In the week leading up to the 2018 SoCal Harvest in Anaheim, pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie has been encouraging Christians to take a photo or video of themselves holding up a Bible and to post these on social media with the hashtag #StandWithTheBible.
The campaign was launched in response to the recent removal of several billboard ads for the SoCal Harvest over its “offensive” imagery – namely the appearance of Laurie holding up an unlabeled Bible.
“Take a photo of yourself holding your Bible,” Laurie says in a video for the SoCal Harvest and #StandWithTheBible. “We want more people to understand that we, as Christians, believe in the Bible.”
Ads promoting Laurie’s August 17-19 event were taken down from malls owned by The Irvine Company after the company supposedly received multiple complaints, including a “serious threat.”
The ads show Laurie holding up a Bible, and feature the names and pictures of the musical artists who will be performing at the SoCal Harvest, along with the dates, location, and website for the event. Though the Bible was not obviously such (the book contained no religious symbols or words), the Harvest team resubmitted new artwork without the Bible image. Still, The Irvine Company decided to completely remove the ads and to give Harvest a refund.
“We’re certainly not upset with The Irvine Company,” Harvest’s executive director, John Collins, told CBN News. “Obviously, they’re catching heat for allowing us to run these ads. We feel it is just unfortunate that people are complaining.”
“It’s sad that our culture is at this degree of intolerance,” he added. “There’s such intolerance against Christianity that we aren’t allowed to state that or to publicly advertise this event. That’s amazing.”
In light of some finding the Bible ‘controversial “would you take a photo or video of yourself holding your Bible and put it up on social media like these people did? Remember the hash tag #StandWithTheBible pic.twitter.com/LowcygdYLy— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) August 11, 2018
In a blog post, Laurie similarly declined to criticize The Irvine Company, stating that he and his team “enjoyed” working with them, and hopes to work with them again in the future.
“If you look closely at the book I am holding up, it does not say ‘Bible.’ There is no cross on it. Yet, the image of someone holding a book up is now offensive to some,” he wrote, while making it clear that the book “is indeed a Bible.”
“Everybody needs to just relax a little bit,” Laurie continued. “I see images on billboards and displays in stores that I find offensive all the time. I do not complain or boycott. I just think as Christians we ought to have ‘equal time’ and a voice in the marketplace.
“Why are people so frightened of the Bible?” he asked.
Laurie, who founded the Harvest Crusades evangelistic outreach in Southern California in 1990, has returned to California’s Orange County annually for the past 29 years to deliver the simple, life-changing message of the hope that can be found in Jesus Christ, making the Harvest Crusades the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history.
“This is a Christian event. I’m not ashamed of the fact that it’s a Christian event,” says Laurie. “And so we’re proclaiming openly to people this is about God and the message that’s found in the Bible.”
At this year’s event – taking place at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Laurie will be joined onstage by top Christian musicians, including Grammy-winning songwriter and worship leader Chris Tomlin, Grammy-nominated MercyMe, worship band Passion, Phil Wickham, Jordan Feliz, hip-hop artist Andy Mineo, and renowned guitarist Lincoln Brewster. In addition, during the Saturday evening program, Laurie will interview actress Madeline Carroll, who most recently co-starred in the film I Can Only Imagine.
All three nights of the 2018 SoCal Harvest are free and open to the public and will be broadcast live at www.harvest.org, and daily blog accounts of the crusade will also be made available. Updates about the Harvest outreach will be posted on Facebook, Instagram (#HarvestSoCal), and Twitter.
Christians who will be attending the event at Angel Stadium are being encouraged to bring a friend as well as a Bible as part of the SoCal Harvest’s #StandWithTheBible campaign
On Friday, the event’s opening night, Laurie will ask everyone in attendance to hold the Bible high over their heads in a show of support for the “book of books.” Laurie hopes the campaign will be a positive way for Christians to stand up for the Word of God.
“Countless people throughout the ages have been transformed because of the Bible and its impact around the world is literally impossible to quantify,” said Laurie in a press release. “Instead of being offended by it, more people ought to pick it up, read it and see for themselves what it has to say. I believe our cities, our nation and the world will be immeasurably better off if more people read and even more importantly follow what the Bible says.”
The 2018 SoCal Harvest begins at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (gates open at 5 p.m.) and at 6 p.m. on Sunday (gates open at 4 p.m.). A tailgate party will take place on Saturday from 3-5 p.m. in the parking lot under the “Big A” sign. Each night the event will be interpreted in Spanish, and signing for the hearing impaired will be provided.
To find out more, visit socal.harvest.org.
By NRB Staff
Published: Augusts 16, 2018