The latest installment in the successful “God’s Not Dead” film series opens nationwide on Good Friday, taking on the twin topics of intolerance of Christians on college campus and believers’ call to respond to all in love.
“God’s Not Dead: Light in the Darkness” picks up where the second film in the series left off, with character Reverend Dave Hill (played by David A.R. White) having been subpoenaed to turn over transcripts to “controversial” sermons he had preached. Hill had refused and was hauled off to jail.
The situation calls to mind a 2014 order issued by the city of Houston demanding preachers turn over transcripts from all sermons making reference to homosexuality, or a popular Christian group at Harvard being placed on probation earlier this year for calling on a student to step down from a leadership position after she revealed that she was in a same-sex relationship.
In “Light in the Darkness,” rather than just being placed on probation, Hadleigh University is now moving to close down Hill’s church, which is located on campus.
The school was founded by Christians (like Harvard), but has since become a state-run institution.
“The church has brought nothing but controversy to the school for years,” an administrator charges.
Hill brings in his estranged atheist attorney brother, Pearce (John Corbett, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) to oppose the university’s action.
“Our religious differences have led to a divide between us,” Corbett says of his character’s relationship with Hill.
“There is something about returning home and breaking through those walls” that makes the story appealing, the veteran actor observed.
The Wrap praised Corbett’s work in the movie saying he brings with him a “good-natured generosity as a performer” that raises the game for the cast.
“This film is important because it can stir conversations with people of differing views in today’s culture where we feel the loudest voice is the only one we hear,” Corbett contended.
Actress Jennifer Taylor (“Two and a Half Men”), Rev. Hill’s love interest Meg in the movie, offered, “I think there are so many people who don’t go to church, who aren’t believers, they hear what Christians are against, but they don’t hear what they’re for.”
“Light in the Darkness” seeks to show that.
White — who in addition to playing Rev. Hill is also the producer of the “God’s Not Dead” series — said his hope for the project is that it would “uplift and inspire the human spirit.”
The heart of the story is the message of the “faithfulness of God,” he stated. “That verse that all things work together for the good for those who love God and for those who are called according to his purpose.”
During the course of his fight with the university and the heartbreak of vandals setting fire to his beloved church, Hill becomes a changed man, more able to follow Christ’s admonition to love his enemies.
“God’s Not Dead: Light in the Darkness” opens on Friday, March 30.
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