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Pastor's powerful alternative to controversial 'He Gets Us' Super Bowl ad goes viral: 'The true gospel resonates'
Image composite: X video, @j_bambrick - Screenshots

Pastor's powerful alternative to controversial 'He Gets Us' Super Bowl ad goes viral: 'The true gospel resonates'

A 60-second ad ran during the Super Bowl depicting various individuals washing the feet of their supposed ideological, social, or professional antagonists.

The apparent thesis of the controversial "He Gets Us" campaign — itself an apparent effort to proselytize — is that Christianity today is "associated with hatred and oppression" but should instead be associated with "unconditional love, peace, and kindness."

While the ad prompted the usual outrage of those reflexively antipathetic to Christianity, it also generated controversy among many Christians. Some took issue with the theology behind the ad. Others felt uneasy about the campaign's potentially unintended conflation of love for sinners with tolerance of sin. A number of critics also figured that with tens of millions of dollars on the line and a global audience, the campaigners could have made a far more impactful pitch.

A Christian pastor in Northern Ireland cut through the noise with an alternative video this week that he figured would better convey the good news.

That video has since gone viral, overwhelming viewers with a clip show of striking redemption stories and an unmistakable message: "He saves us."

The Super Bowl ad

During the first quarter of Super Bowl LVIII, an ad entitled "Foot Washing" played, depicting various people having their feet washed by individuals contextually implied to be unlikely scrubbers. The 60-second ad is set to Jenn Mundia's cover of the INXS song "Never Tear Us Apart."

A police officer can be seen cleaning the feet of an apparent homeless man; a conservatively dressed female student washes the feet of a red-haired punk; a pro-life protester washes the feet of a young woman ostensibly on her way to or from murdering her unborn child; an oil worker pours water on the feet of an environmentalist; a suburban woman washes the feet of an illegal alien being dropped off in Chicago; and a priest washes the feet of what appears to be a roller-skating homosexual.

The ad concludes with the following text: "Jesus didn't teach hate. He washed feet. He gets us. All of us."

According to Adweek, the "He Gets Us" campaign was initially kicked off by the Kansas-based nonprofit Servant Foundation in 2022 but was run this year by a newly formed charitable organization called Come Near, led by CEO Ken Calwell.

The "He Gets Us" campaign site claims that "whether it's hypocrisy and discrimination in the church, or scandals both real and perceived among religious leaders, or the polarization of our politics, many have relegated Jesus from the world's greatest love story to just another tactic used to intensify our deep cultural divisions."

"That is our agenda at He Gets Us: to move beyond the mess of our current cultural moment to a place where all of us are invited to rediscover the love story of Jesus," the campaign added.

AdAge noted that the "Foot Washing" ad was created by the Dallas-based agency Lerma/.

Jon Lee, brand leadership principal at the ad firm, told AdAge, "We hope that [this campaign] is an invitation for all people, no matter what they believe, to see the story of Jesus as belonging to them and invite them to explore it. In order to do that, some of our imagery is designed to be disruptive of our preconceived notions of who Jesus was."

A powerful alternative

Jamie Bambrick, an associate pastor of Hope Church, Craigavon, in Northern Ireland evidently figured the "He Gets Us" campaign missed the mark. Rather than simply complain, he fashioned his own alternative.

Bambrick noted in a Feb. 13 post on X, "A group known as 'He Gets Us' released an advert during the Super Bowl which, whilst perhaps well intentioned, failed to convey anything of the gospel to the hundreds of millions who saw it."

The pastor then provided his "take on what they should have done," which he later indicated took him "about an hour to make."

The alternate video runs through a striking list of high-profile converts to Christianity, some of whom had previously worked at cross-purposes with the faith and others who may have been been regarded as unlikely prospects. The video makes a point of stressing that their "former" identifiers, ostensibly associated with sin, are no more.

Among the individuals featured in the video are:

  • "Former witch" and celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D, who revealed last year that following her renunciation of witchcraft and the occult, she had undergone baptism and accepted Christ;
  • "Dawkins' former right hand man," Josh Timonen, a former associate of celebrity God-denier Richard Dawkins who discovered that "[a]theism is a really useful worldview for weak men" and returned to the faith during the pandemic;
  • "Former jihadist" Mohamad Faridi, a former member of Iran's Islamic morality police who braved death threats to become a Christian;
  • "Former drag queen & prostitute" Kevin Whitt, who told a crowd gathered in 2019 for the Freedom March in Orlando, Florida, that in turning to Christ, he was able to overcome his gender dysphoria and leave behind a life of selling his body to strangers; and
  • "Former abortionist" Dr. John Bruchalski, who came to understand that "Jesus' mercy is the most wonderful medicine."

Bambrick also highlighted the conversion stories of a former transgender, a former porn star, a former New Age guru, a former lesbian activist, a former KKK member, and a former gang leader.

After running through the examples, the video blasts the following message: "Jesus doesn't just get us. He saves us. He transforms us. He cleanses us. He restores us. He forgives us. He heals us. He delivers us. He redeems us."

Bambrick's video concludes with a quote from 1 Corinthians 6:11, which says, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

The video has already received an overwhelmingly positive response online.

Conservative radio host Eric Metaxas responded on X, writing, "If THIS ad had aired during the Super Bowl yesterday, lives would have been changed."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, "This...is...beautiful. And it absolutely is the ad that should have run. It tells the Good News of God's love. With Truth, not modern politics."

Joel Berry, managing editor of the Babylon Bee, wrote, "In just a few hours, @j_bambrick's 'He Gets Us' ad he put together in a couple hours at home has more likes and shares than a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad put together by the 'He Gets Us' marketing team. The true gospel resonates."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News. He lives in a small town with his wife and son, moonlighting as an author of science fiction.
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