The WSJ reported:
“Nike Inc. is yanking a U.S.A.-themed sneaker (the “Air Max 1 USA”) featuring an early American flag after NFL star-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive.”
One Radio Station reported that:
“Nike Pulls Shoes Featuring Betsy Ross Flag Over Concerns About Racist Symbolism”
Here is Nike’s first official response:
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag,” Nike told CNBC in a statement.
Given the reports of the world’s news outlets, only a very few people (those with ‘asparagus’ level intellects?) will buy Nike’s first official response. Later in the day yesterday Nike responded again:
“We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services. NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.
Well, Nike, CK and news outlets aside, I couldn’t help but think about how interesting it would be to write a similar article about much of today’s Christian evangelism. It could be titled,
“Evangelical Leaders Remove ‘Sin’ and ‘Repentance’ from the Gospel Message Because the Terms Might be Offensive”
Although there is a general similarity in the theme that something that might “offend” someone in both cases (sneakers and the gospel), there are significant differences between the two.
1. Nike made its decision just this week and received a ton of backlash. Evangelicalism’s removal of ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’ in the gospel message is nothing new, and can be traced back to the late ‘80’s, if not further in the past.
2. Due to the removal of ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’ from the message of the gospel occurring sometime in the past (a book by noted psychologist Carl Menninger “Whatever Became of Sin?” was published in 1988), whatever backlash that might have been received is mostly in the past. There might have been strong opposition early on, but slowly the thought that we could win people to Christ just talking about how much he loves us became firmly entrenched in modern evangelical thought.
3. Finally (for now), the genuine gospel message IS a matter of offense to the unbeliever!
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18)
Because sinners love their sin and darkness (and all of us are sinners), it takes a sovereign act of God to open a sinful heart to pay attention to the gospel message that addresses man’s sinfulness. But since God is really good at opening hearts to hear the gospel (see Acts 16 and the story of Lydia). Hearts ARE opened, the true gospel is preached, and sinners are saved!
And that’s what the whole Nike/Colin Kapernick/Betsy Ross sneakers issue got me thinking about.
My question to you is this:
“What’s worse, caving in to cultural demands for inoffensive sneakers, ot sending people to hell with a false gospel?
Food for thought……………………………