Thursday, April 19, 2018

Movie “Paul, an Apostle of Christ” Promotes Peace

By Christine Sheller

“Paul, An Apostle of Christ,” which came out in March, promotes nonviolence and peace.  It is the story of the Apostle Paul, whose story is in Acts of the New Testament, and is the writer with the most works in the New Testament.  Written and directed by Andrew Hyatt, starring James Faulkner as the Apostle Paul, and Jim Caviezel (who portrayed Jesus in The Passion of the Christ) as Saint Luke, it is a riveting film.  It was released by Sony Pictures.
The movie portrays the Apostle Paul in his last days before execution.  He is in prison throughout the movie.  It follows Luke, the doctor and apostle, who risks his life to visit Paul in the renown Roman prison.  Paul has a great story because he is the one who relentlessly persecuted Christians until he had a supernatural encounter with Christ.  As Luke tries to get Paul’s thoughts on his life down in writing, he relays this amazing story, and his testimony of not using violence to protect themselves, or to fight back against the Romans. 

Luke stays with Aquila and Priscilla, names recognizable from the book of Acts (the book of Acts is attributed to Luke as the writer).  Aquila and Priscilla, husband and wife, are a well-to-do couple who spend their money organizing and keeping a hidden community of Christians in Rome.  There are over 50 people living in this enclave (a gated community as I saw it).  There was a door into an enclave of small homes.  As Paul’s execution draws near, some of the Christians in Aquila and Priscilla’s community rise up in anger and relay their wish to fight against the Romans who were doing horrifying things to Christians.

Christians who were caught in the city were taken to prison, and put as an example to other Christians.  There were the “Roman candles”, in which they torched a human person stuck on a platform on the wall, for all to see.  They also used them in “Nero's Circus” where they were let out in the Coliseum, only to be attacked by who knows what, they didn’t show. 

Luke and Aquila lead a discussion in the community that they should not use force.  They were considering fleeing Rome.  There were differing opinions about using force and whether to stay in Rome or flee.  But when Paul hears about the wish to use violence on one of Luke’s visits to Paul, he agrees with Luke, that no violence should happen against their enemies.  “Pray for those who persecute you,” we might remember.  It was very encouraging to see this movie not condoning war and violence, out of all the movies who seem to be getting more violent and more violent.

I strongly recommend this movie because of its good storytelling, portrayal of Biblical story, and a force for peace amidst the chaos of violence in our society.

Christine Sheller is media editor and coordinator of Iowa Peace Network.  She is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.

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