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I ran across this story on Yahoo this morning.  What bothered me was the description of the ad the church will pay a minimum of $2.5 million for:

The tongue-in-cheek ad opens on a funeral scene and then cuts to a young man alive in a closed casket. His body is covered in Doritos and he is watching the Super Bowl on a tiny TV while chomping on chips as mourners sob outside. Two friends, who are in on the prank, snicker that by faking his death, their friend will get a week off work and an endless supply of his favorite snack.

But the man gets excited when his team makes a big play and jostles the casket, which tips over to reveal him inside with a pile of crushed chips.

After an awkward pause, his buddy jumps up and nervously exclaims to the shocked assemblage: “Aaaah! It’s a miracle!”

Putting aside the picture of the lead pastor of Mosaic Church posing outside a night club in LA (which has obvious theological problems of its own), the idea that God needs help from a Super Bowl ad to bring men to Him, especially one that pokes fun at the resurrection of Christ, is patently absurd.  Even the best preaching in the world isn’t going to affect people unless they are drawn by God first.  Not that Christians aren’t supposed to evangelize, but even the best evangelism will fall on deaf ears, unless and until God draws them and they are open to hearing the leading of God.

Besides, poking fun at one of the central themes of Christianity (the Resurrection of the Messiah) can be as offensive to Christians as poking fun at Mohammad would be to Muslims.  Not that Christians or Muslims are always sensitive to religious humor, but it’s a risky thing to joke about, and it’s even riskier to make fun of core religious beliefs, not to mention counterproductive to the purpose of the ad.

There’s also the issue of spending millions of dollars on an ad that is obviously more advertising for the mega-church than it is for Christ Jesus.  With annual budgets for the so-called “mega-churches” running into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, it’s a prime motivation to fill seats with people (and church coffers with dollars) to pay the bills, so it’s understandable that the larger the church, the more the need to advertise in an age when church attendance is dropping.  But this brings into question the very reason for the existence of churches when the motivation turns from bringing people to a belief in Christ and repudiation of sin, to a desire to fill seats to meet a budget.  Christ would certainly not have approved.

Am I over-reacting?  You tell me!

— Update:

OK, I just saw the ad – it’s not nearly as offensive as when I first saw the clip.  Maybe they changed it for the Super Bowl, but it was clear from the ad that it was a very much tongue-in-cheek TV ad, and not playing off the Resurrection at all, just a trio of guys whose prank went wrong…

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