God loves sex - Pennsylvania church's controversial billboard
'If the culture can be so bold, I think the church can be so bold'
A Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania church marked its first anniversary by commissioning a controversial billboard along a major highway.
The billboard proclaims that God loves sex, and promotes the Restored Church's new sermon series on sex and the Song of Solomon that begins in September.
Pastor Dan Nichols said that the provocative billboard is a response to the pervasiveness of sex in our society.
"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," he told WNEP.
The billboard has received a mixed response – some social media users applauded the church's boldness.
"I know I'm no saint and I have children already but I need to teach my children the right way! To each his own. I'm excited," Alma Jean Johnson wrote on the church's Facebook page.
"I tip my hat to you, friends," added Jared Brandon. "Bold and courageous!"
"After all, procreation is HIS idea!" Karen Hablett said.
Others questioned the motive of the ad.
"Unfortunately just another example of what is wrong with many churches today," wrote John Stone.
"The use of gimmicks, provocative slogans, and eye catching billboards has taken the place of preaching the Word of God, and letting the lives of the church body reflect Christ to the world around us. I pray that through their misguided attempt at marketing they can make a positive impact for Christ, in spite of themselves."
Melissa Shaver said the billboard was in "poor taste".
"Song of Solomon isn't a book dedicated to sex," she said. "Why sex would be used as a marketing tool for church is beyond me..."
David Gaugler called the ad a perversion.
"To use such a quote is disgraceful," he wrote. "I pray that Restored Church would focus on the means of preaching and evangelism as established in His Word instead of using provocative billboards that pervert God's Word by using statements that are not found in His Word.
"I respect Restored Church and the ministry you have and I think your intentions are good, but means like this of getting people in the door are dangerous. Preach the Word, don't pervert the Word!"
The church encouraged critics to listen to their sermon podcasts to learn about their ministry. The billboard will remain up for four weeks.