Last night, I enjoyed watching the epic drama 2003 movie “The Last Samurai”. I was struck by the adventure, valour, courage, commitment and unflinching loyalty of the Samurai warriors even when the odds seemed strongly stacked against them. I reflected and thought for a while on Christians being butchered in Northern Nigeria – helpless often times to defend themselves - and also more recently cherished doctrines being massacred and then ... developments on traditional marriage in New York.
In the movie, an American military advisor (Tom Cruise playing the role of Nathan Algren) embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle. He comes to deeply respect the Samurai warriors as they demonstrated an uncommon suicidal bravery to face and die fighting to defend incursions on their ancient culture. I am not a fan of Cruise but found this movie somewhat instructive on several fronts. I wished I had bravery like I saw Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe) display...and perhaps half the loyalty demonstrated to the confused Japanese Emperor - for the King of all kings...but then one can take solace that this is just a movie. But how far can we go in spiritual warfare for the Kingdom? What depth of loyalty or commitment can the Almighty expect of us? The recent news ... New York Gay Marriage approved ... it looks like another blow has been dealt on a truth Christians hold very dear... but then there still must be the Samurais fighting to the last man ... ready to be expended and have their reputation and resources gunned down with superior firepower.
As the drama unfolds, Nathan Algren appears to despise the western culture (not depicted in this movie in positive light) adrift in its lust for entertainment (its starts with a kind of pantomime – reminiscent of many professions of faith) and love of money (enough said on this) ... it does seem ( at least from this movie) that the average American will do almost anything for pleasure and the right price – Nathan stands out (in the end) as one of the decent exceptions. Nathan (Tom Cruise) is refreshed by the discipline of the ancients ... and he loses his nightmares in the paradise of contentment he finds himself trapped in, eventually emerging as the strongest ally of a “primitive” culture he was well remunerated to destroy.
Reasons have been proffered why the Christians in our time and place are being attacked and their truths ridiculed. It’s all about Jesus Christ and it is His salvation that is being rejected. Once true Christians are silenced - be it in Northern Nigeria or in Chicago or Delhi, the gospel will not be spread – instead, it will be replaced by lame fables. The harassment of truth is also for the unstable to shrink back and be destroyed. “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves” may be the right strategy as we fight to the last man.
I wonder how many Nathans...if they encountered Christian Kingdom Warfare – its bravery and strong convictions...if they saw the joyful candour of an imprisoned Paul or the consistency of a falling Stephen. If they heard Peter pleading to be crucified upside down or many saints refusing deliverance so as to partake in a better resurrection...if they heard the cries of James as he was beheaded ...and caught a glimpse of John being dipped in boiling oil. Perhaps many who held their guns to shoot will drop them and hunger to know also this kind of love and confidence. Our ancient fathers were slaughtered to deliver the gospel... In 1535, Tyndale was arrested by church authorities and jailed in the castle outside Brussels for over a year. He was tried for heresy, strangled and burnt at the stake in 1536 ... to give us the English Bible. Perhaps if today’s Nathans saw all these and saw less talks and concerts... they would drop their ammunition, kneel and weep ... like the modern armies of the Emperor did in “The Last Sumarai” as Katsumoto fell.
I Timothy 6  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Ephesians 6 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places .  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;