Local director’s newest film “God’s Not Dead 2” is a bold stance for Christians.

April 11, 2016
Harold Cronk

Harold Cronk

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Over the weekend, I watched a very scary movie, it was titled “God’s Not Dead 2.” This movie, a piece of fiction inspired by true events, is scary because it’s about an Arkansas high school history teacher who was lecturing about the passive resistance movements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. During the lecture, a student asks a simple question: How does the teachings of Jesus relate to the movements of King and Gandhi? The teacher, a practicing Christian, proceeds to discuss the comparisons as described in the Gospels of the New Testament. She quotes the Bible, never once interjecting her personal opinion.

The teacher is ultimately suspended for practicing her faith in class. The school board decides to make its decision about the teacher based on the outcome of a civil suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the parents of the student who asked the original question. That’s what I find scary. The prospect that someone in this country can go through such an ordeal because she lectured history.

You may find it unusual that I am writing a story about a movie here on MCP. Our primary mission is to write about Mason County people, places and events. But this movie does have a local connection: “God’s Not Dead 2” was directed by Harold Cronk, a Mason County Central High School graduate and a resident of the greater Scottville area.

Cronk also directed Pure Flix’s “God’s Not Dead,” which has been considered the most successful Christian-themed movie of all time. The movie saw tremendous revenues in the mainstream market.

In between the two films, Cronk was executive producer of Pure Flix’s “Do You Believe,” which was written by the same writing team of “God’s Not Dead.” That film was filmed locally in Manistee, Ludington and Muskegon. His production company 10 West Studios, in connection with Pure Flix, is also working on another movie about to be filmed in Manistee titled “Bless this Broken Road.” That movie, according to the trailer that filmed during the “God’s Not Dead 2” previews, will come out in the fall.

I met with Cronk last week to talk a little bit about “God’s Not Dead 2.” He said he was happy with the work and believes it is a better piece of cinema compared to the first movie.

“As an artist you’re always pretty hard on your own work,” he said. “I feel this is a much better piece of work than the first movie. We had a lot more tools than the first one. We had a great cast and a great crew.”

Though the title is “God’s Not Dead 2” and it is technically a sequel to the first film, one could watch the second without seeing the first. “Some of the ancestrally story lines from the first movie flow into this one, but it is basically a stand-alone film,” Cronk said.

The film has not had as much box office success as the first. Cronk said audience members are giving the film good reviews, however there seems to be a social media smear campaign against the film.

The movie certainly is bold and does not make apologies for its stance against an ever increasing leftist culture in this country that would rather assure that Christians are censored for their views at the cost of their own civil liberties. In fact, the movie foreshadows what I think may be the sequel, which will address a current court case in the City of Houston involving a group of pastors who were subpoenaed by the city to turn over their sermon notes because the city’s openly gay mayor believed the pastors were influencing their congregations to take a stance against the city’s ordinance to allow transgenders to use bathrooms of the opposite sex. This is a true story. Look it up. It’s really happening in our country. Pastors, who are protected under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights were being forced to turn over their notes.

“God’s Not Dead 2” is currently showing at the Harbor Cinema in Amber Township.

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