In 1986 Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons starred in “The Mission”. It won best picture of the year at the Cannes film festival. I don’t know what it did at the Oscars, but I had never heard of it until we had Peter Lord stay at our house when we were having him speak at First Methodist Marietta. Peter Lord along with Jack Taylor was one of the first pastors that really began to see the Kingdom of God instead of the Church. So, you might ask, what is the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Church? Well, a lot. The church is God’s tool to bring the Kingdom here on earth. Remember the Lords Prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
It’s our job as believers and disciples of Christ to bring the Kingdom here on earth. It’s not about the church but about the Kingdom of God. So this movie “The Mission” is about what happens too often when the agenda of the Kingdom interferes with the agenda of the church. The movie itself is a true story of what happened to the Jesuit missions in the South American territory between Brazil and I think, Peru. Anyway it was between the Spanish and the Portuguese. The Jesuits were developing missions that were protected by Spanish law, but not protected by Portuguese law. The story is about what the church did to protect its place in those countries.
God’s agenda is not often man’s, and vice a versa. So when man goes after things to protect his position and place, he often time comes against the things that please God. The biggest question that was unanswered in the movie was not whether the church was right, it wasn’t. The question was whether Jeremy Irons, who wouldn’t fight for the mission and the Indians was right. Or was Robert De Niro, who did fight for the Indians right. I’m not sure. I think that Jeremy was right, but I wonder where I would have fallen out in that scenario. To be honest I would have probably fought.
So that leads me to this question. When is it right to fight for what you know are Kingdom values and principals? Do you fight or is love enough. I think it is both. Some people are called to be fighters; it’s in their nature while others are called to love and pastor. It’s probably part of the five-fold ministry. Pastors would definitely love, while prophets would fight. I’m not sure where the apostles would fall out in this. Anyway, the movie did stir up some interesting questions. Questions that I didn’t even think about asking 24 years ago.