The Young “Messiah”: Christians delight in really bad fanfiction


Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 10.32.59 AMGet ready for another collection of unbiblical dialog and drama that NEVER HAPPENED. The Young Messiah is the movie that will be releasing March 11 in theaters across the nation (Just in time for Resurrection Sunday!), but the world premiere happened in January at the Billion Soul Network’s NAR-based Synergize 2016 conference.”

“Young Messiah is the “greatest story never told,” says film exec Chris Columbus, (Home Alone, two Harry Potter films, and Mrs. Doubtfire). He recently told Kathie Lee and Hoda that The Young Messiah is based on the novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by on-again-off-again Catholic Anne Rice, which imagines Jesus at around age 7. He said it was biblical, because he had a team of theologians looking over his shoulder, and they all agreed that this was an accurate film.

Who are these theologians? Only one is named:

Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film, & Television Commission, which publishes MOVIEGUIDE®, served as a theological and film making consultant for THE YOUNG MESSIAH, and has declared the film to be “orthodox:”

“There have been many movies about Jesus since the 1890s,” he noted. “Only one has been word for word. All the others create story elements not found in the Bible. So, THE JESUS FILM, which has been seen by a billion people, is 70 percent the Gospel of Luke. The rest was added to make the movie dramatic. . . . I had long conversations with the filmmaker, John Heyman, about how to dramatize the Gospel while keeping the orthodox, biblical theology of the New testament. Even if a movie is word for word, like THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, the casting, the set direction, the locations, etc., are all products of the filmmaker’s imagination.”  Source

Dr. Baehr, how can a film based entirely on the idea of Jesus at age 7 and an Ann Rice novel be “Orthodox?” Besides Baehr, a long list of partners who got a sneak peek in order to offer a positive review of the film include Word of Faith Hillsong pastorix Christine Caine, Bishop Doug Beacham of the NAR-Promoting International Pentecostal Holiness Church, and several Catholic organizations and churches.

So we’ve got Word of Faithers, NAR promoters and Catholics all agreeing that this is an orthodox film true to a story that was never told? Ah well, Sean Bean is in it, so never mind all that biblical accuracy stuff:

I can hear it now: “But we love movies about Jesus! It’s just for fun!” Or, “But my unsaved friend will see it and come to Jesus.”  Really?  Which one?

The problem with fiction films that are said to be “some truth” based on something that isn’t even in the breathed-out Word of God is that you can’t mix light with darkness. Truth plus error still equals terror, and movie goers aren’t going to be able to unsee the imagery and the untruth about our Lord that this fantasy portrays. And when you involve unorthodox partners in your orthodox film, the result is not orthodox.

From The Young Messiah"'s Instagram promotional images

From The Young Messiah”‘s Instagram promotional images

Director Cyrus Nowrasteh explains to the National Catholic Register that he and his wife wrote the script, and had consultants of differing faiths:

Question:  “Your story does include some elements that reflect a Catholic perspective, such as Jesus’ brethren and sisters (just one of each here, James and Salome) being depicted as Jesus’ cousins.

Nowrasteh:  “Right, they’re cousins, and the idea is that they have sort of been adopted into the family. In those days, one of the historians was telling me, the extended family was sort of this very strong unit that stayed together — first cousins, second cousins, even more distant cousins. They all referred to one another as brother and sister in those times. I guess this could be considered a cop-out, but we felt like we could play it both ways.

You can’t play it both ways. It’s truth based on God’s Word and doctrine, or it’s not. In this case, the Young Messiah is not.

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13 Responses to The Young “Messiah”: Christians delight in really bad fanfiction

  1. Turth March 5, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

    Hair of wool, eyes of fire…..

  2. rob March 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    Quick, name a movie that depicts the life of Jesus that is 100% accurate to the Bible. I will save you time, there is not one. The good thing about these movies is that if they can help just one person be saved then there is benefit to them being on the screen. Unfortunately, it takes someone who is wanting the world to be saved rather than someone who relishes in their own “salvation” as making them better than someone else to see it.

    • William Avitt March 11, 2016 at 11:54 pm #

      “The good thing about these movies is that if they can help just one person be saved then there is benefit to them being on the screen” Generally movies like these really only appeal to an already Christian audience. They aren’t designed to win souls, and if they are they’re designed badly.

    • Brian August 30, 2020 at 6:01 pm #

      Wow! It’s actually Your comment that should be used as an example of one coming from the “better than someone else” camp. As for telling the kids it’s “just a little dog poop in the cookie batter”? Do you tell them to eat up it’s good for them long term?

  3. Kathryn March 10, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    You should correct your claim that the International Pentecostal Holiness Church Denys the Trinity. That is totally incorrect.

  4. Anigie March 11, 2016 at 2:13 am #

    This movie is blasphemy for them to say that James was there when Jesus was born and how he hated Jesus because of the attention he was getting from the three kings etc First of all Jesus was first born son Of Joseph and Mary thru immaculate conception by the power of the Holy Spirit. The bible dosent say that James was there because he wasn’t born yet. By saying that James was born first before the Lord Jesus is considered Blasphemy because you are implying that Jesus was not virgin birth which the bible says he was virgin birth. No wonder why there’s only 10 of us watching this movie and when it’s over the people says the same thing I’m saying questioning about James being there when the Lord Jesus was born. I told my friends to save their money.

    • William Avitt March 12, 2016 at 12:06 am #

      ” By saying that James was born first before the Lord Jesus is considered Blasphemy because you are implying that Jesus was not virgin birth which the bible says he was virgin birth” Not at all. Not if James was, in fact, a cousin as the movie suggests. This, also, is rooted in Biblical teaching. The Greek word used to describe Jesus’ “brothers” in the text is adelphos. Adelphos literally means “from the womb” and is often translated to mean blood brothers, but it was also used to describe not just blood brothers, but also step-brothers, adopted brothers and even cousins. Now, admittedly, there is no reason to assume Jesus’ brothers were not blood brothers, except there might be.

      Ezekiel 44: 1-3 reads:
      “1Then He brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces the east; and it was shut. 2The LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3″As for the prince, he shall sit in it as prince to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the porch of the gate and shall go out by the same way.”

      This plainly says that the gate (Mary’s womb) shall never be opened, for it belongs to the Prince (Jesus) and no one else. “For the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.” This would quite clearly indicate that the mother of the Lord was meant to be a perpetual virgin, would it not?

    • Elena March 22, 2016 at 1:51 am #

      James was said to be Jesus’s cousin. Did you not catch that? Mary and Joseph adopted him. We do not know if Jesus’s brothers were in fact full brothers or half-brothers, by Joseph, as it is widely accepted that Joseph was much older than Mary and could have been married before being betrothed to her. I’m having a hard time with people who say no one should see this because it’s blasphemous and unscriptural. Utter nonsense. Just because nothing of Jesus’s early childhood is recorded in the Bible it does not make the movie unscriptural. Every effort is made to show Jesus as both divine and man. They did a brilliant job with it. If it causes one person to open his Bible in search of a closer walk with God, how is that a bad thing?

  5. Denise Rittler March 11, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    I must agree with Anigie that it is blasphemy to say James was born before Jesus. In order to be a high priest, you must be the FIRST BORN SON, and also must have “opened the womb” (first baby, not second or third). In other words if you have a daughter first, then a son, he can never become a high priest! Jesus is our High Priest now, interceding for us before the Father. These movies are so misleading, people should avoid them altogether.

  6. Dean Michael Jackson March 14, 2016 at 10:52 am #


    The existence of a Roman occupation throughout the Levant circa 30 AD precluded Jewish authorities in Judea and Galilee-Perea openly accepting Jesus as the Messiah. If Jesus was realized to be the Messiah, the Jewish authorities in Judea and Galilee would have played a game of feigned hostility towards Jesus, thereby placating an always watchful Rome that dealt swiftly with even perceived threats to Roman rule. We see then that the Gospels’ narrative of Jewish officialdom hostility towards Jesus’ ministry is behavior one would expect from those officials. Is there, then, within the Gospels themselves evidence of Jewish officialdom’s acceptance and knowledge of Jesus’ claim to the Messiah? In fact, there’s direct evidence.

    When Jesus was in Jerusalem on His first mission there early in His ministry period, the Pharisee named Nicodemus paid Jesus a discreet visit at night informing Jesus that the Temple leaders knew Jesus was sent from God. Nicodemus admits, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with Him.”

    Nearly three yeas later while Jesus is in Judea, approaching Jerusalem to complete His mission on Earth, chief priest Caiaphas implicitly admits that Jesus is the Messiah, and that His death must come at the right time, otherwise Judea will be destroyed:

    “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

    “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

    Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

    He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.”1

    Notice, high priest Caiaphas says Jesus’ death would be, “for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one”. While the rest of the Sanhedrin want Jesus to die now, out of fear of Roman retribution, Caiaphas reminds the Sanhedrin that the time is not yet for Jesus’ death, otherwise, “the whole nation [would] perish.” The Jewish leadership in Jerusalem was waiting for Jesus to give the sign that He was ready to die, that sign being the provocative entry into Jerusalem with the mob,2 an act that Pilate was in Jerusalem to stop if it should occur; Roman governors were required to be in Jerusalem the week before Passover to ensure no false claimant to being the Messiah took place, yet Pilate once again turns a blind eye to Jesus, and the mob, entering Jerusalem. In fact for approximately three years now Pilate is turning a blind eye to Jesus & disciples, who commit what Rome calls sedition by attracting large crowds. Candida Moss, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, informs us on Rome’s watchful eyes3…

    “If we give any credence to the apocryphal acts and believe that the apostles attracted large crowds, then we have to concede that the apostles might have been viewed as revolutionaries. If they were arrested, then the charges levied against them may have been insurgency or inciting unrest among the people. As the death of Jesus shows, Romans had no problems executing people who caused trouble or could potentially start a rebellion. They were taking elementary precautions.”4

    Concurring assessments by other New Testament academicians…


  7. St.JohnChrysostom March 19, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    Just as Schindlers list was promoted as “historical”, this “bible based” film will unfortunately suckered in many ignorant people into thinking it is gospel.

  8. donna March 26, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    First of all, let’s remember that Jesus actually did exist from the ages of 12 and 30 and as a child he had fun, conversations with his parents, friends, etc…he learned…he grew up!
    Let’s remember that He was also a human being as well as deity.
    I just do not remember any up roar about all the recent AWFUL movies that supposedly
    have been biblical…the one about Esther, Noah, the Exodus,…
    and what about the barely biblical Ten Commandments??

    The Young Messiah was beautifully rendered. As a parent, I related to Mary and Joseph’s emotions
    and feelings of protection of their little boy who was placed in their care by God.
    The reality of Jesus having to confront the evil one probably DID happen many times in his life before the wilderness testing. Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived in Egypt, and had a journey back to Israel. This is a bit of poetic license…yes, but it’s not unrealistic and it’s not spiritually OFF.
    I LOVED this movie.
    Based on fiction, …so what? Frankly, The Nativity, which is one of my favorites, has MANY imagined conversations and things that happen along the journey to Bethlehem that had no biblical basis in the Word of God. This movie has the same feel.

    (if they are not against us, they are for us…said Jesus)

    • StJnChrysostom March 26, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

      Here’s a précis from the filmmakers’ website:

      “When the mystery of Jesus’ divinity begins to unfold in His early years, He turns to His parents for answers. But Mary and Joseph, in an effort to protect their child, are afraid to reveal all they know.”

      It is heresy to assert that His divinity was ever hidden from Jesus, that His awareness was developmental.
      The Bible is often quoted in the film – sometimes at length – but to cite Scripture, which the Devil may do, is not to understand it, and this points to a much bigger problem than bad movie making. The Young Messiah’s Christology is appalling.

      The movie fails to grasp the truth about Christ’s knowledge of Himself. It suggests that this confused, questioning prodigy had to be taught that He is God. But were that the case, as it clearly is in the film, the boy would not be God.