Why ‘God Is Not Dead’ is the Box-Office Surprise of 2014
April 7, 2014
In between publishing Dr. Jerry Newcombe’s article “Great New Movie - God’s Not Dead” and Rev. Austin Miles review of the movie entitled “God's Not Dead a Hit With All, Movie Review,” came a trip to a nearby theatre to see the film. With two reviews already posted at the American Prophet website it hardly seemed necessary to post yet another review - glowing or not.
Not only had I brought several friends along to see the film with me, but shortly after that I urged a few more people to go see the film while it was still in town. The reaction was always the same they were surprised and delighted. One teacher of the Bible had to call me as soon as his feet were out of the theatre where cell phones must be turned off. He gave me an ecstatic account of the film between the exit doors of the theatre and the parking lot.
The open exuberance for the film had peaked my interest. Why had this film caught the hearts of so many people, that friends were cheering it, critics are heralding it and writers can’t seem to wait to extoll the message and the import of this 2014 box-office surprise?
Dr. Newcombe attended the film with his wife only to emerge from the theatre with the same question on his mind.
He said, “My wife and I enjoyed the movie very much. What I found fascinating was the spontaneous applause from the audience. It was unusual. This wasn’t in the Bible belt. It was in cosmopolitan Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.”
Rev Miles noting the spontaneous audience approval said, “…it is rare to hear an audience applaud at the end even though that might happen during a screening before a select audience of a new movie.”
What happens when audiences see this movie to make them forget themselves and cry out yes or amen and then burst forth in loud and emotional applause?
After watching two of my friends brought to tears in the theatre and finding myself heartily applauding several times along with the audience, I knew the film had created an emotional outlet for Americans who do not think that colleges and universities should be teaching young freshmen that giving up faith in God is truly part of their academic responsibility.
The theatre goers were indicating their belief that faith in God is a matter of conscience in a free country and academia was never charged with the task of separating anyone from their faith.
Kevin Sorbo, the most seasoned of leads in the film, was well known for his depiction of Hercules in a TV series which ran from 1995 to 1999. Sorbo gave a stellar performance as the intellectually prideful and embittered college professor who challenged his young students to admit that since the advent of modern science, it was only right to declare once and for all - that God is dead.
Not everyone was willing to agree with the professor’s conclusions and that being the basis of the film did not take anything away from the several remaining sub-plots that the film developed.
Sorbo calls his philosophy class to attention with a long list of philosophers and academics who all had one thing in common, that God does not exist. One student stood alone to challenge his professor’s stance played by Shane Harper.
The boyish face and inexperience written all over Harper’s character betrays what turns out to be an intense performance of a young man whose convictions and faith were too well rooted for one puffed up college prof with an exploded view of his own intelligence.
New actors and some more experienced all provided what is a believable performance and it was all topped off by a wonderful concert scene where the ‘Newsboys,’ a Christian rock group started in 1985 produce a masterful musical culmination of the flick – even if you are a traditionalist this contemporary Christian band will leave you breathless.
But now we must return to the question of just why this film produces such spontaneity in the audience.After days of pondering the movie I found a single verse of scripture that alone seemed to answer the question for me.
Jesus proclaimed in Matthew’s gospel that one day those who long to see things made right will be satisfied. It is generally understood that this is a reference to the second coming of Christ.
What I witnessed in the theatre during this movie was a microscopic cross section of an America that still exists today. In spite of nearly a full generation of god-less academics, pop-culture trends and media anti-Christian efforts this film is proof positive that there are still plenty of Americans that fulfill the picture described in the Words of Jesus Christ taken from Matthew’s gospel.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5: 6