Jesus or The Jesus Print

 Street preacher raises ire (Asbury College, Kentucky)

 

By C- H-

Journal Columnist

 

Have you ever heard somebody preaching on a street corner and gotten mad? Maybe you

were out on Asbury's campus last week and you heard the evangelists out there

preaching against sin. Did it make your blood boil? It's not just the sinners who

get mad at those guys. Many Christians are highly offended by such tactics.

 

Before I had children, I spent a few years working at a coffee bar on UK's campus.

That was the greatest job. I love coffee and I love people, and all day long, I was

surrounded by both. One of my regular patrons was an outspoken atheist. Every

morning he would sit next to my bar, and we had many lively discussions. We had

different views on every single topic, but there was one topic we did agree on. We

both agreed that those campus preachers, who stood out there thumping their Bibles

and telling people that they were going to hell, were the bad guys. My friend would

come to my bar red-faced and flustered after having a debate with one of the

evangelists. I'd listen as he told me about their intolerance and their harshness

and I thought to myself, "The guy preaching down there doesn't know Jesus. Jesus

loves, and yelling at people and condemning them isn't loving." I thought the

evangelists had it all wrong, but then something happened. My friend came to the bar

after class one day and quietly sat down at the table. After a while he made a

proclamation. "I'm no longer an atheist." I was shocked, to say the least. He

explained to me that he now believed there was a God, but that he was trying to

figure it all out. Apparently a campus preacher had caused him to reconsider his

thoughts about God.

 

After that, our conversations were different. He wanted to know more about

Christians, what they believed, and why. My husband and many of my friends from

church would stop by to visit and he would talk to them. My pastor once sat down and

shared some scriptures with him. I wish that I knew the end of the story, but I

don't. I had a baby, he graduated, and we lost touch. I do know that he heard the

gospel and that his heart was changing. My hope is that he finally submitted his

life to Christ.

 

Through that experience, God began to work on my heart too. I realized that I was

the one who had it wrong. As I began to study the scriptures about Jesus' ministry,

I realized that we Americans have reinvented Jesus. Our American Jesus is passive,

tolerant, and always positive. The real Jesus wasn't passive or tolerant. Do you

remember when He ran through the temple knocking over the tables? He wasn't very

tolerant of the Pharisees. Once He told them, "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How

will you escape being condemned to hell!" (Matthew 23:33)

 

That message wouldn't sell at the local Christian bookstore today. What sells at the

bookstore are books about how God wants us to feel good about ourselves and about

how He wants us to be prosperous.

 

 â€œ The Biblical Jesus called His followers to give

all their possessions to the poor. He called them to give their lives away. Jesus

didn't come to earth to build up our self esteem and make us feel good about

ourselves. He came to save our souls. He came to tell the truth. The truth is that

apart from Jesus, we are without hope and we are doomed to hell.”

 

Now, I am thankful for the campus evangelists who come and tell the truth. I've come

to know a few of them and I have learned that they are people who truly love

sinners. They are passionate about winning souls, because they don't want anyone to

perish. They love people enough to tell the truth about sin and hell, as well as

about the love of Christ and His compassion and mercy.

 

 

Over this past week I have gotten to know the evangelists who preached on campus (Asbury College, a “Christian” university in Kentucky) last week. They are Michael and Tamika Venyah, and Chris Lemieux of Soulwinners

Ministries International (www.soul-winners.org ) .They have given up their home and

their possessions to follow Christ. I have been very challenged by their dedication

to the Lord and by their commitment to love like Jesus loved.

 

“They serve the biblical Jesus ... the real Jesus”.

 

Copyright:The Jessamine-Journal 2007