Yet another potential reason not to care about the Big Game this year: they banned a potential commercial by a Christian group called LookUp316.com. Of course, Fox officials also (again) refused to allow an adultery-endorsing website to air their ad, so I suppose if I had to choose, I’d prefer rejection of both rather than allowing each one.
Here’s the commercial, which now will only air on the internet and become popularized by curious/critical bloggers, such as myself. Actually, there’s nothing to criticize here. The ad is very straightforward. Meant to get you to think, and check out the website — nothing more.
And it doesn’t need to do anything more. If God can inspire entire books of the Bible, with the only goal of fitting into the greater story and pointing ahead to Christ, without mentioning Him or the Gospel explicitly, one can’t fault a 30-second spot for not giving the entire Roman Road.
So I naturally hoped that more information would be available at LookUp316.com, especially the simple explanation for what John 3:16 means.
And it’s mostly good. No heresy here; no false teaching. I wasn’t hoping to find any. For such an opportunity as this — with or without actual Super-Bowl-commercial airtime — I yearn for Christians to gather together enough resources, creativity and gumption and preach the Gospel in new venues. And what is there on this group’s page is enough Gospel to get one saved.
Still I wonder: we’re already telling people about sin that keeps us from God — so why not also say first that all sinners have offended, first and foremost, God Himself, and secondly others?
The root of our troubles is that each of us tends to do what we want to rather than what we ought to. This is true for everyone, the best and the worst of us. It is a kind of “law” rooted in human nature. Every human being at some point “drops the ball” and causes trouble for others.
Sin absolutely is in our nature, and it causes trouble for others. Yet the far worse problem is that we have “together […] become worthless” and fallen “short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:12, 23). That’s a far more serious problem than simply dropping the ball 1. And LookUp316.com does give that crucial Gospel truth later:
Worse still, we have all wronged God.
Amen! And that’s more than many Christians would say. I just wonder, perhaps, if that should have gone first — if a Gospel presentation must start with God’s majesty, holiness and love, and then contrast what we desire: to use God for other ends, hating Him, and also hurting others.
But regardless, someone could still get saved from the Gospel at LookUp316.com. Thank God they’re out there — even if not airing during the actual Super Bowl / Big Game.
I just hope that not all Christians will try to be the “good cop” and avoid the tougher parts of the Gospel, for at least three reasons:
- Reason 1: I’m sure gracious-but-firm street preacher types can grow tired of always playing bad cop. They could use some backup from the more-popular kinds of Christians, in the public eye. And speaking for myself: I could use this, too.
- Reason 2: It often doesn’t work anyway. Not even Joel Osteen, as hard as he tried on the Piers Morgan (Larry King 2.0) program, could avoid hatred when, despite all his smiles and backpedaling, he dared to say Scripture teaches against homosexuality.
- Reason 3: Jesus Himself was both good cop and bad cop. He talked about the Kingdom of Heaven and the glory of His Father. He also talked about tougher topics such as Hell and the fact that sin is primarily an offense against God’s holy standards.
And yet two facts relating to all this: some Christians repent mainly for their sins against others and are perfectly saved and in the faith — and only later grow to learn the magnitude of their rebellion against God, and thus rejoice even more and thank Him for their salvation.
And yet other professing Christians, once they find out the God-is-holy part, want nothing to do with Him. That’s not my God, they say, wanting only a God Who saves from hurt from Out There and not evil from inside their hearts. And off they go, seeking that elusive God Who is somehow just but doesn’t care as much about their heart-generated sin, and aren’t in the faith.
So is it wrong to leave out the tougher parts of the Gospel? Or for those Christian evangelists who know the tough parts and understand them, and can articulate them winsomely to nonbelievers — are they required to tell the tougher truths of the Gospel the first time around?
- Rim shot! Oh wait, wrong sport. ↩