18th October 2016
In November this incredible story, told in Hacksaw Ridge, will appear on more than 3,000 screens around the UK, and in every major media market of the world. What was once an 'Adventist' story will be known to people of many cultures and faith traditions. Below is a special commentary and a statement from the 'It is Written' ministry, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists and Pastor Victor Hulbert from the Trans-European Division (TED).
It looks like Hacksaw Ridge is going to be huge. And that matters for Christians.
It's likely that millions of people are going to watch the powerfully told story of a Seventh-day Adventist war hero. And they'll learn about not only his deeply held beliefs and faith, but also about the remarkable God who enabled Doss to carry himself with such outstanding grace, commitment, and bravery.
Hacksaw Ridge neither downplays Desmond Doss' Christian faith nor minimises his beliefs. Instead, the movie respectfully and accurately portrays Doss' steadfast faith in God. Corporal Doss, a Private First Class at the time of the Battle of Okinawa, is presented as a balanced, Sabbath-keeping, vegetarian, Bible-believing Christian who was moved by faith in God to adhere to his beliefs in the face of overwhelming opposition. Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge is an inspirational story of a Christian's unwavering faith in God.
In one of the later scenes of the movie, Doss, played by Hollywood leading actor Andrew Garfield is doing all he can to save American servicemen. After lowering a soldier to safety, Doss prays, "Lord, give me one more!" Each time he lowers another soldier to safety the prayer is repeated: "Lord, give me one more!"
Doss' prayer is the prayer that should be prayed by Christians everywhere. "Lord, give me one more. Help me get one more!" While time is running out for Planet Earth, precious opportunities are being presented to reach this world for Christ. Disciples of Christ recognise that witnessing opportunities present themselves in countless ways. Even through Hollywood blockbusters.
Churches and members will need to be ready to engage in conversations with those who watch Hacksaw Ridge, and be prepared to answer questions about what drove Doss to be steadfast in his faith in God.
North American Division's statement:
The story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the esteemed Medal of Honour, is one that has inspired generations of his fellow Seventh-day Adventist Church members. As powerfully shared in the upcoming film, Hacksaw Ridge, Doss' strong convictions, his Adventist beliefs, and his unshakeable confidence in God come alive, and hold the promise of inspiring a new generation of believers.
While a graphic portrayal of the realities of war, Hacksaw Ridge paints a stirring portrait of the resolute manner in which Doss lived his faith, even while living through the horrors of the battlefield. The Seventh-day Adventist Church historically has strongly discouraged its members from bearing arms, and Doss embodied that philosophy. He became the first person to voluntarily enlist and then be granted conscientious objector status, the role in which he contributed to the often-heroic rescue of scores of his fellow soldiers.