I really appreciate Jason Janz's summarizing statement of his primary concern with the movie, End of the Spear-- its missing gospel element -- and his clear articulation of what the gospel is. So, go read his post (click on title link above)!
Here's what I told him in my comments over at SharperIron.org:
A thousand thank yous for this well-argued post! You have stated in a fuller and more complete way what I have been perhaps straining toward in my "rants" all last week, which culminated with this post, What Was the Point at "The End of the Spear"? You have exposed the core reason for the weakness of this movie--it's failure to show the gospel that first changed the missionaries and then changed the Waodanis, and you have rightly connected this failure with a dangerous larger trend in Evangelicalism.
I realize that showing the gospel clearly in not necessarily an easy thing to do in a film, but your article points out that this important aim was something the producers of the film were mistakenly avoiding, rather than pursuing. I think that the most powerful films (secular or not) do "preach" a message, and do so unabashedly. But EOTS used the seeker-sensitive approach and ended with a film in which the wonderful "results" of the gospel-- the transformation of Waodani culture away from the violence that threatened to make them extinct--is made incomprehensible because we don't clearly see the power (the gospel) that made it happen.
ETE may not "market" themselves as a Christian company, but it is quite obvious that in fact they are Christians who are trying to make films with Christian messages, albeit in a seeker-friendly way. So I completely agree with Jason's suggestion that ETE should have been more bold about the gospel element, rather than trying to package the movie so that seekers would somehow understand its subtly stated, contextually placed message. Whatever other weaknesses the film may have, the central one is that missing gospel element from the screenplay. Properly shown, that element would have made this film not only a better vehicle for evangelism, but also a more effective movie/story.
Thanks again, Jason.
Blessings to you,