“We’re wondering if you could do us a quick solid and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.” No, not a line from a Babylon Bee article, but an actual quote from the interview the Bee did with Elon Musk recently.
Oh, boy. This one has me riled up. I know I’m behind the curve when it comes to the goings-on of social media since I don’t have Facebook, and it took me a long time to finally get to this, but wow…what a tragic train wreck. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll link it below (skip forward to 1:21:30), but essentially the men at the Bee, men who call themselves Christian and call their satirical work a “ministry,” not only chuckled and guffawed through nearly every religious conversation in the interview, but they made an utter mockery of the gospel itself.
Apparently looking clever in front of Elon Musk is more important than sharing the gospel with a sinner currently headed for an eternity in damnation. Oh, and what about those nearly 2 million views. Surely none of those people needed to hear the gospel. No, better to laugh it up than look foolish to the world. More important to maintain your image as the so-called cool kids of “Christianity” than bring the message of hope and salvation to a man who is perishing. Cowardly doesn’t even begin to describe the travesty that was the conclusion of that interview. I guess that’s what happens when you’d rather be broskis than brothers in Christ.
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 Corinthians 1:18, ESV
The sad reality is that even when Musk shifts the tone to one of earnestness, the men of the Bee can’t help but turn each statement of sincerity into a punchline. This is indicative of a common problem we have in so much of American rhetoric, and quite frankly, undergirds some of what we see even within the church—the propensity to use humor as an emotional shield. Let this be a reminder that wit, while not inherently sinful, can be used in all sorts of ways that are destructive, e.g., undermining the message of the gospel (as in this case), obstructing edification, or otherwise building barriers to discipleship and fellowship.
So, since these men apparently didn’t want to take the time to challenge Musk on anything related to Christianity—what they claim is the basis of their organization—then let me do the work for them. Below are just two of the missed opportunities they had to segue into an actual gospel presentation, to say nothing of their botched attempt at a direct approach. (Remember when Jesus asked his followers to “do him a solid” and chant a magical prayer for their salvation. Yeah, me neither.)
Musk in response to a question on which book he would add to the Bible if he could: Maybe we can have a chapter past Revelations [sic]…like is there a happy ending here?
Well, actually, the Book of Revelation does point us toward a happy ending for those connected to Jesus Christ through faith. We have assurance that the ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s life, death and resurrection—the freeing of creation from its slavery to corruption and the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:19-25)—will be fully accomplished upon Christ’s return. Revelation is a prime portrayal of the distinction between the believer and unbeliever. If the unbeliever does not repent and turn to Christ, Musk is correct, there is no happy ending but only a terrifying expectation of judgment. This is not out of spite on God’s part but due to the reality that men are fallen through the sin of their representative, Adam. Wholly wicked in nature, men cannot dwell in the presence of holiness but must be separated from God eternally. For God to be just He must punish wickedness. For the elect, however, God poured out His wrath on Jesus Christ, fully God (completely holy) and fully man (able to represent us), on our behalf. It is through His sacrifice that we can be justly reunited to God by grace alone through faith alone and the inheritance of Christ can be granted to us in the new heaven and earth. In the coming curse-free creation, we will experience no sorrow, sadness, sickness, or pain. There, we will live with our Lord, praising and glorifying His blessed name forever (Revelation 22:1-5).
Musk when talking about his experience with communion as a child: “Is this some kind of weird metaphor for cannibalism. I don’t get it.”
Communion is a beautiful reminder of the death of Christ on our behalf. Our Lord willingly gave himself as a sacrifice, bearing the wrath of God in our place. He was beaten and crucified at the hands of wicked men according to the plan that God had foreordained so that we, His people, would be made righteous through the giving of His body and blood (Acts 2:23). Through His death on the cross and His resurrection, Christ conquered death and hell, overcoming the curse brought on by Adam’s sin and providing the one and only way to God (John 14:6). We participate in communion because we are connected to Christ through faith, united as one body of believers who share in this meal together, with one mind focused on the truth of the gospel. Not only do we proclaim the Lord’s death through this sacrament, but communion is also a perpetual reminder for us to look forward to his second coming.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.1 Corinthians 11:23-26, ESV
There were plenty of opportunities within the interview to correct Musk on his misconceptions about Christianity and transition into the gospel, yet none of the men had the courage to do so. There was Musk’s comment about Sodom and Gomorrah being “dark. yikes.” and how he subsequently believes God changed from the Old to the New Testament. There were the many comments he made praising a Jesus constructed from his many misunderstandings of the Bible, a Jesus who bears little resemblance to the One presented in Scripture. There was his questioning of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000. And the “I believe in the God of Spinoza” statement, a reference to the pantheistic views of the 17th century philosopher. Yet the irony is that the only one brave enough to push back at any point was Musk himself who asked why, if The Babylon Bee is a Christian organization, they were recording on a Sunday when the men of the Bee should have been at church. A valid question.
It’s frankly heartbreaking to consider the number of times Musk could have been biblically called to faith and repentance. But maybe I’m mistaken to assume that these men even have a coherent understanding of the gospel themselves let alone the theological wherewithal to convey that message to others.
Dear men of The Babylon Bee: the gospel is not some formulaic magic incantation uttered against sentimental background music, not merely a box to be checked or a footnote at the end of your fangirling, it’s not a gag or the butt of one of your lame jokes, it’s not a take it or leave it, 60 or 70 percent proposition. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and without it man is damned to eternal punishment at the hands of the one and only true and righteous God. I say this for you as well as for myself, indeed for all Christians: be bold in preaching God’s truth. Or do we think it more fun to be chummy with people as they march blindly to their deaths?
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:1-10, ESV