[notice]Neziswa Kanju shares her impressions and emotions after viewing God’s Not Dead 2 which is currently showing at cinemas in South Africa.[/notice]
From the creators and writers of God’s Not Dead Pure Flix Entertainment comes the much anticipated sequel, God’s Not Dead 2.
Starring Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, Ernie Hudson, David A R White, Hayley Orrantia, Robin Givens, Fred Thompson, Maria Canals-Barrera, and Sadie Robertson, God’s Not Dead 2 hit theatres across Africa from the 22nd July, 2016.
On July 21 I braved the icy cold that has hit Gauteng and other parts of the country to go watch God’s Not Dead 2 special media screening. I was excited to be attending this CUM Media hosted screening as I had been to another one of their special screenings before that of War Room.
I couldn’t help comparing the screening of God’s Not Dead 2 to the screening of War Room. At War Room screening there were representatives from Cum Books who came to tell the audience before we watched the movie a little about the movie. They shared how the movie would be marketed going forward. They informed us of the diverse representatives in the audience. When I went to Facebook after that screening there were many people who had commented about being at the screening and who encouraged others to go watch. All of these were missing from the screening of God’s Not Dead 2. In my venue (there were two organised venues) the audience was noticeably smaller that at the War Room screening. Because War Room was screened in November which is relatively warmer than the chilly month of July this could be the reason for the low turnout. This is something that the organisers must take into account when deciding on a movie release date.
The name of Jesus
The story of God’s Not Dead 2 follows a teacher Grace Wesley (played by Mellissa Joan Hart) who answers a question about Jesus from one of her students, Brooke Thawley (Played by Hayley Orrantia), in her history class. She gets in trouble with the authorities who threaten to take away her job and teaching licence if she does not apologise and vow never to mention the word Jesus in class again. There are many other sub story lines which feed into the main story line that reflect the situation that Christian are facing not only in America (which is the location of the film) but globally as Christian persecution is on the rise.
On doing my research and reading more about the reception of God’s Not Dead 2 in the United States, it seems that Americans had mixed reactions. The mainstream critics called it a propagandist film that portrays anybody who is not a Christian as being anti-Christian. They argue that you find many people who are not Christians but who uphold the right to freedom of religion. They warn Christian directors of possibly alienating the very people that they are trying to reach. One reviewer said he would not be surprised if some walked out of the movie theatre.
My own story
My reaction on watching God’s Not Dead 2 was a further commitment to my faith. I became a Christian at university, so I could relate to many of the challenges that the characters were facing. Coming from a society that believed in African Traditional Religion I relived many instances where I had to stand up for Christ alone when my own family wanted me to be less vocal about Christ and not to choose Christianity above worshipping the ancestors.
We all have such stories. If you have been a Christian for some time there would have been a time where you had to make a choice for Christ whether with family, at work or at school or among friends. We live with that reality everyday. Do you stay quiet about God and be popular with the world, or do you stand up for God and be unpopular with the world?
Where do you stand?
That for me was the question that continued to ring in my ears as I was driving back from the screening. It is a movie that will leave you questioning where you stand. Do you stand with the world that constantly wants to prove that God does not exist — or do you stand with God?
It is amazing how people will be laughing with you one minute, but the second they find out that you are a Christian or you go to church their expression changes. I always feel that they tolerate it because I am there but they would choose not to know this aspect of my life.
With religious freedom hanging in the balance in most parts of the world, including South Africa, the question is what must one do as an individual? Authorities would like to silence Christians lest mention of the name Jesus mention offends someonw. The unfair treatment is, of course, that the names of other religious figures continue to enjoy supremacy in the mind of many while they want to downplay the deity of Jesus Christ.
Denying Jesus doesn’t make Him go away. It only says no amount of evidence will convince you (A powerful line from the movie).
Another lingering question
There is another touching story line in the movie of a young Chinese man who against his family’s threat to disown him chooses Christ. It begs the question — would we give it all up for the sake of the gospel? When confronted with the choice would we give up status, worldly possessions and family ties to follow Jesus? That is the question that the movie left with me.
I highly recommend going to watch God’s Not Dead 2. It is winter, yes — and it is cold throughout the day but let us not be found sleeping when there is a battle cry for religious freedom.
A word from the organisers of God’s Not Dead 2 CMD Entertainment:
Please have a look at the cinema listing on our website www.godsnotdeadthemovie.co.za.
We encourage all churches and Christians to support the release of God’s Not Dead 2 in cinemas across South Africa.
3 EASY WAYS OF SUPPORTING:
1. Make a block booking of 10+ people and stand a chance to WIN great prizes. For more info contact +27(0) 72 957 8670 or visit www.godsnotdeadthemovie.co.za
2. Watch God’s Not Dead 2 in cinema from Friday, 22 July
3. LIKE our Facebook Page GOD’S NOT DEAD SA and help us spread the news
The question is where will you stand?
God’s Not Dead. He is surely Alive!!!