'God's Not Dead' producer loses battle with ALS, dies at 50

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

(Facebook God's Not Dead)Christian filmmaker Russell Wolfe publicly battled ALS to raise awareness for the disease and demonstrate that life's storms are an opportunity to glorify God.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Christian Examiner) -- Russell Wolfe, 50, a co-founder of the Christian production company responsible for the high-grossing film "God's Not Dead" lost his battle to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gerhrig's Disease, Wednesday, May 27.

The Christian filmmaker was diagnosed with the progressive neurodegenerative disease in Dec. 2013 during the production of "God's Not Dead" in which he also starred. Wolfe also produced the movie's sequel "God's Not Dead 2," which is expected in theaters next Spring.

I've been through a lot of storms in my life, and God has certainly delivered me from each one. So when he gave me the news, I just looked at it as an opportunity to stand in my faith, and now we'll just see (how) God uses this for his Glory.
- Russell Wolfe, Christian Filmaker that produced "God's Not Dead"

It was in 2005 that Wolfe first joined David A.R. White and Michael Scott to launch Pure Flix and embark on the journey to create Christ-centered movies that would change and impact culture.

"Russell always represented the vision to make a positive impact in our culture for Christ," Christian Retailing reported White said. "He did this consistently through his work, life and relationships. Working beside Russell has been an honor, and he will be profoundly missed."

(Facebook Pure Flix)Co-Founder of Pure-Flix Russell Wolfe launched the company in 2005 with a vision to impact culture with a positive Christian message.

Even in his diagnosis, Wolfe maintained a positive outlook and continued to work. In an interview with Movie Guide the producer shared how his response to the news of his terminal diagnosis even surprised his physician.

"I was so calm in reaction to the news," Russell explained. "I've been through a lot of storms in my life, and God has certainly delivered me from each one," Wolfe explained. "So when he gave me the news, I just looked at it as an opportunity to stand in my faith, and now we'll just see (how) God uses this for his Glory."

His desire to use his illness for God's glory was seen in various ways including his public journey with the disease. From speaking appearances to social media and even participating in a Walk to Defeat ALS, Wolfe remained positive.

In August 2014, the late producer participated in the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS. Wolfe concluded his challenge video demonstrating his continued resolve to point people to Christ with a simple statement, "Remember God's not dead and he is good all the time."

In another video he later shared on social media, Wolfe used hand written placards to ask for prayer as he battled his progressive disease which had claimed his ability to speak and use his arms or legs.

Even then, he said he hoped for a miracle and expressed that his faith had only grown stronger despite the physical and financial burden of the disease.

"One thing I have not lost is my faith. It's stronger than ever before," he said.

Other projects Wolfe's is credited with producing include "What if..." and "In the Blink of an Eye."

'Faith of our Fathers' to release on 50th anniversary of Vietnam War

Do You Believe?