When people misrepresent the truth, it is usually because of one of two reasons. Either they didn’t know the truth, and so spoke it error, or they did know the truth and purposefully deceived us. When its the former, our response tends to be more gracious as we all realize that our knowledge is limited and its conceivable that people can make what’s affectionately called a “honest mistake.” However, when the deceit seems intentional, we often have a harsher response. This makes sense. Yet even when our response is one of graciousness, we have to wonder about the consequences of misrepresentation. Even “honest mistakes” can wreak havoc.
I thought of this today while listening to a commercial on a Christian radio station. Where I live, there are not an abundance of options and while the station we have isn’t my favorite, I am grateful that music praising my King is allowed on the airwaves at all. While listening today, I heard an advertisement for a local Easter play (which can rightly really be called a performance of magnificent proportions) that caught my intention. In promoting the pageantry the announcer said something along the lines of, “He died, He was raised, and a faith was born.”
Now the announcement may seem harmless to most, but as I listened, I couldn’t help but be taken aback. A decent command of Scripture teaches us that saving faith didn’t begin upon Jesus’ resurrection. After all, all of the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews had been long-gone from the Earth by the time Jesus arrived on the scene (Hebrews 11). If faith began with Jesus’ resurrection, why were these individuals commended? What does that mean for their eternal salvation?
Now I’m hoping that the commercial was a case of an improper approval process or failed attempt at communication and not a sanctioned church announcement, because it not only misrepresented the truth of the Gospel message, it misrepresented Truth itself. In the commercial, the fact that Jesus came to do His Father’s will first and foremost was far from the announcer’s pitch. Instead, the appeal of the ad was that salvation was on the market, all you had to do was buy the product of Christ. That wasn’t what Christ was about. And neither should be His followers. Not only was the chronology of the message wrong (faith wasn’t born upon Christ’s resurrection) but the entire message was distorted, presumably in an attempt to sell more tickets. And the lesson of the commercial contains a lesson for all Christians, because we are all advertisements for Christ. Is their Truth in our advertisement or are we too misrepresenting Him?