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What's There to Get About "He Gets Us"?

Today's blog comes to us from our very own Dave Glander. We pray that God will allow you to see this perspective on the recently aired Super Bowl commercial, as it comes from a former atheist and drug addict who had his own foot-washing experience  with Jesus through the amazing grace of God.
Because I want to be as sensitive as possible to all readers with this particular blog, I’m asking each reader kindly to read to the end for a proper balance of perspective.  Though the television campaign known as “He Gets Us” has been around since 2022, Superbowl 2024 shed a light (and not exactly the best one) on the campaign that was wider spread than ever before. While the supporters of the 501(c)(3) organization behind the movement, Servant Foundation, are anonymous, the Green family of Hobby Lobby has admitted to being a large player in the ads running on TV,1 estimated to have cost around 14 million dollars.  The campaign is “hoping to start a movement (to) put the Jesus of the Bible front and center (in) our culture,” said Jason Vanderground, president of Haven, the marketing firm that created the He Gets Us ads.2 But has the organization reached its intended goal? Not by most standards.
The overwhelming response by the Christian community has been very negative.  My social media has been inundated with people claiming the campaign is “heretical, blasphemous, woke, anti-Christian,” along with many more insults and negative critiques in the backlash of the commercials.  The most controversial part of the Superbowl commercial appears to be the last of the “Rockwell-esque” pictures where a man of the cloth is washing the feet of a very queer, possibly trans person.3
The closing titles claim, “Jesus didn’t teach hate.  Jesus washed feet.”  I’ll admit that my theological brain trips a bit regarding the first statement. True, Jesus didn't teach hate, but His Word does give multiple things that God/Jesus hates. Jesus IS The Word, and The Word says, God [Jesus] “hates all evildoers (Psalm 5:5).” His [Jesus] “soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence (Psalm 11:5).”

Proverbs 6:16-19
There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

The second part of their slogan, however, couldn’t be any truer.  Jesus washed the very feet of Judas, who would be responsible for His murder only a few hours later (John 13:1–5).  If Jesus had such compassion on His murderer, how much more compassion would He have had toward the queer transvestite?  Please pause and really ponder that question, not allowing your own bias to disturb the answer to the question…

John 3:17

Whenever I am asked to sign one of my books, I always sign my name with John 3:17 as the Scripture I want them to consider.  Most Christians can quote John 3:16 by heart, and while this is one of the most important verses in all of Scripture, the next one is just as profound and essential. It reads, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  Did we read that right?  Jesus didn’t come here to condemn, for if He did, that may get in the way of the world being saved through Him.  He didn’t condemn Judas, Mary Magdalene, or even those crucifying Him as He begged the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).” How much more would He wash the feet of illegal immigrants that were in another controversial picture within the Superbowl commercial?  
As controversial as this may appear, the ad actually took my breath away a little bit.  You see, one of the foot-washing pictures was that of a drug addict lying on the floor in hopelessness.  I couldn’t help but remember my own first encounter with Jesus, where He essentially washed my feet while I was living as a drug-addicted atheist.  He didn’t ask me to clean myself up before He could accept me, and I think that is where the misunderstanding is happening among so many well-meaning Christians.
Look, I get it; these campaigns don’t mention repentance from the pictures of the apparent sinful lifestyles depicted in the ad, but when does God ask us to repent? Is it not AFTER we first receive the Gospel of Jesus?  The Scriptures are clear, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9).” Scripture tells us that while our free will allows us to “choose” to repent, it is only through God that we “can” repent.  We are instructed in the following manner.  “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25 NIV).”
To those screaming “Heresy!” at the “He Gets Us” campaign: Is it possible that they are attempting to gently instruct the worldly in hopes that . . . ?  According to Randy Newman, a Senior Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism at the C.S. Lewis Institute, “Before we even start some evangelistic conversations, the deck is stacked against us, as nonbelievers assume they’re morally or intellectually superior to us. Many outside the faith see us as narrow-minded, intolerant, homophobic simpletons.  Before telling people the good news of God’s love, perhaps we need to level the playing field so our words are considered rather than dismissed.”4 This strategy is known as “Pre-Evangelism.”  Read Acts 17:22–34 to see how the Apostle Paul used pre-evangelism in his mission to Athens, Greece.

The Challenge

So, here are my questions to all those who oppose the “He Gets Us” campaign.
  • What if the commercial DOES affect the drug addict, the abortionist, the criminal, the immigrant, the queer, etc., and they decide to come to your church to meet this Jesus who doesn’t condemn them where they are.
  • Are you ready to receive them and share the rest of the Gospel that LEADS to their repentance?
  • Will you finish the pre-evangelism and evangelize the outcast, or will you criticize them and tell them they are not worthy of having their feet washed until they clean up? 
  • Did Judas clean up and repent before Jesus washed his feet?
I pray that this message will challenge the critics to forget about criticizing the ad and to begin praying for the heart of the Savior,  ready to “wash their feet” if and when your paths intersect.
1 Source: https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2023/february/he-gets-us-super-bowl-commercial-billion-jesus-christian.html
2 Source: https://baptistnews.com/article/he-gets-us-part-1-the-men-and-money-behind-the-movement/
3 Source: https://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/watch-he-gets-us-jesus-super-bowl-2024-ads/2540961
4 https://www.cslewisinstitute.org/resources/leveling-the-playing-field-a-strategy-for-pre-evangelism/
To learn more about Dave Glander, and to book him as a speaker, click HERE.

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