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Many Christians are happily anticipating the inclusion of two religious ads during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Conservative and Christian news outlets have been hyping up the “He Gets Us” campaign that spent around $20 million to place the ads. They’ve spent $100 million over the last year to put out their messages about Jesus Christ. They intend to spend $1 BILLION over the next three years.
Unfortunately, this is not a win for the Christian faith. The messages being promoted by the group are about diversity, equity, and inclusivity, and unless they have made a drastic course correction from everything else they’ve put out prior to the Super Bowl, the messages promoted on the biggest commercial stage of the year will show the group’s flawed interpretation of Jesus Christ as nothing more than a good example of kindness.
In other words, the ads will focus on portraying a unifying political, cultural, and religious figure like the Dalai Lama or Gandhi and NOT as the Messiah. The group, which is led by Hobby Lobby and other “conservative” Evangelicals, seems to be trying to coax people into looking into Jesus. But in doing so, they present an inaccurate and at times anti-Biblical version. Their intentions may or may not be good, but the campaign does harm.
Natasha Crain wrote up a very poignant critique of the group last year. Titled 7 Problems with the He Gets Us Campaign, it lays out the case that the Jesus they describe is a milquetoast version of his human side that intentionally avoids the actual message of the Gospels. As she wrote in her final of seven problems:
7. The next steps offered by He Gets Us could lead someone far away from truth rather than toward it.
When people become interested in learning more about Jesus, they’re directed to a “Connect” page.
Hundreds of churches have signed up to respond to people who fill out that connect form. Clearly, an important question is where those people are directed. However, there is no theological criteria or statement of faith that churches must adhere to in order to take part. The president of the marketing agency says, “We hope that all churches that are aligned with the He Gets Us campaign will participate…This includes multiple denominational and nondenominational church affiliations, Catholic and Protestant, churches of various sizes, ethnicities, languages, and geography.”
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As I explain in Faithfully Different (and discuss with Dr. George Barna in my recent podcast), 65% of Americans identify as Christian while only about 6% have a worldview consistent with what the Bible teaches. Dr. Barna’s research has also shown that a dismal percent of pastors have a biblical worldview. If you have no theological criteria for where you’re sending people, you’re actually more likely than not—based on statistics—to be sending them to a church whose teachings don’t line up with those of the Bible.
In other words, you’re sending unsuspecting truth seekers to places where theywon’t hear truth.
Yes, Jesus was fully human, but He was also fully God. When you remove half the picture of His identity (as this campaign does), you give people the understanding they want but not the fuller understanding they need. Because of this, He Gets Us has the potential to actually harm the public understanding of Jesus. People need to know that Jesus is our Savior, not a compassionate buddy.
What makes it even worse is that many are touting this as a good thing. Christian Post blasted out an article titled, “Millions to witness the Gospel at the Super Bowl through ‘He Gets Us’ campaign.”
No, this campaign is not spreading the Gospel. Here’s an example of one of their past ads. It’s an endorsement for illegal aliens crossing our southern border as “refugees” by comparing them to the plight of Joseph and Mary in the Bible.
Some may argue that anything that gets someone to learn more about Jesus Christ or to go to church is a good thing. But trying to entice people with a “woke” version of Jesus Christ will move people based on false pretenses. It sets them up with expectations that cannot and should not be met by churches because the true Gospel will depict a Messiah who was not about diversity, equity, and inclusivity. As told in Luke 12:49-53:
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”-
The religious ads to be played during the Super Bowl tout the idea that “He Gets Us.” The Gospel message is that we are supposed to get Him.