The “He Gets Us” campaign airs commercials and uses billboards to make Jesus and Christianity more relatable. These ads “reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and His confounding love and forgiveness.” Their message is positive: He understands today’s problems, but does the Son of God need rebranding?
Unfortunately, the campaign to humanize Jesus raised concerns over making Him more culturally relevant in America. As a result, some religious leaders question the value of marketing Christianity. According to Revelation Media, these ads risk making Jesus a part of the viewer’s culture instead of aligning their culture with God’s plan for humanity.
Additionally, complaints over how much money the campaign spends to promote Jesus. For example, two “He Gets Us” commercials aired during Super Bowl LVII last Sunday.
Christianity Today reported those behind the ads spent $100 million to blur the lines between sharing the Gospel and productizing the Church.
Arguments about the commercials filled Twitter feeds.
Representative Alexandria Ocsaio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) attacked the “He Gets Us” campaign’s Super Bowl commercials. AOC’s tweet conflates Evangelical and traditional Christian points of view: “Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign.”
A corrective comment against AOC’s post came from @AngelWaterton, who declared that “Jesus would be a progressive Democrat.”
Former North Carolina State Representative candidate Joshua Niday initially agreed with OAC’s campaign assessment. In response, the Republican added: “Of course, he would also not support unlimited abortions, transing kids, open borders or socialism.”
An Episcopal Priest, Reverand Joseph Rose, corrected Niday and AOC in his tweet: “Jesus was a refugee whose family benefitted from “open borders” into Egypt to escape being murdered. Also, the Gospels and the incarnation itself make clear that every man, woman, and child is the image of God.”
“He Gets Us” Campaign Objectives
The campaign spokesperson for “He Gets Us,” Jason Banderground, explained why the sponsors used ads to promote Jesus as a role model. He told Fox News: “Our research shows that many people’s only exposure to Jesus is through Christians who reflect him imperfectly and too often in ways that create a distorted or incomplete picture of his radical compassion and love for others.”
In response to AOC’s tweet, Bandergaround said the goal of the ads campaign is anything but fascist. Instead, they share Jesus’ message that despite the problem He encountered, Jesus handled them with dignity and love, contrary to fascism.
The commercials are Biblically sound, and the campaign’s core message is clear: “Jesus understands us because He faced similar situations.” In other words, Everyone is welcome at Jesus’ table (John 6:60-66). However, even though the ads intend to invite people to learn more about God’s plan for humanity, it is reasonable to wonder how many go to the “He Gets Us” website.
Faith Leaders’ Concerns
Steve Cleary, the CEO of Revelation Media, is worried that the “He Gets Us” ads only share half of the truth. In a recent newsletter, Cleary wrote:
“If the current campaign to make Jesus more culturally relevant can lead people to the Word of God, into fellowship with other believers, into repentance of sins, and into [an] acknowledgment of the Cross and God having raised Jesus from the dead, then I am all for it. However, if it spreads a message that Jesus is more like one of us and that He is simply love and acceptance, then I remain very concerned and conflicted.”
Natasha Crain, the author of “Faithfully Different: Retaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture,” voiced her thoughts about the campaign. She said the ads “aimed at helping rescue Jesus’ reputation from the damage done by His followers” have a problem.
These ads, Crain continued, are not accurate. “The Jesus of this campaign is nothing more than an inspiring human who relates to our problems.” She also said he “cares a whole lot about a culturally palatable version of social justice.” She lists “seven significant problems” to watch out for that are worth reading. Finally, Crain suggests believers share the missing truth with anyone who may be misled by what they see.
The truth is that Jesus is divine. He is God’s Son who came to Earth and lived as a human. Jesus talked about God’s plan to redeem humanity during his short life. He is the living sacrifice that was crucified so that everyone, not just Jews, could have a relationship with God and have eternal life.
Campaign Resources: Learn and Share
Below is a list of resources for Christians to quickly access when sharing the Gospel.
- Go to the “He Gets Us” website. Watch the videos and read the commentaries.
- Read about Jesus in the five plans on the campaign website.
- Watch “The Chosen,” a series about Jesus’ ministry.
- Read “He Gets Us: The Confounding Love, Forgiveness, and Relevance of the Jesus of the Bible with Selections from Max Lucado (click the link below the video to order).
- Read “The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus” by Lee Strobel
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
(Originally published on Guardian Liberty Voice)
He Gets Us: About
Deseret News: Why those ‘He Gets Us’ ads about Jesus have sparked heated debates; by Kelsey Dallas
Christianity Today: $100M Ad Campaign Aims to Make Jesus the ‘Biggest Brand in Your City;’ by Maria Baer
Christianity Today Archive: Jesus Is Not a Brand; by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
Fox News: He Gets Us responds to AOC’s attack on Christian Super Bowl ads; by Aaron Kliegman
Natasha Crain: 7 Problems with the He Gets Us Campaign; by Natasha Crain
Featured and Top Image by Jaka Škrlep Courtesy of Unsplash
First Inset Image by Edward Cisneros Courtesy of Unsplash
Second Inset Image by Neal E. Johnson Courtesy of Unsplash
Third Inset Image by Wim van ‘t Einde Courtesy of Unsplash