Wow, wow, wow. Compelled by Love is seriously one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It’s radical, passionate, moving, inspiring and awesome, it combines joyful happiness with serious pain and sorrow, and in the end I just sat in awe agreeing completely with Heidi Baker when she said that it’s all about Him – what this film portraits is nothing else than the life of Jesus today in one of the poorest nations in the world. It’s a film about an amazing missionary couple and their organization, yes, and for that very reason it is a film about Christ, because Christ is all they stand for in an amazing way.
The film is 100% Iris. It’s emotional. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. Some professional film makers would perhaps react to the patchwork-style; the film is chronological for only 30 minutes or so, and then holy anarachy is released with a multitude of different messages, themes and stories presented, some of which have already been published in YouTube clips. I love it! Shara Pradhan and her team simply takes the best Iris have directly from the field.
The Bethel and Iris culture (those ministries are basically “married” by now) talk a lot about honor, and this film truly wants to honor the life of Heidi and Rolland Baker. Bill Johnson is interviewed when he states that he simply knows no one who has constantly said “yes” to God the way Heidi has, and while she and Rolland are so extraordinary in that they always, continously, give everything to Him, their passion is multiplied to so many others that see that they are not superheroes but carrier of the divine presence of the Holy Spirit that are available for all of us. The film carefully emphasizes both sides of this paradox – the Bakers are amazing saints and should be recognized as such, but their gifts are not excluded to them but constantly multiplied to those who follow their example as they follow Christ. After all, it is the Mozambiqan bush pastors that have raised over 100 dead people within Iris, not the Bakers.
Speaking of raising the dead, miracles are naturally a part of this film. Both Heidi and Rolland have been extremely close to death when doctors gave up on them and left them without hope, and both got miraculously healed. We also get to see blind ladies seeing, deaf babies hearing, etcetera. Shara Pradhan, the director, just showers brief testimonies of all the miracles she has seen, and yet emphasizes that the greatest thing that the Bakers have taught her is that Jesus is so worthy our praise. That there is no reason we should not give everything to Him.
Miracles are abundant, but so mixed with the joy, passion and zeal for evangelism that they become fully intergrated, just like in the New Testament. The accusation that I sometimes hear about charismatics not being interested in the Gospel or that their hunger for signs and wonders open themselves up to Satan falls short. I want to show this film to all cessationists I know, not mainly because of the testimonies, but to challenge them if they can manage to say that they love Jesus more than Heidi Baker.
As a student of development studies I find it very interesting to see how the film covers Iris’ aid work and development projects. When I was in Iris South Africa, I had an eye-opener realizing that Iris focused on something that my teachers at the University never had mentioned: hope and dignity. The same is true for Iris Mozambique; Heidi shares how she lets her Mozambiqan children inside her house to replace their “orphan spirit” with a “spirit of adoption”. One of these children, who is a man now, is interviewed and he explained how he stole from Mama Heidi’s purse several times when he was in her house. But since she just loved him back, he felt more and more guilty until he made a life-changing decision to be a “good boy”, and now he is released from the bondage of poverty, shining with the love of God.
I could go on and on, but simply just see this movie, get impacted, and start loving your neighbors all around you. I can highly recommend you to go to Iris’ Harvest School in Pemba, or visit one of their bases around the world. But again, what Compelled by Love wants to share is not restricted to Iris or missions. It’s about what Jesus can do in your life to make you look like Him. It’s about the Gospel and the Sermon on the Mount. Join the Jesus Revolution, impact people where you are, stop for the one in front of you and love them with the love of Christ. “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Cor. 5:14-15)