Monday, November 17, 2008

Cheers for Interstate Batteries



In the past several years, there has been a growing outcry aimed at businesses over the content of their advertising. Quite a bit of the outcry and complaint is justified. Have you watched the Super Bowl much since Janet Jackson's little "foip" incident? Those aren't the only ads out there that "push the envelope." Many are -- quite frankly -- disgusting.

But today, I want to give praise where praise is due. I want to give a shout out to Interstate Batteries.

How many companies these days spend money to spread the Gospel so openly? I personally think Interstate Batteries' "God's Love" ads are refreshing, and done in a very winsome way. Yes, I am sure the content could be theologically deeper, but I am still thankful. They at least can get people talking about the issue if nothing else.

They also provide the opportunity for each one of us to talk about it at the water cooler if and when it gets mentioned. Hey, maybe we can even mention it.

Anyway, kudos to Interstate Batteries. And here's hoping more Christian-owned businesses follow their lead.

20 comments:

Phil Perkins said...

Sola,
I really hate those ads. They don't say the gospel and when you follow the links you won't find the gospel there, either, except in a very distorted and disguised form that isn't the gospel found in Scripture.

If you start with the ads, they are effeminate, speaking only of "love" and not the sort of love spoken of in Scripture. It is a sappy, emotional "love", sentimentality characteristic of very young girls. This sort of distorted "gospel" is, in my opinion, why we see so few men in the "churches". And why most of the males there are actually not men at all.

There's a reason for their distorted "love" in the ads. The reason is their effeminate, quasi-Christian doctrine.

If one follows their links to find their "gospel", you will find this heresy: "What's the problem? ...that God-shaped emptiness..." So then according the Norm Miller and Interstate Batteries, the reason we should turn to God is "that God-shaped emptiness".

This contridicts the Bible and Jesus' message. Jesus told us to repent because the Kingdom of God was at hand. Norm Miller doesn't tell anyone to repent, but only to pray a particular prayer he gives for us to repeat--an idea NOT FOUND ANYWHERE IN SCRIPTURE.

When I saw the ads, I wasn't sure the company was run by modern Evangelicals or by Mormons. I thought probably Mormons. The reason is simple. The ads said nothing that the Mormons (Or Joel Osteen, or Christian Science, or Seventh Day Adventists, or Jews, or Oprah Winfrey) might say. And Mormons run very similar ads about family "love" or God's "love" and it's always the same content-free pablum. And when you follow the links you find a "gospel" that is the same "gospel" one will hear from Mormon missionaries at the first meeting--they love to quote John 3:16 and tell you to "accept Jesus", just like Billy Graham. Even Jehovah's witnesses present much the same thing, except that they won't say Jesus was God. The Mormons will.

Do you see the difference?

Think about it,
Phil Perkins.

Solameanie said...

I think you're being too harsh, Phil.

Look at the site again, It clearly mentions sin, God's standard for perfection etc. It's hardly a Mormon gospel. While I appreciate very much -- and agree with -- your concern for truth, I think you are way too aggressive at times with people who would likely be on your side.

If it had been me doing the site, I would have worded it much more precisely and directly, including being clear about the need for repentance. Given our culture and the limitations television networks often impose, it's at least a start and better than what you'd hear on TBN. At the least it affords the beginning of discussion.

Miller is a Talbot grad. He's not a Mormon. If you don't like his ad, email him and tell him.

Solameanie said...

While you're at it, look at Acts 17:27. I think that's what he's referring to when he's talking about emptiness. People without Christ are empty.

Phil Perkins said...

Sola,
You're right about the sin thing. I thought about mentioning it, but I was getting long already.

If you reread the link, the problem isn't sin. It's the emptiness. And if you go the outside link it's even worse. There one is encouraged to "give God a try"!!!!!!

WAIT! This is the Sovereign of creation. You're going to give Him a try? And what if He doesn't meet your test? That's blasphemy and the only reason it doesn't make us recoil in disgust is that it's just the sort of heresy we've been swimming in inside the Evangelical "church" for the past 50 or so years. You won't find this sort of stuff in Spurgeon or Henry.

Yeah, I'm pretty harsh. But to be honest with you I used to believe this junk, too. And I spewed it, too. So, if I ever act like I'm not guilty, hit me on the head. Hard. It took a lot of time swimming in Scripture every day and slowly my mind began to be different.

Sin and God's perfect moral character is mentioned as a problem, but it's not the main problem or the motivation to turn to God. It is mentioned late in the presentation as a problem to keep us from getting our hearts filled.

This approach is done because we see it as a good reason to get folks to listen. Truthfully, though, it gets very few. I can only speculate that it gets only a few because it smells like a pitch.
Especially adults and men in particular don't listen to this much because it's simply a very juvenile approach. Even the kids don't listen much. They are too busy being kids to spend ten minutes experiencing existential angst.

As odd as it sounds I always find that I get more ears on the street if I go straight to the meat: Repent. Judgment is coming, because you won't live forever.

I went to the Acts passage and it seems to me the context is actual intellectual pursuit of God, not a search for emotional fulfillment. Paul first argues that their concepts of gods don't make sense for pursuing the God of creation. It's an intellectual argument, not an emtional appeal. Heart emptiness isn't even mentioned in that Scripture unless I've missed it. And if that's the case, please point it out.

I don't believe in Scripture one can find this let's-all-have-a-good-cry-together approach. It's here's a righteous God. He's coming for you. What are you going to do about it?

Now, on the honesty thing again, I have to admit that the Scripture does indicate that God fulfills us. That's a major theme of Scripture. It's just not the gospel. It seems to be the feature the salesman didn't mention, but you found after you got the car home.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins. PS--I went to a good seminary, too. A few years later I got saved.

Phil Perkins said...

Sola,
I got to thinking about this some more. One of the things that's been on my mind lately is the "aphronism" of our age in the "church". What I mean by that is the tendency to not think and the dislike for rational, biblical thought. (From the Greek aphron.)

At the risk of being way too speculative, could it be that a movement which majors on the emotional and sees a particular emotional state as the sunum bonum, or at least a sign of spiritual achievement in the eyes of its god, might under value rationality?

I fear this is true of us. For instance, one will often argue with a "Christian" about a biblical doctrine or ethic and be met with "the Spirit hasn't convicted me of that yet". That is to say the objector is often willing to reject what is plainly written in the Scripture they claim to obey for something else which they claim is indicated by their inner state. And they see no contradiction. (Or, worse yet, they see the contradiction intellectually, but prefer to ignore it in order to preserve the tingles they have gotten by serving their own hearts.) Or a speaker or "service" will be valued over another, not on the actual doctrinal content of the "service" or the speakers sermon, but on the emotional response experienced.

I really believe that we are so far off that if Jesus or Paul came back today, they would rail at us. Neither of them ever presented the "gospel" in the manner Miller does. Or in the manner it usually is in most "churches".

Thought has consequences.

Phil.

TelegramSam said...

Phil,
All I can say to your posts is “amen brother”. I guess that for some folks just putting something out there is admirable.

Hey Sola, maybe you should put some more “salute to Mickey Mouse” posts on your apologetics site because it’s getting kind of rough in here.

Phil Perkins said...

Telegramsam,
Thanks. I just went back the Interstate site because it occuredc to me that I don't remember any mention of judgment there. Unfortunately, it is down for maintenance. Will check tomorrow.

But don't be too impatient with some folk. I, too, fell for this sort of stuff. Many folks are sincere, but have simply been raised in this man-centered sort of religion. It takes some time to make your mind work right. Lots of time in the Scripture.

Phil Perkins

Solameanie said...

Sam,

If you've followed the history of this blog much, you'll see that it was never intended to be an always serious place. I do enough serious criticism on culture and theology here, but now and then I do lighten up. Something that would be good for all of us to do from time to time.

Phil, there's another link given on the Interstate site to "Need Him." Did you look at that one. That one is a bit more direct if you read through it. Probably not as knee in the groin as we might like, but stronger than the material on Interstate.

Phil Perkins said...

Sola,
Yes, I did. It's absolutely awful. Like Miller's pablum, the appeal is all about finding personal fulfillment through Jesus. And if you follow it all the way through on the men's section, it encourages the reader to "give God a try"!!!!

Such blasphemy. Give the Creator a try? Then what? Is He supposed to be all excited because He might get a second date?

"Call Me."

Are you kidding? What does that do to the doctrine of man? Man is now the judge, no longer under sin, but simply lonely for God. Does the Bible say we're all looking for a love affair with God or does it say we hate Him? You know the answer.

What does such talk do to the doctrine of sovereignty? Man gets to decide and then undecide.

What does that do to the doctrine of salvation? God can now try to save, but He'd better do a good job from the gitgo or He might get fired.

Sola, you're a great guy and I'm not banging on you personally at all. But this stuff is SOOO BAAAAD it's insane. If you could just step outside your skin for a minute, unlearn Modern Evangelicalism, and look at this sort of stuff biblically, you'd puke.

I'm not about to say I've not been guilty. My journey from Modern Evangelicalism back to biblical faith was hard and slow. It's taken a lot of soaking in
Scripture, but it's also taken God hitting me on my hard head. Repeatedly, through all sorts of hard circumstances. And I'm sure it's still continuing. Sanctification of the mind will never end in this life, I'm sure.

Well, anyway, think about it.

God bless you and yours,
Phil Perkins.

Phil Perkins said...

Sola and Sam,
A quick note and then I promise to stop e-blabbering about this.

I went back to the Interstate website and I was almost right. No mention of hell or judgment at all, except a quotation of John 3:16 which mentions "shall not perish".

That's all that's said about judgment. NOT biblical at all.

Thanks,
Phil Perkins

Phil Perkins said...

I lied. I just can't help myself. I went to the outside link, needhim.org . I read all the way through the men's presentation. Guess what? Again, no mention of hell and judgment until John 3:16 is quoted on......get this.....

the ELEVENTH PAGE.

That's right. Page number 11. And even then no explanation is made of what "perish" might mean. It's like the fine print. We have to mention it to make it legal, but muffle your voice and hope the customer doesn't pay attention.


I dare anyone anywhere to find any gospel presentation anywhere in Scripture that is that cagey about not mentioning judgment.

DAAAAAARE YA.

Sin isn't even mentioned until about the fifth or sixth page. It's all havin'-a-bad-s-day-Boopie? sort of stuff. Are you lonely? Do you feel disconnected? Do you feel sad?

Here's a better question: Could those effeminate twits do anymore to make me puke?

Phil.

Solameanie said...

I have no desire to belabor this either. I think you know where my heart, mind and stance is. I've been pretty hardnosed on this blog about lots of issues, including false doctrine. I have no disagreement with you about the importance of the doctrines you name, and that the need for repentance needs to be made clear to anyone hearing the biblical Gospel. I would recommend that you email Miller with your concerns to see how he responds.

Having said that, I do believe God is able to use things like this in the process of bringing people to Himself. At a bare minimum, sites and presentations such as theirs can be used to get people thinking and talking about their need for the Lord, which is a good thing. While I think things certainly could be improved, I am not willing to completely condemn them for what they're trying to do. It's a start. I think people have different personalities and styles also. You and I tend to be hard chargers, but there are people with very gentle temperaments who are not going to begin with someone in a condemning fashion. Let's also remember Colossians 4:6, "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Sometimes I am not always gracious.

I think different people need different approaches. I am fine with that as long as we eventually get to the biblical Gospel. Without mentioning sin and the need for repentance, you are indeed not giving the full orbed Gospel. Before one can see their need for the Good News, they have to know that there's bad news. That's my position on all of this.

In terms of "personal fulfillment," It all depends on what is meant. If we're approaching this from the level of narcissism, of course that's a non-starter. However, when one comes to saving faith in Christ and is sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, I can't think of anything more personally fulfilling, because we are being fulfilled in Him. There are millions of people whose lives are disasters because they're in sin and without the Lord in their life. Millions are in despair precisely because they are lost. The Lord is the answer to their lost condition.

One final point. You might look at the way Jesus handled people like the Pharisees versus the way He handled the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. Did he confront their sin? Yes, but not with a baseball bat or a blunderbuss. He saved the baseball bats and blunderbuss for false teachers who ought to know better.

Solameanie said...

Phil,

Here is one thing said on the Interstate site:

But you know that no matter how small the dose of poison, it contaminates the whole glass of water. In the same way, God cannot allow even a small amount of sin into heaven lest it contaminate the entire place.

That's pretty plain. Could more have been said? Sure. But it is illustrative.

Phil Perkins said...

Sola,
Well this definitely proves that I'm on a lay-off, huh? Lol.

Anyway, where's judgment? Unless one is already very churched, this won't mean much in that regard. And you won't find that sort of veiled reference to judgment in any scriptural gospel presentation, if you can even call it a reference to judgment at all. It speaks of sin, but not judgment directly.

And their problems go further. Read this from needhim.org: "Because He loves you, God cannot stand to allow this split to remain." Well, then. It's all solved. We're all going to heaven, cuz God is just too in love with the wicked to damn them. Take a knife to all those negative Scriptures. They're wrong.

Poor God. Evidently, He's lonely, too, cuz He can't stand being without you, according to these guys.

Work that out logically and you end up with Open Theology. God just can't accomplish what He wants. Or you have universalism. He wants you, but can't get you unless you decide to "give God a try". And then, He'll have to cross His fingers and hope you decide to keep Him around.

I don't know if their site should be called needhimforwhat?.org or heneedsmesonobigsweataboutallthatreligionstuff.org.

I know you quite a bit. You have really sound theology about the Person of God and about sovereignty. This sort of talk destroys all that.

God bless,Sola,
Phil.

Phil Perkins said...

Sola,
By "This sort of talk..." I was referring to the sort of talk found on those websites.

Phil

Solameanie said...

No doubt that I don't like that kind of wording i.e. "can't stand." Being generous, we could assume they mean that God purposed to redeem a people for Himself, and to do that someone had to pay the price for human sin.

But worded that way, it does sound like the narcissistic song phrase I heard once, "God loves you so much that He couldn't stand to live without you." I almost gagged on that one.

I think a lot of this stuff is well-intentioned, and they're not thinking through the ramifications of what they're writing.

Phil Perkins said...

Yes, well intentioned often. But still........

Keep up the discernment. And thanks for letting me blab.

Phil.

Jack said...

What, a true Gospel presentation needs to start with, "God hates you, and has a terrible plan for your life?"

Sin has existential consequences, as well as eschatological ones. Much of the book of Ecclesiastes, particularly the first two chapters, is about the emptiness left behind by all of life's most pleasurable experiences. It was the Psalmist who called on the nations to "Taste (experience) and see that the Lord is good!" Isaiah 1 called on Israel to recognize that their whole country was suffering because of sin.

The Bible itself doesn't follow a standardized Puritan format. The Scripture often used human need & suffering as its evangelistic starting point.

The problem is if we start with existential loss and suffering, then jump straight to Jesus Christ, but leave out the connecting links of sin, righteousness, and judgment. But you're saying that these ads don't do that.

Stan McCullars said...

To start with "God hates you..." will not be a true statement in all circumstances.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 TNIV)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10 TNIV)

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 TNIV)

Lou said...

Another blog was talking about a new article titled AMERICA'S PRETRIB RAPTURE TRAFFICKERS and said it is on the POWERED BY CHRIST MINISTRIES website so I looked it up. It is truly was they said it is, but folks will have to make up their minds about it. I will just say that it is a real shocker! Lou