Get Forgiveness at Last Appeal

Where Do You Turn After You’ve Made Your Last Appeal?

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans6 Minutes

Movie Review: The Last Appeal

 Just the Facts

Last Appeal forgiveness at final judgmentThis movie started out as a touring stage show — and must be watched in that context to be more fully appreciated. Written and produced by the founder of Eastern Sky Theatre Company, ordained pastor Trey Fernald, The Last Appeal, is an ambitious, evangelistic production showcasing the need for redemption and the power of forgiveness. The mission of their company —  present the Gospel with power and creativity — is embodied in this production. The Last Appeal has been presented around the world and won 11 awards at eight film festivals.

The cast includes John Eric Bentley (Resident Evil and Transformers), Robert Wu (X-Men), and Kimberly Arland (Star Trek). Nearly every scene presents high-intensity moments which demand the actors to deliver emotional pleas in a disconnected, choppy manner. While the actors give valiant efforts, the lack of substantive, realistic dialogue causes performances to ring hollow.

A Little Entertainment

The show compellingly proclaims the power of forgiveness and redemption to transform any and every situation. The primary stage for the movie is the death row cellblocks of five inmates. Although each man has a death sentence, their individual, unique challenges allow Jesus to be seen as an all-sufficient answer. The Last Appeal clearly presents Jesus as the Deliverer from all difficulties.

Unfortunately, in attempting to tackle (and resolve) multiple major societal concerns:

prison life, racism, infidelity, bad cops, child abuse,
grief, the legal system, injustices, and complex relational issues,

the movie gives an ineffective portrayal of real life. The Last Appeal presents a strong evangelistic message, but I fear it may not appeal to anyone but Christians. That said, there are some nuggets within the show that can grow a believer’s faith and help us live more evangelistically. While we’ll dig into a couple foundational truths here, I encourage visiting the Eastern Sky Theatre Company and using their free Study/Group Discussion Guide for the production (www.eaternskytheatre.org).

A Little Deeper Digging

The prisoner, Clayton, demonstrates the courage, perseverance, and joy we all ought to display as people redeemed by Jesus. His passion for sharing eternal hope can inspire others to press on even when rejected. His constant pursuit of building common ground by caring what his fellow prisoners deal with offers a powerful demonstration of how to love one another. That is an area of living we can all grow into — here’s a few verses to help us.

  • By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35 NIV).
  • This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12 NASB).
  • Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8 ESV).
  • See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT).

 The five individuals featured in The Last Appeal made choices that brought great heartache and difficulty to others. And just as Clayton’s example shows us how to live, this aspect of the movie presents a powerful warning. Every choice made impacts others. Learning to use our free will for the good of all is the epitome of spiritual maturity.

Free will is a weighty responsibility that must be surrendered to the will of God if it is going to produce good. The choices we must make to foster unity require the power of the Holy Spirit operating within us. God created us for connection and investing the effort to grow in community is a worthy endeavor. Scripture has much advice in this regard:

  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13 NIV).
  • Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2 NIV).
  • So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:5 NIV).
  • Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart (Romans 12:16 CEB).

One day only Jesus’ judgment will matter. Although the dialogue lacks authenticity and cohesion, The Last Appeal expends great effort toward helping all viewers be sure the final judgment they receive brings eternal good.


To learn more about The Last Appeal and its upcoming air times on Inspiration TV, click here.