Do they catch your attention? I’m talking about those signs hung in the windows of passing automobiles, those license plates with special messages, and the bumper stickers advertising a radio station or some place of amusement.
When I was a child and had the opportunity to travel with my parents, we often would see automobiles announcing places that the owners had visited. WALL’S DRUG STORE—that sign sticks in my mind. Another was CAVE OF THE WINDS. I remember the feeling of anticipation. I hoped that we would stop and that we too would be sporting one of those bumper stickers on our 1935 Green Chevrolet (the model that had front doors that opened from the front).
Times have changed, but we still see vehicles that display special messages—some religious in content and others vulgar and repulsive. What do you do when you see the vehicle that says, HONK IF GOD LOVES YOU? How do you react to the sign that says, IF THIS CAR IS DRIVERLESS, THE DRIVER HAS BEEN RAPTURED?
Witnessing is an important aspect of the calling of the child of God. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” The witness of Christians is so important that it is an integral part of the good works that flow from their life of thankfulness and gratitude. The Heidelberg Catechism teaches that Christians must testify by the whole of their conduct their gratitude to God. The Catechism also teaches that by the godly conversation (life style) of Christians others may be gained to Christ.
I can hear you saying it now. Since what you have said is true, “Shouldn’t we do Bumper Sticker Witnessing?”
Bumper sticker witnessing or advertising can neither be condemned nor advocated. It is neither right nor wrong. It is obviously a trite means to tell and display the great message of redemption. Every creature of God is good but not all the means that are available to the church are necessarily the kind of means that the church and its members ought to use. Let us presume that you want to announce to all observers that you are a Protestant Reformed Christian. In order to do this you attach to your vehicle a sign which says, I AM A PROTESTANT REFORMED CHRISTIAN. Would you be witnessing concerning the truth that is in Jesus or would you merely be announcing to the reader that among the many other denominations that call themselves Christian and Reformed, you belong to one that is called Protestant Reformed. I think the latter. You would merely be identifying yourself as a member of a certain denomination. This in itself cannot be condemned or condoned. It is a matter of your personal discretion.
A true statement of faith that would witness concerning the truth in Jesus would have to include important doctrines. We should have to say that we have an only comfort in life and death. This comfort is that we belong with body and soul to a faithful Saviour Jesus Christ who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all our sins. We would mean that only the sins of God’s people are taken away. We should have to say that we believe the doctrines of the Scriptures confessed by the Apostles’ Creed. This would be a condemnation of all Modernism and those who deny that Jesus is truly God and a real righteous man. We should have to say that we believe the neglected and maligned doctrines of the Scriptures that have been summarized and explained in the great Canons of Dordtrecht. This would be a condemnation of all Arminianism and Pelagianism.
If a person is a Jehovah’s Witness and announces what he truly believes, he must say more than “I am a Jehovah’s Witness.” He is obliged to say, “JESUS IS NOT GOD.” This is anti-Christian. This is false. This is the lie of the Devil.
If one is Mormon, it would not be sufficient for that one to say that he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. That would be a form of identification but it would not be the kind of witness that would be a truthful statement of the beliefs of the Mormons. He should have to say, “YOU CAN BECOME A GOD AND POPULATE YOUR OWN PLANET.” This is one of the lies of Mormonism but it is the kind of witnessing that any Mormon should do.
The real issue is not the method but the content of the message. Does the sign in the window, the sticker on the bumper, or the license plate on the car say that which is scriptural or does it teach the lie? Bumper sticker witnessing in order to be part of the sweet incense that arises before God must have a content that is true to the Word of God.
I can think of many such short scriptural statements that would witness the truth. Here are just a few.
–GOD IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL.
-THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH AND THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE.
-LOVE NOT THE WORLD NOR THE THINGS OF THE WORLD.
-YE ARE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF IT.
-LITTLE CHILDREN, IT IS THE LAST TIME.
-JESUS SAYS, “YOU LOVE ME BECAUSE I FIRST LOVED YOU.”
-GOD DOES NOT LOVE ALL MEN, ONLY HIS REPENTANT PEOPLE.
We must condemn with all our hearts the witness of the lie. We may not advertise or represent that which is false and repulsive. It is contrary to the calling that we have as children of the light. Those who have been renewed by the Holy Spirit after the image of Christ have a special calling to witness concerning the truth that we have in Christ. We may not cast pearls before swine, but we must testify by the whole of our conduct that we are grateful to God for His blessings. This means that we cannot and may not say that which is false and demeaning to the cause of Christ.
What is the purpose for the bumper sticker on your car? Is it intended to attract attention toward yourself or is it your intention to bring glory and honor to your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? No one can judge your motives when you display your bumper sticker. God knows the heart.
Bumper stickers belong to the area of Christian liberty that the Christian must use with sobriety.