Of course, it is true that God is both pro-human and pro-Christian. Although, taken alone, these words on the billboard seem to imply, or at least can give the impression, that God's relationship to humanity at large is exactly the same as His relationship with His Church, which is not true, as even a cursory examination of the New Testament reveals. But that's not really a fair point of contention to bring up in such a context since it's not explicit in the text of the billboard. However, the somewhat bizarre choice of scripture reference, John 3:16, is not one that really makes the point the billboard is making very clearly at all, and in fact mitigates against it in a certain way. So I wanted to make this point, and being aware of the possibility that my comment might disappear, I screen-capped it so that I could remember my exact words, just in case:
John 3:16 is the best verse the billboard makers could come up with in support of its claim? Really? I mean, if that verse stopped after the "For God so loved the world" clause that would kind of make sense, but when it goes on to have implicit clauses that whoever doesn't believe will 'perish' and will not 'inherit eternal life' then... yeah, there are many other verses that would better illustrate this point.
Again I'm contesting something on his page, something that he and collaborators came up with, but this time in an even milder 'tone' than before. This time the quote remained for a while, and one other commenter echoed my point, at which point McLaren came back and said:
Good point on John 3:16, everyone. We're going to update the image based on your good suggestion.Quite the change from being scrubbed from the "conversation" to getting him to change his work in response to a comment of mine. Later in the day he posted an updated version of the billboard. Here is the result:
Maybe my more gentle tone made the difference. It's also possible McLaren read my previous post (I tagged him in a tweet with a link to the piece on it). Or he may just have found the previous comments objectionable and not this one. Whatever the case, at least this new tack of his is consistent with his devotion to the god of "conversation".
That's no great consolation in the big picture, however, as it is somewhat disturbing that, when faced with an apparent conflict between the message of his billboard and John 3:16, the immediate response is not to scrap the billboard, but to scrap John 3:16.