Three billboards outside Nashville, Tennessee

This article originally appeared at Baptist News Global on June 2, 2023.

During most trips down the interstate, drivers mindlessly zoom past billboards bombarding them with a blur of messages on their way to wherever they’re going. But every once in a while, travelers are confronted with a message about a different destination — their eternal destination.

The “Billboard Evangelism Program” is run by Christian Aid Ministries, a ministry founded in 1981 by Amish, Mennonite and Anabaptist individuals and groups with the purpose “to glorify God and help enlarge his kingdom.”

According to their website, they have 1,295 billboards throughout all 50 states, which are seen by more than 20 million people per day and result in 304 phone calls per day. Their 2020 in review report claims 72% of callers are either curious or seekers, while 9% are “mocking/foolish” and 5% are from the LGBTQ community.

Because they believe in young earth creationism, some of their signs include messages against evolution.

They also believe “God has established unique roles of authority for man and woman” and that “the woman’s head is to be veiled, and her hair uncut, signifying their acceptance of God’s order.”

Because of their views of creation and gender roles, they believe “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, lesbianism and any other sexual involvement is condemned by God.” So they often strategically place billboards about lust within proximity to adult stores or strip clubs.

And for those who do not accept their theology, “eternal damnation in hell” awaits them.

Billboards with actual ‘good news’

Zack Hunt

Zack Hunt, author of the newly released book Godbreathed: What It Really Means for the Bible to Be Divinely Inspired, believes billboards such as these are not presenting a message that is good news. So he decided to rent three billboards along Interstate 65 near Nashville with a quite different message.

Hunt’s three billboards say:

  • “You are not going to hell. — John 3:17”
  • “It’s OK to admit when the Bible is wrong. — 1 Corinthians 13:12”
  • “God didn’t write the Bible. People did. — Romans 1:1”

While his billboards are getting a rise out of evangelicals, Hunt says they’re meant to be an encouraging, uplifting message of good news.

In an interview with Baptist News Global, Hunt shared how he understands biblical inspiration and interpretation, and he explained why he believes his three billboards are good news.

In some of your discussions about inspiration, you mention the Bible should breathe life into the world. Conservative evangelicals would probably agree with that statement on a surface level. But they often also assume that means confronting people in order to convince them to agree with their views of theology and ethics. Why would you disagree with their view of breathing life into the world? And how would you recognize when true life was really being breathed into the world?

Continue reading at Baptist News Global.

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