Friday, February 7, 2014

God's Not Dead (Movie Review)

I was able to attend a pre-screening of the God's Not Dead Film that will hit the theaters in March below is my own personal opinion of the film.



I find the whole, "don't throw the baby out with the bath water," in the realm of Christianity has been taken to the extreme. Sure, there is room for human error, we are in fact human, living in the flesh. We all make mistakes, and things happen, I get that. But it has come to a point in our society where not only have we overlooked the mistakes, but overlooked the outright sin, deception and wrong spirit behind the motivation in Christian media and entertainment. I have no problem sitting in a service and a scripture is accidentally misquoted or said wrong. I'm not going to put that preacher under the magnifying glass and dismiss him completely. Mistakes happen. But when you are dealing with media. A movie, a music album, even a book, every single word is put there on purpose.

Every shot, every angle. The producers, the writers, those involved in production only have a limited time to captivate you, their audience and nothing, "just happens." With this in mind, when watching a Christian movie or reading a children's book, you can't just take the good with the bad. If red flags go up with a certain line, or bells go off during a particular scene, know this, that part was put there on purpose. We have been given the Holy Ghost to lead us, guide us and protect us. The problem is, when we ignore the prompting of the Holy Ghost enough, our conscience becomes seared. At this point, God will hand us over to our pleasures. We feel uncomfortable at first, but then we begin to justify a movie or book because of the Christian content. 

But Aslan represents Jesus, we cry out! So we continue to read a book with witches and wizards even though the Bible clearly tells us to stay far away from such things.  Darkness has no fellowship with light. Satan himself knows the Bible and even quoted scripture. I appreciate the following quote from Berit Kjos:

"Lewis has a remarkable ability to bring Christian readers into new worlds and make them feel at home in the midst of pagan rituals, occult mysteries and magical forces. In so doing, he presents unbiblical versions of the most important gifts God has given us: His unchanging truth, His uncompromising righteousness, His peace in the midst of turmoil, His unwavering faith, and His eternal gift of salvation." 

Anyone can write a book representing spiritual truths and captivate the audience they want. Especially Hollywood.

With this movie, I was highly impressed with the quality. The actors. The production was pure quality. The story line was amazing with a theme I hold close to my heart, Creationism. Many issues Christians face were showcased in this movie. And yes, at times, I was moved to tears. How could I not be. It tugged at my emotions and hit me where I am weak. 

A Muslim woman was disowned by her father for converting to Christianity. They showed  the violence, I shuttered and cried. I have met more than one woman that this has personally happened to. It hit close to home for me. 

A Chinese man talked about house churches over the phone with his father in China. The father was upset because the phone could be tapped. Personally, I have had to email missionaries in code so their Christian identity wouldn't be revealed. This too, hit close to home for me. 

Other relatable experiences were shown and portrayed which normally would make for a great movie, and a positive movie review. 

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Yes, I will throw the baby out with the bath water because in this case, the baby has been contaminated!  

What's the Big Deal?

The Newsboys. Obviously. I mean they popularized the song, God's Not Dead. But honestly, the whole movie was an advertisement for their album. Ok, so I don't like Newsboys, keep our personal preferences to yourself. No. It's not that I don't "like" them. It's that God has delivered me from their culture that once ensnared me. It's like saying to a former alcoholic, "give the bars a chance, people can get saved there too!" 

You know, the Newsboys were my gateway band. Seriously. It all began with an album I bought of theirs close to 15 years ago. It was a downward spiral from there. First an innocent, "Christian rock band"(yes they consider themselves that genre), then something a little heavier, and then a little more rockier. Before you know it I'm tattooed, pierced, listening to Christian death metal bands living a completely ungodly lifestyle. And it all started with an innocent Newsboys concert with an alter call and prayer of salvation in a back room. Do I personally blame this band. No, obviously not. Does everyone who listens to this music go down the path I did, no but there are more than you realize!

Listen. The red flags in this movie are this. When a young man gets saved he is not directed to prayer or Scripture. Rather, the one who led him to the Lord takes him to a Newsboys concert. Immediately. That bothered me. 

This is a common problem in evangelism. We train our young people to "invite the unsaved to our outreach event" and we throw in a part of the world mixed in with Christianity. We aren't training them up to do what the Bible says, "Go ye into the world making disciples of all nations." We need to be the ones making disciples. God has equipped us with everything we need to do so. 

This whole "outreach movement" whether it's a lock-in, pizza party, or movie, reminds me of Catholic church history. When the word of God was not allowed in the hands of the people, they were forced to believe what they heard in church as truth.

Lies were thrown into this movie left and right. Many of us heard the quote, "if you were the only one on earth, Jesus still would have died for you." Yes, I believe He would have, I understand that each person is important in God's eyes. But, this quote was misquoted in a slight manner to say, "if you were the only one of earth, Jesus would die for you again." Again? This is unscriptual on so many levels. See how the lies creep into the truth? We can become so blinded and not see that the enemy is trying to creep in and infiltrate our minds.

What bothered me the most about this movie was not only the glorifying of people more than Jesus but the contradictions about the main character's doctrinal beliefs. He worded things differently several times to try to appease to different crowds. The message was watered down, trying to appeal to the masses. 

I do not glory in writing such a strongly negative review of this movie, but I find it is important to share my heart.  






7 comments:

Renata said...

I just got this review through email. While I have not seen, nor are likely to see this movie, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate what you wrote and for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe. I completely agree with your points raised and hope it makes others think about topics they may never have considered before! Great post!
Blessings
Renata:)

thriftschooling said...

Thank you for your encouragement. Sharing such strong opinons can cause quite a stir. I'm thankful for the positive feedback! ~Heather

Steven Paul said...

Great Post Heather. This movie is NOT about the true biblical Gospel message of Jesus Christ and is not the Spirit of Truth which always points to and testifies Jesus but is rather just another religious man made movie having a form of godliness but void of the power of God. All one has to do is look at who's behind this move and its writers, directors, and producers. They are not about the Biblical Jesus which some have actually produced and written evil demonic movies and yet I've not read anywhere a remorse for such works or demonstration of repentance or sorrow. A lot of people believe in "god" or "a god", multiple gods, etc. and that there's something out there in the cosmos that made this all happen. Even Oprah believes in a god. The questions is what do we believe about Jesus? I recently had a bible study with my daughter going verse by verse through John 14 thru 17 where Jesus spends some intimate time with his disciples just before he gets betrayed by Judas in Chapter 18. Jesus started out in John 14 saying: "ye believe also in God, believe also in me". This is the cornerstone and foundation of believing in God, because without knowing and believing in Jesus Christ people don't know or have God at all and will be forever lost in their sins and remain under the wrath of God. Jesus told Philip "He that has seen Me has seen the Father". John later confirms in 1 John 2:23 "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. The question is why is the wave of the post modern neo-evangelical church system trying to use this movie (which I think is trickery) in an attempt to get people to acknowledge that there is a God that exists rather than getting right to the point which is they are lost in their sin and are under the wrath of God and need a savior and without acknowledging and believing on Jesus to save them they will go straight to the burning flames of hell? Religious man in his arrogant pride thinks the God of the Universe is harnessing the wisdom of mans creation of media and technology to save people and yet their are not bringing the real Jesus to the people but are instead leading them to a satanic "christian" rock band show? Jesus told his disciples in John 14:16-17:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. What makes these Christian movie producers think that they have an edge on Jesus harnessing mans technology and wisdom when Jesus already said "that the world cannot receive"? Should we twist that and say "that the World cannot receive until the 21st Century post modern Church develops technology to do so". Thanks again for the excellent post Heather and I pray that all those that read this blog and post on the movie use biblical discernment and do their good Berean homework on these anti-christs who are behind the scenes (I make no apologies because John didn't need to either in 1 John Chapter 2 when he warned the Church to beware of the Anti-Christs are are to come and are currently here in our midst and working their deception seducing and luring Christians to another gospel)

Steven Paul said...

Jesus words also caused quite a stir. This is what the sting of truth does: "So there was a division among the people because of him" - John 7:43

Jackson Dame said...

You've made some interesting points here, things that I didn't even take notice of when I saw a pre-screening of the film. Thanks for sharing your perspective on it. I definitely didn't like how it seemed like a big Newsboys advertisement towards the end. I came to some other conclusions, primarily in the area of how mediocre I thought the plot and film were. I posted my review to my website if you're interested in hearing some other thoughts.

thriftschooling said...

Thanks for reading. I'm interested in checking our your review as well!

Erica B said...

Heather, While I haven't seen the movie and hadn't planned on it, I know many people who have. Often my perspective is not valid to them because I have not seen the movie. I really appreciate the stand you took to write these thoughts, and I think you are absolutely correct about it being a 'gateway' that can corrupt and lead down the wrong path. I am going to share this review. Thanks for writing it.