God's Not Dead 2

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August 16, 2016  
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God's Not Dead 2

"Where will you stand?"

Grace Wesley, a high school teacher and committed Christian, is in trouble.

Whilst teaching her pupils about the history of non-violence, Grace is asked by one of her pupils if that was also something Jesus taught.

Wanting to give an honest answer, Grace quotes a passage from the Bible, saying 'pray for those who persecute you', not realising the trouble her answer is soon to land her in.
Refusing to apologise for her faith and for giving an honest answer to an honest question, Grace soon finds herself at the centre of a court case around the separation of Church and State, the expulsion of God from the classroom.

Grace isn't alone, though.

Moved by Grace's passion for what's right, young Teacher's Union lawyer Tom Endler steps in and offers to represent her. Despite not being a Christian, Tom believes that by virtue of his lack of faith he'll show Grace to be right in how she answered. That faith should not be on trial.

Facing up against them is American Civil Liberties Union, fronted by cunning prosecutor Peter Kane who is out to prove once and for all that God is, indeed, dead.

Editor review

Overall rating 
 
7.8
Acting 
 
8.0
Script 
 
8.0
Direction / Production / SFX 
 
6.0
Theme 
 
8.0
Personal Rating 
 
9.0

God's Not Dead 2

A few years ago a faith movie was released that became a huge hit so much so that they have made a sequel imaginatively titled "God's Not Dead 2". I have not seen the first film, but was happy to find that despite some recurring characters this film stands alone and is very watchable.

There are a few stories going on in this film, the main plot looks at the US separation of Church and State. When a Christian history teacher is asked a question by a student about the non-violence of Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Ghandi being similar to Jesus saying we should love our enemies. The teacher, Grace Wesley, responds by quoting Jesus and suddenly she finds herself suspended from her role and being taken to court over her response being taken as inappropriate in a public school.

The young lady who asked the question is struggling to find reason in the death of her brother. She initially talks to Grace and then discovers her brother had a Bible that he had made many notes in. This leads her to asking the question, the answer to which causes all the main problems.

Finally there is Pastor Dave and Rev Jude who are reunited (I assume that they were also in the first film), Dave is called into jury duty and ends up in the courtroom for the proceedings against Grace. In the meantime a young man named Martin wants to discuss his questions about God with Pastor Dave, all 147 of them!

These stories tie up nicely to bring this plot together as Grace works with her defence lawyer to prove that she did nothing wrong and that there is, in fact, no case to answer. When Pastor Dave their sure-fire juror is taken ill and the case moves against them it looks like all is lost!

Being a child of the 80's and a teenager in the 90's it is very hard to look at Melissa Joan Hart and not see either Clarissa, or more worryingly Sabrina the teenage witch. This is a very different role and it takes a while to take her seriously. Having said that I think that eventually as you get more absorbed in the story you forget the influence of your youth and see some great acting from Melissa. Her Grandfather, Walter Wesley, is played by Pat Boone and has occasional moments that bring a smile to the face.

This wouldn't be "God's Not Dead 2" without an appearance from Newsboys, and particularly Michael Tait who features from the beginning and ends up leading people at a Newsboys concert in prayer for Grace Wesley's situation. The film also ends with "Guilty" one of Newsboys songs from their "Love Riot" album, before a final reprise of "God's Not Dead".

During the court case in this film the defence seeks to prove that Jesus was a real historic figure. In order to do this he calls in two expert witnesses, Lee Strobel and Jim Warner Wallace who through their testimony show their belief in the evidence of Jesus as a real historic figure.

Certainly Christians will love this film because it plays the home advantage. We are already on the side of Grace Wesley and want her to win the case. We know that the slightly too transparent sneering Pete Kane (played well by the excellent Ray Wise) is someone that we are meant to side-against.

This film is also billed as an evangelistic tool, but will it have any great effect on someone who is not a Christian? I'm not so sure that this carries a convincing enough case for someone who is sceptical of faith. Despite the apologetics that are used throughout the case and other scenes in the movie everything seems too clean, too simple. I guess someone asking the right questions may pick up on this movie and find it compelling, but I am not sure that would be the case for most though.

In all I enjoyed the movie, I watched it twice to make sure that I picked up on everything possible. The story, despite the interwoven sub-plots is engaging and although a lot of the film takes place in the courtroom, the exchanges are interesting and clever. I know that churches will use this as a starting place to receive questions from those who are truly seeking. With good acting from all the main cast this film is well worth watching. Oh and don't miss the extra scene in the credits potentially setting up "God's Not Dead 3".

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