‘Scumbags Welcome!’ Church Behind Controversial Billboard

03 Mar

by Terry Loving

Misinformed – RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS – Please be quiet!

Was it the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz that said, “If only I had a brain?” Or is it the “religious” fanatics of today that cry out for gray mattered wisdom? My unapologetic answer is – both.


How in the world, can a “Christian” believe that addressing the unsaved as “Scumbags” would make them run to Jesus? As it is, many unsaved people feel that they aren’t “good enough,” or “ready” to come to Christ – because they haven’t reached a certain “spiritual level” – no such thing. They were misinformed, and/or duped by the “holier than thou” that occupy a pew on Sunday morning – thinking they are better than anyone outside of their clique.


I don’t consider myself to be “religious” in the sense of traditions and ceremonialism. Nonetheless, I am a “true” child of God, and Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior – has been for over 30 years. I also believe that the Holy Bible is the infallible Word of God. I haven’t mastered Biblical principles concerning day to day living – however – as the saying goes, “I am not all that I can be, but Praise God I am not what I used to be.”


While living in this fleshly body I will continue to make mistakes, and strive to correct them with the blessings of God’s Grace. But there is one thing that I will NEVER do in my spiritual walk, and that is to make an unbeliever – or anyone – feel that God loves them any less because of who, what and where they are in terms of spiritual matters. Not only is that wrong, it defeats the purpose of sharing the love of Christ. God even loves abusers – however, He “hates” the violence and the abuse.


“SNL Church Pastor Moses Robbins says to understand the billboard; people have to read the Bible scripture on it, Mark 2:13-17, which describes how Jesus Christ welcomed everyone.”


I read the referenced scriptures, and in all of them, and in every translation I read, “Follow Me.” “Follow me and be my disciple…” Young’s Literal Translation reads, “Be following me.” Also, these scriptures reference the calling of Levi (Matthew) – not “everyone.”


“As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.”

You know, I really believe there is something in the water in Florida. Another religious fanatic, Terry Jones upset both Christians and non-Christians alike. He received pleas from the White House itself to call off his plans to burn copies of the Koran at his church. Jesus did not incite riots, call people “scumbags,” and demean sinners into following Him. He gave His life for us, (1 John 3:16).


To say that all “Scumbags” are “welcome” into the body of Christ – is akin to the attitude of the scribes and the Pharisees. They too were religious zealots who looked down their noses on people who did not share their religious views. They even questioned the love of Christ:

“When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16)

“And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)


Can you imagine a physician coming into a waiting room full of sick people (spiritually and otherwise) – and asking, “OK, which one of you “scumbags” is next?”


Did these fanatics bother to look up the word “scumbag?”


“1. A kind of language occurring chiefly in casual and playful speech, made up typically of short-lived coinages and figures of speech that are deliberately used in place of standard terms for added raciness, humor, irreverence, or other effect.”

“Scumbag – n. Slang – A person regarded as despicable.”

The Urban Dictionary equates “scumbag” with a “used rubber, or condom.” A “despised person.”



“Scumbags welcome” is how self-righteous, misinformed, finger pointing religious folk call the unsaved. Matthew 11:28-30 is the true way that Christ calls all to Him:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Oh, almost forgot – “Saturday Night Live Church” – well no wonder.  You named your church after a comedy show – figures.

Many preachers are “sent” by God. The rest of you just “went.”

Jesus wept.


“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

(Romans 10:17)


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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in LIES AND DECEPTION


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6 responses to “‘Scumbags Welcome!’ Church Behind Controversial Billboard

  1. ssofdv

    March 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm


    Before anyone starts filling my in box with rebukes, I would like to add additional comments. If the one rebuke I received wasn’t SPAM, I may have allowed it to further make my points. However, I will do so without SPAM.

    First of all, I am sure that I am not the only one who feels that this call to Christ is offensive. I agree with Mr. Lord in the article – the message is insulting:

    “Calling people scumbags, that’s just not right. I was raised in a Christian home and I was raised not to insult people,” said passerby Bradley Lord.”

    Was my post an attack on the pastor? – Not at all.

    Was it rebuking the way “sinners” are referred to? Yes.

    For, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23).

    I was rebuking the “air” we Christians can sometimes put on for the world. And if the pastor wasn’t referring to those outside of Christ – who then? Certainly he wasn’t referring to believers. Spiritually speaking, there are only two kinds of people – the saved, and the unsaved. There is no middle ground.

    OK, let’s say for the sake of argument that a person who is viewed as a “scumbag” wants to change, but just doesn’t know how. Not excusing any wrong doing, however, there are many tortured souls that are struggling with good and evil. They may be aware of their short comings, but lack direction in how to overcome them.

    On the flip side, there is pure evil that will never change. And those who are blind to the fact that they need to change, may never see.

    I know a person who completed a personality assessment that he totally agreed with. He didn’t reveal what type of questionnaire it was, only shared the results with me. I remember his last statement about the results, “If I don’t change, I am going to end up a very lonely man.”

    He was aware of the inner turmoil, and how it may have shaped his life having grown up with domestic violence, and practicing it as an adult – but he didn’t know how to change. Pride would not allow him to seek counseling of any kind, and so he tried to figure things out on his own. I don’t know the end results, but pray they were favorable.

    Many people commit suicide because they are tortured within, and don’t know how to ask for help. One such soul could have been contemplating coming to Christ, but may think that as a sinner – “scumbag” – he isn’t worthy of living at all.

    Yes, there were “religious” leaders in the Bible who referred to “tax collectors” and “sinners” as “scum.” By the way, “scumbag” wasn’t found in the Bible. The word “scum” – yes. Anyway, those “religious” leaders were what Jesus called “hypocrites.”

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27)

    All I am saying is this; we have to be careful to not go beyond what Jesus did to reach the lost. We must exhibit compassion and love, and let people know that we understand their struggles. Does this mean that we excuse, or overlook wrong? No. We show the lost that there is a better way to live. We show them in love what Jesus did for us. We show them through the Word that lives can be, and are transformed through the Blood of Christ. We show the drunkard, the prostitute, the brawler, and the mean and angry that there is Someone who can help them – in love. After all, isn’t that how some of us lived before embracing the love of Christ?

    For once I would love to see a pastor travel on the street where people really live. Meaning, put up a billboard that speaks to domestic violence, abuse, child abuse, broken hearts, letting abusers know that there is help. Advertise to the abused that you offer counseling. Show the lost the way – in love.

    Allow the Word of God to do the drawing – anything but insults. As the saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

    “Sometimes, all we need is a little hope.”

    Do you understand me now?

  2. Tabitha

    March 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    The word “scumbag” may not be in the Bible, but the word “scum” is. Maybe there are people out there who grew up believing God would keep them safe, then their choices created a rock bottom, giving them a disbelief in God’s power and glory. It is a feeling of false hope. It sounds to me that Pastor Robbins is being real. He’s reaching out to those who hit rock bottom and lost their faith. Pastor Robbins is talking their language and drawing in the self labeled “scumbags” so they can have a new outlook on a belief they know is there, but needs to be drawn out. These people who have hit a bottom in life need the acceptance of a church group that is understanding of the level their choices have brought them to. It is only insulting to the people who don’t understand. If you’re a self labeled scumbag, it is nowhere near insulting, it is welcoming. If you don’t know and you’ve never been there, you will never understand.

    • ssofdv

      March 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      Hello Tabitha,

      First, I will respond to your last statement:

      “If you’re a self labeled scumbag, it is nowhere near insulting, it is welcoming. If you don’t know and you’ve never been there, you will never understand.”

      I do understand, completely. I have always felt that no one is the world hated themselves as much as I did, and I still struggle with some of those feelings. I didn’t know the word “scumbag” to describe how I felt about myself, however, the meaning did apply. Now imagine feeling this way as a child, and living with it all of your life. So many times I thought about killing myself, but I was always afraid. I grew up and lived in hell, but I didn’t want it for all eternity.

      Perhaps I am super sensitive concerning this topic, for that is one of the results of being sinned against – sensitivity. I was one of those people who thought that God would keep me safe – and I struggled with disbelief as I grew older. I had always felt angry with God, and my one question to Him was always, “Why me?” Selfishly, I looked around my family tree for cousins – anyone – who was going through the same hell – but my brothers and I were alone. Even though some of my cousins lived with problems in the home – their issues didn’t destroy them. I struggled with my anger towards God for many years. His “power and glory” weren’t important to me. All I could see and experience was His abandonment. I later realized that none of that was true. It was my mother’s choice of living that caused so much misery. We were a product of her madness. But God had a plan.

      In all fairness, I took the weekend to pray over, and ponder your point of view. Your point:

      “These people who have hit a bottom in life need the acceptance of a church group that is understanding of the level their choices have brought them to.”

      I could not agree more. Sadly, too many Christians get “cleaned up” and turn their noses up at those who are still struggling with sin and shame. If Christendom had not acquired such a reputation, perhaps ministers such as Pastor Robbins would have no need to go to such extremes. There are people who see themselves as “scumbags” that refuse to enter the doors of a church house where all the people are “outwardly” cleaned up, for they feel that they are too lowly to be a part of such a group. And they are often misinformed that they have to be at a certain level in life to be accepted by Christ.

      It would be interesting to see how many people will come to his church that are “self-proclaimed” “scumbags.” It is my hope that many will find Christ through this avenue. But my feelings haven’t changed concerning the method.

      The first step to change for me was love – my Grandmother put a Bible in my hand because she loved me. A friend invited me to worship because she loved me. Every event that led me to Jesus was love demonstrated. Being reminded of why I hated myself didn’t draw me to Christ. I didn’t think He loved me, but now I know better. The day the Holy Spirit called me, I was reading the Bible that my Grandmother gave me. I will never forget the day I felt the warm heart of Jesus calling my name. Hey, to each his own.

      Tabitha, thank you very much for your input.


      P.S. Perhaps those who are offended have a problem with the words “scumbag” and “church” being on the same page. Meaning, it may give the impression that the “church” is once again placing itself high above sinners that it draws a very noticeable distinction. We are saved by grace.

      Perhaps the pastor in his excitement wanted to let the world know what Jesus had done for him – a former “scumbag.” However, we must always think about how our message to the lost will be received. Again, just my opinion.

  3. seaandra

    March 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I just ran across your comments, and I wanted to let you know I’m a proud member of SNL and Moses is an awesome, caring man who judges no one. Actually, his specific reference with this can be a little more understood if you read the NLT (New Living Translation). That is the version he uses, and instead of “why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners” it says “why does he eat with such scum” Basically, what other people, or the holier-than-tho type of people consider ” scum” or not good enough, or those who may be looked down upon in some churches because of how they dress, act, etc…they are welcome with us. We don’t care if others would call you “scum” because we are all sinners (aka scum) and we are all in need of a Savior.

    Most people are very supportive of our sign, but of course you can’t please everyone, right? Good thong is, its attracted quite a bit of attention, encouraged many to read the verses on it, and also has brought the opportunity for the Gospel to be shared worldwide!

    Anyways, I hope I was able to clarify a little what the intentions were, and how it came about anyways. As far as your definitions of the word scumbag, they are right on, because in Jesus’ day, they kinds of people he associated with were considered by most to be just that! I mean Paul killed Christians before be ended up writing half the new testament, right? If that’s not a scumbag then I don’t know what is…and if God can save someone like that, then he can change anyone.

    Maybe if you’re ever in our area you could stop in, I’m tellin ya Moses is an awesome guy and has nothing but love for everyone and a heart that wants to bring everyone to Christ.


  4. seaandra

    March 7, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Oh, sorry for the typo up there. I meant ” good thing is” lol…I’m on my phone and I couldn’t scroll to proofread before posting.

    Take care!! 🙂

    • ssofdv

      March 8, 2011 at 2:52 am

      Hello seaandra,

      I don’t make a habit of arguing scripture, especially before the “world.” Neither was it my intent to do so. I made my points, and now I am allowing a member of SNL (Saturday Night Live Church) – have her say.

      My post was never an attack on your Pastor as a person. You state that he is a “caring man who judges no one,” and I have no reason to doubt that – for you know him personally.

      It is true that there are churches – unfortunately – that look down on those who may not fit into their factions, and the end result is turning away lost souls who need a Savior. So, if the main message of the sign is to attract the downtrodden, and those who are shunned by the “holier-than-thou” worshipers, that is all well and good. In fact, it is my hope that many will respond to Christ as a result. And yes, it has gotten quite a bit of attention, both negative and positive.

      However, I still maintain that the use of the word “scumbag” is a derogatory and worldly term, which doesn’t belong on the same page as “church.”

      Yes, it is true that Jesus associated, and dined with sinners, those whom the Pharisees and the teachers of the law referred to as “scum.” The very people they looked down on, who Jesus defended. The word “scumbag” is not found in the Bible. For those who desire to refer to themselves as “reformed scumbags,” so be it. I have been reading and writing quite a bit lately. Therefore, I am going to let others say the things that my mind is too tired to convey right now:

      Churches use shocking billboards to get attention

      “Obviously, this billboard campaign is yet another desperate attempt by Christians to try and attract attention, appease sinners and draw crowds through controversy and sensationalism – something the Bible does not teach or encourage believers to engage in. And, I’m convinced, these types of shock ads, borrowed from today’s depraved world of marketed madness, do more spiritual harm than good.”

      “When a preacher who should be focused on God’s Word and calling the lost to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ rents billboard space around town to inform the world that Christians are no different than they are, the question must be asked: “Who then needs Christianity? Why would anyone want to give their life to Jesus Christ if doing so made them no better than they were before and no different from anyone else in this fallen world?”



      “Regardless of where you stand on social issues like corporate greed or abortion or homosexuality, I think a church that promises not to be a jerk is setting itself up for failure. Any time you take a moral position, you’re going to offend someone who takes the opposite position. You can’t please everyone. We’ll all end up being jerks at some point or another.”

      “It’s good to confess it. It’s good to own up to it. It’s good, on an individual basis, to be nice to people. But let’s not pretend we can avoid coming across as a jerk in a pluralistic society. It’s impossible.”

      “I think the billboards were a tremendous waste of money and self- deprecating.
      If this church thinks of itself as jerks maybe they should consider getting a new pastor.
      In my opinion a church many times is a reflection of their pastor.
      If you want to be thought of as a real jerk tell people that Jesus is the ONLY way.In this pluralistic society that doesn’t go over well.”

      Read more:


      OK, I am done with this topic – time to move on. Thank you for stopping by, and having your say.

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