Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, an organization called He Gets Us drew mixed reactions by playing advertisements about Jesus during the Super Bowl. A purported religious revival at a Christian university in Kentucky has garnered nationwide and international attention. Meanwhile, a police officer in Georgia was pressured to resign after he affirmed biblical sexual morality on social media.
He Gets Us Sparks Controversy from Super Bowl Ads
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
An entity called He Gets Us paid some $20 million to place advertisements about Jesus in the Super Bowl.
The advertisements during the game, one of which encouraged viewers to “love your enemies” and another which urged them to “be childlike,” were part of a $1 billion marketing campaign, according to a report from Christianity Today. Among other backers of the initiative is David Green, who started Hobby Lobby and funds the Museum of the Bible.
Green said in an interview with Christianity Today that his family and others “desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2,000 years ago.” Conservative evangelicals skeptical of He Gets Us noted that the advertisements lacked a clear gospel presentation, failed to mention the holiness and justice of God, and neglected to offer a stark divide between secular values and biblical truth.
“Jesus taught and offered radical compassion and stood up for the marginalized,” said a website for He Gets Us. “Though we believe he was what Christians call fully God and fully man, that may not be what you believe. We’re simply inviting you to explore with us at He Gets Us how might things be different if more people followed his example.”
The advertisements, which heavily nodded toward issues prioritized by the social justice movement, were nevertheless rejected by many progressives. “Something tells me Jesus would not spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, said on social media.
Asbury University Draws Attention for Reported Revival
“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Asbury University, a Christian school in central Kentucky, is experiencing what some have called a revival after a chapel service morphed into a nonstop prayer and music in worship session.
The informal service has continued since February 8, according to a report from NBC News. Social media videos depict attendees, some of whom traveled from across the country to witness the phenomenon, singing to contemporary worship music and praying with one another.
Many pastors responded to the footage by exhorting the nation to consider “The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God,” a short book written by eighteenth-century theologian Jonathan Edwards. The minister, who was active during the Great Awakening, noted that a true revival is accompanied by repentance, increased esteem for Christ, opposition to the interests of Satan, high regard for Scripture and sound doctrine, and greater love for God and man.
On the other hand, Edwards contended that one cannot determine the legitimacy of a revival by its extraordinary nature, the presence of strong emotion, the operations of Satan intermixed in the work, or unwise conduct among some participants.
Police Officer Fired for Endorsing Biblical Sexual Ethics
“All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Jacob Kersey, a former officer with Port Wentworth Police Department in Georgia, says he was forced to leave his position because of a social media post about the biblical nature of marriage.
The nineteen-year-old was initially placed on paid administrative leave when he refused to take down a Facebook status from two days earlier, according to a report from the Christian Post. “God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church,” he wrote. “That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage.”
Kersey resigned after further conversations with his superiors. Attorneys with First Liberty Institute who are representing Kersey wrote in a letter to city officials that the Port Wentworth Police Department’s actions “send a message to Christians who hold traditional biblical beliefs about marriage that they are unwelcome as police officers or city employees.” The attorneys contended that the First Amendment protects Kersey’s online activity.