'The Young Messiah' unites evangelical, mainline, Catholic leaders

by Michael Foust, Guest Reviewer |

CHICAGO (Christian Examiner) – "The Young Messiah" heads into opening weekend with the endorsement of some 50 Christian leaders across the theological spectrum, including from several prominent evangelicals.

The movie, which is biblical fiction, follows a 7-year-old Jesus as He discovers His role in the world under the guidance of not only Mary and Joseph but God the Father. Among the endorsers is Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Following is a list of evangelical, mainline and Catholic endorsers, as provided by officials related to the film:

Evangelical and Non-Mainline

"It was beautiful in every way." - Tami Heim, President, Christian Leadership Alliance

"I want every pastor, priest, Christian leader, follower of Jesus and even those who are not believers to see 'The Young Messiah.' You will be taken into an atmosphere where you are captivated at how Jesus must have dealt with being fully human and fully God." - Pastor Jay Dennis, Church at the Mall, Lakeland, Fla.

"'The Young Messiah' is incredibly entertaining but just as much, it is spiritually inspiring and stimulating as we contemplate what the early years of Jesus' life entailed. You MUST see it."

- Johnny M. Hunt, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., former president of Southern Baptist Convention

"...It is a powerful movie, and it sets the stage for understanding who Jesus is and what He does for our salvation." - Doug Beacham, Presiding Bishop, International Pentecostal Holiness Church

"I just loved 'The Young Messiah.' We work with over 2 million kids and I'd love to see the students we work with have an opportunity to see this film." - Denny Rydberg, President, Young Life

"I was very moved by The Young Messiah and found it to be one of the best biblically-inspired films I have ever seen." - Kevin Palau, President, Luis Palau Association

"...It is a powerful movie, and it sets the stage for understanding who Jesus is and what He does for our salvation." - Doug Beacham, Presiding Bishop, International Pentecostal Holiness Church

"Moving, inspiring, and hope-filled. For everyone who believes that Love wins. A MUST SEE!" - Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

"The setting, music, acting, and storyline all came together in a powerful and poetic manner." -Dr. John Stumbo, President, The Christian and Missionary Alliance

"Inspiring, entertaining, informative, and affirming. Amazing!" - Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

"It ignites your imagination of what it might have been like to know Jesus as a child. It makes his coming to earth seem so plausible and realistic!" - Ron Luce, Co-Founder and President, Teen Mania Ministries

"A poem, a work of art, a symphony, a beautiful sunset -- authentic truth in story form." - Marty Caldwell, EVP, Young Life

"The tears around me in the theater spoke clearly. This is the ultimate example of childlike faith, and it will also help kids seek goodness and kindness." - Anthony Begonia, Salvation Army

"Beautifully told, in a way we haven't seen before." - Mikala Irion, WingClips

"I truly believe it will inspire rich conversations, deep questions, and point many people to the Bible - maybe for the first time!" - Karen Covell, Hollywood Prayer Network

"It's a remarkable movie that is tightly paced, excellently scripted and well-filmed." - Steve Issac and Bob Waliszewski, Focus on the Family/Plugged In

"I would recommend this film." - Kirk Blank, The Munce Group

"An emotionally soul capturing movie." - Andre Soto, Pastor, Woodcliff Baptist Church

"Eye-opening." - David West, Youth Pastor, New Season Church, Sacramento, Calif.

"Thank you for a beautiful and well-told story that gives a great introduction to the message of the Gospel of Jesus and the whole New Testament. Thank you." - Denny Bellesi, Pastor, Coast Hills Community Church, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

"Beautifully shot and the acting was well done." - Jeff Redmond, Recovery Pastor, Bayside Church

" ?This movie is a tender portrayal of a childhood Jesus that shows great respect for historical accuracy as well as theological concerns." - Gary Brandenburg?, Senior Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church, Dallas

"A very tender, but meaningful depiction about how it may have been for the boy Jesus and His family" - Greg Oppenhuis Pastor, Big Spring Baptist Church, Garland, Texas

"I highly recommend this film to those who believe, to skeptics, to those who have an open heart for what could be." - Eric Bryant, Pastor, Gateway Church, Austin, Texas

"Very well-done. Interesting take on events we can only speculate about." - Mark White Pastor, Park View Bible Baptist Church, Wheat Ridge, Colo.

"Excellent, very well done." - Kyle Thompson (Catalyst Productions)

"Makes me want to go and study that part of the scripture" - Deanna Thompson (Catalyst Productions)

"I felt that the film was really well done. The directing, acting, editing, score were all excellent." - Ryan Chapel, Creative Director, Cherry Hill Community Church, Highlands Ranch, Colo.


"Captivating, inspiring and deeply moving." - Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston

"A portrait true to biblical faith but without sentimentality....an exceptional movie, engaging from start to finish; a film worth seeing and owning and seeing again." - Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

"This presentation of 'The Young Messiah' perhaps opens a door into people's hearts that otherwise would have been shut because either of their fear of God, anger with God or indifference to God." - Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Archdiocese of Miami

"An enthusiastic endorsement ... will strengthen the faith of all who see it." - Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, Bishop Of Peoria

" Seeing what it might have been like for Jesus as a child certainly opened a window where Scriptures are silent. In 'The Young Messiah,' the family dynamics make a compelling story as Jesus begins to grow into his destiny as Savior of the world." - Sheila Hopkins, National Council of Catholic Women, President

"Beautiful film with a compelling story." - Rev. David L. Guffey, Family Theater Productions

"Engaging, tender ... fall in love with Jesus Christ all over again." - Lisa Hendey, CatholicMom.com Founder and Editor

"Keeps the story very consistent with what the Scriptures tell us." - Sister Rose Pacatte (Sister Rose at the Movies)

"A wonderfully crafted and inspiring film for the entire family to enjoy and, perhaps, even be transformed by!" - Michael Theisen, National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Director of Ministry Formation

"A powerful testament to a lived faith." - Rev. Steve Sallot, Vicar General, Diocese of Orange

"Very inspirational for families; can provide a wonderful discussion for parents and their children not only about Jesus, but what does it mean for all of us to grow up in faith filled families." - Rev. Felix Just, Loyola Institute

"A unique view into the Holy Family and a young Jesus." - Randy Raus, President/CEO, Life Teen Inc.

"Beautiful, haunting, thought-provoking, and deeply, deeply reverent." Jenny Uebbing, Catholic News Agency/Mama Needs Coffee

"I think it will be great for my imagination for many weeks and many months to come...the way that faith is challenged in very complex situations but at times there is a clarity that shines through and a simplicity of the faith that is just inspiring and leaves you with a sense that God enters into this violent world and brings something very different." - Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Diocese of Phoenix

"Beautiful. Very human. A wonderful presentation on the child Jesus" Sr. Joan Paula Arruda, Daughters of Saint Paul, Superior

"Great exploration of the humanity of Jesus the Son of God in the context of family life and the hidden moments of his childhood." - Jaymie Stuart Wolfe, Boston Pilot Columnist and Pauline Books and Media, Author and Editor


"'The Young Messiah' navigates the question of 'what did Jesus know and when did he know it' in interesting fashion." - Chris Spearman, Associate Pastor, Westwood United Methodist Church, Los Angeles

"WOW!" - Bo Sanders, United Methodist Church

"The highlight for me was the intimate talk between Jesus and Mary at the end of the film..." - Dr. Walt Winters, Former Director of International Ministries - Lutheran Hour Ministries / Owner of Jigabyte.com

"Positive - Beautifully shot, the actors and actresses were terrific - loved the child who played Jesus." - Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, The Church of the Resurrection, Kansas City