Friday, March 14, 2014

God's Not Dead (The Movie~ A Review) (2 thumbs up!)

My family and I recently had the opportunity to watch an advanced screening of God's Not Dead, which is coming to theaters across the country next Friday on March 21st. 

Keep up to date with them on Facebook and Twitter

Click the map to find a theater near you. Who knew there would be
so many showing a faith based movie on the liberal East Coast? WOW! 

The movie is an intense telling of the story of a young college freshman (Josh Wheaton) who stands up for his beliefs in his philosophy class, when he refuses to write "God's Not Dead" on his paper, as instructed. He is then invited by his staunchly atheistic professor to "Debate" him, and "prove" to his fellow classmates that God is not dead.

There are a number of side stories that follow various other characters (whose lives are somehow intertwined) and the choices *they* have to make, which give depth to the story, but add extremely emotional elements that are not suitable for children (hence the PG rating~ I would have been tempted to give it a PG-13 rating myself). 

Matthew 10:32, 33
 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges Me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven;  but whoever denies Me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven." 

This is a foundational point of the movie~ Check out the trailer below...

I know that "God's Not Dead" has been receiving some less than complimentary reviews from highly respected organizations run by Christians, who are concerned that this movie promotes evolution and will lead the younger generations down a slippery slope. 

I must disagree, and much of the rest of my review is more of a defense of the movie to Christian audiences, to whom I appeal to support the movie. 


While I am a literal creationist, and I appreciate and support those organizations who advance the scientific evidence for such, that is not the theme of this particular film. Thus, I feel making the Evolution/Creation debate a focus of any negative review is not fair to this movie. 

In the story, the character Josh is given a sum total of 60 minutes spread over 3 classes to persuade his fellow classmates that God is not dead (I suspect that he didn't have to persuade ALL of them, as many of them might have folded in to peer and other external pressures that we see Josh dealing with). His purpose in the limited time he has in front of his class is not to prove or disprove Theistic Evolution, but the very existence of God. 

In doing that, he uses quotes from scientists and atheists themselves to illustrate the point that the creation account is backed up by scientific theory. He uses the arguments and theories that his classmates are familiar with. The Big Bang theory itself points to God speaking the universe into existence (whether you agree with what follows in that theory or not). I applaud this quote from Josh in the movie "In other words the origins of the universe unfolded exactly as one would expect after reading the account in Genesis." He also says that for over 2000 years "The Bible had it right, and Science had it wrong." when speaking about those who believed in a steady state universe(no beginning and no end vs "In the beginning, God created"). 

Even though Josh starts off by saying that "most cosmologists now agree" that the world began billions of years ago, he never says that this is the position that he himself holds. He never says he agrees with evolution, (once again, in spite of his referring to what "most scientists agree on... " he's just stating the fact that most scientists agree (and as he pointed out before~ science can be wrong...)

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that even if there is a sentence or two that could be construed as "acknowledging" Theistic Evolution, this movie deserves our support as it proclaims the truth that God is not dead, and that people need to make a choice.

Whether you choose to love God~ or choose to hate God, it is almost impossible to deny His existence. It follows that if you love God, you have come to terms with your sinful state~ as no man can serve two masters... 

Josh makes a key point when arguing with his atheistic professor that "What constitutes morality is a straight line that leads directly back to God." I don't know about you, but the image that immediately comes to mind when I hear that sentence is the cross... and there would be no need for the cross if there was no sin. Seems to me that what isn't being said should be "understood."

Whew! Now that I've said all that, I want to be sure you know that by and large, this is a very high quality production. The acting is excellent (Kevin Sorbo as the professor is phenomenal), as is the filming and orchestration (Which include not only the Newsboys, but a new single written and performed by Shane Harper who plays the main character, Josh Wheaton). I will say that I was disappointed because the conclusion of the story was a little anti-climactic and some of the dialogue was rather unrealistic given the situation.

Quote from my 16 year old: It's not a "Feel Good" movie, but it is a "Good" movie. It makes you think and promotes discussion. I think if you have the opportunity to see it, you should!  

I would love to see this film supported by as many people as possible, because unfortunately, money talks, and this is a good chance to show Hollywood that we want to see more good faith-based films. Please don't choose *not* to go based on what anyone else says~ go, and make your own decision. And bring your friends, whether they are Christians, unsaved, seekers, or atheists... you may be surprised at the outcome. There are so many good conversations that can be had about relationships, love, truth, and yes, scientific theory, but let those take a back seat to the main theme, especially leading up to Easter~ "God is NOT dead, He's surely ALIVE!" 


Disclaimer: I received a link to preview the movie God's Not Dead in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 

*NOTE: The God's Not Dead website has all sorts of resources, including study guides, sermon ideas if you're into that sort of thing. 

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