leans strongly toward a biblical worldview
|Faith and/or Biblical Relevance|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations|
|Family Viewing Suitability|
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With biblically orthodox Christian faith under unprecedented attack in America today, the release of GOD’S NOT DEAD in theaters nationwide on Friday, March 21, is both timely and welcomed by those seeking faith- and family-friendly entertainment options. Produced by Pure Flix Entertainment and directed by Harold Cronk, GOD’S NOT DEAD stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Soul Surfer), Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Smallville) and David A.R. White (Evening Shade, Saved by the Bell, Mercy Streets) and features cameos by Willie and Korie Robertson (Duck Dynasty) and memorable music by Christian pop band, the Newsboys. As a story centered on the clash between secular and biblical worldviews, GOD’S NOT DEAD creates a powerful point of convergence where viewers must fully consider the existence of God and make a decision.
Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance
While some Christians who specialize in apologetics may take issue with how the arguments for the existence of God are handled in GOD’S NOT DEAD, the increasingly intolerant and arrogant secularist viewpoint dominating academia today is realistically portrayed. In the film, college freshman and committed Christian Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) is faced with the tough decision to accommodate to his philosophy professor’s assertion and that there is no God – and glide through the course unscathed – or publicly defend his deeply held faith convictions and risk a failing grade that would jeopardize his chosen career path.
In a world increasingly hostile to biblical faith, the daunting challenge faced by Josh to stand up for his faith reflects the biblical call we have as Christians to be well-prepared to defend the hope of Christ that is in us. Here, GOD’S NOT DEAD has significant relevance to Faith Driven Consumers who are continually called upon to make biblical stewardship choices in the marketplace of goods, services and ideas.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships
GOD’S NOT DEAD offers a diversity of characters and subplots that depict largely realistic and faith-compatible relationships. Beyond Josh and Professor Radisson (Sorbo), a broad spectrum of relevant and relatable characters are woven into the story line including: Radisson’s Christian girlfriend who skillfully navigates not only his disbelief but also a mother with Alzheimer’s and a selfish, career-driven brother; a skeptical journalist who faces a cancer diagnosis; a lukewarm pastor who increasingly steps up to the plate; an on-fire African missionary; a Chinese student who comes to faith and faces rejection from his father; and a young Muslim woman who accepts Jesus and, in one of the most powerful and moving scenes in the film, is disowned by her devout, heart-broken father. In each situation, the characters find themselves at a crossroads where they must choose faith over the ways of the world – sometimes with a heavy price to pay.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations
While most situations are depicted respectfully, some may take issue with what might be seen as a stereotypical and shallow presentation of certain situations in GOD’S NOT DEAD. With its many characters and overlapping plot lines, some situations are successfully fleshed out in nuanced ways while others lack the depth that we prefer. Overall, however, it’s clear that the writers have attempted to handle each situation in a realistic and respectful manner.
Family Viewing Suitability
With a PG rating, GOD’s NOT DEAD is a family-friendly film for teens and up. Its theological and apologetic-driven thematic content is likely beyond the ability of younger children to understand, and there are scenes involving brief violence and a deadly car accident. However, for parents who seek to expose their teenagers to issues centering on religious freedom in America and beyond, GOD’S NOT DEAD will be highly engaging and prompt viewers to dig deeper into how they can defend their faith convictions.
In line with recent Christian-themed movies that increasingly reflect higher production levels, GOD’S NOT DEAD offers an uneven, but largely well-written storyline that thoughtfully and respectfully navigates today’s debate between the biblical worldview and prevailing secularism. Most characters are well acted and the pacing of each story line builds nicely to a point of decision and resolution. Overall, GOD’S NOT DEAD is an encouraging, edifying and hope-filled movie that clearly presents the Gospel.