The film God’s Not Dead was such a surprise hit that the producers were excited about the prospect of a sequel. The result, God’s Not Dead 2, is, as Gov. Mike Huckabee termed it, “like ‘The Godfather 2.’ It’s one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the first, and I thought the first movie was excellent.” The movie also serves as a wake-up call for Christian and secular viewers alike. As Gov. Huckabee put it, “The secular audience is asked, ‘Is this where you want your country to go?’ I think it is a very powerful, timely movie.” Christian viewers hopefully will be emboldened to take action and stand up for their beliefs should the situation arise.
The film boasts a large cast of notable performers that viewers likely will recognize from their other projects, such as Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, Pat Boone, Ernie Hudson, Hayley Orrantia, Robin Givens, Sadie Robertson and Maria Canals Barrera, to name a few. Some fan favorites from the first movie returned for the sequel, including The Newsboys. Gov. Huckabee has a cameo appearance in the movie, which he was thrilled to do when the producers approached him. He was a fan of the first movie and also liked that it was being filmed in Little Rock. “I thought it was a terrific screenplay.”
Gov. Huckabee explained that the ripped-from-the-newspapers story means “You don’t have to suspend belief to enjoy the movie; this is something that could be happening right now. It’s a very honest portrayal of what it is like to follow Christ. You may lose and suffer. Quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of Christians are willing to do that. Many tend to wave the white flag of surrender.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus Christ
In the film, a history teacher (Melissa Joan Hart) is accused of violating a student’s rights by answering that student’s question in class wherein she compared Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ’s teachings to that of Jesus. She stands accused of “preaching the gospel” in class, which results in legal proceedings when she refuses to apologize since she does not feel she has committed any wrongdoing. If any viewer thinks this scenario is overly dramatic or far-fetched, pay attention to the closing credits. Although the specifics of the case in the film were fictionalized, the credits run a shockingly long list of actual court cases which inspired the screenplay. Yet, Dr. King was a Christian minister, so does it not stand to reason that his teachings would reflect that of Jesus? The film asks why would it be okay to quote Gandhi or Dr. King, but not Jesus?
“I think that’s one of the most powerful elements of the film,” Huckabee explained. “People like to focus on Dr. King’s civil rights work, but he would correct those people and be the first one to say he was, first and foremost, a preacher of the gospel. I spent hours in seminary studying Dr. King. Look at his letters from the Birmingham jail. Look at his speeches. They are basically all sermons that start off quoting scripture. He took the gospel as Jesus taught it and applied it to human rights. Yet people think they can separate his civil rights work from his Christianity. It’s not possible.”
Yet, it is perfectly plausible today for a teacher to stand accused of wrongdoing for simply speaking of Jesus in a classroom. Perhaps this is why so many American children now believe they do not have the right to talk about Jesus with their friends at school. Gov. Huckabee stated, “This is not even a matter of failing at Christianity, but we have failed in teaching civics. The Bill of Rights prohibits the government, not the individuals. In each and every case, it tells the government what it can’t do; it does not infringe on the rights of the people. People use the excuse that Jesus is controversial. If we aren’t supposed to teach about Jesus because he’s controversial, what else do we take out of our textbooks? Where does it stop? Do we not talk about Hitler because he was controversial? Do we take out Abraham Lincoln because he was controversial in his own time? It’s frightening in academia how people want to change and exclude historical facts because they may be offensive.”
An Important History Lesson
One interesting point the film brings up is that some people still want to talk about Jesus’s existence in hypothetical terms, despite the fact that his existence has been proven, even by atheist scholars. No one feels the need to question the existence of other historical figures. Gov. Huckabee explained, “Jesus threatens people.” If he’s real, then they have to consider his message that He is God. As Gov. Huckabee said, “That leaves three options. He may believe He is God and is just insane. He doesn’t really believe it and is trying to pull a scam or lastly, He really is God speaking the truth. Biblical Christianity is a direct and absolute threat to the self-centered, secularistic environment in which we live. People think we need to adjust our standards to culture, rather than adjusting our culture to meet our standards.” Gov. Huckabee likened this to tuning a tuner to an out-of-tune guitar. It will not get the right results.
Yet, this seems to be the direction our country is heading now that it has become acceptable to many to attack Christian beliefs. According to Gov. Huckabee, this started in the 1960s with the O’Hair case, which he termed “a bad misinterpretation of the law,” and accelerated as time went on. “At first, the impact was slow, but soon, the snowball became an avalanche. What people need to realize is these court cases are not just against Christianity; they are against civil liberty. It has become perfectly okay to be hostile toward Christians. There was an unspoken code before that it was not acceptable; now it’s almost commendable. Ours is a duplicitous society. We must accept anyone’s beliefs in the name of tolerance except Christians.” God’s Not Dead 2 demonstrates this well and provides some with a much-needed history lesson.
In the movie, Jesse Metcalfe, in the role of an attorney, mentioned the origin of “separation of church and state.”  This phrase has been redefined far from its original intent, which was to guarantee everyone freedom FROM religious persecution. Gov. Huckabee described Ivy League lectures he has given where many of the students assumed this phrase was in the text of the Constitution, so he challenged them to take out their smart phones and show him. They were surprised when they could not find it. The text actually comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association. Gov. Huckabee clarified, “Jefferson’s intent was to tell the government to get out of the church’s business, not the other way around. People have come to interpret it 180 degrees polar opposite of what it really meant. It has been misapplied in court cases dating back into the 1940’s.”
Some of the courtroom scenes in the film use actual authors as “expert witnesses,” so some viewers may enjoy continuing the history lesson after the movie is over by checking out a book or two. Of particular interest was a non-believing Chicago cold-case detective who approached the text of the gospel like he would one of his cases. By the time he was done, he had become a Christian because he was able to prove to himself that the accounts of the Apostles were true.
A Call to Action for “The Silent Majority”
Although Christians still maintain what is called “the silent majority” in this country, most seem to take their freedoms for granted and have been ignoring continued encroachment on those freedoms. “I wish they were acting like a majority, but they’re not,” Gov. Huckabee said. “Most of them don’t want to take a stand as Dr. King did. That’s why we’re failing. We need Christians to start embracing a biblical understanding. Many people today join churches like they would the Rotary. Everything is fine as long as they are getting some sort of need met by the church. But if it requires pain and cost, they run for the hills. Believing in Christ doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. It means you’re ON the hook! Some things you will not win on this earth, and if you’re only concerned with earthly successes, you’ve already lost. Just because things don’t work out the way you want doesn’t mean that God is not with you.”
Gov. Huckabee hopes that is one thing people definitely take away from God’s Not Dead 2. “If you follow Jesus, one will suffer. It won’t always be easy,” as demonstrated by the teacher in the movie. But it will be worth it!
Take a look at the official trailer below: