Antonio Sabato Jr., one of the stars of “God’s Not Dead: We the People,” the fourth installment of the popular franchise, says Christians must rely on Jesus Christ anytime their rights are threatened.
“God’s Not Dead: We the People” will be released on Oct. 4 and reflects events that made national headlines in recent years pertaining to battles over “freedom of speech and religious liberties as the fundamental right to educate children."
Actors in this film include Sabato ("General Hospital"), David A.R. White (“God’s Not Dead”), Isaiah Washington (“Grey’s Anatomy”), and Grammy-winning Christian artist Francesca Battistelli.
"It's such a beautiful franchise with friends of mine,” Sabato told The Christian Post in a video interview that can be watched below. “David White and the whole production company, I was so honored to be part of this and to be able to be asked to play this role that is really close to their heart. It's just a beautiful story with a really great message and shot beautifully.”
The film's synopsis says that in the fourth installment, “Reverend Dave (from the other 'GND' films) is called to defend a group of Christian homeschooling families. He finds himself taken aback by the interference of the government, and believing that their right to educate their own children is a freedom worth fighting for. Reverend Dave is called to Washington, D.C., to testify in a landmark congressional hearing that will determine the future of religious freedom in our country for years to come.”
Sabato said he believes the film’s premise is close to reality.
"Our freedom is being attacked at the moment, in different ways. So we have to stand up. I believe that God is putting a test on us. We have to keep fighting, and we have to keep in faith and know that God will succeed no matter what. But we, as people, have to really come out of our shells and really devote ourselves to the Lord,” the former model told CP.
The actor, who's now also making films, went on to say that Christians have always been confronted with difficult situations: “We've always confronted the evil, we've always confronted things that were in the dark side and at the end of the day, we always succeed it."
"I'm not worried; I'm just more aware of the situation," he added. "You have to be aware, and you have to be committed because in hard times, it really comes down to faith, and faith is really the bottom line. We can't rely on the news; we can rely on people, we can’t rely on humans, we have to rely on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for everything!”
“This movie is coming out at the right time. God doesn't make mistakes; it's not a coincidence,” Sabato said, noting noted that hard times often bring believers together.
"We've been confronted, we shut the movie down during production because of COVID and things like that, and we had to leave the location and then come back later,” Sabato said of some of the obstacles “God’s Not Dead: We the People” faced while in production.
He continued: “We were confronted by an ice storm. We finished the film, and we did it no matter what, so that says a lot about everyone."
Once named as one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive, he previously told CP in an interview that once he humbled himself and gave his life to God, Hollywood has "blacklisted" him. Sabato also ran for congress in 2018 and lost, but he says none of that has slowed him down.
"God is good. I am just top of the game right now, emotionally. When you go through the hard times and you come out with the Lord next to you, it's like the shield of love and the integrity that He brings you into and the love and kindness, and I am blessed mightily. Everything that's happening, I have a great partner next to me, great kids, a production company, a studio now and doing film. So God is good. I'm just so blessed to be part of this.”
In response to a line in “God’s Not Dead: We the People” in which Isaiah Washington's character states that, in the past, Christians always stayed away from the law, which allowed others to do whatever they wanted, Sabato noted that people are confronted with issues that are “bigger” than themselves all the time and are called to act.
“I always go back to how Jesus died for our sins and how God put His only Son on the cross to die in the most ferocious, evil way that has ever happened on this planet. And out of the 12 disciples, only one showed up at the cross, but then they all died for Him. So at the end of the day, when I look at that, I see issues or problems or things like that, and then they're not really issues or problems. They're just things that attack you,” Sabato said.
"If you're driving through a storm and things are hitting your face and all that stuff, it's not going to last forever," he continued. "It's like going through an ice storm, for example, you just take cover, wait for the storm to pass by and you keep on moving forward. I don't worry about that — those are problems that humans put on themselves, issues, ego problems, insecurities, all that stuff.
"Also, the government taking over — I ran for Congress, so I know about what goes on in the government and they have taken God away, or they're trying to take God away from everything from schools, from families and taking the family values and all that. We as Christians have to stand strong right now, rely on our faith and rely on being passionate about God and taking Jesus with us no matter what.”
Christians, he reiterated, must fight their battles knowing that Jesus is by their side.
“The core of a Christian is really to follow the guidance of faith. Then we really don't have an issue there, we just have obstacles. As a country, America, we're probably experiencing [some of] the biggest obstacles that we've ever faced with all the situations that are happening right now. But we're going to win, and we're going to win at the end of the day. No matter what, even if things go bad down here, we're going to Heaven up there. So it goes back to the faith and the Word, and knowing exactly why you're doing it for.”
"My relationship with Christ is so intense and it's a personal relationship. I don't have to go to church to have that relationship," he explained. "I don't have to have a priest or anything like that or my pastor to guide me, even though it's great to be guided by your friends, and in leadership at church ... my relationship is in my soul. ... I always tell people: start that relationship individually, personally, and see where it takes you. God is number one, and He can make miracles anytime. So I'm excited about the miracles that are about to happen,” he declared.
As seen in the film, Rev. Dave and a homeschooling family are targeted because of their beliefs. They're able to rally a group of believers who defy the pressures to silence their faith, especially when it comes to how they choose to educate their children.
Sabato told CP that he also supports homeschooling.
“My oldest son graduated from homeschooling. My other kids all were able to use homeschooling a lot throughout the years, and some of them went back to school and then some went back to homeschooling,” he said. "Homeschooling is an amazing program. My son, my little one, is in a Christian school, Beacon Hill in California, and they allow homeschooling throughout the week. So you can do both.
"Especially in my industry as an actor, I can bring my kids on set and they can still do their work. With my oldest, I was able to travel the world, as well as his mother, too, because she's an actress. So he was able to come with both of us and do his homeschooling. There's a lot of benefits,” the "Melrose Place” star noted. “A lot of young athletes do homeschooling and actors on TV shows and all kinds of things. It differs from child to child.”
He continued: "Some children need more attention than others, and so homeschooling can reflect on that. So there are other ways that homeschooling is really beneficial, specifically [with catering] to the child. For example, my son had some issues during his middle school year, and he was able to go ahead and acquire a lot more doing the homeschooling. So by the time he went back to high school, he was ready to go.”
Sabato hopes viewers of “God’s Not Dead: We the People” will be inspired by the unity shown in the film.
"The message there is really that we're in it together and we're in it together for the long run,” he said. “We have to stand up for things that are right, and that's what this movie is about — the fight and how far you're willing to fight for something you believe in.”
"It's a positive movie for the entire family. It's a struggle their family has against everything they believe in. And as Christians right now, we're faced with a lot of battles. But so far, we're still around stronger than ever.” Sabato concluded. “Look at the Word and see what it says, because if we do believe and trust the Lord, we should trust the Word of God and at the end of the day, we're going with Him up there. So I'm all good.”
The fourth installment of “God’s Not Dead” is the next chapter in the faith-based series that began in 2014 with part 1 starring Kevin Sorbo. The movie became one of the most profitable faith-based films of all time, grossing over $65 million at the box office. This year's film is the first to be released under Pinnacle Peak Pictures, formerly known as the banner of the Christian studio Pure Flix Entertainment.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic