God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (2018) Script

(FLAMES CRACKLING)

WOMAN: (NARRATING) Sometimes all it takes is a spark.

Something very small.

But the spark becomes a flame.

And if that flame spreads, the power can be so overwhelming it transforms everything around it.

(PEOPLE CHATTERING)

FEMALE NEWSCASTER: We begin with breaking news from Hope Springs, Arkansas.

MALE NEWSCASTER: People are up in arms, speaking out against what they believe...

FEMALE NEWSCASTER #2: ...only religious leader who refused to abide the mandate.

David Hill, you're under arrest. Contempt of court.

You failed to produce your sermons upon court order.

Please put your hands behind your back. (HANDCUFFS RATCHETING)

MAN: The state is overstepping its bounds.

(POLICE RADIO CHATTER) (SIREN WAILING)

WOMAN: A subpoena of sermons is needless and unprecedented.

MAN #2: This is a witch hunt to silence the victim.

MALE NEWSCASTER: We're seeing more and more protests around the city since local pastor, David Hill, was arrested for contempt of court.

Hill refused to abide by a controversial government mandate to turn over transcripts of his sermons to city officials.

And right now, a contentious and heated free speech debate is threatening to boil over while the pastor sits in jail waiting for a ruling.

(FOOTSTEPS)

(LOCK CLATTERING)

(BUZZER SOUNDS)

Let's go.

(BUZZER SOUNDS)

Appreciate it.

Hey. Jude.

(LAUGHING)

Ah.

You wanna get some waffles?

Of course I wanna get some waffles.

CROWD: (CHEERING) Free Reverend Dave! Free Reverend Dave!

Free Reverend Dave! Free Reverend Dave!

WOMAN: Reverend, what do you have to say about being released today?

I am grateful to the court that they recognize that this mandate was unconstitutional.

I think this is more of a human rights issue.

It's about our right to see truth and to share that truth with others.

WOMAN: But considering your church is associated with a public university, how do you define "truth" exactly?

Truth is a person.

The person of Jesus Christ.

It's the one truth above all others.

What do you have to say to the people here who are calling you an embarrassment?

MAN: Jesus Christ is the one truth? Really?

This guy just can't help himself, can he?

This guy is a pastor who was jailed for his beliefs.

What if it was a Jewish rabbi that said there was one truth?

Or a Muslim imam? They have that right. Freedom of worship.

In places of worship. But Hadleigh is a state university.

See, and that's the question, y'all.

What's a church doing on a state campus in the first place?

We're seeing more and more protests around the city.

Students are actually calling for the removal of Saint James from Hadleigh campus altogether.

As the battle rages on in Hope Springs...

WOMAN: A historic landmark that has served this community for over a century.

And now they want the church gone.

This is what our country has come to.

(SIREN WAILING IN DISTANCE)

(♫ MAN SINGING ON RADIO, FAINTLY ♫)

You gonna ask her out, or what?

Excuse me?

We drive all the way out here every week, drop off all this food.

Why don't you finally ask the girl out?

She feeds homeless people, Jude.

That's why we donate the food.

Yes, but she obviously likes you.

No way.

What's a six-letter word for "clueless"?

Funny. You're still working on that thing?

I'm much faster when it's in Swahili.

Fair enough.

(CHATTERING)

WAITRESS: This tab's already been paid. You guys enjoy.

Hey, convict. Hey.

Just can't stay out of the news these days, can you?

(CHUCKLING) Yeah, I've never had so many people care what I think.

Well, I'm on your side. You know that.

Busy today, huh? Busy's good.

More people to feed, the better.

Hey, thank your congregation for all this.

Couldn't do it without y'all.

I'll see you next Saturday.

Hold up.

From last night.

Pork chops turned out great.

Thanks.

(CAR DOOR OPENS) (BELL DINGS)

Told you. Who asked you?

(CROWD SHOUTING)

We don't want you here!

Wonder what my father would think.

When he was a pastor, he'd leave these doors open day and night.

Didn't matter.

Now we hire armed security guards to protect us from the same people we're supposed to be ministering to.

It's just fear, David, and it can be overcome.

You know this.

Do you ever complain? You know where I come from.

I've seen my share of struggles.

But one thing has never changed.

God is good all the time.

And all the time, God is good.

DAVE: I appreciate you all braving the angry mobs and picketers.

But even with all the noise going on out there, I just want to assure you that Saint James has been around for over 150 years, and despite what those picket signs say out there, we're not going anywhere.

Amen! Now, looking forward, I have some very good news.

Jude, you want to come up?

I couldn't be happier to share that our very own Jude Mbaye has accepted a permanent position with us here at Saint James as my co-pastor.

Amen. Welcome, brother.

Thank you.

DAVE: You know, I realized tonight that, uh, it's been a long time since I've felt like I had a real brother in my life.

(CHUCKLING) David, are you sharing your feelings?

Okay, let's not make a big deal out of it.

I'm just saying that I'm grateful for you.

I'm excited.

I feel the same. Now, can we get some waffles?

(LAUGHING)

(ALARM BLARING) What was that?

I don't know.

(ALARM CONTINUES BLARING)

Hey! Hey! Get back here! David!

David, no!

(SIGHS)

DAVE: Ah. You call the police. I'll shut off the alarm.

Yeah.

Yeah, this is, uh, Reverend David Hill. I'm a pastor at Saint James.

(BEEPING)

(ALARM STOPS)

Well, no, it's not an emergency.

It's just a... uh... It was a broken window to the basement.

(GRUNTS) (SHOUTS)

(ALARM BLARING)

Jude?

Jude?

(COUGHING) Jude?

Jude!

Oh, no. David.

You're gonna be okay. All right?

Stay with me. Okay.

(GRUNTING)

Come on.

(GRUNTING)

(GRUNTING CONTINUES)

(GRUNTS)

(ALARM CONTINUES BLARING)

(GRUNTS)

Jude, I'm gonna get you out of here. Okay?

Okay. Stay with me.

Please, God, help me. (GRUNTING)

(GRUNTING CONTINUES)

No, no. (COUGHING)

(COUGHING) Dave.

Don't talk, brother. Don't talk. Just stay with me.

Help is coming. Hold on, Jude. It's okay.

(SPEAKING SWAHILI)

What?

(SWAHILI CONTINUES)

What are you saying? What does that mean? (SIRENS APPROACHING)

(EXHALES) Jude?

Jude.

Jude? (HORNS HONKING)

Please, God, no. Jude! Help!

(COUGHS) Don't leave me, man.

Jude.

Jude, no.

(CRYING)

(SIREN WAILING)

(SIREN WAILING FADES)

WOMAN: I'm so tired of all the noise.

Everyone yelling.

On the news. In the classroom.

Even in church.

(GASPS)

I can barely hear you anymore.

Are you even there?

I hope you are.

'Cause I feel so lost, God.

I'm starting to feel pretty dumb talking to myself when you don't talk back, so...

wherever you are...

I'm still here.

Hey.

Hi. (KISSES)

I stopped at Stella's, got you the good stuff.

My hero. Thank you. I know. You're welcome.

How was your day? Good.

(PHONE BUZZING) Wow, this looks, uh, fun.

You can get it if you want.

It's Sunday. Oh, that's right.

You're... "in church."

Don't be a jerk. Why don't you just tell 'em?

Adam, my parents would be devastated if they found out I was even questioning.

Okay, you have no idea. Yeah, I do.

I did my time as a kid, remember?

I just got out sooner than you did.

Okay, can we not talk about this?

Sure.

I get it.

What you're going through.

I really do.

Okay, go to your study group. I have work to do.

Are you kicking me out? Mm-hmm.

Fine. See you later.

Okay. Bye. Thanks for the snack.

(DOOR OPENS)

WOMAN: Okay, wait, wait. So, let me get this straight. (LAUGHTER)

So, you're saying that because the Kit Kat logo doesn't have a hyphen, it proves there are multiple realities?

Hey, look, you're oversimplifying, but, yes, exactly.

How am I oversimplifying? That's exactly what you said.

Yeah, but it's not just Kit Kat though. It's a lot of things.

Like what? Like Curious George used to have a tail.

But now he doesn't. What?

"Used to"? Yeah.

No, it didn't change. People just remember it wrong. Look it up.

Okay, but maybe it did change. Maybe it did change.

Curious George does not have a tail?

No. On it.

WOMAN: My whole life's a lie.

This is freaking me out. You haven't heard about this?

No! No, it's called the Mandela Effect.

Millions of people thought that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the '80s, but he didn't.

The theory is our reality collided with a parallel reality.

Right, where Kit Kat has no hyphen and Curious George has no tail.

That's right. Okay.

Look, it's science, yo, okay? Quantum physics. Look it up.

Do you guys seriously not hear how ridiculous you sound?

Okay, but God had himself a human son who could walk on water and multiply fish, and that's not ridiculous?

So, yeah, given the choice, I'm taking the Kit Kat theory.

And if we get lucky, maybe we'll collide with a reality where our school isn't poisoned by Reverend Dave and his one truth.

Ooh. Preach it.

You just don't get it 'cause you're one of 'em, K.

Not really.

I mean, not anymore.

Excuse me?

What? Okay, if you're not one of them, then what are you?

What am I?

I'm annoyed by you because you're annoying.

I have to go.

Sorry, bro. Thanks, Teo.

It was a conversation. It's okay.

(DOOR CLOSES)

Keaton, wait up.

Look, I didn't mean anything by it. I know. It's fine.

I have a chem test tomorrow. I have to study. We were just joking.

Keaton.

I don't care what you believe and don't believe, and I don't have a problem with God.

Yeah, but you do, Adam. Okay?

You say it's just the church or religion or whatever, but...

(SIGHS) You know what?

I'm so tired of having this same conversation over and over again with you.

Yeah, me too.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Okay?

I know. Okay.

I think I...

I think I just need some time right now.

On my own.

What does that mean?

Just to figure things out.

Are you serious?

No, come on. Don't...

Don't do that.

Keaton, please. What are you doing? Come on.

I love you.

I know.

I love you. Don't do this.

I'm sorry.

MAN: All the time, God is good.

CONGREGATION: ♫ You're alive in us ♫

♫ I will never be the same ♫

♫ No ♫

♫ We'll never be the same Yeah ♫

♫ We'll never be the same ♫

Dear God, thank you for Harbor House. Lord, we're broken people.

Please just bring healing and restoration to our school right now, um, in this really difficult time.

We love you and answer to your beautiful name. Amen.

Amen. Thanks, guys. Have a good one.

(CHATTERING)

Hey. I know, I know. I've been MIA.

It's just been a really crazy semester.

Yeah, no, I totally get it.

Well, look, you're more than welcome to come down to the city and work on our habitat project, if you want.

Cool. Yeah. I'll definitely try.

Did you know that there's no hyphen in "Kit Kat"?

You mean like Kit Kat, the candy bar?

(CHUCKLES) Yeah. You know what? Sorry. Forget it.

I'm being really weird.

Hey, if you need to talk about anything or whatever, I'm always here.

Thanks, but I'm fine, really. See ya.

(DOOR OPENS)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(CHATTERING, LAUGHING)

(WOMAN LAUGHS, SQUEALS)

(♫ HIP-HOP MUSIC PLAYING ♫)


(CHUCKLES) See, this here is why you should never talk religion or politics, yo.

Dude, that's all you talk about.

Will you have Keaton text me when you get back?

Oh, uh-uh.

Leave me out of this. This one is on you, Adam.

If she wants to text you, she will text you.

All right, look, you need to sleep it off, man.

All right?

I'm fine. Are you good?

Yeah.

All right, man. We're going this way. Later.

(SCOFFS)

Yeah, right.

(CLATTERING)

(SPRAYING)


(ALARM BLARING)

DAVE: Hey!

Hey! Get back here! JUDE: David! David, no!

(SIRENS WAILING)

MALE NEWSCASTER: The city was in shock late last night when a tragic fire broke out at Saint James.

That is the controversial church on the campus of our very own Hadleigh University.

Both police and fire departments have not ruled out arson in the fire that has claimed the life of a visiting pastor from Ghana, Jude Mbaye.

Police and the FBI are now treating the case as a hate-crime homicide.

Crowds have already started to gather outside the church to pay their respects.

MAN: This is why a church does not belong on a state campus.

Favoring one religion over another? Of course people are angry.

It just invites violence like this.

What else is it gonna take for people to wake up?

The church has brought nothing but controversy to the school for years.

It's time. Our enrollment is down 18 percent.

We stand to lose $15 million this year alone.

I'm well aware of that, but we can't pin all of this on Saint James.

Well, this university is in the midst of an identity crisis, Tom, because of Saint James.

We're moving backwards. This is wrong.

The church is a historic landmark.

It was here before the university.

Dave... is a good man.

What about Jude, the one who died?

I'm sure he was a good man too.

Barbara, with all due respect, if we kick the church off campus now after what just happened, how do you think that's gonna look?

We're gonna look bad no matter what we do.

But in the long run, this is what's best for the students.

Okay.

Tom, I think you should be the one to talk to Reverend Dave.

Dave is my friend.

Exactly.


WOMAN: ♫ Glory, glory ♫

♫ Hallelujah ♫

♫ Since I've laid my ♫

♫ My burdens down ♫

Our first message, my friends from Saint James:

We love you.

We're grieving right alongside you.

Consider us your home for as long as you need.

Our second message in this difficult hour, the same one that Peter, John, and James spoke on that one dark night when all their hopes died on that bloodstained cross.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And the morning always comes.

WOMAN: ♫ Yes, I'm going home ♫

♫ To ♫

♫ To live with Jesus ♫

♫ Since I've laid ♫

♫ My burden down ♫

You okay? Yeah.

I'm sorry.

I never know what to say at these things. No, it's okay.

I'll come by, and we can discuss the details, construction plans, repairs, all that.

Yeah. Well... when you're ready.

Okay? Don't rush. Just come on by my office.

Thanks, Tom. Yeah. Hang in there.

Appreciate it. Yeah.

Jude spoke of you all the time.

His American brother.

I thank God he wasn't alone in his last moments.

I'm sorry. This is not your fault.

God, he uses all things for his good.

You know this.

(SPEAKING SWAHILI)

What does...?

I think that's what Jude said to me.

Last thing he said to me. What does that mean?

It's hard to translate.

In English, it means, basically, "Always God is good, and God is good always."


(SOBBING)

(SOBBING CONTINUES)

Hey.

Dave, what are you doing here?

Well, it's Saturday, isn't it?

I mean, people still need to eat.

Sorry, it's a little bit light this week, but, uh, well, everything in the pantry was ruined, so...

I know. I heard. I'm so sorry.

And Jude. Ah, I can't believe it.

Thanks. I'll be okay.

You hungry? How about I feed you for a change?

Thanks, but, uh, rain check?

Okay. You know where to find me.

(KNOCKING)

Hey. Dave.

Thanks for coming in.

Let's go get a cup of coffee.

Sure.

Tom, this is insane.

You're gonna use this as an opportunity to advance some political agenda?

It's not about that.

You don't just knock a church down because of a little controversy.

Look, the insurance will cover the damage.

It won't cost the university anything.

It's not about the money either. It's really not.

This makes no sense. We were attacked.

I know.

But, Dave, we're worried about the school, the welfare of the students.

There are a lot of factors here.

Look, I know you're upset.

You have every right to be. I don't like this either.

I hope you get that.

It's all in there.

This was my father's church.

I was baptized there.

I spent my whole life there.

I know.

It's my home, Tom.

It's everything I have.

And it's not for sale.

I don't think you're hearing me, Dave.

The board has decided.

It's a done deal.

I'm sorry.

This is absurd. They can just take the church from us?

I mean, don't we own this land? Yes.

So, how is this legal? Eminent domain.

I studied property law a bit in grad school.

As I understand it, the state gave all public universities complete autonomy over eminent domain.

Which means Hadleigh can legally force us to sell.

Where are we supposed to go?

With what they're offering, how can we build anything anyway? Can we go to court?

WOMAN: Another lawsuit? Really? (SIREN WAILING, FAINTLY)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we've burned through any legal reserves.

No land within 30 miles of here.

We're out of money, plain and simple.

None that we can afford. I don't see that we have an option here.

You gonna be okay?

All these years, this church has been here.

When I think about the work that God has done... and the lives that he's changed...

Now it's just a crime scene.

(SIGHS)

You know, Keaton stopped by the other day.

Remember her?

First time I've seen her in five months.

She's lost.

She needs someone to walk with her right where she's at.

There are hundreds more like her, here.

I know, Josh. I got it, but...

This is why I took on Professor Radisson, why I left law school... for this ministry.

Because what we do and how we do it, it's important, Dave.

Josh, we have no money, no lawyers.

If I could do something, I would.

It's just... It's not that easy.

No, it's not easy.

But it's simple.

Look, I, uh... (CHUCKLES)

I hate to quote scripture to a pastor, but, um... you remember Luke 12:48?

Seems like you're the one much is being asked of this time.

If you decide you want to fight this...

pretty sure God'll handle the details.

And I'll be right here beside you.

(SIGHS)


(CHATTERING)

(PHONE RINGING)

You got an apartment? Okay, Apartment "E"?

Thank you.

MAN: Okay, don't you worry about it. WOMAN: Thank you, Pearce.

I swear Mike's a good kid.

He's just really struggling right now, with his friends.

He's just caught up... What are you doing here?

(HORN HONKS)

Dad's church.

You'd hardly even recognize it.

Hey, look, this is a property law case. It's not really my thing.

Pearce, you're a social justice attorney.

They're forcing us out because we're a church. This is exactly your thing.

Let me get this straight.

You drive all the way up here. You don't even call.

Were you afraid I'd say no?

I didn't know what you'd say, to be honest.

Look, I have a little money.

I don't want your money.

This is a legit offer.

Thing goes to trial, jury will probably give you half that amount, less even.

Money aside, these things always get messy.

God called me to fight, and I'm gonna fight.

Ah. God calls you, you call me.

Did you see that? Right in third position.

Uh-huh. (LAUGHS) Third position?

Mm-hmm.

Adam, what's up, baby? Where you been?

Can I talk to you?

(SIGHS, SOBS)

What do I do?

What do I do?

I don't know what to do.

I appreciate you coming down. I know you're busy. It's a lot to ask.

Sure.

Wow. Look at this place. It got smaller.

What'd you do to the tree?

Huh? What's wrong with it?

For one thing, it's dead.

I figured you could take your old room.

It's kind of a guest room and some storage, but...

Wow.

Got the old man's chair.

Allowed to sit in it now?

(SIGHS)

Sorry to hear about your friend.

Yeah. Thanks.

But I'm okay.

You know, that's... what you said at Mom's funeral.

"I'm okay."

Somebody burns your church down, kills your friend, but you're okay.

What do you want me to say, Pearce?

Yes, I'm having a hard time.

Just doing my best to get through.

You want something to drink?

You got booze? No.

Did you buy three boxes of these for me?

Of course. I knew you'd come.

Unfortunately, I don't really eat Zingers anymore.

What do you mean you don't eat Zingers? You love those things.

What happened? Triple bypass.

Heart surgery?

You had heart surgery? Six years ago.

I had no idea.

Why would you?

Well, we're all caught up. And I'm gonna hit the hay.

Night.

Night.

(FLAMES CRACKLING)

Eminent domain precedent cases having to do with churches specifically would be best.

I'll be back as soon as I can.

Well, just take the meeting without me, Todd.

No, I realize that, but it's a family thing. What do you want me to say?

Just make sure everything has the same zip. Okay? Okay, thanks.

Make yourself at home. You doing all right?

I'll tell you what. You stop asking me, and I'll stop saying I'm okay.

Fair enough.

Ready to get to it?

I've been getting to it since 5:00 a.m.

Okay? I'm starving. There's nothing in that fridge but moldy casseroles.

Is Doe's still open? I guess.

Well, let's go. Don't eat that!

The government takes private property.

They do it all the time. End of story.

How do you think highways and railroads get built, man?

But this isn't about a railroad. They said they need the land to build a new student union.

I hardly think that qualifies. We'll see. It might.

You're not hearing me.

They just want the church gone because they think it's bad PR for the university.

Yeah, they're probably right. Pearce.

Hey, listen, man. I said this ain't my thing.

All right? Now you want to tell me how to fight an eminent domain case?

Why don't I just go home? You can do it.

(WOMAN CHATTERING, LAUGHING)

This is eerie.

Let's go check it out.

We can't. It's all locked up.


Last time I was in this building, Dad was standing right there.


Hey.

DAVE: You got in so much trouble for that.

(LAUGHING)

So stupid. (CHUCKLES)

I'm gonna write a letter to the board of trustees and introduce myself as your legal counsel.

I'll politely let them know we won't be entertaining any more... backroom offers between old friends.

Thank you.

One step at a time, little brother.

His brother is a lawyer? Are you kidding me?

Of course he's gonna fight back. What'd you expect?

At least we can offer him a better settlement.

Something more fair.

And where do we take that money from?

To pay any more than legally required is a disservice to the school, not to mention, it's unethical.

Be careful not to let your friendship with Reverend Dave cloud your judgment.

(SIGHS) Look, I'm on your side.

My advice is take care of this now, or the person who replaces you will.

MAN: It's important to remember, in the midst of all this controversy, that friends and family are now grieving the death of this innocent man killed in this tragic and senseless way.

I can't even imagine the heartbreak for his parents, having to...

(STOPS)

Maybe you just need to stop thinking about it.

I can't.

How can I?

Everybody thinks... that he was... murdered.

His-His friends, his parents.

They deserve to know the truth... that it was an accident.

Maybe it'll help them.

Maybe that'll give them some sort of closure.

Okay, so say you confess.

Maybe they'll go easy on you, but... maybe they won't.

Okay, and then what?

I don't know.

Do you really believe... that there's a God?

I don't know. I guess.

If he does exist...

do you think that he would forgive me?

Of course.

(SNIFFLES)

(SOBS)

Hey, Pearce. I'm headed to church. You want to join?

Not one bit.

Look what I found.

What?

Check it out.

My gosh.

Wait, wait, wait. I want to show you something.

Man.

Stretchy!

Wow.

I thought most of this stuff would've ended up in a landfill.

No. Hey.

Pearce, Aunt Celia painted that.

Who cares? It's ugly.

Bet you can't hit the frog. Grow up.

Ten bucks.

Give it to me.

Told you.

Wow. Mandy Stebbins.

Whatever happened to her?

I don't know. If she's not on Facebook, I have no idea.

(WHISTLES) Hey.

(THUDS)

Confirmation.

You still pray for me?

Pearce, can we not?

Why? I'm just curious.

Yeah. Sometimes.

I knew it. What do you pray for?

I'll come back around? I'll find peace? What?

Is this fun for you? I'm just making conversation.

Yeah, well, maybe I'll pray that you make better conversation.

(PHONE BUZZING) Josh?

What? Right now?

PEARCE: Hey, I'm gonna need the name of a circuit judge down here.

Yes. Now. Today.

Okay, let me know. Dave!

Yeah. What... What's going on? They won't stop.

Excuse me. Excuse me. Hey. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop! Stop!

I need you on the other side of the tape, sir.

I'm the pastor of this church. Well, that may be, but it's not safe.

It's okay. I'm his attorney. Congratulations.

And I'm a Mets fan. Now, move back, or I call the cops.

I already called 'em. Hey, buddy, I have a demo permit.

You got a permit to wreck a church on a Sunday? Really? Yeah, what can I say?

Signed by the president of the university.

Thomas Ellsworth. Unbelievable.

Just trying to do my job here. And I'm trying to do mine. Give me your keys.

You touch this church before I get back, I'll have you arrested for destruction of property, okay?

You stay put. Yeah, what do you want me to do?

I don't know. Stall.

You have a Bible? Yeah.

Yeah, yeah, Gloria Pascual. I know. I'm already on my way.

What? Are you kidding me?

Ah.

Of course she is. It's Sunday. Where is she?

Yeah, yeah, I know it. I know the place.

DAVE: Hey, everyone. We're gonna hold service.

Right now.

Come on in, guys. Come on. Come on over here.

Can I have that Bible? Yeah.

So the, uh... the Bible is the word of God.

But how often do we really take time to read it?

Let's start at the top, shall we?

"In the beginning..." Man.

PEARCE: They haven't even filed yet.

No appraisals, no escrow deposits.

It's an old-fashioned end-around. Hold on.

You still there? You still gotta send me the injunction.

Yeah, pdf's fine. Okay, hurry up.

Hey, hey, hey! I don't even know what she looks like.

The judge. Who do you think I'm talking about?

Yeah, send me a pic.

(♫ ORGAN PLAYING, HYMN ♫) (♫ CHOIR SINGING, FAINTLY ♫)


"The serpent was more crafty than any other wild animals the Lord God had made.

And he said to the woman, 'Did God really say you must not eat from the tree in any garden?'"

(SIREN WAILING, WHOOPING)

Your Honor, I am so sorry, but I'm an attorney, and it's important that I speak with you.

I'm in the middle of Mass.

I'm aware. It's very timely. It involves a church.

And we want to take you live to the scene right now, show you what is developing as we speak.

You are looking here at Saint James Church.

This is on the campus of Hadleigh University now.

Local pastor, David Hill, is basically staging his very own version of what can only be described here as a Senate filibuster.

His last-ditch effort to delay the demolition of his church.

As you can see here, he's literally reading the Bible cover to cover while the growing crowds watch and wait.

Yeah, that's him.

Your little stunt's gonna cost you and the pastor a night in jail.

Well, I don't think so.

I have a signed injunction from Judge Pascual that says...

Well, you can read it yourself. "Cease and desist."

Good? Thank you.

(WHISTLES) Let's go!

(APPLAUDING, CHEERING)

All right, guys, we're done. Time to leave. Let's go.

What happened? I just bought us three weeks.

Thank you.

So, maybe the university's board of trustees does have the right to expropriate the church property.

But even if it's legal, is it moral?

Just take a look at their dilemma here.

This is no longer a Christian school.

The church really should have moved off campus 50 years ago when the state bought the university.

Instead, funding is given disproportionately to one religious organization while other ones are being denied.

So you add that to all of this controversy and now violence.

You tell me, how can they justify keeping the church on campus?

Thomas Ellsworth is making the right choice here.

It's not the easy one, but it is the right choice.

I think their intentions are pretty clear.

Enough with writing letters. Let's call 'em out.

Call 'em out on what, stupidity?

Why are you so reluctant to accept what's really going on?

Unbelievable. You guys love to play the victim card, don't you?

"You guys." Look, forget it.

I'm not engaging in a false narrative with you.

I'm just... I'm not. It undermines true religious liberty.

You're talking to a guy who went to jail, who's now having his church stolen.

How is that false narrative? Because it's never that simple.

The Christian church has a long history of persecuting people, and then those people push back, and you guys want to cry victim.

And for every example of someone who's misrepresented Jesus for some twisted reason, there are a hundred others who have done good in his name.

We can debate history all you want, but I'm talking about now, about getting my church back.

Can you just help me do that? I'm right here, aren't I?

Just don't drag me into your personal crusade.

(GROANS)

Where you going? I'm going to bed.

Thank you, Pastor. I agree.

Appreciate it. Thank you. (HAMMERING)

Okay.

Pastor Dave.

Keaton, how are you?

I'm okay. So, how's stuff going with the church?

Have they found the person who did it?

Not yet. They're still investigating.

I just figured, like, fingerprints or whatever.

Ah, it's not quite like the movies.

It takes time, but I'm sure they'll catch 'em.

What's gonna happen when they find 'em?

Put 'em away, I hope, for a long time.

The order's good for three weeks. Can't be much longer than that.

Hey, what do you want me to say? He's my brother.

Do me a favor. Send me some briefs for Kelo vs. New London.

And what else? Faith Temple vs. Brighton.

Okay, thanks.


Really, take it with you. It's getting cold out there.

WOMAN: All right, bye.

WOMAN: Smells good.

Coming to collect on that rain check.

You guys close growing up?

Yeah. That's why it was so hard.

Pearce was my hero.

I mean, he had this strong faith.

But he was so cool about it.

He made Christianity cool.

Yeah, I know the type.

Went off to law school when I started college.

And then something happened. I don't know. He changed. (♫ ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRUMMING ♫)

How?

Uh, I don't know.

I guess he was struggling in his faith.

But it was more than just confusion.

It was darker than that.

I always hoped that he'd come around before our parents died.

It was hard on them.

It felt like they lost their son.

And you lost your hero.

Yeah. I guess I did.

(HAMMERING)

MEG: That's amazing, isn't it?

That he can look at that...

and see that.

You okay?

I feel a little bit like I'm drifting.

Keep trying to tell myself all the things that I would tell others who are struggling.

It's not helping.

Think I might be bad at my job.

I doubt that.

I just want to get back to the way things were.

How far back is that?

I mean, going back doesn't really work.

And believe me, I've tried.

I've gone back to school, gone back home, back to brunette.

But I've never been able to go back to the way things were.

I hope you're wrong.

'Cause if I can't go back, I don't know where to go.

(HAMMERING)

(BELL TOLLS)

Are you doing okay?

I told you to stop asking me that.

Oh, yeah. I forgot.

BARBARA: So, how much?

PEARCE: How much what?

We made you an offer. You're here to counter, so counter.

Oh, believe me, I wish I could.

Unfortunately, despite my counsel, my client is not interested in money.

So, what is your client interested in? I want my church back.

Dave, be reasonable.

Reason went out the window, Tom, when you brought a demolition crew to my front door.

WOMAN: Look, a college campus is about education, not religion.

We've got limited space. We need to maximize it for every student.

None of that gives you the right to tear my church down.

Well, actually it does. Dana, stop.

We're wasting our time here. We both know that this meeting was simply a courtesy.

And, Barbara, we appreciate it. It's very courteous.

I get it. It's a prime piece of land.

You know what I'd do if it were me?

I'd put in a big student center with a fancy coffee shop.

The kids would love it.

I mean, to me, that's more valuable than a dusty old church.

No offense.

But he knows how I feel about it.

Here's the problem.

What you're doing, it's against the law.

'Cause eminent domain doesn't automatically apply just because you guys don't like his church.

So, here's my counter.

Withdraw your claim or we sue. See what a judge has to say about it.

We're done.

This case will never make it to court.

They didn't look worried, Pearce.

Oh, they are. That's their job, to not look worried.

Listen, we gotta change the conversation in the media.

Okay, we gotta put a face to the opposition.

Tom? Yeah, Tom.

He's the most visible. He's got the most to lose. You okay with that?

I'll just tell the truth. People need to know what he's doing.

Good boy. Let's go.

But Saint James built Hadleigh University years ago.

Exactly. So you see how far this has gone.

And now with the school board's actions, we've been given no choice but to seek a legal solution.

All of these college administrators, they go on and on and on about diversity and tolerance and inclusion, but yet when it's asked of them, they run you off of campus.

That doesn't sound very tolerant or inclusive to me.

Tom Ellsworth is trying to strip away the foundational element of this university because he believes that it is no longer convenient.

But truth isn't about convenience.

And faith in God may not be as popular on campus as it once was, but people still have a right, a fundamental human right, to express their beliefs, even in a public square at a state university.

If you agree, we're asking that you make your voices heard.

Send an e-mail. Make a call.

Let Tom Ellsworth and the university board know that you believe the church still has value.

WOMAN: The gauntlet has been thrown. And we'll see how people respond.

PEARCE: Dude, almost three million views! People are mad. This is good.

Does this buy us the leverage we need?

Well, we'll find out at the prelim.

Need the judge to let us argue the case, but... this all helps.

Nice work. Thanks.

DAVE: I think it's time for me to get back preaching again.

I'm afraid I'm getting so caught up in all this, I just...

I don't want to lose sight of my work, you know.

Well, let me know when and where. I'll be there for sure.

Hey, we're back.

Oh, I turned it off.

What? Don't you want to see if they get the diamond?

Don't you knock?

What are you doing? I'm on the phone!

Who you talking to so late? None of your business.

Is that Pearce? Tell him I said hi.

Meg says hi.

Hi, Meg. Let me call you back.

Ooh, what's the deal there?

There's no deal. She's a friend of mine.

She runs one of the ministries we support.

What do you want, Pearce? Nothing.

Is that my shirt? Yeah.

(DOG BARKING)

(CHOPPING)

What are you doing? I told you, this tree's dead. It's gonna fall on the house.

I didn't ask you to cut it down! I can do it myself!

Can you, now? Yeah, I could.

Go for it. All right, fine.

You might want to back up.

Gotta do better than that. It was a warm-up.

(CLEARS THROAT)

Still warming up?

Careful with that weak heart of yours.

Ha-ha. Funny guy. Watch this.

Get ready to yell "timber."

I got a better idea.

(ELECTRIC SAW REVS)

Oh, now we're talking. Yeah!

Okay, give it a push. All right, hold up.

Tell me when you're ready. Yeah! Go!

Ah! We almost got it!

Oh! Yeah!

(GRUNTS) Yes!

Just promise me you'll plant something new here.

Mom liked pomegranate trees.

Do you even believe in what we're fighting for?

Do I believe in your right to keep your church? Yes.

But the rest of it, you know the answer.

So, why help me?

What do you think I do for a living?

Do you think I need to have the belief system of every crackhead I defend to defend 'em?

So, religion has no value except for the laws that protect it?

Value? I don't know. But people have evolved.

Science has replaced superstition.

Church has outlived its usefulness. Wow!

Okay, I don't expect you to agree, but that's okay 'cause this is healthy.

It's a healthy discourse.

Pearce, people are broken. They're... They're lost.

They're searching for meaning, for purpose.

Church is the answer to those problems, huh?

Church is a place for people to seek, to grapple with those difficult questions.

To find hope and... and truth.

And you know that. Or at least you used to.

Why do you need me to agree with you about everything? I'm just your lawyer.

I didn't come here to debate religion or do your landscaping.

But, man, you're my little brother.

And I don't like to see people push you around.

And that's why I'm helping you.

And right now, that answer's gotta be good enough for you.

PASTOR: Now, this whole situation brings you to the cross.

And the cross is both vertical and horizontal.

Vertical is me and God, God and me.

My relationship with Christ.

The horizontal part, you and I.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the vertical we forget the horizontal, forget each other.

Yeah, but it's at the intersection where Jesus comes in.

That nexus, and that's where Paul's words in Galatians are so powerful and compelling.

Even Jews and gentiles are fellow citizens.

So, with all the noise and anger out there right now, it's peace that we have to think about.

And it's gonna require one thing... It's gonna require sacrificing.

At the end of the day, we can't forget that Christ's forgiveness came about via the conduit of the sacrifice.

And we are called, believe it or not, to do the same.

(CHATTERING, LAUGHING)

Hey. Hey.

How are you?

Been better.

Do you know why my mom divorced my dad?

He used to beat her.

I was nine... when she left him.

You know what our church did?

They called her a sinner.

They said that if she married again, she'd be an adulterer.

They humiliated her.

What I remember most about that time is the sound of my mother crying herself to sleep.

I'm so sorry. I...

So, yeah, I get angry sometimes.

But I didn't... I didn't mean for anybody to get hurt.

I know you didn't.

(SIGHS)

For what it's worth, I prayed about it.

And?

No answer.

(ALL LAUGHING) And did you believe him?

Of course I believed him.

I was seven years old. I believed whatever he told me.

"Dave, you can make your own 7 Up.

All you need is just water and salt."

Did you drink it? DAVE: It was terrible, obviously.

But I kept adding more and more salt, just waiting for those little bubbles.

Oh, poor guy. He drank the whole bottle. Two liters of saltwater.

(CHUCKLING) But I gotta hand it to Pearce.

He waited by my bedside all night long to make sure that I didn't die.

Yeah. That's what brothers do. They look out for each other.

Hear, hear. Hear, hear, Brother.

Thank you.

I really thought you were gonna die. (MEG LAUGHS)

Hadleigh University is being flooded with calls and e-mails from angry citizens, and it seems Chancellor Ellsworth, well, taking the brunt of that anger.

Kayla's asking for her bedtime story.

(CELL PHONE BUZZES)

Don't answer it, Tom.

Hello?

Hello!

Hel... Stop calling me.

(GLASS SHATTERS)

What was that? Stay here, stay here!

What?

KAYLA: Daddy!

Kayla! Come here, baby.

(TYRES SQUEALING)

What was that?

Go on upstairs.

It's okay, baby. It's okay.

MEG: I'm very proud of you.

Of me? For what?

I get the feeling fighting's not really your thing.

But it's important, what you're doing.

It's inspiring.

I was just thinking about that sculptor, chiseling away at that rock.

It's okay to be broken, Dave.

It means God's still shaping you.

(CAR APPROACHES) I'm honored to be a part of it.

(BRAKES SQUEALS)

Tom?

I'm getting death threats, Dave!

Somebody threw a brick through my window!

Okay, just take it easy, okay? No, Kayla could've been hurt!

I don't know anything about that. I'm sorry. No, no. You did this!

Hey, hey, hey.

(GRUNTING) Pearce!

Hey! Get off him!

You brought the fight to us, Tom.

(CAR DOOR SLAMS, ENGINE STARTS)

I'll get you some ice.

You all right? Yeah, I'm fine.

Maybe we should just call it a night.

Yeah. I'll... I'll just get my stuff.

I didn't realize Tom was a psychopath.

Well, he's just scared.

Thanks.

Way to impress the lady, by the way.

Well, it's kind of my signature move.

Invite a girl over and then get punched in the face.

Works every time.

Let's see.

(SIGHS)

Ow. What'd you do that for?

You'll be all right.

JOSH: Cottonwood Christian Center vs. Cypress Redevelopment Agency?

I got that. Give me something else.

Hey, I got some leftover pizza.

Yeah.

Josh, you're a smart kid. Why'd you give up on law school?

Well, I wouldn't say I gave up on it.

Once I spent time on a college campus, I realized there was a real need there.

Ministry's just another way for me to serve.

What kind of law were you studying?

Same as you. Civil rights, social justice.

Really? 'Cause you don't strike me as a liberal.

Give the kid a break. What?

I don't think standing up for the oppressed is exclusive to a political agenda.

Well, let me ask you this.

Do you think that your religious beliefs get in the way of real social change?

No, my beliefs are the foundation of change.

The belief that every human is made in the image of God.

I mean, Jesus was the ultimate social justice warrior.

He said the lives of children mattered and regarded women with honor and dignity in a cultural moment where a woman's testimony wasn't even permissible in a court of law.

He consistently stood up for the mistreated and the marginalized.

Well, I've been doing this a long time, and I wish I'd seen those words put into action more often.

Yeah. Me too. We're all responsible for our part, but it's grace and then justice, not the other way around.

Why do you serve the court, not the Lord?

We should follow the example of Jesus because... without grace as our goal, we're just, you know... we're just fighting.

DAVE: Amen. Let's say grace.

Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for this food.

Bless it to our bodies and forgive Pearce for eating before grace.

Amen. Amen.

That's not funny.

DAVE: So, if the judge agrees to let us go to trial, do we have a shot?

PEARCE: If we go to trial, we're gonna win.

Public's on our side, jury's on our side.

What if the judge says no? Then we're done.

DAVE: Great.

(SIGHS) Am I allowed to talk in there?

Please don't.

You know, I've been thinking, I like this Meg.

She's the good kind of Christian, authentic.

You ought to seal the deal before she gets wise.

It's not exactly great timing. (CLUCKS)

Maybe I don't want to rush into things.

Try not to end up with two ex-wives.

(SCOFFS) I forgot to tell you. It's three now.

Three?

Hadleigh offered a sum that's fair market value for the property.

It's perfectly fair.

But Saint James' value can't be measured only in dollars.

The court has no standard for determining intrinsic value.

Your Honor, Saint James has had a positive impact on this community for generations.

The university concedes the plaintiff is not without merit, but we question the relevancy to this case.

May I say something? You brought the lawsuit.

If you want to assess the value of the church to this community, just turn on the news.

The community is speaking loudly.

This is what victory feels like. We're going to court!

Come on, man, this is a big win. Be happy.

Ow! Be happy!

Stop it. Be happy.

Ow! Will you just...

Be happy. Oh! There's my little brother!

No, I'm not happy suing my friend.

I'm not happy suing anybody.

Okay. Well, number one, Tom Ellsworth is not your friend.

And number two, I'm going to bed, 'cause you're a buzzkill.

Paul tells us that even if you can speak the language of both man and angels, if you lack love, brothers and sisters, you're just making a lot of noise.

Maybe you're the world's smartest person and you have a great faith that can move mountains, or you give all your money to the poor, or you give your body over to hardship.

My Bible says, without love... you're saying nothing.

Without love, you gain nothing.

And without love... you are nothing.

(PHONE BUZZING)

Hey, Adam. Hey!

Pastor Dave?

Is it true? I don't... I don't know.

Is it? Tell me! Adam!

(GRUNTS)

You killed Jude, didn't you? Hey, hey, hey. Take it easy, pal.

Get off of me! Get off of me!

What is wrong with you?

MAN: Hey, man, what is going on?

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

MAN: That is bad stuff.

(BEEPING)

MAN: Know what I'm saying?

I just took your fingerprints and he's gonna book you.

Is this, like, a mug shot?

Yes. Stand there.

NEWSCASTER: After a shocking confrontation by Reverend David Hill on Hadleigh campus, the suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Hadleigh student Adam Richertson.

The college senior has no criminal record and no history of violence, which has left many people wondering what inspired his deadly attack on a church.

(SNIFFLES)

I'm so sorry.

TEO: This is beyond messed up.

I know Adam. He's a good dude, sincerely.

And Pastor Dave needs to take a page from his own book.

So, you know what? We're having a protest Friday night.

Saint James. Make sure your voice is heard.

Be there. Be mad. 'Cause this fight is far from over.

Have you seen this?

Media works both ways.

This gives us a real shot.

Get the team working on it. I'm gonna send a gift basket to Reverend Dave.

We condemn the hateful actions of Adam Richertson in the strongest possible terms.

They do not represent the values of our esteemed Hadleigh University.

We will not stand for violence or discrimination in any form, of any people, regardless of their religious backgrounds and beliefs.

We've taken the immediate steps to expel Mr. Richertson, and we have encouraged the state to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.

None of this, however, should excuse the actions of Reverend Dave Hill.

His outburst has made our position stronger... that Saint James Church has become a beacon of violence and controversy, and it has no place here on Hadleigh University campus.

Good day.

(REPORTERS CLAMORING)

So, Reverend Hill goes after Ellsworth. Now Ellsworth fires back.

And meanwhile, this kid Adam Richertson is caught in the cross fire.

Judge, this kid killed somebody.

Oh, come on. It was an accident. Everybody knows that.

The judge and jury's gonna decide that.

Speaking of judge and jury, who's gonna hold this reverend accountable?

Okay, there's a big difference between a death and a fight.

This reverend did attack this kid, and now he's calling for the kid to get put away for 30 years?

That's insane.

And there you have it. Both sides are totally fired up.

Huge protest is planned for the weekend.

And this is teed up for disaster.

That's the sign of the times, isn't it?

Everybody's yelling. Nobody's listening.

KEATON: It doesn't make sense. Nothing makes sense.

Adam never meant to hurt anyone.

I'm not saying he shouldn't own up to what he did, but I just don't see God's mercy here.

Especially not from Pastor Dave.

He's human, Keaton.

Yeah, but he's supposed to be a man of God.

What kind of example is that?

I mean, if being a Christian doesn't affect the way we act, then... how do we actually know that our values and beliefs are any more valid than anyone else's?

(SCOFFS)

Can I show you something?

A friend said this to me when I was in high school.

(CHUCKLES)

It was inspiring.

It's why I came to Hadleigh. I wanted to be a part of something.

At the time, I'd never even considered that God could be dead.

But now...

It's okay, Keaton. It's good to ask difficult questions.

God can use it. He's not afraid of your uncertainty.

But I am.

You know, I think about John the Baptist.

If anyone should've been sure about Jesus, it was him.

And John said, "I've seen, and I testify that this is the Son of God."

And then he got locked up in Herod's little jail cell, and the doubts started messing with his head.

"What if I'm wrong about this Jesus guy?

What if all the stories I've heard about him healing people...

What if it's just ridiculous?"

So John sent some of his friends to watch Jesus and report back.

And Jesus told them, "Tell John what you've seen and heard.

The blind receive their sight. The lame walk.

The lepers are cleansed. The deaf hear."

John needed to doubt.

Why, though?

Because uncertainty led to the pursuit of truth.

I know it hurts... to be in the fire.

And as painful and confusing as all of this is... it just might be exactly where God wants you right now.

(SCOFFS) Well, it ain't good.

Public opinion, your reputation... It's all gonna take a hit.

I guess we're gonna have to wait and see.

The kid confessed, so that helps.

I just wanna know what you were thinking.

I wasn't thinking, obviously.

You get an anonymous text, then you go nuts on somebody?

I'm not interested in rehashing this, okay?

Sorry, folks.

(ALARM BEEPING)

(ALARM STOPS)

What's going on with you? I'm a mess!

I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what God wants me to do.

And I don't know why any of this is even happening!

First, you gotta settle down. Oh, I'm sure this is fun for you.

You get a front-row seat to watch your little brother, Dave, just self-destruct.

That's probably why you drove down here in the first place.

Where are you going? Oh, I'm walking.

You can't. Watch me.

Pearce.

What?

You have the car keys.

(KEYS JINGLES)


Dave. Hey, Roland.

How you doing? Doing all right.

You're sure on TV a lot for someone doing all right.

All this business with Tom Ellsworth, and now the boy.

Well, I didn't ask for this fight.

That's a fact, but here it is.

Keep your eye on what's important.

I think what's important is that Christians stop rolling over all the time.

When is it our right to fight?

I'm tired of being pushed around.

I'm tired of turning the other cheek.

Oh, so now you're tired.

A minute ago, you were doing all right.

I'm just saying, I think it's time that Christians stand up for themselves.

Mmm. Well...

People were drawn to Jesus because of his... his love.

His patience and kindness.

He managed to preach the truth without losing himself in the bargain.

He was gentle with the meek and hard as a rock with the arrogant.

And when he talked to the foolish, he was patient and never became a fool himself.

And he was never proud, David.

This has nothing to do with pride, Roland.

And no offense, but maybe you'd understand a little better if you were the one being attacked.

Brother, who do you think you're talking to?

I'm a black preacher in the Deep South.

I could build you a church with all the bricks been thrown through my windows.

You're right. I'm sorry.

You gotta work through the pain.

We cannot respond to hate with more hate.

And don't forget...

we are called to be a light in the darkness.

I miss Jude.

(SNIFFLES)

And I miss you too, Lord.

I'm trying to do the right thing. I just...

I don't know what that is anymore.

Hey there.

Just checking on you.

I saw the news. I can't imagine what you're feeling.

I'd like to see you.

How about a little adventure?

I'm gonna send you a dropped pin.

I'll meet you there in an hour?

It's my church away from church.

It's where I come to be alone with God.

I can see why.

What do you got there?

I light a candle for people I'm praying for.

Folks I meet at the restaurant, friends from AA.

You.

I just love the way he uses other people in our lives to... to bring us comfort, to... remind us that we're loved.

I think you need to be reminded right now.

God is here.

I'm here.

And you're loved.

(DOOR OPENS, CLOSES)

I thought you were out with Meg.

You screw that up too?

What are you doing?

Listen, I'm gonna fly back to Chicago tonight.

I left you the name and number of an attorney friend of mine.

She'll take good care of you. My treat.

Why? Just because we had an argument?

It's just time. Pearce, are you kidding me?

(SCOFFS)

You know what? Go ahead.

Oh, I haven't done enough for you, huh?

Come down here, put my life on hold.

What, I'm the bad guy now 'cause I'm bailing? Is that it?

Let's not get into it. It's not worth it.

No, I-I think it's worth it. Let's get into it.

It's water under the bridge. I forgave you years ago.

You forgave me? For what exactly? For leaving?

You forced me out. You and Mom and Dad. All you.

Give me a break. No one forced you out. Oh, yes, you did!

I wasn't welcome in this house once I started asking tough questions.

Is that what they were? Tough questions?

"Oh, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?"

Or, "How do we even know God exists?" Really?

Just back off, little brother.

Maybe you were just trying to impress a coed with how worldly and forward thinking you were.

I guess your Christian roots were too provincial.

At least I know what's happening in the world five miles outside the county line!

You're right, I don't know!

And I don't know why you left me to take care of Mom and Dad when they were sick!

Why did you leave me to take care of everything after they were gone?

Do you have any idea what you did to Mom and Dad?

You broke their hearts!

You're the one that broke my heart!

You really don't get that, do you?

You didn't take the time to understand what I was going through.

I was trying to sort out my own faith!

My own sense of God!

I was changing, and you all hated me for it.

And that's the truth, David.


(PANTING)


What am I doing wrong?

Just show me.

Please.


(PANTING)

(CAR DOOR OPENS)

NEWSCASTER: (ON TV) As the battle rages on in Hope Springs, police say they're expecting hundreds of students and locals for a protest outside Saint James Church.

Some showing support for the church... (KNOCKING)

Keaton.

Did you ever even stop to ask why Adam threw that brick?

He's tired of feeling judged and rejected by the people who should be loving and accepting.

You want to know why our generation's leaving the church?

It's because the whole world knows what the church is against but it's getting harder and harder to know what it's for.

You're right.

There's something I need to do. Will you come with me?

KEATON: Pastor Dave is here to see you... if you want.

Sure.

Okay.

(LOCK CLICKS)

(DOOR CLOSES)

I'm the one that sent you that message.

I needed you to know.

I guess I was hoping that you'd...

Forgive.

This is, uh... This is Jude's Bible.

He'd want you to have it.

I'm so sorry.

(SOBBING)

About Jude, I am so... sorry.

We want to plead for leniency for Adam.

I'm the only witness the state has.

I'll tell the DA what I saw, that Jude's death couldn't have been premeditated.

I spoke with Jude's parents. They feel the same.

(SIGHS) We're hoping the state will agree to a lesser charge.

Drop it from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Hopefully, he doesn't have to do any more jail time.

Why?

The boy shouldn't be collateral damage for our fight, Tom.

(SIGHS)

There's gonna be a big protest tonight at the church.

Town's on edge. The whole thing has gone too far.

Didn't have to. You're right.

And I'm sorry.

I truly am.

For everything.

Me too. My part.

(SIGHS)

So, what about the church?

PROTESTORS: The church must go! Enough is enough!

The church must go! Enough is enough!

The church must go! Enough is enough!

(CHANTING CONTINUES)

Can I talk to them? This is my church.

The church must go! Enough is enough!

One God! One truth! One God! One truth!

The church must go! Enough is enough!

One God!

The church must go! Enough is enough!

The church must go! Enough is enough!

(CHANTING CONTINUES)

DAVE: May I have your attention?

Can I please say something?

Get out of here!

Excuse me. May I just say...

May I say something?

Can I please say something?

Please! Please! Let's hear what the man has to say.

DAVE: Thank you.

I came here tonight... to ask all of you for your forgiveness.

The other night, I stood before this burnt altar...

and I heard God's voice for the first time in a long time.

Couldn't have been clearer.

He said, "This building... is not my church."

Although Saint James has meant everything to me... although it's been my whole life...

I would gladly give all of that up for this.

For you.

So I am withdrawing my lawsuit against the school and dropping the charges against Adam Richertson.

I've also agreed to turn this land over to Hadleigh University so that they can use it to build a new student center, a long overdue addition to this campus.

Chancellor Ellsworth has assured me that this new facility will have a space for our Harbor House, led by our campus minister, Josh Wheaton.

As for me...

I'm going to build a new church.

And I don't know how, I don't know where yet, but I'm willing to bet that God can handle the details.

And I'd love your help. All of you.

We can build something new together.

But for now, please, put down those signs.

Put 'em down.

Please.

Go ahead, lay them down.

Put 'em down.

Everyone.

Let's stop shouting at each other and start listening.

It's the only way that things will get better.

Now, please, take these candles... and let's stand together.


Thank you.

DAVE: Let this candle represent peace, hope... and unity.

And love.

KEATON: (NARRATING) Sometimes all it takes is a spark.

Something very small.

But the spark becomes a flame.

And if that flame spreads, the power can be so overwhelming it transforms everything around it.

TV HOST: The divisive pastor at the center of weeks of vehement protest has suddenly become a symbol of forgiveness and unity in Hope Springs.

And what was once a city divided is now a community coming together to heal.

You can't be taken seriously as a leader if you roll over for your enemies.

No, I don't think that Reverend Hill rolled over.

I think that he saw people suffering and he made a sacrifice for them.

Surely, the parallels to Christianity are not lost on you.

So, I mean, call it a publicity stunt if you want, but we were there.

I mean, this dude's legit.

He would have won.

He could have given Hadleigh the finger, but he handed it back.

He cares more about this community than winning. I believe that.

Perhaps the rest of the country can take a page from this book.

WOMAN: Your two o'clock is here. Send her in, Charlotte.

Hey. Let me guess.

You're probably on another phone interview.

Listen, if you're going to do the media circuit thing, why don't you get a big-boy haircut, get Meg to take you clothes shopping.

Um, give me a call when you get your head above water.

I want to hear about the plans for the new digs.

I'm proud of you, little brother.

Take care, David.

Hi. Hey.

(ALL CHEERING)

Congratulations.

I think you're gonna love it here.

Thank you. Thank you.

Good stuff.

You know what I was thinking?

What's that?

Jude was right.

God is good.

All the time.

And all the time...

God is good.

KEATON: (NARRATING) I can hear you again.

And even though I know you were never really gone...

it's good to have you back.

MAN: ♫ My God's not dead He's surely alive ♫

♫ He's living on the inside Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ God's not dead He's surely alive ♫

♫ He's living on the inside Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ Roaring ♪ ♪ Roaring ♫

♫ He's roaring ♫ ♫ Roaring ♫

♫ Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ Yeah ♫

♫ Roaring ♫ ♫ Roaring ♫

♫ He's roaring ♫ ♫ Let heaven roar ♫

♫ And the fire fall ♫ ♫ And fire fall ♫

♫ Father Come shake the ground ♫ ♫ Come shake the ground ♫

♫ And with the sound ♫ ♫ Of revival ♫

♫ Shake one more time ♫ ♫ And let heaven roar ♫

♫ We need your fire ♫ ♫ Let fire roar ♫

♫ 'Cause our hearts are cold ♫ ♫ Come shake the ground ♫

♫ Shake the ground ♫ ♫ With the sound ♫

♫ We need you now ♫ ♫ Of revival ♫

♫ Sing it one more time ♫

♫ Let heaven roar ♫

♫ If we ever Needed you before ♫ ♫ And fire fall ♫

♫ This world needs you now ♫ ♫ Come shake the ground ♫

♫ Shake this ground ♫ ♫ With the sound ♫

♫ With your revival ♫ ♫ Of revival ♫ Hallelujah! Whoo!

♫ My God's not dead He's surely alive ♫

♫ He's living on the inside Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ God's not dead He's surely alive ♫

♫ He's living on the inside Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ Oh, yeah ♫ ♫ He's surely alive ♫

♫ He's living on the inside Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ God's not dead He's surely alive ♫

♫ He's living on the inside ♫ - Come on! ♫ Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ Roaring ♫ ♫ Roaring ♫

♫ He's roaring ♫ ♫ Roaring ♫

♫ Oh, yeah ♫ ♫ Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ Roaring like a lion ♫ ♫ Can't you hear him roaring? ♫

♫ Roaring ♫ ♫ He's roaring ♫

♫ Roaring Roaring like a lion ♫

♫ Oh, yeah ♫

♫ And these are they ♫

♫ Who have come Out of great tribulation ♫

♫ They have washed their robes And made them white ♫

♫ In the blood of the lamb ♫

♫ Forevermore ♫

(SONG ENDS)

WOMAN: ♫ Is my soul forever broken? ♫

♫ Is my heart beyond repair? ♫

♫ 'Cause my wounds Are left here open ♫

♫ And I'm struggling for air ♫

♫ I bet you watch for the drop ♫

♫ I'm hoping to God That I'll reach the top ♫

♫ Let me tell you That you're wrong ♫

♫ 'Cause I am resilient ♫

♫ And there is no fear in me ♫

♫ When I fall down I get up ♫

♫ No, I'm not afraid To hit the ground ♫

♫ 'Cause the sky is where I will rebound ♫

♫ No, I'm not afraid To hit the ground ♫

♫ 'Cause I am resilient ♫

♫ And there is no fear in me ♫ ♫ I will rebound ♫

♫ When I fall down, I get up ♫ ♫ I will rebound ♫

♫ No, I'm not afraid To hit the ground ♫

♫ I will rebound ♫ The healing that happened here can happen anywhere.

I'm Michael Tait of the Newsboys.

The cure to what plagues our world isn't more division or finger-pointing.

It's hope and unity and letting Christ's love shine through us.

The beauty of the human race is found in the diversity of the human race.

Let's celebrate this.

Since the very first God's Not Dead movie, we set out to inspire a movement to show God is alive and still working today.

It's not easy to see in a world of division and anger and pain, but God remains good all the time.

We just need to show it through our words, our actions, and our love.

It's our chance to be a light in darkness.

So let's start right now.

As you leave the theaters, share a message of integrity and unity with your family and friends on social media with the #GodsNotDead and by downloading the "God's Not Dead" app.

Together, we can create a wave of hope and inspiration online.

Our world desperately needs to see the light.

Let's share it. Let's be it.