and misleading to viewers!" In fact, nothing could be further from the truth!
Dave, the next time you critique a movie please see it first. Missionary Nate Saint's son, Steve Saint, championed this film.... The Waodani themselves also approved of and cooperated with these filmmakers....
Answer: Go back and read my response once again and you will see that I did not claim to judge End of the Spear without seeing it. My response was based entirely upon what a questioner said who had seen it. My reply to him used phrases such as "what you portray" and "the film as you describe it."
His opinion of the movie (after seeing it) differs markedly from yours—and in your letter you don't respond to his objections that I quoted. You refer to "production values...tight script, gorgeous cinematography, beautiful score, a compelling story and fine acting." Similar compliments could be given to many ungodly movies. Nor do your objections to what I wrote have any relationship to the question I was asked and to which I responded.
The critic stated: "The greatest disappointment was that the gospel—that all have sinned and that Christ is God who became a man and paid the penalty demanded by God's justice for our sins—was missing! The transforming power of the gospel and faith in Christ was never explained as the reason for the change in the lives of the Aucas!" You did not refute that. Indeed, you made no reference at all to the film's gospel content or lack of it.
He said, "Nor does the film depict the godly lives of these men. Jim Elliot was unfairly and dishonorably portrayed as a reckless buffoon; the missionaries never prayed, read their Bibles, mentioned Jesus, or conversed about God. No church services were shown or even implied. Viewers could mistake these five young men for Peace Corps workers or anthropologists rather than missionaries. The film could just as well have been the promotion of pacifism or nonviolent response to persecution." You refuted none of these serious objections.
You say that "the missionaries...were whole men and women who loved their spouses, got pregnant, raised families, celebrated birthdays, danced, laughed, and lived life more abundantly." That such things were beautifully portrayed could be said of many secular films and has no relationship to what ought to be the heart of a Christian film. He complained that the film did not have the gospel and that it did not portray the Christianity that these missionaries lived. Not only do you not refute this criticism, you don't even address it! I hope others who view this disappointing movie will have more discernment.