True Compassion for the Lost


I recently re-watched one of my favorite films, “The Apostle.” The scene that runs from 3:27-10:00 is one of the most heart-wrenching acts of evangelistic compassion I’ve ever experienced on film. Have you seen it? What did you think about it? Do you have this kind of heart for the lost? (Read more about this film below the video.) See the full movie by clicking here.

You may quibble with this man’s style of evangelism, but not with his commitment. Every time I’ve seen this scene it stirs me up to be more on-fire for God.

The reason I like this film so much is best explained by Robert Duvall who financed the 5 million dollar budget out of his own pocket when no studio at the time wanted to do a “religious” film. (It has since made nearly 20 million dollars.) This is what he wrote in Guideposts magazine:

I’m proud of the film. Many of the parts are played by real people and real preachers, not professional actors, because true faith is something that’s hard to duplicate. I think some viewers might be shocked—pleasantly so, I hope—to hear Jesus’ name mentioned so often, or startled by the un-ironic tone of the church scenes and worship services. They might be surprised to see blacks and whites worshiping together as equals even in the deepest rural South.

What was most important to me was to make a movie where Christianity was treated on its own terms, with the respect it deserves. Hollywood usually shows preachers as hucksters and hypocrites, and I was sick and tired of that. I wanted to show the joy and vitality I had seen with my own eyes and felt in my heart and in my life, the sheer, extraordinary excitement of faith. I especially wanted to capture the rich flavor, the infectious cadences and rhythm of good, down-home, no-holds-barred preaching.

If you haven’t seen this movie, give it a look, even if you are not a believer. Even if you are not a Pentecostal worshiper (I’m not). Every note is real. The directing is flawless. This is a great slice of life about a deeply flawed man who makes a huge mistakes and has to live with the consequences. (Make sure you stay tuned for the last scene at the start of the end credits.) Remember, you can watch the whole film on YouTube by clicking here.

Read an interview with Duvall on why he made this film by clicking here.



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