The HeGetsUs campaign aims not to get people to “go to church,” but rather invite people to “consider the story of a man who created a radical love movement that continues to impact the world thousands of years later”….While the goals of HeGetsUs may be to make Jesus palatable to sophisticated urbanite worldings frustrated with religion and society, the Jesus they present is not the Jesus of the Scripture. This campaign has turned the good news of Christ on its head with some sort of psycho-therapeutic-babble that obscures the truth of Christ.
“They are wanting to know more about a Jesus who is a false Jesus,” said the Reverend Tom Buck in reference to the new HeGetsUs campaign which ChristianityToday describes as a campaign to “make Jesus the ‘biggest brand in your city.”
The HeGetsUs campaign aims not to get people to “go to church,” but rather invite people to “consider the story of a man who created a radical love movement that continues to impact the world thousands of years later.”
As they explain on their website:
He Gets Us is a movement to reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and his confounding love and forgiveness. We believe his words, example, and life have relevance in our lives today and offer hope for a better future.
They seem to believe the public “image” of Jesus needs to be rehabilitated for the 21st Century. They realized a problem according to Jason Vanderground: “how did the world’s greatest love story become known as a hate group…but we wanted to help them see that in Jesus there was somebody who had a lot of common experience just like they did.”
On their website they attempt to portray the Saviour as relatable and sharing many experiences, problems, feelings, and emotions endured by 21st Century people.
One of the videos asserts, “Jesus suffered anxiety, too.” The assertion the Saviour suffered “anxiety” is theologically dubious and comes very near to blasphemy.
Another video claims, “Jesus had to control his outrage, too.” But the outrage Jesus felt was never sinful, was always justified, and always perfect in its expression. The explanation goes on to say, “By telling this story, we reminded ourselves that even when we’re tested and trolled, we have the option of rising above.” But do we have the power to do so?
- Which Jesus?
A major problem with this campaign is that it seems to present a Jesus that is too much like us.
To be clear, Jesus was more human than you or I; His humanity was untainted by original sin. But the campaign seems to present Jesus as merely a moral exemplar, that is Christ is simply an example for people to follow.
The Reverend Derrick Brite warns about this kind of messaging: “it’s a gospel without sin, without cross, without a god; it’s ridiculous, it’s blasphemous, and it needs to be killed.”
In another video HeGetsUs speaks of a man who wanted people to be “filled with compassion” and then they go on to explain, “The name of Jesus has been used to harm and divide, but if you look at how he lived…He was radically inclusive. What would our world look like if that were the norm? If strangers became friends over the dinner table as they did around Jesus?”
It seems the marketers of the HeGetsUs campaign are trying to make Jesus likable, palatable, and acceptable to the world. And to do that, they are obscuring the reality of what Jesus came to do: to glorify God by satisfying divine justice by becoming a curse and being hanged on a tree all after He had fulfilled the Law of God on behalf of His people.
The campaign seems devoid of the cross; it presents a Jesus without the cross, a Jesus who is just like us and who is inoffensive. But that is not the Jesus of the Bible.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Cor. 1:22–25).
The Apostle Paul did not hide the offense of Christ from the sophisticated urbanites of Corinth. In fact that is what he led with:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3–4).
Certainly, the way Jesus is portrayed in the HeGetsUs campaign will start conversations and raise questions, but they will not be conversations and questions about the biblical Jesus. Perhaps the organizers intend a “bait and switch” with this provocative campaign: Get people interested in a Jesus who went around talking about hope, love, compassion, and forgiveness and then get them connected with a church that proclaims the whole Christ, the truth about Christ.
In a statement, TE Byran Chapell noted there has not been a lot of “controversy” regarding this and only “one person in the whole PCA has brought up any concerns” related to the HeGetsUs campaign. If you have thoughts, questions, or concerns about the PCA involvement in HeGetsUs, you may contact the PCA Stated Clerk’s office:
Email: [email protected]
Someone has started a petition urging the PCA not to take part in this campaign. TE Chapell indicated the Coordinators of PCA Agencies (e.g., RUF, CDM, MNA, MTW) might make a decision at a meeting next week on whether to join the site.