In April 1966, a shocking TIME magazine cover asked, Is God Dead? and stunned
the country. It sparked a reaction that included thousands of sermons and letters to
the editors, shouting and sharing opinions on both sides of the question.
Is God Dead?
The good news about the question is that God must exist and be alive for Him to be
considered to have met His demise.
If Time, or another iconic publication, emblazon its cover with this proclamation
today, it would be met with a much more muted response.
Almost fifty years later, a Pure Flix film declared that “God’s Not Dead,” answering
the Time magazine cover question. The resounding response from moviegoers
created the number one independent film worldwide in 2014.
God’s Dead Versus God’s Not Dead?
The film’s storyline sees a freshman university student attend a philosophy class,
where the atheist professor requires all students to submit a signed statement that
"God is dead" and, in fact, never existed. The student refuses to sign due to his
Christian beliefs, so the professor challenges him to defend his position that his God
is real. This leads to a series of confrontational presentations between the student
and the professor, with the class as the jury.
In order to defend the faith, the student researches history, philosophy, science and
scripture. He presents intelligent, meaningful and winsome statements and
positions of truth with such convincing clarity that the class agrees with the student.
The final verdict?
God’s Not Dead.
Is this insightful acumen missing from many of a Christian’s arsenal of answering
questions that would start someone on a path of faith to God?
Was Jesus and the Resurrection Real?
This question led to the God’s Not Dead sequel, aptly named God’s Not Dead 2. Here,
a jury verdict in a court of law acquits a history schoolteacher that was accused of
preaching versus teaching about Jesus in her classroom. The expert witnesses in her
defense are a homicide detective and a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter.
The detective specializes in cold cases, and with the techniques used to solve cases
decades later, proves the testimonial validity of the Gospels. The reporter uses all of
his skills to prove the crucifixion, death and resurrection, presenting a mountain of
empirical truth about the historical Jesus from both biblical and non-biblical
Equipping the Congregants?
As pastors, have we equipped believers to confidently give the reason for their faith
with gentleness and respect? In other words, can our congregants execute a smart
and winsome discussion about the existence of God, the historicity of Jesus, and the
proof of His resurrection (the lynchpin of our faith) in the face of sarcastic, mean-
spirited or demeaning conversation?
Vitriol or Victory?
It seems like this is the culture on many campuses today. Tolerance becomes
intolerance. Accusation replaces acumen. Meanness usurps manners. Preference is
preferred to principle. In the midst of this atmosphere the threequel, God’s Not
Dead: A Light in Darkness shows a pastor that resorts to his strength as he finds his
church destroyed, his congregation silenced, his friendship shattered. The university
campus, where his church is located, is convinced the church has lost its usefulness.
In essence, God is dead to the purposes of the university. But the grace of the gospel
finds the pastor manifest the nature of God in the power of forgiveness, healing and
bringing hope to both sides of this cultural conflict.