SHERMAN, Ill. – Bruce Kugler produced the film “God’s Courtroom” with the help of his church, Living Faith Baptist in Sherman, Ill. Now, the video presentation of the gospel – set in some of Illinois’ most historic courtrooms – is available through more than 770 Family Video stores across the country. And a recent translation project aims to make it available to Arabic-speaking people around the world.
The team behind the film probably would have been hard-pressed to imagine these developments when they began production on “God’s Courtroom” a few years ago. Kugler, an attorney by trade, first had the idea in the late 1980s when he was trying cases before a northern Illinois judge known for his fairness and precision.
Outside Judge Alan Cargerman’s courtroom, Kugler remembered, “People were very nonchalant, pompous often.” But when they stood before the judge, “Everything was very serious, somber, there was no messing around.”
The experience made Kugler wonder what it would be like when people one day stood before God, the ultimate judge. He began creating a presentation of the gospel based on principles and terminology used in the legal system.
Kugler eventually gave the presentation in some local churches in central Illinois, and it was at a Dairy Queen after one of those messages that the idea came to film “God’s Courtroom” in a courthouse. Several courthouses, actually.
Over a period of months, Kugler and his team shot the film at historical sites in Illinois, including some courthouses where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. In each segment of the one-hour film, Kugler gives some history of the site, and also explains a different element of the Gospel.
“Bruce Kugler’s analysis of the biblical and judiciary intersection is very powerful, and we are pleased to offer this DVD,” John A. Furton, Family Video’s vice president of purchasing, said in a statement. And, in keeping with Kugler’s commitment to offer the film to individuals and churches free of charge, the video is a free rental.
The evangelism tool’s reach also is extending outside the U.S. “God’s Courtroom” was dubbed in Arabic this summer by Nashat Filmon, executive director of the Palestinian Bible Society, who traveled to Illinois from his home in Jerusalem to give voice to the project. His organization will give the DVD’s to judges and lawyers in the Palestinian territories, he said, and also make it available on their website and in bookstores.
“When Bruce gave me the video ‘God’s Courtroom,’ I went and I watched it, and I liked it very much,” Filmon said. “I thought, ‘This is a straightforward message that’s coming from a lawyer, and it explains in a court setting what is to be expected.”
More than 20 countries have Arabic as their official language, Kugler acknowledged, representing millions of people who “have never heard that God's offers them a pardon from the penalty of their sin. This is the best news a person can ever be told.
“It is perplexing why many people in the United States have the opportunity to hear the Gospel dozens of times, but people living in Arabic speaking countries may have never heard the Gospel one time. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will use Arabic version of God’s Courtroom to impact millions of people.”
The film has been shown in the U.S. on the National Religious Broadcasters television network, as well as the TCT Network and Total Living Network. Kugler, a member of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, also has shared the message in Nicaragua, Argentina, India, Taiwan and China. It also has been dubbed in Spanish, and plans are in place for a Chinese version.
“The message crosses cultures because it’s the Word of God that impacts people’s hearts,” Kugler said. He gives God the credit for every outlet he finds to showcase “God’s Courtroom.”
“How is it possible that we could get a film aired on major networks around the nation, speak in different parts of the world, and have it in 770 video stores?
“We can’t,” he admitted.
“This is a good example of taking a small project and really bathing it in prayer and fasting, and trying to do this the right way with the right motives, for the glory of God.”
“God’s Courtroom” is available for viewing and download at www.godscourtroom.org.