Read an interesting review this morning over at James Bishop’s blog about the first movie, “God’s Not Dead – In 13 Quick Points.”
At the end of the post, James writes, “let me know your thoughts.” I decided to share mine over there and here!
Some people may choose to laugh at the title of the movie. They think that “God’s Not Dead” is a belief in fairy tales. They laugh at us because they see Christians as ignorant, unknowledgeable buffoons; unscientific, brain-dead…you get the picture. On the other hand, those who claim (and conclusively believe) that “God is dead” are so arrogant to say such a thing! They are the ones who deserve to be laughed at for their obvious ignorance of God’s Word, their incessant rebellion against truth, justice, and morality; as well as their mindset that they absolutely and intentionally refuse to see their need for forgiveness for their sins through repentance at the foot of Christ’s cross.
This movie presents examples of what is stated in Psalms:
The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
I agreed with, and enjoyed reading what you [James] wrote in your “good points.” However, many of the criticisms (which you are certainly entitled to believe and share) were not my feelings about the film. In the case of Raddison being “angry with God” because of the death of his mother at a young age, I can say that I know of people who once claimed that they “used to be Christian…now they are not” because of tragedies they had endured in their lives. Whether or not they were genuinely born again in Christ is between them and God, but typically those who know Christ (or once accepted Him) can, in near death instances, turn to Christ at the last minute and repent of their sins. My own father did just that several months before his death.
You did far more research regarding other reviews and opinions of the movie, but I only looked up two examples to use in my blog post about the film – one was positive and the other negative. Here is a copy of my post after seeing the movie for a second time. If you click on the link to my blog, then you can read the links that I placed within the post.
Talk Wisdom: Remaining Obedient to God
I watched the first movie, “God’s Not Dead” again last evening. I thought it was a good film even though many non-Christian reviews were negative. [See Wikipedia and scroll down to “critical reception” for examples.]
Plugged In had a good review of the film.
It was interesting to me to read Wikipedia’s opinion about the visit and verbal exchange of a son (Mark) in the movie (who previously refused to visit his mom who suffers from dementia) versus what is written over at Plugged In.
Mark at last visits his mother, only to taunt her; she responds that all of his financial success was given to him by Satan to keep him from turning to God.
Mina’s dementia-afflicted mother serves to stimulate thought about how serving God doesn’t always iron out all of life’s wrinkles.
“You prayed and believed your whole life,” Mina’s brother says to their mother, almost as an accusation. “Never done anything wrong. And here you are. You’re the nicest person I know. I am the meanest. You have dementia. My life is perfect. Explain that to me!” Then, in a moment of unexpected spiritual clarity, she does. “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God,” she tells her shocked son.
“Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”
Indeed, in the face of difficulty, we hear a lot about God always being good, and having a plan for our lives.
It is interesting to note that after saying such a coherent message, the mom goes back to her dementia-induced state, turns towards her son and asks, “who did you say that you were?”
In contrast to the accusation-filled son Mark, whenever the daughter (a Christian named Mina) visited her mom, she patiently told her (as often as necessary) that she is her daughter.
At the end of the film, Mark (son of the mom with dementia) acts as arrogantly and detached as ever from what his mother warned him about being in the state of “their [his] sin is like a jail cell.”
The man obviously rejected the warning, but the Bible tells each of us that “your sin will find you out.”
“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.
In Matthew 4 (just after Jesus was tempted by satan for 40 days and nights in the wilderness) we find:
Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.
And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”[fn]
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Since satan had the gall to tempt Jesus, the Son of God, he certainly will tempt any and all of us! However, as we see in the case of Mark in the movie, living a life of ease (yet separated from God for all eternity) still fulfills satan’s goal of taking unrepentant souls to hell with him.
Plugged In’s review is more in line with what Jesus tells us in Scripture.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[fn] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
[Added here: The examples of the Muslim girl being sent away when her Sharia law father found out she was a secret Christian is an example of tribulation because of her rejection of Islam and sincere belief in Christ. The same could be said of the Chinese student whose father was obviously an atheist who wanted his son to reject God as well. Jesus told us that belief in him would often divide believing vs. unbelieving family members:
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[fn] or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,
“who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”
And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!
“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”]
Speaking of experiencing tribulation in this world, God’s Not Dead 2 came out in April, 2016. I haven’t seen it yet but a blog I ran across describes a real life example of a situation that is depicted in the film.
God’s Not Dead blog: When God’s Not Dead 2 Plays Out As YOUR Story!
What is God’s purpose to allow us to go through tribulation (in whatever form it may arise) in this fallen world?
I think this paragraph explains it:
News of our legal case reached people all over the world, and some of them contacted me to encourage me and show their support. It’s amazing how God took a simple decision to remain obedient in my freshman year and turned it into a tool that reached the ears of thousands with the name of Jesus.
Remaining obedient often pits Christian believers against the secular worldviews that would have us shut up, sit down, and accept the immoral deluge that is afflicting our free speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience, freedom of outwardly professing our faith, and freedom FROM having immorality forced upon our families.
I applaud individuals like Chase Windebank, who didn’t know what the ultimate outcome would be, yet pressed on about what he knew God would have wanted him to do. Stand up for his faith in Jesus Christ!
Chase concludes his post:
It took nearly eight months for my case to come to a close. The outcome? A victory on the side of free speech! Now, if any other public school student is refused the right to pray during their free time at school, they can use my case as an example to aid in their own victory.
God was faithful to sustain me, and all of those rich memories came flooding back as I watched GOD’S NOT DEAD 2. Even though I am now far removed from it all, it felt so real and present. There were times I literally stood up and jumped in excitement for the case being made on behalf of Ms. Wesley.
The thought and scholarly guidance that this movie undertook in order to depict the truth of what our nation is dealing with was phenomenal. Remember with me, for this is the foundation upon which our nation was built. Remember it well by going to see this film. Be Blessed!
Chase Windebank is a Colorado native who loves hiking through the Rocky Mountains, teaching Taekwondo, and writing. His goal in life is to stir up passion in his generation for the things of God, and to show people the true treasure of the Gospel in his everyday life.
Hat tips to all links.