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Movie Review: PALAU

Movie Review: PALAU

Movie Review: PALAU

13 November 2021

Argentinian Evangelist Luis Palau shared the gospel with people across 80 nations during his lifetime. He also established the Luis Palau Association. In this new biopic, we celebrate his life, ministry, and culture.

Reviewed by Jessica Morris

Most people have heard of American evangelist Billy Graham. A lot less know of Luis Palau, an Argentinian evangelist credited with the salvation of millions of souls. The fact he helped bring the gospel to Latin America means he deserves the same accolades as Graham.

Luis Palau was promoted to glory in March 2021 at the age of 86. He is pictured here preaching at the historic Bogotá (Evangelical) Festival in Colombia in 1966. It was his first outdoor crusade and shaped a country in political and social upheaval.

The statistics that surround Palau are mind-boggling: he has spoken in more than 80 countries, authored close to 50 books, mentored and advised countless leaders, and started his own evangelistic radio show, played by 5000 radio stations since 1964. He passed away in March this year.

In the new biopic, we are invited into the heart and mind of Palau. Yet, it quickly becomes apparent that this film is about God’s message of salvation rather than Palau’s platform. We observe this from his childhood, marked by his parents’ passion for church planting and how his father’s unexpected death shaped him.

Palau’s elevation to full-time ministry is fast-tracked for us. After starting a radio show on his lunch break, he soon meets Pastor Ray Stedman and receives a scholarship to seminary in the United States. Fast-forward 10 years, and he is now married with kids. Yet this is the crux of the film. Palau, tired of living on a meagre $3 a week and studying, wants to live out his calling. When he is convicted of his own ego, we witness a beautiful display of repentance as Palau realigns his will to God’s.

This opens the door to Palau’s ministry at the coalface, and he and fellow missionary [his wife] Pat are appointed to Colombia to plant churches and save souls. Along the way, the couple must navigate ministry burnout, safety concerns, marrying salvation with physical need, and uniting denominations for God’s kingdom.

We can all learn something from Luis Palau. His hunger for God’s Word and compassion for people are riveting. And his ability to work alongside communities was equally as remarkable to the souls saved through his message. In this way, Palau’s ministry (and the exceptional work of Pat) was a firecracker, setting off lifelong ministries in communities across the world.

This film paints a one-size-fits-all view of salvation, showing that God can save anyone from sin. In everyday life, we know there is nuance to how we share the gospel. A person’s circumstances, trauma, and background will radically determine how God intersects with them. However, this biopic is a powerful reminder that when it comes to the Kingdom of God, everyone is invited to have a seat at the table. And that means we have work to do.

PALAU is available online and on DVD at Koorong.

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