In God’s Not Dead, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) is a freshman pre-law student at Hadleigh University who never imagined that his first trial would be defending his faith. Yet it was. Philosophy 150 for a basic humanities class would be easy right? Not with Professor Radisson as the teacher.
On the first day of class, Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo), an avid atheist, tells the class to “bypass senseless debate … and come to the conclusion that there is no god.” The students are to take a piece of paper, write “god is dead” on it, sign it, and turn it in.
When Josh nervously refuses to do it because of his Christian beliefs, he is assigned the task to prove that God’s not dead or potentially fail the class. He is given three presentation opportunities, with the class as the jury, and Professor Radisson as the prosecutor.
As the semester goes on, Josh must figure out what is most important to him. He studies every book he can get his hands on regarding the existence of God. Even with threats of failure from his professor, and questioning of life choices from friends and family, Josh feels that this is what God wants him to do. This may be the only positive exposure that Professor Radisson, and these students, might ever have to God.
God’s Not Dead – directed by Harold Cronk (Jerusalem Countdown, Silver Bells) – is based on the book of the same name by Dr. Rice Broock, published by Nelson, Thomas, Inc. Each of the film’s characters deal with their own common modern-day problems: everything from being a useful servant of God, being unequally yoked, doubt in God, nonbelief, to the fear of rejection and death.
God’s Not Dead was brilliantly written to incorporate all these subplots with the main storyline. Through the duration of the movie, they are brought together to create a powerful film of how miraculously God can work in our lives.
When it comes to film quality, God’s Not Dead might as well have come out of Hollywood… a conservative, Christian Hollywood anyway. The production value is top-notch. Shane Harper (Good Luck Charlie, High School Musical 2) gives a strong portrayal as the courageous and thoughtful student who encourages others around him to take a stand for Christ. With great boldness and faith, Harper exposes the truth through his presentations and debates with Professor Radisson.
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) delivers an excellent performance as a philosophy professor itching to prove his point of view. While Sorbo channels a relentless yet controlled anger toward all that don’t agree with him, we do find out that there is a reason behind it. The debates between Wheaton and Radisson are well researched, perfectly balanced, and intense at times, while never feeling like they last too long.
David A.R White, who plays Pastor Dave, does a great job showing encouragement to Josh and many of the other characters throughout the movie. There are even several comedic scenes between Pastor Dave (David A. R White) and Pastor Jude (Benjamin Ochieng) that will have the audience laughing out loud.
We also get to see an ice cold Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), who plays the role of Mark, have a conversation with his movie mom that could really get people thinking.
God’s Not Dead features guest appearances from Willie and Korie Robertson (Duck Dynasty) and Christian super-band The Newsboys. The Newsboys not only have a rocking concert in the movie, but also a powerful moment with one of the characters that are really searching for truth in life.
Watch the movie trailer below:
Due to the complex plot and many topics discussed in the movie, I would recommend God’s Not Dead for ages 10+. This movie is an excellent conversation starter for any youth or adult group – for believers and nonbelievers alike.
God’s Not Dead is an inspirational film for all those watching, and sets a new bar for Christian apologetics entertainment. It reminds us to be bold in our faith, even when we are nervous about what others around us might think. Most importantly, this movie affirms to us that God is truly Alive and quite far from dead!
God’s Not Dead is rated PG by the MPAA “for thematic material, brief violence and an accident scene.”
There are several incidents of violence in the movie: a car is broken into and an item is stolen; a girl is slapped twice and rejected by her family; and a man is hit by a car as he crosses a busy city street.
Something to keep in mind: while there is no bad language in God’s Not Dead, Professor Radisson is very demeaning to the people who do not agree with his views. Also, one character goes through the grieving process after receiving a terminal diagnosis.
The message of Salvation is shared, prayed, and talked about in a few spots in the movie. There are also theories from popular atheists and Christian creationists discussed in a classroom setting.
In the movie, Josh had to find out what was most important in his life. He felt that he couldn’t sign that statement, but was it worth going against the advice of his family, friends, possibly failing a class, and potentially destroying his plans for the future? Wouldn’t it just be easier to sign the paper and get it over with?
Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV) says: “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” This verse is clear. We stand up for Jesus Christ; Jesus will stand up for us before God in Heaven.
Josh had to study and research continuously throughout the semester to get through his presentations and debate with his professor. Most of us may never have to debate that blatantly, but the Bible says for every believer to be ready to stand up for his or her faith. If we do not feel that we can debate on an intellectual level, then we shouldn’t be discouraged. Start now and learn a little at a time.
However, you should always be ready to share your testimony – How you came to know Christ as your Lord and Savior, because no one can refute your personal experiences. Most importantly, share Christ with others in love and respect, and remember it is not your job to convince anyone, it is the Holy Spirit’s.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
• Who are you trying to please most in your life?
• If you were asked to sign a sheet of paper that said, “god is dead” in order to pass a class and possibly avoid embarrassment, would you do it?
• If a stranger was around you for a day, would he/she be able to tell you that you represent Christ by the way that you live?
Get the story behind the movie in Ginny Dent Brant’s article God’s Not Dead: Interview With Producer/Actor David A.R.White
To learn more about God’s Not Dead, check out its entry at the Christian Film Database
To learn more about April Kruger, please visit Cross Shadow Productions
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