Ads promoting evangelist Greg Laurie’s upcoming SoCal Harvest event were taken down from the Fashion Island mall in Southern California after the company that posted them claimed the ads generated multiple complaints, including a “serious threat.”
The ads show Laurie holding up a Bible, and feature the names and pictures of the musical artists who will be performing at the SoCal Harvest, along with the dates, location, and website for the event. Though the Bible was not obviously such (the book contained no religious symbols or words), the Harvest team resubmitted new artwork without the Bible image. Still, the company with which Harvest contracted, The Irvine Company, decided to completely remove the ads and to give Harvest a refund.
“We’re certainly not upset with The Irvine Company,” Harvest’s executive director, John Collins, told CBN News. “Obviously, they’re catching heat for allowing us to run these ads. We feel it is just unfortunate that people are complaining.”
“It’s sad that our culture is at this degree of intolerance,” he added. “There’s such intolerance against Christianity that we aren’t allowed to state that or to publicly advertise this event. That’s amazing.”
In a blog post, Laurie similarly declined to criticize The Irvine Company, stating that he and his team “enjoyed” working with them, and hopes to work with them again in the future.
“If you look closely at the book I am holding up, it does not say ‘Bible.’ There is no cross on it. Yet, the image of someone holding a book up is now offensive to some,” he wrote, while making it clear that the book “is indeed a Bible.”
“Everybody needs to just relax a little bit,” Laurie continued. “I see images on billboards and displays in stores that I find offensive all the time. I do not complain or boycott. I just think as Christians we ought to have ‘equal time’ and a voice in the marketplace.
“Why are people so frightened of the Bible?” he posed.
Laurie, who founded the Harvest Crusades evangelistic outreach in Southern California in 1990, has returned to California’s Orange County annually for the past 29 years to deliver the simple, life-changing message of the hope that can be found in Jesus Christ, making the Harvest Crusades the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history.
Laurie’s talks encompass topics that appeal to people across generations, and answer questions such as “Why am I here?” “Is God real?” and “What happens when I die?”
“Over the years, we have seen so many lives transformed,” Laurie noted in his blog post. “Over 500,000 people have made professions of faith at the SoCal Harvest as well — families put back together, suicidal people finding hope and purpose, others addicted to drugs and/or alcohol finding a whole new life.
“The SoCal Harvest has also raised thousands of dollars for missions to homeless people in California,” he reported, adding that this year’s event is going to help impoverished children in Ecuador through Compassion International.
“This is a vibrant, happy, life-changing event that is all about Jesus!” Laurie exclaimed.
At this year’s event – taking place August 17-19 at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Laurie will be joined onstage by top Christian musicians, including Grammy-winning songwriter and worship leader Chris Tomlin, Grammy-nominated MercyMe, worship band Passion, Phil Wickham, Jordan Feliz, hip-hop artist Andy Mineo, and renowned guitarist Lincoln Brewster. In addition, during the Saturday evening program, Laurie will interview actress Madeline Carroll, who most recently co-starred in the film I Can Only Imagine.
All three nights of the 2018 SoCal Harvest will be broadcast live at www.harvest.org, and daily blog accounts of the crusade will also be made available. Updates about the Harvest outreach will be posted on Facebook, Instagram (#HarvestSoCal), and Twitter.
All events will take place at Angel Stadium and are free and open to the public.
“I hope you will join us live or watch online,” Laurie concluded.
To find out more, visit socal.harvest.org.