WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – A Pennsylvania congregation seeking to attract new attendees has also generated controversy as it recently purchased billboard space that features the quote “I love sex,” attributed to God.
Restored Church, a non-denominational assembly in Wilkes-Barre purchased the billboard to advertise its upcoming sermon series on sex and the Song of Solomon.
“It’s in every single sitcom. It’s on the radio. I mean, you go on any major news media outlet and there’s stories about sexuality,” leader Dan Nichols told local television station WNEP. “If the culture can be so bold, I think the church can be so bold and speak directly on the subject and be up front about it.”
The billboard appears on Route 309, and some state that they were a bit surprised that the advertisement was posted by a church.
“[I was] thinking maybe it’s advertising the 309 Cinema, but it’s actually advertising a church,” said local resident Joyce Smetana. “I just thought it was a little off the wall.”
Vincent Boyle, pastor of Church on the Square, wrote to his local newspaper to express an objection to the billboard, opining that it is a wrongful and unbiblical means to attract new visitors to the congregation.
“I know that Pastor Dan is a man of God and he means well. But the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for those that believe, and the love of God and His grace are for all who will receive it,” he wrote to the Times-Leader. “We don’t need shock and awe to market a loving God; we need to respond to a loving God.”
“Our holy God is not a commodity that is to be marketed like a new line of clothing, new car or a new business,” Boyle outlined. “[T]he world uses sex to sell everything. The church is supposed to be different from the world.”
He said that if churches wish to purchase billboard space they should not try to be provocative.
“Make it truth,” Boyle advised. “It’s the truth that sets mankind free.”