Apart from any other consideration, then, how can this be a truly Christian film if the heart of the Gospel is neglected? I am not for a moment saying that the Pentecostal “gospel” is the true Gospel of Christ. It most certainly is not. It is an Arminian, “God loves you”, “God loves everyone”, “just believe in Jesus” message that is totally unbiblical. But the point is this: this movie claims to be a movie about a Pentecostal evangelist, and even within Pentecostalism there is at times a very watered-down, shallow presentation of some fundamental aspects of the Gospel (there is some truth in other words, but nothing like the whole truth); and therefore one would expect the movie to at least present this. But apparently, according to this reviewer who is very much in favour of the movie, even this is neglected!
Or perhaps, the Pentecostal/Charismatic “gospel” is itself so watered down these days, that this movie will actually be accepted, by Pentecostals and Charismatics, as indeed presenting their “gospel”!
One is left with the strong suspicion that the film’s makers knew that too “strong” a message would simply not draw the crowds, and thus not make money, to the extent that a more ambiguous message would do. This is why it is so often described merely as an “inspiring story of faith and perseverance.” One has to ask: if Angus Buchan truly is an evangelist of Christ, why would the very heart of the Gospel of Christ be omitted from a movie about his life?
The suspicion grows stronger when one reads the comments of Frank Rautenbach, the actor who plays the part of Angus Buchan and who had previously starred in a South African soap opera. He said: “It was of paramount importance to me that we should make a real movie and not a ‘religious’ one…. the most attractive thing to me about this role was the message of hope that the movie brings. Hope in spite of the difficulties of life.”
Once again, the ambiguity: a “message of hope”. A truly Christian movie would not simply bring a “message of hope”. It would uncompromisingly bring the message of hope in Christ! This is how Paul preached, over and over: he preached of “the hope of Israel”, Christ Himself (Acts 28:20); of “hope toward God” (Acts 24:15); and he wrote, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 15:13); and, “be not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23); and, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27); and, the “Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1).
As the lead actor said, it was to be a “real movie, not a ‘religious’ one”; in other words, a movie that would appeal to the people of the world as simply “a message of hope”, without being too “preachy”, without coming down too hard on sinners, a movie that (as the reviewer said) neglects the very heart of the Gospel!
When the movie premiered in South Africa, it was reported that it did so to a “star-studded line-up”, the “who’s who of South African actors, movie-makers, entertainers, sports people, Christian leaders, and musicians.” Just one question arises here: Why? Why was this important to the movie’s producers? Why was it relevant at all? This is merely following the ways of the world, playing to the gallery, glorying in the world of showbiz. Where is humility, and more importantly, where is the Gospel? After all, if this film really did present the true, biblical Gospel, would the “who’s who” of the entertainment world have been there? Of course not! The world does not love the truth! Clearly there was little or nothing, really, in this movie to make them feel uncomfortable: no clear message of sin, of total depravity, or of redemption through Christ Jesus alone.