The sequel to the first hit movie, hits the theaters tomorrow (Friday, April 1, 2016)
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
HOLLYWOOD, CA (ANS – March 30, 2016) — God’s Not Dead 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the Pure Flix movie from 2014, and features an all-star cast. It hits the American theaters tomorrow (Friday, April 1, 2016), and is expected to do well at the box office, especially after a huge publicity campaign.
Now, Dr. Tom Snyder, editor of Movieguide®, described as “The Family Guide to Movies & Entertainment,” along with Dr. Ted Baehr, its founder and publisher, have given the film a top rating calling it “riveting.”
In their review, the two media experts say that God’s Not Dead 2 “moves into the courtroom as Pastor Dave finds himself on a jury deciding the fate of a Christian teacher who’s being tried because she dared to discuss Jesus when asked a specific question about Martin Luther King Jr.’s referencing Jesus Christ.”
They go onto say: “God’s Not Dead 2 is even more dramatic and riveting than the first movie and affirms the Gospel of Jesus Christ directly.”
In their review, they say, “The movie opens with a montage of its main cast of characters. Pastor Dave gets a jury summons the same day his African friend, the Rev. Jude, returns to get his doctorate in America. Meanwhile, Grace Wesley, a local high school teacher, talks to Brooke, one of her students, at a local restaurant. Brooke admits to Grace she’s still grieving over the loss of her brother, who died in a traffic accident. Brooke’s parents keep telling her they must all ‘move on,’ but Grace cannot. Brooke asks Grace why she’s so happy most of the time. Grace replies with one word, ‘Jesus.’
“The next day, Grace is talking to her history students at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School about the peaceful civil disobedience organized by Gandhi in India and by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement in the United States. Brooke asks Grace if their beliefs are similar to Jesus, who told his followers to love their enemies and ‘bless those who persecute you.’ Grace agrees, citing references in scripture that inspired Gandhi and Dr. King.
“The administration at Grace’s school isn’t happy with Grace’s discussion of Jesus, even though it was in response to a question from Brooke and was placed in an historical, social context, not a religious or theological one. The school board demands Grace apologize and never mention the name of Jesus again. Grace refuses to do that, so the school board brings in the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, to represent Brooke’s parents. Peter Kane, the ACLU lawyer, is a committed atheist and wants to make Grace a test case to remove totally the name of Jesus from the public square. If he wins the case, not only will Grace lose her job. She will also lose her teaching certificate for violating alleged local, state and federal laws.
“Happily for Grace, Kane makes a mistake and Pastor Dave ends up on the jury in her case. However, hope for Grace grows dim when Brooke demands to testify and the issue of Brooke’s private conversation with Grace comes to light. Things get even worse when Pastor Dave suddenly has an appendicitis attack and must be replaced on the jury.”
The reviewers go on to say, “The stakes in God’s Not Dead 2 are raised even higher than the first movie. Not only is Grace’s career in jeopardy, but her case may become a test case that will lead to more open persecution against Christians. The ACLU lawyer clearly wants to eliminate all public references to Jesus and His message of sin and salvation, in the name of ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance.’
“After talking to her about her faith, Grace’s young lawyer develops a clever strategy. He brings in two expert witnesses, two real-life former atheists, Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) and former cold-case detective, J. Warner Wallace (Cold-Case Christianity). They testify that their skeptical inquiries into Jesus confirmed to their minds the historicity not only of Jesus Christ’s message and death by crucifixion, but also His resurrection. Brooke’s testimony could render this strategy moot, however, because it suggests Grace was indeed trying to proselytize Brooke and her other students.
“God’s Not Dead 2 is more riveting than the first movie. Even better, it has a more direct, more comprehensive, more spirited defense of the historicity of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, and the lives and ministry of His apostles. It also overtly affirms Peter’s declaration about Jesus and His divinity in Matthew 16:15-20: ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ To which Jesus replies, ‘On this rock I will build my church, and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it.’
“Finally, God’s Not Dead 2 encourages Christians to peacefully protest against the forces of darkness and oppose their evil schemes to destroy our religious freedom to preach Christ’s Gospel.”
Snyder and Baehr conclude their review by saying, God’s Not Dead 2 isn’t a perfect movie. There are a couple tangents and subplots that may or may not lessen the enjoyment of some viewers. Also, the climax could have used another emotional scene between Grace and her grandfather when it looks like all will be lost the next day when the jury reads the verdict.
“However, God’s Not Dead 2 is much better and more inspiring than most Hollywood movies. Final twists about Grace’s case add immensely to the delight of seeing the evil, hateful, smug atheist lawyer being defeated. As Grace’s grandfather remarks near the beginning, atheism can’t take away the pain; it only takes away the hope.”
For the complete review, go to www.movieguide.org.
The movie, which runs for 113 minutes and is rated PG, stars Melissa Joan Hart, Hayley Orrantia, Jesse Metcalfe, David A.R. White, Benjamin Onyango, Robin Givens, Ray Wise, Paul Kwo, Trisha LaFache, Pat Boone, Sadie Robertson, Ernie Hudson, Maria Canals Barrera, Jenn Gotzen, Fred Dalton Thompson, and Michael Tait with the Newsboys. It is written by Cary Solomon, Chuck Konzelman and directed by Harold Cronk, with Brittany Lefebvre, and produced by Michael Scott, David A.R. White, Russell Wolfe, Elizabeth Travis, with Troy Duhon and Robert Katz as executive producers.
A news release sent to ANS states that the movie “will have audiences standing proudly for what they believe … while they still can. Where will you stand?”
Quite a question!
Note: Stand with God, a devotional from BroadStreet Publishing based on the movie, has just been released.
A spokesperson for the publishers told ANS, “The God’s Not Dead 2 devotional book digs deeper into the cultural questions of civil disobedience and religious freedom, coupled with the sovereignty of God and biblical heroes who have traveled this road before us. This 40-day journey will inspire, motivate, and challenge you to not only grow closer to God, but also deepen your roots to stand strong in the storms that life will surely bring. And once again, we shall see — God is not dead — He’s surely alive!”
The movie’s official web site is: http://godsnotdead.com, where you can also watch the trailer.
Photo captions: 1) Illustration for the movie. 2) Tense courtroom scene from God’s Not Dead 2, featuring Jesse Metcalfe and Melissa Joan Hart. 3) Former cold-case detective, J. Warner Wallace, testifying during the film. 4) Newsboys’ Michael Tait, who sang title song for God’s Not Dead 2. 5) Protestors. A scene from the movie. 6) Dan Wooding interviews Dr. Ted Baehr at a Movieguide® Gala in Hollywood. (Photo: Peter Wooding).
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of some 45 books. Dan also has a radio show called “Front Page Radio,” which originates on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com), and two TV shows, “Windows on the World” (with Mark Ellis), and “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding” which includes interviews with Dr. Ted Baehr in two of the episodes. To view the various shows, go to: http://hsbn.tv.
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