Full confession: I have never seen God’s Not Dead, and I don’t plan on seeing the sequel anytime soon. Now, the reason for this may be that I haven’t been to a youth group in several years, but I’m more willing to bet it’s because I fundamentally don’t agree with the franchise. Here are my three main problems with the God’s Not Dead series.
(PS. While I’m here… I’m not a big fan of the song either. “He’s ‘surely’ alive?” Surely??? He’s alive. It’s not a surely thing.)
1) Christian Persecution Does Not Exist in the United States
How do I know? When I went to church this past weekend, I went to a building that sat on the intersection of two giant streets, with the words “COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN CHURCH” clearly displayed on it. No cops came to shut us down. My family wasn’t taken out into the street to be murdered. I am writing this from the comforts of my kitchen table, and not from a prison cell.
Further, if anything can be said about American history, it’s that a bunch of christian dudes got together and persecuted entire races of people for not being christian. It isn’t the other way around.
Church – we are not persecuted here, and we not only look foolish when we say such things, we deny our brothers and sisters that are persecuted, that are forced into underground churches, and that are in prison.
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” – Hebrews 13:3 NIV
2) Atheists are not Evil People
It bears repeating: atheists are not evil people. Are they thirsty for the spirit? Are they hungry for the bread of life? Are they in desperate need of a savior that knows and loves them? Yes – absolutely, unequivocally, in every way yes. But they are not inherently these evil Disney-esque villains waiting at every turn to suck the Holy Spirit out of your children.
This is exactly how these films portray the unbelievers. Now, call me a radical, but I believe our job as the church is to populate heaven, not alienate the only group of people who don’t know Jesus. 99% of atheists just don’t believe in God – they don’t care what you believe. Portraying them as these wicked creatures might make us feel better, but it won’t bring people to know Him.
Church – get off your high horse. We are not blameless victims and “they” are not the epitome of evil. God isn’t dead, he isn’t. We are not perfect. “They” are not perfect. These issues aren’t black and white – good vs evil. Church, stop believing that it is.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:22b-24
3) It Is Not Our School’s Job to Minister
This issue is bigger than God’s Not Dead, I get that, but it still applies here. It is not the school system’s job to teach creation, to teach Jesus, to spread the Good News. It isn’t. I wish it was. I wish we got a pass. It’d be so much easier to just send our kids to school (they already have to go), have Mr. or Mrs. Smith feed ’em up with the Truth, and send ’em on home to tell their parents. Simple, easy, no effort for me. And Church, I’m so lazy! I would absolutely love nothing more than for our schools to teach Jesus’ word. But we can’t let this happen, because it isn’t what we’ve been charged with.
See, Jesus has just risen up from the dead and all eleven disciples are in Galilee, worshiping Jesus for this miracle. Shortly before he ascends to heaven, he tells the men:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” – Matt. 28:19NIV
Therefore go. Get up and go tell the gospel. Go, Ben. Go out and tell the gospel. Go, church. Go out and tell the gospel.
Church – He has asked us to be proactive participants in ministry, not passive complainers.
Church – We get to spread the gospel. We get to bring people with us to heaven.
Church – Don’t allow the schools, or the government, or the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, to steal that from you. And I’m going to try to not let them steal that from me.