The following is a guest post from a friend of the blog.
The “He Gets Us” evangelism(?) campaign has gotten a lot of attention lately, particularly after its Super Bowl ads. Many conservative Christian pundits have criticized it as offering a watered-down Jesus, using the language and assumptions of the woke culture. Others have defended it as a form of pre-evangelism or attempt to translate the Gospel into the current cultural sensibilities. I understand the attempt to contextualize our evangelism. After all, the Apostle Paul did as much at Mars Hill. But in the attempt to relate to the modern culture this campaign uses the language of secular progressivism without doing much to correct the non-Christian ideology and assumptions behind it. I’ve sampled a bit of the website’s content and find issues with most of what I’ve read. I’d like to share several examples.
The whole site seems to portray Jesus more as a moral role model than anything else. This article admits that some involved in the project believe Jesus is the son of God, but that others simply have an admiration for the “man” that Jesus was. That view is perfectly satisfactory to theological liberalism, which is the cul de sac at which many have arrived, and which already is at peace with modern culture. This movement does not seem to offer an exit from that comfortable and compromised version of Christianity.
This article doesn’t mention the most important and ultimate reason that the Jewish leadership condemned Jesus: that He claimed to be the Messiah, who will sit at the right-hand of God, and will come in the clouds at the end of the age (a la O.T. prophecy). It also suffers from poor exegesis regarding Jesus forgiving those who crucified Him. He was only explicitly offering forgiveness for those whose job it was to carry out the execution on a presumably guilty criminal, and not necessarily those who put Him there. In fact, earlier He had said that He must go to His death but woe to those by whose hands this was accomplished.
This article rightly depicts Jesus as hanging out with everyone, but it affirms “inclusivity” without mention that He did not hesitate to point out sin and caused (or expected) repentance and change in these people. As He said to an adulteress: I forgive you, but go and sin no more. And as He responded to His critics: it is the sick who need the physician. This campaign seems intent on avoiding such ideas as sin and spiritual “sickness.” As the saying goes, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
This article indicates that Jesus always forgave everyone, which is simply not true. It talks of Him “speaking truth to power,” and where this is true, in a sense, Jesus certainly did not express “unconditional love” to the unbelieving Jewish leadership whom He often accused of resisting Him because their father was Satan. Yes, “Jesus gets us.” He knows every inch of our rebellious hearts.
And in this article it emphasizes the way of love, which is undeniably true, but is already assumed by most people of good will. It is also not the whole story, nor is it adequate if we are all left to define “love” for ourselves. It’s as vague and circular as telling people to “follow your heart.” Further, the article says Jesus “always loved others despite their identity, beliefs, or values.” While He certainly received people of such diversity, He was keen to teach the truth about such things in ways that would correct mistaken views of identity, beliefs, and values, and asserted that there were not only particular objective truths, but that He Himself was THE ultimate Truth. The overall content of the campaign seems to imply that Jesus is ultimately fine with everyone on their own terms, and all we lack is to love one another. That message was offered by the post-Christian flower-children of the ’60s, but no matter how pleasant we might manage to be to one another, we can hardly live as a functional, harmonious society where everyone nurses their own distinct flavors of truth and value.
So, how’s the campaign working out?
I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Tweet speaks volumes:
“Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign”
Besides having no clue what “fascism” actually means, and a groundless presumption of what Jesus would actually do in any situation, she’s not having any of this. The irony is that AOC is a child and an icon of this modern cultural moment. If this is not who they mean to reach, then precisely who is it? One might say that it is those who are true seekers — those with “ears to hear.” But those seeking and listening for what: something that affirms their own “identity, beliefs, and values”? Or are they looking for the One who can offer us an eternal, unifying identity, who is the apex of the cosmic narrative in which we must believe, and who both grounds and defines the values against which we are to calibrate our thinking and behavior? This campaign appears to suffer from confusion over who its target audience is, what is being offered as Christianity, and how to effectively offer it.
2 thoughts on “Is the “He Gets Us” ad campaign an accurate portrayal of Jesus?”
Maybe they should just adopt the Bible that Rosenberg wrote for hitler. That would make them happy; all Jews were written out of it.
This article appears to be a well reasoned and accurate critique of the campaign. Whether the motivational force behind this campaign is evil in nature or simply an outgrowth of a deluded group of individuals who have not yet encountered and yielded to the one true living God still remains to be seen. At this point I lean toward the latter. Jesus does truly “get us” but that has never been the issue. The true issue is whether or not we get Him.
LikeLiked by 2 people