April 15, 2016
The original God’s Not Dead film was the surprise hit of 2014 earning over $60m with a buget of only $2m and winning KLOVE’s TV/Film Impact Award. The Impact award is voted on by KLOVE audiences nationwide. According to the movie producrers, an estimated 7+ million souls have been impacted, stretched and emboldened by experiencing the powerful message of God’s Not Dead. The sequel (which features an entirely new cast) debuts in theathers nationally today.
Here is the film review from PluggedIn:
Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) is neither a troublemaker nor a crusader. But when this conscientious Christian and public high school history teacher answers some honest questions about Jesus posed to her by a struggling, seeking student, she soon finds herself in trouble and at the forefront of a crusade … to prove that God is still not dead.
It’s high school junior Brooke Thawley (Hayley Orrantia) who asks one innocent question. She’s struggling to make sense of her brother’s tragic death.
Brooke wants to know how Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitments to nonviolent protest compared to Jesus’ teachings, Grace replies, “The writer of the gospel of Matthew records Jesus as saying, ‘You have heard it said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you will be children of your father in heaven.”‘ Then she quotes Dr. King: “Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method.'”
The ensuing courtroom conflict revolves around the question of whether Grace’s quotation of Jesus involves a violation of “division of church and state.” Eventually, Grace and Tom (her lawyer) settle on a legal strategy in which they try to prove that because Jesus was a real historical figure, His quoted words are as acceptable to talk about in a history class as those of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.
Real life expert witnesses Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ, and James Warner Wallace, a former homicide detective who wrote Cold Case Christianity are called to the stand to offer evidence.
Brooke, meanwhile, applies what she’s learned in class about nonviolent protests to organize pro-God picketing at school and the courthouse.
“Cases where the religious freedoms of everyday men and women are being restricted by courts and government agencies are sadly quite common today,” says Michael Scott, producer and founding partner of the Christian film distribution company Pure Flix. “Our hope is that we can start a conversation in the country with this movie about how critical the right to believe—and to talk about that belief in public—is to our nation.”
A list of over 20 real-life legal challenges to religious freedom can be seen scrolling during the credits.