An article in the Los Angeles Times today tells the story of xxxChurch.com, a ministry outreach to those caught up by pornography. They wanted to have some Bibles printed up that had this on the cover: “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”. The Bible publisher wouldn’t go along. According to the article, “The publisher said that while it applauded the outreach to those who make a living off pornography, ‘the wording is misleading and inappropriate for a New Testament,’ according to a letter the pastors received from Barbara Bernstengel, the executive in charge of standards at the nonprofit Bible publishing company.”
“Misleading and inappropriate?”
The Bible publisher would doubtless have no trouble with this phrase: “Jesus loves sinners.” But they, like many Christians, seem to lose their minds if you insert a specific sort of sinner is loved in place of the generic word: “Jesus loves rapists” or “Jesus loves murderers” or “Jesus loves self-righteous pricks” doesn’t seem as reasonable somehow. Why is that? Because the radical nature of what Jesus did for us isn’t reasonable. Paul wrote:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:7-10)
Jesus loved us and gave his life for us when we were his enemies. He died for all the people that give us the creeps. He died for those of us who give others the creeps. We can do nothing to contribute to our salvation. But he loves us anyhow.
It is amazing the number of Christians, even publishers of Bibles, who apparently don’t really believe the gospel message or understand just how uncomfortably radical it really is.