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Drawing from today's headlines, the thought-provoking sequel to the Christian blockbuster God's Not Dead examines the high cost of taking a stand for religious freedom. Stars Melissa Joan Hart, Jessie Metcalfe, David A. R. White, Sadie Robertson, and the Newsboys.
When high school history teacher Grace Wesley is asked a question about Jesus in class, her reasoned response lands her in deep trouble. The ensuing court case could expel God from the classroom and the public square once and for all.
If you didn't have a chance to see God's Not Dead 2 in the theaters, you can do so in your own home. It is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital. If you are still not sure, let me tell what I thought of the movie.
I need to begin with this statement ... God's Not Dead 2 is much better than its predecessor. I wrote an unofficial review of the first movie that you can read. However the producers of the sequel took some of the issues from the first film and fixed them. Thankfully.
First, let's address the story line. Following current and real trends of Christian professionals being targeted for their faith, God's Not dead 2 focuses on a high school teacher, Grace who answers a student's question in a history class. The question seems innocent enough, as the student inquires about the non-violence teachings of Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. in comparison to Jesus' teaching in the Bible. The teacher does her best to answer the question as honestly and as generically as she can, despite her firm Christian beliefs. Soon, like a wildfire, news spreads of her mention of scripture in the classroom and everything snowballs from there. The movie moves logically through the process as the teacher decides not to bow down and "confess" she made a mistake by mentioning Jesus. She is assigned a lawyer who admits he drew the shortest straw and no one else wants to touch her case. But on the bright side, he doesn't like to lose.
Soon we see that the lawyer, Tom doesn't share her faith but is sympathetic to her situation. Although he doesn't have a plan, he is determined to believe they have a chance - if the other lawyer screws up. And so the story goes, moving through court testimonies of real life individuals such as Lee Strobel and James Warner Wallace to prove the historical truth of Jesus.
Things look good until the student who asked the question in the first place storms the court room determined not to be silenced any longer and to fight for her favorite teacher. This is where all the threads unravel. Even Tom, the lawyer gives up.
But, back to the real reason we are here ... God is not dead! Even when all our human efforts fail, He is still at work. I enjoyed the ending. It wasn't predictable and cheesy. It was moving and satisfying. I won't add any more than that to avoid any spoilers.
The previous movie had me groaning through most of the characters. They were flat and stereotypical. That is not the case this time. The main characters are fleshed out more and respond realistically. Gone are the obvious black and white lines between the good guys versus the bad guys.
There are some returning characters from the first movie - Pastor Dave and his friend, who this time around play a key role in the plot. We also get to see some widening of Pastor Dave as he has to grapple with his own legal issues. (Be sure to watch through the credits at the end to catch a glimpse of his story line, and what may be a bread crumb for a third installment.) We also see Martin, the college student from the previous movie who converts to Christianity despite his angry and abusive father's threats. In GND2 we see the continuation of his story line and all that it costs him to follow Christ.
Returning also, is Amy the reporter, who in the first movie was determined to destroy the "Christians" in her writings, only to be diagnosed with cancer and then say the sinner's prayer - out of her fear of dying (?). Amy's story continues on and starts out with another unbelievable twist - she is now in remission. At first I groaned. However then I changed my mind. Amy had to grapple with her faith from a different angle - if there is no cancer, does she still need God? That, to me is a very legitimate question. She tags along with the court proceedings to help her find her own answers.
And of course, we have the Newsboys! Their hit song God's Not Dead closes out the film once again. However we also have a wonderful concert performance of their newest hit, Guilty. Great song!
So, check out God's Not Dead 2 - even if you didn't enjoy the first one. I think it is definitely worth your time.
Here are some links you might like:
God's Not Dead website - movie trailer and ordering options
PureFlix - other Christian movie titles
Pluggedin(dot)com - movie review, parent cautions, etc
"Movie has been provided courtesy of Sony Home Entertainment Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."