As a child growing up in a Fundamentalist Baptist church in Dallas, Texas, I was taught that going to the theater was, well, evil—without exception. Even attending a movie produced by Billy Graham’s ministry was prohibited, because someone might see a Christian walking out of the building and fail to understand the distinction between a “Christian” movie and a “Hollywood” movie. For example, a Disney movie could not be seen at the local theater out of fear that the preview of non-Disney movies would provide temptation to return to the theater to view something harmful and inappropriate, maybe something as audacious as The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, or Hello Dolly.
However well-intentioned the complete prohibition on going to the theater was, it was an unwise prohibition for several reasons.
First, the prohibition was hypocritical. What could not be watched at the movie theater could be watched on television in the privacy of the home. For some reason, watching TV was not prohibited even though, hour after hour, the TV advertised drinking, and smoking, and portrayed inappropriate relationships in classic daytime soap operas. Ironically, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and Bonanza displayed violence and killing, but they were seen as wholesome shows (which they were, of course). But it was all very confusing to a child, and again, in retrospect, hypocritical.
Second, the complete prohibition against the theater does nothing to protect people from the dark side of life. Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). In the immortal words of the Bard of Avon,
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2
Third, the complete prohibition against attending the theater discouraged a generation of gifted and artistic Christians from redeeming the world of art and entertainment for the glory of God.
Fortunately, the position of the religious Fundamentalist has not prevailed in American culture, and so the world is blessed with Christian films, such as the one currently being shown in select theaters, God is NOT Dead.
As a connoisseur of good movies, this one excels. The acting is superb. The story line is riveting. The dialogue is intelligent, intense, and witty, but without profanity or guttural humor. The scenes reflect real life experiences of ordinary people struggling with the greatest questions of the human heart, and finding satisfying answers, not in religion, but in a relationship with the living Lord, Jesus Christ.
There is a cameo appearance of Willy Robertson—from the hit television reality show Duck Dynasty—giving a word of personal testimony and spiritual wisdom, and, at the end of the movie, suggesting a simple way to share one’s faith that will touch millions of people.
This is a movie that will make you want to stand up and cheer, as audiences are doing wherever it is being shown. The most cynical unbeliever cannot help but being touched by this movie for it was designed to reach the skeptic, the agnostic, and the atheist. The movie touches not only the head, the intellect, but the heart.
If you want a blessing from the Lord, take your family and friends and go see, “God is NOT Dead”.
If you have to drive to a select theater to view this movie, you will find the effort a wise investment of your time and money. So, go and see, God is NOT Dead! Soli Deo Gloria! “For the Glory of God Alone”.