What Does Jesus Think about “Touchdown Jesus”?

On the fringes of Cincinnati, Ohio,USA is Solid Rock Church.  I love that name.  Planted by Pastor Lawrence Bishop in 1978 it has grown over the decades to now have 3,000 to 4,000 members.

In September 2004 they completed an interesting part of their new complex – a giant 19 metre statue of Christ looking heavenward with both arms raised.  The statue (which was made from Styrofoam covered in fibreglass) was given numerous nicknames but the one that caught on the most was “Touchdown Jesus” which was given because the 2 arms raised is the signal for a touchdown in American football.  It cost about $250,000.

Do you think that Jesus likes “Touchdown Jesus”?  If you think that he doesn’t then you would have strong support from the events of June 15, 2010.  On that night Touchdown Jesus was struck by lightning, caught on fire and was completely destroyed in the subsequent inferno.  All that was left was the steel frame which was dubbed “Terminator Jesus” which makes sense if you have seen the movies. Not to be deterred the congregation at Solid Rock are building a new statue.  “Come Unto Me” is Christ with his arms extended outwards and is based on the words of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…”  This time it will be made from fire resistant material.

You might say that Jesus never asked us to build statues of him.  He asked us to go into all the world and make disciples.  He asks us to store up treasure in heaven.  He asks us to spend ourselves on behalf of the poor and needy.  Where does building statues fit into that?

Yet it seems to me that Solid Rock is doing all those things.  They are making disciples and if they don’t have programs to reach the poor and needy it’s not because the statue is stopping them.  Has their statue habit caused them to be less fruitful for the gospel?  Not as far as I can see.

We don’t have a problem when someone writes a song for the Lord.  Or if they do a painting.  Why can’t we do statues to express our love for God?  If the only difference is that statues are expensive the whole thing was funded by special offerings – it’s not as though they had to shut down their welfare ministry for a year to build it.

So I think that Jesus likes Touchdown Jesus.  Or rather, he did like it.  Before he destroyed it.  I think that he liked it not for the finished product, but because it was built as an act of adoration and worship.  I think that he liked their building it so much that he wanted them to do it again.  In the same way that the Psalmist urges us to “sing to the Lord a new song” maybe God is saying to Solid Rock “Build to the Lord a new statue.”

Regardless of their statues the folks at Solid Rock now have a much greater issue on their hands.  On October 2 last year Lawrence Bishop died.  He was 69 and was still the senior pastor of the church – his 33rd year of leadership.  I’m not sure if a new senior leader has been appointed yet.  Praise God for the life of Lawrence Bishop – a life of fruitful service to the cause of Christ and the local church.

John

2 Comments to “What Does Jesus Think about “Touchdown Jesus”?”

  1. I loved reading this post the first time and I’ve enjoyed reading it a couple more times since then. What great food for thought! Thanks for sharing this John!

    • Thanks Christie. I enjoyed all the reading and researching about “Touchdown Jesus’ I did. I’ll probably do a folllow up post when the next statue is finished. John

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