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Newton churches band together to show ‘God’s Not Dead’

Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) seeks wisdom and guidance from his Pastor Dave (Dave A.R. Wright) in the movie "God's Not Dead".  Capitol II Theatre will have the movie "God's Not Dead" for one week starting Friday.
Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) seeks wisdom and guidance from his Pastor Dave (Dave A.R. Wright) in the movie "God's Not Dead". Capitol II Theatre will have the movie "God's Not Dead" for one week starting Friday.

Three years ago, popular Christian music group The Newsboys proclaimed a message with it’s 15th studio album and second album with their new lead singer, Michael Tait. The message came with a powerful sound.

My God’s not dead

He’s surely alive

He’s living on the inside

Roaring like a lion

“I remember hearing ‘God’s Not Dead’ on the radio, turning it up on the stereo, thinking this is a great song,” Our Savior Luthern Congregational President Randy Ervin said.

Two years after the song released, movie-goers were introduced to a movie trailer featuring actors Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain and cameo appearances by the Newsboys “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson, which brought the movie “God’s Not Dead” to life.

“I had the chance to see the trailer and thought it looked like a great movie.”

Randy was asked to give the message at his church on a Sunday awhile back and used the message of the song and trailer.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to tell my experience with ‘God’s Not Dead,’” Ervin said. “I talked with Dawn [Bleeker] at Capitol II Theatre about bringing the movie to the theater. I found we weren’t able to get the movie because of studio requirements,”

On Monday night, Capitol II announced on its Facebook page that it will be able to get the movie for one week. Eleven church sponsors came together to show their financial support to get “God’s Not Dead” on the Capitol II Theatre’s big screen.

“What a blessing to have churches and congregations supporting not only the theater but also to have the conversation about God that all of us should be prepared to have,” Ervin said. “It shows how strong the Christian community is in Newton.”

“God’s Not Dead” has been in the top five at the box office since opening two weeks ago, despite being released to a limited number theaters across the country and being compared to movies that have opened internationally.

“In a world where movies have became mostly about sex, violence and drugs, its great to see a movie about God,” Congregational United Church of Christ pastor, the Rev. Jessica Petersen said.

“I wasn’t shocked. I think it’s a message people want to hear with all of the controversy we have today,” Ervin said “I have heard from many different families who have come back to church on Sunday and said ‘I want to see it again and bring more people to the movie.’ Kevin Sorbo did a great job with the movie and even though Dean Cain played a bad guy, he did good too. It’s just great to see a movie you can take everyone to go see.”

Many members of the Christian community in Jasper County and Newton have seen “God’s Not Dead” and have had experiences in faith and family life after seeing the movie.

“My son Eli has never been one wanting to attend church on Sunday morning,” Newton mom Melinda Burgess said. “He went to see ‘God’s Not Dead’ with friends of our family. I remember talking with him, once he got home, to see how the movie was, and he said, ‘I texted you after the movie.’ I was watching some of the younger kids and didn’t get a chance to see his text message. I looked at my phone and in capital letters it said, ‘GOD’S NOT DEAD.’

“Eli told me it doesn’t mean that he will be attending church all the time,” Burgess continued. “It was just great to know that something in today’s media was able to give my son an experience that I’ve been wanting him to have.”

Many critics of the movie have pointed out that it seems to be another “cookie cutter” Christian movie and that it depicting a “good versus evil” stand point about God.

“It’s not a ‘good versus evil’ or ‘cookie cutter’ Christian movie,” Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Pastor Steve Bundy. “I feel that it’s simply stating let’s sit down and talk this out. The classroom in the movie is filled with different perspectives, while Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo) wants to end the conversation, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) is wanting to sit down and have the conversation.”

“I think things are being taught in many schools, including Newton schools,” Ervin said. “The message is clear this movie states that to push off Christianity is simple. The movie, the plot and discussion in the movie makes it stand on it’s own.”

Bundy is a graduate of University of Kansas and recalls the days of defending his faith.

“I remember the days of attending the University of Kansas, being strong in my faith, yet having a stronger presence of atheists and those who were hostile to God,”Bundy said. “I thought the movie did a great job in how college many people are asked to check their faith at the door.”

The movie will play at the Capitol II Theatre for one week starting April 4 and ending on April 10. The show times for “God’s Not Dead” can be found at and on the Capitol II Theatre Facebook page or by calling the Capitol II at (641) 792-3549.

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