A blasphemous ad...

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blasphemy: Profane talk of something supposed to be sacred; impious irreverence. (The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary)

Several weeks ago a local Bloomington congregation called Sherwood Oaks Christian Church placed this ad in the Indiana University campus paper, Indiana Daily Student. Taking up a quarter of the op-ed page, when I first saw it I felt like I'd taken a punch to the solar plexus.

A young man from our congregation wrote the Sherwood Oaks Christian Church elders right away appealing to them to see what an assault the ad was on the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ. He concluded his letter:

"Pro-choice" is a phrase nearly universally used to describe supporting legalized abortion. Over 1.2 million precious human lives are snuffed out every year in the United States alone, and well over 40 million unborn babies have been murdered since Roe v. Wade threw out state laws limiting abortion in 1973. I urge you to remove this phrase from both your advertisements and from your Web site.

Reading my friend's letter of protest, I assumed the ad had been placed hastily and that the elders and pastors would take a similar haste to clean up the mess as best they could. And although I had no illusion that this congregation of the Cambellite Christian Church denomination would see the contradiction of Scripture at the heart of their sales pitch, I did think they'd have a tender conscience concerning the ad's statement that would mislead many to think that Sherwood Oaks and its college ministry believe the Holy God affirms the killing of unborn children.

So then I was shocked to see the ad appear again, and to realize there would be no apology, clarification, or withdrawal of the ad on the part of the congregation's leadership.

Need I say that I am not offended in the least by the ad's appeal to alternative types, or to those aligned with political parties other than Republican? Rather I commend them for these sentiments, although it's worth noting Sherwood Oaks Christian Church is thousands large and about as "establishment" as any church in Bloomington.

But take time to read the ad's headline and text and you'll understand my writing that it's incomprehensible how a congregation could think that running something like this in a university newspaper would honor our Lord.

(Gathering 629 is the college ministry of Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, a Campbellite congregation of the North American Christian Convention, a denomination best known for its adherence to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and the motto "no creed but Christ.")