What will it be this weekend?

Will you go see “Noah”?

Will you go see “Son of God”?

Will you go see “God’s Not Dead”?

I can’t recall a singular moment in time when Hollywood was trying so hard to get Christians back into movie theaters.

For decades, the entertainment industry just wrote off this marketplace. Even worse than ignoring this constituency, it insulted, demeaned and mocked it. It still does. But with three big movie releases out that at least tempt Christians, acknowledgment of believers is at hand.

“Noah” is a big-budget production designed to remind viewers of the old biblical epic formula of Cecil B. DeMille. Those movies weren’t necessarily biblically accurate, but they were nonetheless reverential. The major studios knew this was a formula for success, and they guarded their investments by getting script approval from the churches. They also openly paid tribute to God.

Order it autographed: the fascinating book that de-Hollywoodizes the account of Noah, by Larry Stone: “Noah: The Real Story”

Not so with “Noah.” Perhaps the most amazing thing about this movie is that it doesn’t mention God. In the Bible, God is the central character, with Noah in a supporting role. The reason God was destroying mankind, save Noah and his family, was clear: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Man had broken God’s commandments. Man had completely succumbed to sin, as defined by God.

In Darren Aronofsky’s version of the Noah story, man must be destroyed because he had polluted the earth, not with sin, but with environmental degradation. Aronofsky’s Noah is a champion not of God’s righteousness but of neo-pagan nature worshipers.

This is, indeed, a different Noah Aronofsky is selling. So if you decide to make this your movie of the week, go in with your eyes wide open.

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“Son of God” is another biblical epic, but this one is made by believers for believers. It is much more faithful to the Bible than “Noah,” though any dramatic retelling of the gospel accounts will be dissected and nitpicked.

“Son of God” is a safe bet if you are looking for a movie outing this weekend.

But I want to recommend a third film made on a fraction of the budget of these two widely promoted releases. “God’s Not Dead” is not a Bible story like the others, but rather a modern-day tale of how worldviews are clashing today, using a college campus as the principal setting.

Audience response has shocked the Hollywood establishment – with “God’s Not Dead” figuring among the very top box-office response in its first weeks in release.

It’s interesting how movie audiences can sniff out a good story.

What “God’s Not Dead” succeeds in doing is to confront the ultimate issues of life in an openly Christian context.

There are four sub-plots used to weave the tapestry of the movie:

  • A college freshman must choose between standing up for his beliefs at a cost or taking the easy way out;
  • A non-believing young woman is confronted with a life-threatening diagnosis that shatters illusions about her life;
  • A young woman raised in a Muslim home must make a choice between family and faith;
  • Another young believer in love with an atheist college professor has to choose between her boyfriend and Jesus.

There’s a lot going on in this fast-paced movie with an ending that will make you want to stand up and cheer – and maybe text your friends that “God’s Not Dead.”

This is a movie worthy of promotion – evangelistic without being heavy-handed. It’s entertaining, but with real substance and the most important message anyone can ever hear.

I pick “God’s Not Dead.”

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