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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Click here to become a Christian

I was on myspace tonight and ran across an advertisement for Jesus and salvation. (As an aside, I heard today on the news that myspace was not meeting revenue expectations and so they have been ramping up ads and being more aggressive...like plastering a huge bat across the screen to advertise the new Batman movie.)

Here's what the ad walks you through:

1. God Loves You!

The Bible says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life"

The problem is that . . .
2. All of us have done, said or thought things that are wrong. This is called sin, and our sins have separated us from God.

The Bible says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God is perfect and holy, and our sins separate us from God forever. The Bible says “The wages of sin is death.”

The good news is that, about 2,000 years ago,
3. God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.

Jesus is the Son of God. He lived a sinless life and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. “God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”

Jesus rose from the dead and now He lives in heaven with God His Father. He offers us the gift of eternal life -- of living forever with Him in heaven if we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me."

God reaches out in love to you and wants you to be His child. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name." You can choose to ask Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and come in to your life as your Lord and Savior.
4. If you want to accept Christ as Savior and turn from your sins, you can ask Him to be your Savior and Lord by praying a prayer like this:

"Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior. I want to serve you always."

Did you pray this prayer?

[end of ad]

You now have the opportunity to click "Yes," which leads you to a Congratulations page with an opportunity to sign up for more info. on how to grow as a Christian. Or you can click "I have questions," which again allows you to submit your personal info. and ask your questions.

I'm a bit divided on this one.

A part of me is offended by the fact that we are essentially selling salvation and making Christianity available at the click of a button. (I'm sure Billy Sunday is smiling down on us.) Does signing up for Christianity really result in life transformation? Do we really need more Christian converts? Maybe we just need to focus on transforming the ones we've got into a living and loving body of Christ.

On the other hand I think to myself, "Don't be such a spiritual elitist, judgmental prick, Jon. Maybe this will transform someone's life. So, who are you to judge?"


Melody said...

I've heard of weirder things helping to lead someone to Christ.

At some point, yeah, I think it's going to need to be a bit more personal than clicking the right button...and I think most people are going to be a bit too cynical for this particular presentation...but you never know.

I knew a guy who was preaching for the first time and in his nervousness all he could stammer out was, "God loves us. A-a-a-nd isn't that great? Because God loves us and he really loves us" Some guy who'd randomly come to church before ending his life caught up with the first guy after the service wanting to know more.

My mom gives partial credit to chick tracts - universally scorned by anyone under forty, but in combination with the efforts of some of her Christian friends they convinced my mom, an ardent athiest at the time, that God existed and loved her.

Heck, I know people who accepted Christ in the church I grew up in...and somehow they went on to become very close to God (from what I can tell). That's gotta be all God, because it sure wasn't our church!

Anyhow, I'm just saying...we don't know.

hoosier reborn said...

I've been a Christian a long time. Only recently have I found the joy in that relationship...do people actually accept Christ based on the info provided in the ad?

Is the point to make converts or it is to encourage transformed living...and living a life of great pleasure and joy in our Father?

I don't think you're being a prick at all on this. It may work for someone out there...but it may turn just as many or more off to Christianity.

Recently led a good buddy to Christ-in the parking lot at Lowes. I don't recall having to go through all this...he knew something was missing and saw it in me. Be Jesus...live a truly transformed life...that's all the advertising God needs.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Yea, Melody, that's kind of what I was thinking; people are so cynical these days and suspicious. I think these kind of "Click here to be born again" things are just one more gimmick to sell a product....hope is always a good way to package a product....hhhhhmmmmm....and that reminds me.....it's election season......

Good point, Craig, about the personal touch. "We are Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us;" and our message is one of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5). Sometimes (okay, oftentimes!) I forget this simple truth that should be the heart and soul of my life.

samlcarr said...

guess I wonder whether Jesus has anything at all to do with this 'salvation'. It certainly doesn't even vaguely resemble anything in the gospels... so is there a connection, and if so what?

chris van allsburg said...

ah, so much to say.
but jon, i think you summed it up pretty well when you said not to be a prick about it. i fell the same way.

the 4 spiritual laws, though--i grow tired of this approach. it's so piecemeal, microwave and quick. it doesn't tell the christian story, it doesn't mention


everything is lickity-split and it seems really cheap.
but, i'm sure God can use it. after all He's God.
that doesn't justify the sloppy approach though.

Jason Hesiak said...

that page...which i finally just clicked on...is so flashy that it hurts my eyes.

Daniel said...

its hard for me to imagine if Jesus was living today that he would ask some web company to run an ad campaign so that he could grow his organization, how can that be the point of all his talks about the kingdom? but maybe I am the judgmental, elitist...


Jonathan Erdman said...


You are clearly thinking wrongly on this one.....the first thing Jesus would do is line up some business savoy investors and set up a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to get the message out and generate buzz for the new ministry. Next, he would hire a PR Marketing Firm to set up his image. "I'm thinking an earthy, organic Jesus," says image consultant. "Think in terms of an Abercrombie and Fitch savior who feeds the hungry.....we need to try to get a photo-op with you, Brad Pitt, and Angelina...."