New Movie Imagines a Truly Terrifying, Dystopian America Where Bibles and Christianity Banned

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A feature film exploring a dystopian America where Bibles are banned, Christianity is vanquished, and believers are forced into underground churches is set to release in theaters nationwide this summer.

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“Disciples in the Moonlight,” starring Brett Varvel, Todd Terry, and Micah Lynn Hanson, will have a minimum five-day run in more than 1,000 movie theaters starting July 24.

The film’s chilling yet captivating subject matter is certain to attract attention, particularly in a beleaguered culture in which religious liberty and cultural mayhem are top concerns for many.

“‘Disciples in the Moonlight,’ takes place in the not-too-distant future after the government has banned the Bible for its ‘offensiveness’ and replaced it with a government-approved version,” a description of the film reads. “A small group of Christians are recruited to smuggle God’s Word to underground churches throughout the Midwest. With a ruthless federal agent in hot pursuit, the believers must choose between following the law or honoring and trusting God.”

Varvel, who also directed the film, said the concept came to him 10 years ago. He and his team have passionately worked on the project over the past decade to help bring it to fruition.

The actor calls the movie his “love letter to the church of Jesus Christ.”

“I believe this movie could be the start of a movement in our culture — to awaken people to treasure the Word of God and boldly proclaim the name of Jesus, no matter the cost,” Varvel said. “The time has now come to share this powerful story delivered by the most incredible cast and crew.”

He told CBN News “Disciples in the Moonlight” has long been a dream and passion project. His hope is that the focus remains on Jesus as people come to be entertained and inspired.

“From the beginning, I wanted to lift high the Word of God as absolute authority, and something that we should hold highly as absolute truth,” he said. “But, then also, the name of Jesus Christ, which is the only name under heaven given to mankind whereby we might be saved.”

“Disciples in the Moonlight” will release through Pinnacle Peak Pictures and Fathom, with Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom, stating in a press release this week that his company is “very excited” for the movie’s theatrical run.

“It’s the perfect blend of faith, suspense, and inspiration that will guarantee a great theater experience for a broad range of audiences,” he said.

Speaking further about the inspiration for the movie, Varvel said he found himself wondering how he would respond if placed in the same position as the characters in the film — a real-life predicament many Christians around the world face in persecution-saturated nations like China, North Korea, and Nigeria.

“[I] saw this video on YouTube of these Christians in China receiving a shipment of Bibles, and they were pulling open the boxes and ripping the Bibles out of the box,” he said. “Kissing the Bibles, hugging the Bibles, crying over the Bibles.”

Varvel continued, “And that was something that just really stuck out to me from the beginning of this exploration of this idea — ‘Do I treasure the Word of God as absolute hope, absolute authority, absolute truth?’”

Reflecting on the intense persecution so many face globally, he said it’s inspiring to see so many cling to the Gospel even amid such “heavy persecution,” juxtaposing their devotion to the more spiritually lethargic responses often observed in U.S. circles.

“I look at the church of America and I just see apathy,” Varvel said. “And, so, for me, it was this exploration of why is that the case — why is it in a land where we have so much freedom, we take so much for granted? Why are we not bold in our faith? Why are we ashamed of the Gospel? Why are we ashamed to even pronounce the name of Jesus as our only hope and our Savior?”

Varvel said those introspective questions remained with him as he worked on “Disciples in the Moonlight.” The filmmaker said the film’s primary purpose isn’t to warn people that freedoms are in danger of being taken away, nor is it a cautionary tale about what could soon happen.

“I wanted to challenge people to evaluate their heart and to ask themselves, ‘Do I even adhere to absolute truth?’” Varvel said. “Because … we live in a society right now where people are saying, ‘I’m going to redefine what is true.’”

The real truth, he argued, is “found in the Word of God only.”

Find out more about “Disciples in the Moonlight.”

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