One of the world’s greatest examples of love and forgiveness comes to life this week through the film,
End of the Spear. The movie accurately depicts the story of the supernatural transformation of one of the most violent, savage groups of people in the world. Fifty years ago, five missionaries peacefully made contact with this group, the Waodani tribe of Ecuador, and were brutally murdered.
Chad Allen, a homosexual activist, portrays a Christian missionary in the
End of the Spear.
This week, I spent two days on television talking with Steve Saint, whose father initially located the tribe and piloted the airplane that took all of the missionaries on their final mission, and the film’s executive producer, Mart Green.
In the years following the tragedy, Steve and his family experienced such amazing grace that they were able to forgive their father’s murderers. They moved to the Waodani lands to live among these “savages” and show them a better way to live. At the time, half of Ecuador’s indigenous people, including children, died early deaths because of the tribal violence. Steve and the other missionaries poured out such love on these people that they abandoned their brutal ways. The story of this life-changing love is beautiful and moving. End of the Spear is a must-see, not only for Christians, but for all people.
Yet prior to this weekend’s nationwide release of the film, a controversy has arisen around the lead actor. Chad Allen, whom many will recognize from the television series
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, is openly gay. He could even be considered a homosexual activist.
Steve Saint and the other movie producers did not know this when they cast Allen in the dual role of father and son Nick and Steve Saint. Just before principal photography began in the jungles of Central America, they were informed of Allen’s lifestyle. They faced a difficult decision: remove their chosen actor from the film because of his unbiblical sexual activity or show him the true meaning of love through the powerful film and personal interaction. After much prayer, Steve Saint and the film’s producers decided to keep Allen in the film and share with him their faith in Jesus Christ.
Allen responded to their openness and kindness, diligently and faithfully portraying the missionaries in the film, and responding to the filmmakers’ positive witness. By the end of the filming, Steve and others on the set thought that Allen’s lifestyle would be different. However, after several months back in the United States, he was once again publicly advocating homosexuality.
This, of course, is troubling to those of us who want to promote End of the Spear and its positive message without endorsing the off-screen behavior of the lead actor. I knew of this potential pitfall prior to interviewing Steve Saint and Mart Green on our television program,
LIFE Today. While I firmly believe the homosexual lifestyle stands contrary to the teachings of God’s Word, I also believe that such situations give Christians the opportunity to practice what we preach. We all have weaknesses. We all struggle with sin. And while we never condone sinful behavior, we will only see people freed from the sins that imprison them when we reach into their lives and show them truth and love.
None of us will find help or experience freedom from recurring immoral practices until we recognize our need for it. Few will ever seek help if they believe it will result in condemnation.
Like the father of the
prodigal son, who briefly chose a life of rebellion, selfish indulgence and depravity, we must receive our lost sons with open arms. Take note, the prodigal did repent. He had a change of heart that led to a change of ways and a change of direction. He left his lifestyle and humbly sought forgiveness from his father, who embraced him not as a servant, but as a son.
This change of heart is our prayer for Chad Allen and every person who lives in bondage to some human weakness. Judgment and punishment are not what we desire. Jesus said, “Let him that has no sin cast the first stone.” There are no qualified stone-throwers reading this article.
Steve Saint said, “My father would have never been like Chad Allen, but I hope that Chad will some day be like my father.”
This type of love transformed a Godless tribe and it possesses the power to transform anyone, including homosexuals. Rather than chastise or ostracize people for their sins, we must show them a better way to live, so that like the Waodani tribe, they will eagerly change their ways.
Author: James Robison
Word Count: 765
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE
Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host
of the television program, Life
Today; and author of The
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for
complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.