G. K. Chesterton, describing an event that exposed the reality of good and evil, wrote, "I did not know whether it was hell or the furious love of God." Like its eponymous source, the documentary Furious Love (Wanderlust Productions, now on DVD) **** spotlights pockets of the globe where evil reigns and believers fight back in Christ's name.
Filmmaker Darren Wilson says most Christians in the West are unaware or dismissive of spiritual warfare as a daily reality, though they assent to it as a biblical concept. As J. P. Moreland notes in the film, "We [Western Christians] tend to believe God heals only through medicine, that spirits are multiple personality disorders … [Non-Westerners] have a more biblical worldview when they come to Christ because they already know there's a supernatural world." On that note, Furious urges the Western church to turn from doctrinal quibbles and follow the lead of their majority-world spiritual siblings.
With a $300,000 budget and sizable crew, Wilson journeys to Orissa, where India's Christian minority has long endured attacks by Hindu nationalists, yet is learning the glory of suffering for Christ—and of forgiving persecutors. In Surabaya, Indonesia, the young pastor of a 30,000-member megachurch tells the story of confronting a witch doctor who claims he will resurrect himself—and who later becomes a Christian. In Thailand, a missionary couple helps women shackled in Bangkok's vast sex trade find dignity in Christ and dignifying employment. "The powers of darkness rage blatantly here. I call it the Disneyland for the spirit world," says one of the missionaries. "But because of that, the love of Christ rages even more."
Furious is more ambitious and better produced than Wilson's first film (2008's Finger of God) but at times lacks focus. One sequence moves from ministers talking about prostitution in Amsterdam to a first-hand account of Congo's civil war to a New Age festival in Southern California. Each vignette is compelling, but strung together they have a whirlwind effect. And by focusing on such tangible, shocking stories in exotic locales, Furious all but ignores the subtler battles occurring right under our Western noses. For many, simply choosing lifelong, faithful marriage might be the most radical Christian deed. Including a few less dramatic (but no less powerful) examples like this might have provided a fuller, truly global portrait of God's kingdom.
But if viewers can follow Furious's meandering narrative, they will likely leave deeply moved. "There is one weapon the Devil cannot stand: the weapon of simple, pure love," says one missionary in the film. By adding love to all the other weapons available in Christ (Eph. 6. ), our brothers and sisters are quietly triumphing. Are we?
Katelyn Beaty is a CT associate editor.
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