Last night when I was driving to Polk County Youth Services to get a new church group started with their first time doing a birthday party at the shelter.  That is one thing that the ministry I work for does.  Anyway, I digress.

I noticed this red minivan ahead of me.  The first thing my eyes were drawn to is an Icthus.  For those of you who may not know; the Icthus is an ancient Christian symbol that “followers of the Way” would use to identify themselves during times of Roman persecution.  An example of an Icthus is on the right.

The second thing I noticed was a bumper sticker that read, “Protect children, kill a pedophile.”  Now I personally have a disdain for pedophiles and I honestly don’t know how I would emotionally respond if that ever happened to one of my kids.  Advocating murder, however, is way, way beyond the pale.

I really don’t like “Christian” bumper stickers usually either because of poor theology see the bumper sticker in the picture above that says, “On Judgment Day you’ll Wish your car had JESUS STICKERS.”  Yeah, upon Christ’s return and standing at the Great White Throne Judgment, (Revelation 20:11-15), I’m sure that will be on the minds of those who rejected Christ.  Not that it would make a difference anyway.

With others you just see a disconnect with what is on the car and conduct while driving the car.  Nice seeing somebody with a Christian bumper sticker cut someone off driving or speeding or just lousy driving in general.  Then some stickers are just plain goofy… “honk if you love Jesus.”  I can see somebody on the highway passing a car with that sticker thinking, “I’d better honk quick or they are going to think I don’t love Jesus!”  Or perhaps a non-Christian is going to say to his spouse when they pass a car that warns it will be unoccupied when the rapture occurs – “honey we’d better stay away from them if Jesus comes back (assuming they know what the rapture is) that car is going to be all over the road!”

Maybe people just think when seeing a car with “Christian” bumper stickers pulled over by the police that they are just witnessing to the police officer.  Right.  If you must have them, please let them theologically sound, not goofy, not have another bumper sticker that contradicts it, and drive like you know Jesus.

But it would be best just not to have them.  I can’t recall anyone coming to know Jesus as a result of seeing a bumper sticker.

27 comments
  1. Shane – Have you seen that camper driving around with the placards and lettering all over it, all scripture quotes and salvation-related messages? They cover the entire surface of the vehicle (except for windows of course). How do you think that fits into the picture – helps or hurts the Christian message?

  2. Shane – Have you seen that camper driving around with the placards and lettering all over it, all scripture quotes and salvation-related messages? They cover the entire surface of the vehicle (except for windows of course). How do you think that fits into the picture – helps or hurts the Christian message?

  3. Are you thinking of that bus? I would say it just looks goofy and while I don’t think it hurts with reasonable people with those who are dead set against Christianity it just gives them more ammo.

  4. Are you thinking of that bus? I would say it just looks goofy and while I don’t think it hurts with reasonable people with those who are dead set against Christianity it just gives them more ammo.

  5. It’s curious how often we forget that our witness for Christ is much more effective than our words…and how often our words label us as hypocrites..good post.

  6. It’s curious how often we forget that our witness for Christ is much more effective than our words…and how often our words label us as hypocrites..good post.

  7. First, a thought on the bus (assuming we are thinking of the same one). That’s actually a guy who feels called to the homeless and he drives around helping get them to shelters and letting them sleep on the bus if needed. So, sometimes it helps to know the story to have a better understanding, at least it makes me not judge so much. On the other hand, I don’t think I agree with that method either.

    Shane, I love the thought on bumper stickers, but why stop there? Wander into any “christian” book store, and marvel and the junk that is sold just because it has a scripture or happy message on it. I mean, does anyone think a convert has been made from “testamints”? Or, how is Christ revealed in the bobblehead Jesus on a dashboard? For the ultimate, I love the fact that we have poker chips just for Christians. . .how did that happen?

    I think from the outside looking in, much of our christian sub-culture probably looks much stranger than we understand. And from the outside, I’m sure it’s crazy just how commercialized it has become. . .of course I’m on the inside and I feel it too. . .

  8. First, a thought on the bus (assuming we are thinking of the same one). That’s actually a guy who feels called to the homeless and he drives around helping get them to shelters and letting them sleep on the bus if needed. So, sometimes it helps to know the story to have a better understanding, at least it makes me not judge so much. On the other hand, I don’t think I agree with that method either.

    Shane, I love the thought on bumper stickers, but why stop there? Wander into any “christian” book store, and marvel and the junk that is sold just because it has a scripture or happy message on it. I mean, does anyone think a convert has been made from “testamints”? Or, how is Christ revealed in the bobblehead Jesus on a dashboard? For the ultimate, I love the fact that we have poker chips just for Christians. . .how did that happen?

    I think from the outside looking in, much of our christian sub-culture probably looks much stranger than we understand. And from the outside, I’m sure it’s crazy just how commercialized it has become. . .of course I’m on the inside and I feel it too. . .

  9. It does go too far at times. I would rather show by action than by word (or bumper sticker).

    Too often that becomes part of the scenery around us and not part of the mission. You can easily forget what you are carrying around on the back of your vehicle. And when your actions do not line up; you are doing more harm than good.

    Jesus warns us not to seek the approval of men or we will have been given our reward.

    Had they had Chevys, I am sure the Pharisees would have been into bumper stickers, and look where their way got them.

  10. It does go too far at times. I would rather show by action than by word (or bumper sticker).

    Too often that becomes part of the scenery around us and not part of the mission. You can easily forget what you are carrying around on the back of your vehicle. And when your actions do not line up; you are doing more harm than good.

    Jesus warns us not to seek the approval of men or we will have been given our reward.

    Had they had Chevys, I am sure the Pharisees would have been into bumper stickers, and look where their way got them.

  11. It’s much easier to let the bumper sticker do the talking than to actually engage people.

    One of the reasons I’m dismayed at conservative Evangelicals these days is because so much of our hard-fought-for theology has been reduced to bumper sticker sentimentality, whether it’s attached to a car or not. We have become a people of cliches and sound bite answers.

    There has been such a profound dumbing down of Jesus’ call to take up our crosses, make disciples, be salt and light, etc.

    I’m with you, Shane. Away with bumper stickers!

  12. It’s much easier to let the bumper sticker do the talking than to actually engage people.

    One of the reasons I’m dismayed at conservative Evangelicals these days is because so much of our hard-fought-for theology has been reduced to bumper sticker sentimentality, whether it’s attached to a car or not. We have become a people of cliches and sound bite answers.

    There has been such a profound dumbing down of Jesus’ call to take up our crosses, make disciples, be salt and light, etc.

    I’m with you, Shane. Away with bumper stickers!

  13. I completely agree that a bumper sticker shouldn’t be intended to witness. But to offer a differing opinion, I’m not sure I agree that’s why some/most people use them or any other Christian paraphernalia. I don’t sport my ISU t-shirt to convert anyone into becoming a Cyclone fan. I do it to show my pride for my team. (Okay, maybe not so much this season.) If I need a bookmark, having one that has Scripture on it doesn’t make me more “spiritual” than the next but it may help me to read the verse which is definitely not a bad thing. I agree that when I wear my VBS t-shirt I need to remember not to act impatiently with my kids in the Walmart line if I’m wearing it:-) (But I’m supposed to do that no matter what I’m wearing.) And that’s really my point. Buying “Christian” stuff is no different than buying “other” stuff. Yes, we have a responsibility to behave in a manner consistant with our faith but we have that regardless of what we wear,what is on our car, etc. Just my two cents.

  14. I completely agree that a bumper sticker shouldn’t be intended to witness. But to offer a differing opinion, I’m not sure I agree that’s why some/most people use them or any other Christian paraphernalia. I don’t sport my ISU t-shirt to convert anyone into becoming a Cyclone fan. I do it to show my pride for my team. (Okay, maybe not so much this season.) If I need a bookmark, having one that has Scripture on it doesn’t make me more “spiritual” than the next but it may help me to read the verse which is definitely not a bad thing. I agree that when I wear my VBS t-shirt I need to remember not to act impatiently with my kids in the Walmart line if I’m wearing it:-) (But I’m supposed to do that no matter what I’m wearing.) And that’s really my point. Buying “Christian” stuff is no different than buying “other” stuff. Yes, we have a responsibility to behave in a manner consistant with our faith but we have that regardless of what we wear,what is on our car, etc. Just my two cents.

  15. Thanks for the comments guys!

    @Phatkat – Bryan, I agree I wish that Christian bookstores would stick to books. I can’t stand the knickknack stuff.

    @AndyC – I’m not so sure people who put bumper stickers on their cars are looking for the approval of men.

    @Steve – Amen

    @Megan – that was mainly my point if you have those stickers… be consistent (should do that anyway). Though I would like to see the goofy bumper stickers go though.

    Guys check out the DMWeblife link above this comment. Janet brought up some interesting questions.

  16. Thanks for the comments guys!

    @Phatkat – Bryan, I agree I wish that Christian bookstores would stick to books. I can’t stand the knickknack stuff.

    @AndyC – I’m not so sure people who put bumper stickers on their cars are looking for the approval of men.

    @Steve – Amen

    @Megan – that was mainly my point if you have those stickers… be consistent (should do that anyway). Though I would like to see the goofy bumper stickers go though.

    Guys check out the DMWeblife link above this comment. Janet brought up some interesting questions.

  17. Shane, first, thanks for inviting folks to check out my post, I sure appreciate that. Second – PhatKat, thanks for clarification on the purpose of the message-covered bus. The point about commercialism is also well-taken – however I don’t see the purpose of the commercial stuff as being so much to “proclaim” to the public, but rather for the purpose of reinforcing for yourself the importance of faith as you go about your life. If I were to enter someone’s home and see a lot of Christian-themed items, I would not think they were trying to convert me or publicize their faith – I would think, “This person lives a Christian life.” (Okay MAYBE I’d think they were trying to convert me if they offered me a “Testamint,” but, on the other hand, maybe I just have bad breath! LOL)

  18. Shane, first, thanks for inviting folks to check out my post, I sure appreciate that. Second – PhatKat, thanks for clarification on the purpose of the message-covered bus. The point about commercialism is also well-taken – however I don’t see the purpose of the commercial stuff as being so much to “proclaim” to the public, but rather for the purpose of reinforcing for yourself the importance of faith as you go about your life. If I were to enter someone’s home and see a lot of Christian-themed items, I would not think they were trying to convert me or publicize their faith – I would think, “This person lives a Christian life.” (Okay MAYBE I’d think they were trying to convert me if they offered me a “Testamint,” but, on the other hand, maybe I just have bad breath! LOL)

  19. Janet,

    I think your point is valid, but I also think there is some danger in the marriage of the commercial and the spiritual.

    So there is potential good in having the t-shirt or the bumper sticker or the bookmark for sure, but we all need to be aware of the potential liabilities.

  20. Janet,

    I think your point is valid, but I also think there is some danger in the marriage of the commercial and the spiritual.

    So there is potential good in having the t-shirt or the bumper sticker or the bookmark for sure, but we all need to be aware of the potential liabilities.

  21. Jesus-junk is irritating.

    But I’ve started to feel that the age-old bumper sticker that says, “Jesus is my co-pilot” might indicate a faulty view on the sovereignty of God. 🙂 Stinkin’ Arminian bumper stickers…

  22. Jesus-junk is irritating.

    But I’ve started to feel that the age-old bumper sticker that says, “Jesus is my co-pilot” might indicate a faulty view on the sovereignty of God. 🙂 Stinkin’ Arminian bumper stickers…

  23. Phatkat wrote: I mean, does anyone think a convert has been made from “testamints”?

    You don’t have to “think” on that one. It is true. They HAVE received letters of thanks for that one little verse that was just at the right place at the right time and drew a person to Jesus. So, just becuase you don’t like them, doesn’t mean God can’t use them.

  24. Phatkat wrote: I mean, does anyone think a convert has been made from “testamints”?

    You don’t have to “think” on that one. It is true. They HAVE received letters of thanks for that one little verse that was just at the right place at the right time and drew a person to Jesus. So, just becuase you don’t like them, doesn’t mean God can’t use them.

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