In April 1966, a shocking TIME magazine cover asked, “Is God Dead?” and stunned the country. It sparked a reaction that included thousands of sermons and letters to the editors, shouting and sharing opinions on both sides of the question.
The good news about the question is that God must exist and be alive for Him to be considered to have met His demise.
If Time, or another iconic publication, emblazoned its cover with this proclamation today, it would be met with a much more muted response.
Almost fifty years later, a Pure Flix film declared that “God’s Not Dead”, answering the Time magazine cover question. The resounding response from moviegoers created the number one independent film worldwide in 2014.
God’s Dead Versus God’s Not Dead?
The film’s storyline sees a freshman university student attend a philosophy class, where the atheist professor requires all students to submit a signed statement that “God is dead” and, in fact, never existed. The student refuses to sign due to his Christian beliefs, so the professor challenges him to defend his position that his God is real. This leads to a series of confrontational presentations between the student and the professor, with the class as the jury.
In order to defend the faith, the student researches history, philosophy, science and scripture. He presents intelligent, meaningful and winsome statements and positions of truth with such convincing clarity that the class agrees with the student. The final verdict?
God’s Not Dead.
Is this insightful acumen missing from many of a Christian’s arsenal of answering questions that would start someone on a path of faith to God?
Was Jesus and the Resurrection Real?
This question led to the God’s Not Dead sequel, aptly named God’s Not Dead 2. Here, a jury verdict in a court of law acquits a history schoolteacher that was accused of preaching versus teaching about Jesus in her classroom. The expert witnesses in her defense are a homicide detective and a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter. The detective specializes in cold cases, and with the techniques used to solve cases decades later, proves the testimonial validity of the Gospels. The reporter uses all of his skills to prove the crucifixion, death and resurrection, presenting a mountain of empirical truth about the historical Jesus from both biblical and non-biblical sources.
Equipping the Congregants?
As pastors, have we equipped believers to confidently give the reason for their faith with gentleness and respect? In other words, can our congregants execute a smart and winsome discussion about the existence of God, the historicity of Jesus, and the proof of His resurrection (the lynchpin of our faith) in the face of sarcastic, mean-spirited or demeaning conversation?
Vitriol or Victory?
It seems like this is the culture on many campuses today. Tolerance becomes intolerance. Accusation replaces acumen. Meanness usurps manners. Preference is preferred to principle. In the midst of this atmosphere the threequel, God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness shows a pastor that resorts to his strength as he finds his church destroyed, his congregation silenced, his friendship shattered. The university campus, where his church is located, is convinced the church has lost its usefulness. In essence, God is dead to the purposes of the university. But the grace of the gospel finds the pastor manifest the nature of God in the power of forgiveness, healing and bringing hope to both sides of this cultural conflict.
Good News – God’s Not Dead
Yes, God is relevant and revival is needed. With only 4% of millennials having a biblical worldview, 3 out of 4 young men and women leave faith after they leave home, and atheism doubling in Gen Z, the Good News is needed more than ever. And one of the best bridges to bring connection to those who won’t go to a church is to engage them in a faith film. Begin this Easter season with God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, the most socially relevant faith film of the year.
Franklin Santagate is the Vice President of Pure Flix Global Strategic Alliances, which works with denominations, ministries, and organizations by finding common vision, assets, resources and influence. From that position, we create initiatives we can do together that we cannot do apart, reaching our mutual objectives and expanding the Kingdom of God. To discover more or to become a Pure Flix Global Strategic Alliance partner go to http://pureflixalliance.com/join/.
To contact Franklin for speaking opportunities at churches and special events, email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.