Have you ever said something with total assurance that the other person would agree only to find that they’re violently opposed to your point of view? I used to write for my city and school newspapers and was determined back then as I am now to fight for critical thinking and innocence, much to everyone else’s frustration. There were a lot of ruffled feathers and quite a few sticks and stones thrown my way…mostly from my Christian school peers, not the city crowd. Granted, I did say more in my student paper to provoke thoughtful discussion. I mistakenly assumed that everyone there believed as I did and, therefore, I wrote very pointed commentaries. What is it the Bible says about “speaking the Truth in love?” Sometimes we try but aren’t always successful at this.
I found that bringing up God’s position on homosexuality gets you an email inbox full of “where’s the love?” No article inspired more controversy than an editorial piece on Bearing Fruit Films’ casting of homosexual advocate Chad Allen as Christian martyr Nate Saint in The End of the Spear. This was what it said:
In the last edition of Cedars, a rave review about the movie The End of the Spear was published. The End of the Spear was well-done and very poignantly depicted an amazing story of the power and grace of God. There is, however, one element of this picture that disturbed me deeply.
During a year when Hollywood and the movie industry is heavily promoting, even honoring, the gay agenda with movies like Brokeback Mountain, Christians should be the first to stand against the tide of liberal propagation. However, in an openly “Christian” movie, created by a “Christian” film company the roles of the martyr Nate Saint and his son, Steve, have been played by Chad Allen, an openly homosexual Hollywood actor that has been fully engaged in the gay rights movement.
In an article titled, “Openly Gay Actor Chad Allen Plays Straight for Pay in End of the Spear,” written by Joey Guerra for Elton John’s website, Allen said, “there was a lot of friction” surrounding his taking the role. When first presented with the role, Allen asked directly, “Do they know who I am?” Conservative Christians were outraged by Allen’s portrayal of a Christian martyr. Online discussion boards on World Net Daily and Worldviews are ablaze with fiery feedback to the film’s gay star. A blogger on Worldviews said, “Having Chad Allen play Nate Saint? Next we’ll have Marilyn Manson playing Jesus!” Still another said, “The hypocrisy is sickening. With the standards being set on these threads, the way is being paved for lots of lousy Christian films.”
The controversy, however, has not fazed Allen. He said he believes that the God Steve Saint prays to is the same God he prays to, and that “if God didn’t want him to be there, (he) wouldn’t be there.” Jim Hanon from Bearing Fruit Filmmakers, the writer and director of the film, as a response to a personal inquiry said, “We cast Chad Allen because he had the best audition of anyone else by far. We know that the character in the film and the actor are not the same… the story is the star.”
Allen, who also played Matthew on Dr Quinn, is lauded by the DQ Times online for his involvement in The End of the Spear as well as his involvement in the film Third Man Out, the first of six gay detective movies premiering on here! Television Network. In an interview posted on the DQ Times, Allen describes his thrill and excitement to finally do a love scene with another man. “It’s a fantastic relationship, and we haven’t had the opportunity to have that many great, romantic, intense, committed gay relationships represented.”
Allen is an activist for the gay cause with an agenda to see the homosexual lifestyle accepted and promoted in America. By their own admission, one goal of the homosexual movement is to degrade and undermine the institution of marriage and family because it sets up a standard different from their own. If homosexuality is condoned by the Christian movie industry, in addition to its heavy promotion in Hollywood, the desensitization of America would be complete. If good men do not stand up for what is right, evil will prevail. How could Bearing Fruit allow a gay activist to play Godly men… not to mention a martyr for the cause of Christ?!! Allen is the antithesis to everything Nate Saint died to accomplish. Are we as Christians so jaded and apathetic that this no longer bothers us?
Bearing Fruit failed to take a stand when they were faced with Allen’s lifestyle. This does not mean that we should boycott the film; it will always be appropriate for Christians to support movies that hold up Godly values in entertainment. However, it is important for Christians to be aware of how we are being portrayed. Ignorance and passivism in the Christian community has become a disease that will not only make us impotent but will destroy the Church. Tolerance has become synonymous with compromise. We have to understand the world in which we live and stand against the Godless, liberal agendas being shoved down our throats.
I had hoped that, after reading this article, students, faculty, and alumni would catch an urgency to hold Christian companies accountable to a standard consistent with what the Bible says… especially when we are constantly being argued into accepting more and more twisted behaviors in the name of ‘Christian love.’
One reader wrote this response: “In 1 Peter 1:15, the Apostle Paul writes, “This is a trustworthy saying which deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.” Perhaps if we remembered this, perhaps if we concerned ourselves with removing sin that feeds on our own lives, we would more readily reach out arms of love to people like Chad Allen, sinner that he is.”
I asked this reader if an application of 1 Timothy 1:7-11, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, & Romans 1:24-32 shows more love than what I like to call the ‘whatever approach’ (apathy). If you’ve ever had an anything-goes authority in your life, you know this is the opposite of care and love.
Another reader said: “Your most recent article wasn’t exactly the only bad article you’ve written, but I guess it just annoyed me more than usual. Or maybe I was having a bad day…. I hope you realize that a real newspaper wouldn’t even publish your articles… See, there’s a little thing called “intellect” that is required to address topics like you attempt to do. Unfortunately, most Christian writers seem to be missing it… So, basically, you’re “deeply concerned” that Chad Allen, an openly gay actor, is playing a role in a Christian movie (even playing the role of a missionary martyr! gasp!). So, uh, are you saying that homosexuals can’t be Christians? Or that Christians shouldn’t take on a movie as “their own” when they feature people in it that are living in sin? Well, if that’s true, then Christians really don’t have any business being in the entertainment industry at all. Do you think that Passion of the Christ was produced in a Christian-compatible atmosphere? I mean, I don’t even know why I’m taking the time to write this….your article is so ridiculously simplisitic and paranoid that it seems such a waste of time…”
In addition to the fact that I couldn’t help smiling because someone was almost as hard on my writing as I am, I decided there was a lot I needed to learn about “speaking the truth in love.”
#1) I realized that arguing accomplishes nothing of value; when the other person or people start throwing sticks and stones, they’ve stopped listening. Discussing anything further is counter-productive.
#2) If I don’t thoroughly know and understand the words I’m supposedly standing on, there are plenty of people who will pull scripture out of context and tie it around my neck like a noose at a lynching (the message of Truth isn’t going to change but our wielding of it without understanding it could be lethal to us).
And the most important one: #3) Fighting to protect innocence and high standards of purity (even in business, entertainment, etc.) is NOT popular -even among those who claim to be “Christians.”
The love of Jesus Christ isn’t passive; it’s passionate. Whether we understand and practice love properly, it is what it is. Keeping people happy is good PR but it doesn’t mean that you’re a loving Christian. “Loving your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14) means making tough choices. It means repeatedly confronting your school’s administration for allowing a teacher to promote sexually explicit reading material in a class where 1 out of 5 students have been pregnant or infected with a sexually transmitted disease. It means setting and enforcing boundaries so your children don’t go running into the path of an oncoming car. It means standing between a drunk friend and his 10-minute drive home by himself even if he’s screaming obscenities at you. It means holding a company accountable for irresponsibly employing those intent on destroying the family values that company claims to support. It’s not easy to do any of these things but true love will never be easy.
Like the main character from the film Raising Helen when her recently adopted teenager screamed “I hate you,” aggressive love and its associated standards require that we “learn to live with that” and aggressively protect those we love even if it’s not cool with them or anyone else. As Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Mark 13:13