When your faith is tested, can you explain what you believe?
That’s the tagline for the new movie “God’s Not Dead.”
Josh Wheaton, a college freshman, is faced with an academic challenge that tests his faith. He must write “God is dead” on a piece of paper or get a failing mark in Philosophy.
Josh is the only student in the class to refuse the assignment. This leads to a more interesting question.
When your faith is tested, would you explain what you believe?
“Peter tells us, ‘to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you,’ (I Peter 3:15),” says David A.R. White. “But we’re doing more than explaining that hope or even explaining God’s existence. We’re putting God on trial.”
White, a California-based writer/actor/producer/director, is probably best known as Andrew Phillpot, the best friend of Burt Reynolds’ son in the television show Evening Shade. He’s become a pioneer in the burgeoning Christian film market. White stars in “God’s Not Dead” as Pastor Dave, a man of God who believes he’s been shelved as far as work for the Lord is concerned. He spoke to us about the film in a telephone interview.
There are a total of six subplots converging within the film, providing perspective from a wide range of viewpoints. However, the main storyline revolves around Josh, played by Shane Harper (Good Luck Charlie) and his ability to standup to his professor, played by Kevin Sorbo (Hercules). Josh can’t get away with just ignoring the assignment. He must argue his faith with facts. It’s a situation that is far from unusual.
“College students are being discriminated against on college campuses all across the country because of their faith,” says White.
But White acknowledges it’s more than college students and professors who are questioning the existence of God.
“At the core of every person we wonder: Is there a God or isn’t there?” White says. “There is a fascination with the afterlife.”
Familiar with the popular Christian song by the Newsboys and a book by Rice Broocks, both titled “God’s Not Dead,” White and his partners began to see a movie organically develop around the idea of apologetics, informatively defending one’s faith. Broocks contributed to the movie script and the Newsboys provide a climactic cameo appearance.
White believes the result is a compelling story that is relevant to a wide-ranging audience, not just college students and not just Christians.
“We want to encourage people to not only know what you believe but why you believe it,” says White.
PureFlix Entertainment distributes the film and is asking churches to partner in bringing “God’s Not Dead” to local theaters. Currently 750 theaters are scheduled to show “God’s Not Dead” on its March 21 premiere date. Theaters and times can be found on the “God’s Not Dead” website