Big Debate on Doss' Belief Shows Doctrinal Tension among Chinese Christians

By Ruth Wang, December 24, 2016 05:12 AM

Desmond Doss

Besides getting widely popular among Chinese Christians, Desmond Doss in Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s latest film, has triggered big debate among Chinese Christians.

The bone of the contention, of course, falls on Doss’ non-orthodox belief.

Desmond Doss refused to carry any weapons out of his belief and his youthhood experience, as a Seventh-day Adventist. He holds to the principle that “thou shall not murder,” one in the Ten Commandments. As an army medic, Doss saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. 

Feedback and comments flooded after this film released in China. While watching the power of faith and the brutality of war, many Chinese Christians fall into a debate on Doss’ belief.

Side A: Doctrine

Among those comments, some outlets state directly that Doss’ belief is non-orthodox, but a heresy with false teachings, which followed by false actions. They insist that Doss’ understanding on “Thou Shall not Murder” was totally different with Christians around him.

An author claims in his posts that the decline of the orthodox began when people compromise and compliment heresy. There are also saying that Doss’ misunderstanding was covered up by his good character.

Meanwhile, there are Reformed Christians were sharply critical of the doctrine shown in Hacksaw Ridge, insisting that this film is preaching false Salvation -- Doss, a sinner as all human are, needs to repent. Besides, some say that justification referred in the film is not the right biblical “ justification by faith.”

Side B: Life

There were more Christian’s comments on this film stating that Doss act out the love of Christ, which should be the main point in Hacksaw Ridge. “In the film, Doss answered in an interview that he wants to save like Christ, not to kill. ‘To save’ is what he heard from God.” a comment reads.

Regarding some acerbic critique on Doss’ “non-orthodox belief,” some commentators responded that there is no all-around-perfect masterpiece, and warned the Reformed that doctrine should not be the idolized. “It is not that how much you learned the doctrine, but whether you would follow Jesus’ commandments --love God and your neighbor, that shows you are son of God. ”


There are praise and flames, together with theology and ethics, that accompany Hacksaw Ridge as its release in China. “The debate shows that Chinese Christians are getting more involved with in-depth and wider-raging public issues.” observed and commented by a "we-media" professional. 

The Reformed insists that faith must agree with the doctrine. While the evangelists advocate acting out Jesus’ love to God and people. These are the mainly two sides of the debate, showing the tension between Christians of these two Theological dimensions in China.

Translated By: Alice Wang

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