If you are wondering what connection baseball has to do with this website, I am sure that you are not alone. On July 5, I was watching the New York Yankees play against the Pittsburgh Pirates, hoping to see the Yankees mount another comeback win, which unfortunately for Yankees fans like me, did not happen. Of much greater concern, however, was an advertisement in the bottom of the 6th inning: a message from the $100 million ad campaign hegetsus.com.
Using a green screen, the following message was displayed:
Jesus forgave errors
The following picture from a different baseball game provides a good shot of the ad:
Errors ≠ Sins
While some might think that this is a clever way to communicate the message of Jesus’ forgiveness to an audience who understands that an error in baseball is a defensive miscue that gives the opposing team an advantage, the fact remains that an error in baseball or any other sport is never something that requires forgiveness from God.
The Bible is clear that the forgiveness that Jesus grants has to do with the forgiveness of sins, as Jesus himself declared:
46 and [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47, emphasis added; cf. Mark 2:5; Luke 7:48; Acts 13:38; 26:18; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14).
The very reason that Jesus came into the world was to take away our sins:
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:4-5; cf. 1 Cor 15:3; Gal 1:4; Heb 1:3; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Rev 1:5)
In fact, the name, “Jesus” (or, Joshua) means “YaH saves” (i.e. the LORD saves) which saving has to do with salvation from sins:
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)
Sin is disobedience to God’s commands. An error is merely a mistake. To say, “Jesus forgave errors,” is not a faithful proclamation of the Gospel but an entirely different message, one that is not at all biblical. By replacing “sins” with “errors” in its ad, hegetsus.com is presenting a message that is not only easily disregarded by most people, but offers no true hope for those who may be broken-hearted over their sins. Such people need to be given the correct diagnosis for their condition – namely, that they are sinners – that they may seek the sole solution for it: faith in and repentance towards our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins (1 Cor 15:3), rose again from the dead, and forever intercedes at the right hand of God the Father for those who so believe in Him.
Ideological Connection to Bible Translation
On this website we have primarily focused on alerting Christians to unbiblical ideas and practices in the name of missions to Muslims, such as the so-called, “Insider Movement,” or “Honor-Shame Gospel.” Both of these philosophies have adapted Scripture to Islamic theology and culture, especially through what is called, “Bible translation.” While the hegetsus.com ad in baseball games is not presented as “Bible translation,” the same principle is at work – it engages in the very dangerous idea of cultural relativism by changing the message of the Gospel to “fit” the audience, especially by means of replacing key terminology in Scripture with culturally-familiar terminology. 1
An Appeal for Change
According to Christianity Today, hegetsus.com is funded “by a small group of wealthy anonymous families” who “say they’ll spend $100 million.” “The $100 million for He Gets Us comes from The Servant Christian Foundation, a nonprofit backed by a Christian donor-advised fund called The Signatry.” 2 The willingness of these donors to spend this amount of money for the purpose of high-profile evangelism is commendable; however, in this case, I pray that these donors recognize the problem with this ad and change it.
David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, co-authored the book Giving it All Away and Getting it All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously with Bill High, the founder and executive chairman of The Signatry. He also praised The Signatry for helping his family pass on their values and not just pass down money. 3 I, and many others, would rejoice if Mr. Green would be willing to use his considerable influence to ensure that the messaging of this campaign and others stays true to the Good News of Christ. I make this appeal because to the degree that our message is not biblically faithful is the degree to which it loses its power to save—just as salt can lose its savor (Matt 5:13) and gold its luster (Lam 4:1).
If we maintain the terminology of Scripture, its proclamation will not return void (Isa 55:11). It is only by hearing the Word of Christ that a person can be saved (Rom 10:9-17; cf. 1 Cor 1:21), something no clever marketing campaign could ever accomplish.
Grateful for Salvation from Sin
I am so glad that Jesus (YaH-saves) came to save us from and forgive us our sins! I am thankful for the faithful and loving rebukes of God’s Word and the convincing work of God the Holy Spirit to show me my sinfulness that I would be saved, which includes His forgiveness. Jesus does indeed “get us” which is precisely why the Bible correctly diagnoses us as sinners who need forgiveness for our sins.
16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
- For more information on how professing evangelicals have resorted to cultural relativism in the name of Bible translation see my thesis, “Muslim Idiom Translation: Assessing So-Called Scripture Translation For Muslim Audiences With A Look Into Its Origins In Eugene A. Nida’s Theories Of Dynamic Equivalence and Cultural Anthropology.” ↩
- https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/march/he-gets-us-ad-campaign-branding-jesus-church-marketing.html, accessed 7-9-22. ↩
- ”David Green & The Signatry,” Jan. 22, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozUQIwgi6Z4, accessed 7-13-2022, starting around the 47-second mark;). ↩
As a follow-up, David Green, whom I mention in the article, in an interview with Glenn Beck on Nov. 26, 2022 (“Hobby Lobby Founder: THIS is the BEST WAY to run a business”), acknowledged that he and his family “with a lot of other families” were part of the Super Bowl ads that were aired by hegetsus.com (start at 3:46). While this is not necessarily an admission that he and his family funded the baseball ad (which was aired prior to this interview), it does reinforce my point that he has necessary influence to ensure that these ads are in accordance with “the Book” (i.e. the Bible). Green takes great pride in running Hobby Lobby by “the Book.” Why then would he be associated in what is supposed to be an evangelistic endeavor whose message is not according to “the Book”?
Their website says they want anonymity because of sheer modesty. But their narrative is the “authentic” one, what we used to know as the Good News.
Subtlety was the mark of the serpent, but the Jesus of the New Testament says, “in secret I have done nothing.”
Brad, thank your for pointing out my misunderstanding of the ad. I saw the ad once or twice on tv and was not paying full attention to it (I then went to the website to watch it carefully). Initially, when I heard it I thought when the narrator said, “in Bethlehem” after a dramatic pause, that it was referring to them being in Bethlehem “far away from the atrocities taking place” rather than “the atrocities taking place in Bethlehem.” Having carefully watched the ad, I still feel that they have manipulated Scripture to equate the flight to Egypt to common details of many who are refugees from Latin and South America which requires much conjecture. Jenee’s concerns are valid. Thankfully, Jesus is the head of the Church (Eph 5:23) and He has guaranteed that the gates of Hell will not prevail against her (Matt 16:18) regardless of what the “visible Church” may do that is unbecoming to Him.
Brad, Reverend, I saw the ad you’re talking about, and I think you’re looking at the wrong journey. It’s not referencing Joseph and Mary traveling TO Bethlehem to comply with a Census. It’s referencing Matthew 2:12-15, their journey FROM Bethlehem after the departure of the Magi to escape Herod’s sweep.
Jenee, thank you for your comment. You point out another serious problem regarding the ad that likens a family fleeing violence to Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem in order to comply with a census. The manipulation of Scripture in the name of evangelism is disturbing and all the more so since the donors have chosen to remain anonymous. I am reminded of a line in Michael Card’s song, “Scandalon” [i.e. stumbling block – see Matt 13:41; 16:23; 18:7]: “It seems today the Scandalon offends no one at all. The image we present can be stepped over. Could it be that we are like the others long ago? Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble?” Jesus said, “And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust” (Matt 21:44). It is only as we humble ourselves before God because of our sinfulness (that is, being “broken”) that we will find His promised mercy when we put our faith in the Messiah/Christ, the Lord Jesus. He alone is the atoning sacrifice for sin (e.g. John 1:29; 1 John 2:1-2).
They now are representing refugees as akin to Jesus being a refugee. This takes a terribly complex issue of illegal immigration and tries to simplistically moralize it. Jesus was not a drug smuggler. I tire of wokeism taking over everything and now not only the church but also Christianity itself
It appears to me (a babe in following Christ) as an immediate red flag in willingness to spend such monies on an ad campaign “he gets us” during prime time , high profile programming.
Jesus understands as He too had been tempted as we are now more than ever in these trying times.
These monies are more than enough to have been serving Christs’ ministry by feeding and tending to the cause of the poor and easing mothers minds of the worries of what they will feed their children.
Would that not indeed lead more of GODS children to return too HIM?
Why would anyone find the need to be anonymous in doing that which is righteously The LORD working through them? HE is what true believers should boast.
“Do not be deceived “
It appears that this is a match lighting the fire to the one world religion written of in the book of Revelations.
We can forecast the weather, must any deny that the time is near?
The times, the time are here.
We cannot deny that the very hand of GOD is at work here and now. That is, for those who seek HIM with all their heart truly know as we hear that whisper behind us, “This is the way”
HE speaks it now.
HIS and yours in Christ Jesus
I am perplexed and confused. Thanks for your article. Our AOG church is going to participate in this ad campaign and I have concerns. My hope is that these CEO’S and financiers, donors are all about building the Kingdom of God. GOOL is managing stats. The FB page has standard comments, nothing indepth.. Are they trolls? The church has been infiltrated by very bad people with bad agendas. The western church is being exposed. Is this another ploy of Satan? Big check in my spirit.
You are absolutely right-on with this article. Every part of it cleared up what the He Gets Us campaign seemed to miss. I was troubled by the first ad that I saw on TV and started to look into who the people were who put that commercial together. Your article came up and I am glad that it did. It agreed with my thoughts on the subject too, because the Bible is our guide for all truth because it leads everyone to Jesus, The Truth Himself.
Rev. Adam is really quick with his response, and that is great. As a Lutheran who also supports mission work the “right way” –not by-passing by the repent and believe road,
I think it is important for us who do to speak up and at least try to redirect energies into truly Bible centered outreaches that don’t get so puffed up as to think their approach is going to remake society with clever word plays that twist the Bible’s words. Those of us in daily evangelical work know how much hard and faithful work it takes to see
fruit, and the examples of Paul and Jesus can’t be denied.