Wednesday, January 27, 2010

UNCG Outreach Report 1-26-2010

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of proclaiming the Name above all Names once again at UNCG. The overall foot traffic was much less this Tuesday due to cold temperatures and classes being back into full swing versus warm temperatures and registration taking place last Tuesday. Before I began preaching, two young men from a local Southern Baptist Church came up to me and personally thanked me for being there. They said that UNCG was not only plagued by the usual vile behavior grounded in secular thought but that heretical preachers had been on the campus for years, defiling the gospel of Christ and poisoning the well against doctrinally sound preachers like myself. After the first 1 1/2 hours, there were not enough people mingling around to preach open-air to, so we had a great opportunity to engage in one-on-one evangelism, something I personally prefer over open-air preaching.

I noticed that the initial reaction and body language of some of the folks I approached one-on-one was very negative and after I spoke with several professing Christian students I found out why. Sadly, they (and others) assumed that I was simply another perfectionist heretic telling people that they had to be completely sinless to go to heaven. Like many other campuses across the U.S., UNCG has been plagued by these types of heretics. This grieves me for several reasons: (1) not only are these so-called preachers still lost in their own sins (1 John 1:8), but they are simply preaching a hopeless message that requires them and their hearers to lift heavy burdens that they will not be able to bear and (2) they drag the name of Jesus through the mud by grossly misrepresenting His teachings by confusing justification with sanctification. Thus, we will have to make sure we do everything possible to distance ourselves from these heretics.

I had cordial one-on-one conversations with several unbelievers. The first was a young man with a Jewish background. He said that he couldn't accept that Jesus was Messiah because Jesus never claimed such and Messiah is supposed to bring in worldwide peace and Jesus didn't do that, therefore He can't be the promised Messiah. However, he did note that he thought that Jesus was a good moral teacher. I explained to him that it was impossible for Jesus to be a good moral teacher and make the claims that He did because if he was right about Jesus not being the Messiah then Jesus was a liar or lunatic because He claimed to be Messiah, accepted worship, forgave sins, etc. I then quoted John 4:25-26 to Him showing that Jesus claimed to be Messiah and that He also allowed Himself to be called Christ, which is the Greek for christos - Anointed One, Messiah. He then said, "Well, we believe that Messiah may not necessarily be a person, but may be a concept or some other idea that ushers in world peace. " At this point I began to quote his own prophets to Him by memory as best as I could demonstrating that Messiah was not only a person, but was to crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2), that His hands and feet were to be pierced (Psalm 22:16 cf. Zech. 12:10; John 19:37), He would be called God (Isaiah 9:6-7), was to be humiliated before men and offered up as a substitutionary atonement for sinners (Isaiah 52:13-53), that He would do great miracles of healing (Isaiah 61:1-2) and that He would indeed return to inaugurate a Messianic era wherein He would bring in worldwide peace (Ezekiel 40-48; Revelation 19:11-19 & chapters 20-22). He said he would have to check all of that out. I encouraged him to read his Tanakh daily, especially the Messianic prophecies I mentioned and then to get a copy of the NT and read it several times. I then gave him a tract that explained the gospel using many OT references and he went on his way.

The second unbeliever I spoke with was a young Muslim woman who basically said she was a Muslim because she was raised that way and so that was part of her identity. I began to explain the gospel to her and she then stated something like this, "Well Christians and Muslims basically believe in the same god" to which I responded, "Actually that is not true. To believe in the God of Christianity is to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity whereas Islam teaches Unitarianism and that Allah can have "no partners". I then explained that her own religion teaches that to adhere to the doctrine of the Trinity is to commit the sin of shirk. She said in typical relativistic fashion, "Well, if you believe in Christianity that's great for you, but Islam is who I am." I then asked her, "So you are saying, 'what's true for you is true for you and what's true for me is true for me?'" and she said, "Yeah" to which I responded, "But it's impossible for both of those religions to be true at the same time in the same way because they have competing and contradictory truth claims. Logically, they can both be wrong, but they can't both be right." to which she had no response. I then briefly explained the gospel to her.

The last unbeliever I spoke with was a young agnostic man with Jewish background. I found this out after asking him, "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" to which he eventually said, "That's a great question, I guess 'why am I here?'" (i.e., what's my purpose in life?). I then quoted Matthew 22:37-40 and 1 Corinthians 10:31. Later in the conversation he then said he was a pretty decent person and I took him through the Law of Christ to show him that everyone, including him, has fallen short of God's righteous standards and that is why he needed Christ (Romans 3:10-11; 6:23). We discussed specific examples (i.e., lying, thievery, adultery, disobedience to parents, blasphemy, etc.) and he admitted that if the God of the Bible existed, then he was in big trouble. I then explained the gospel to him. I then asked him apart from the Bible how he knew that it was wrong to lie, steal, kill, etc. and he said "because I go on my feelings" and I said, "Well, what if I feel like molesting little children for fun is a good thing to do because it makes me feel good?" he retorted with "naw man, that's wrong" to which I said "I totally agree with you that it is wrong, but if each man does what is right in his own eyes (which is the standard you gave me to work with) then why is it wrong for me to do molest little children for fun?" Then he appealed to the higher law of society and I said, "Well, what if another society says it's o.k. to molest little children for fun, how can you say it's wrong for that society if society is ultimately where you get your moral standards from?" and he retorted again with the same response as earlier. I said, "Again, I agree, but I have an objective, transcendent moral law given to me by God that applies to all people and all places by which I can condemn such things regardless of what any society says, but I want to know how you can do such without contradicting yourself?" to which he said, "It's just wrong man, everybody knows that." to which I responded, "Well, apparently that other hypothetical society doesn't know that since they feel that it's okay." I then said, "Look my friend, this is what happens when you don't begin with the God of Scripture; you are left to self-refuting moral relativism or society says relativism." Then his bus showed up, I thanked him for chatting, gave him a tract, and he was off.

We are going to pray for these dear lost souls. Their confusion is not only apparent, but it is also deliberate in many cases. Here's a few things I am seeing with this generation of young people and what I think needs to be done to effectively engage this generation with the gospel:

1. They don't care that they are inconsistent and irrational in their worldview. They don't mind holding to blatant contradictions. Several unbelievers have just outright admitted this to me! I then point out that they wouldn't feel the same way about their paycheck and they respond with something like, "Yeah, but that relates to the real world, I can't verify the stuff you're talking about." Fifteen years ago, when I first became a believer, this wasn't a problem. Back then, when I confronted people with their contradictory worldview, they would say something like, "Yeah, you've got a good point there, I need to rethink some things." Now, since postmodernism, relativism, and Eastern thought has sunk it's claws into the culture of media, video games, and pop music, people don't care that they are contradictory in their worldview as long as they can stay happy and comfortable. This is why we must proclaim the gospel to them.

2. Answer their questions with the Bible to defend the Bible (Hebrews 6:13). Don't spend time answering complex questions in the open air. With one-to-one evangelism, answering complex questions can also be a problem because I've found that most unbelieving students don't care to listen to a logical train of thought longer than 30 seconds. Memorize the URLs of good websites like if they have difficult scientific questions and give them your contact information for further discussion if they are interested.

3. Remind yourself that you can't know everything about every worldview that exists. Worse yet, new religions and philosophies are being created all the time. Thus, you have to know your Bible and know how to ask good questions to enable you to answer a fool as his folly deserves, lest he be wise in his own conceit (Proverbs 26:5).

4. Be humble and kind. People hate an arrogant religionist know-it-all, but many people are willing to talk to a humble Christian even if they strongly disagree with them.

5. Pray. Pray that God would be pleased to use your well-presented witness and the open-air preaching as a means to regenerate souls. The regenerative power of the Holy Spirit knows no bounds. It has the power to pierce the most confused and crazy soul. Depend on Him to do His work in His time!

I'll add more to the above list as I learn more about the word, myself, and unbelievers.

In conclusion, the more I do this, the more I am aware of the Christian's need to simply pray more, know their Bibles better, know what the Bible says about the nature of man, and have a firm grasp of basic Christian doctrine and systematic theology. Please pray for us as we desire to love the students at UNCG by giving them the only message that can save them from their sins.


  1. Praise God Dusman for your perseverance in carrying out the Great Commission at UNCG!!

    "They don't care that they are inconsistent and irrational in their worldview."

    Aaaack! The Enemy has marginalized the shame of cognitive dissonance that it once had!

    "Don't spend time answering complex questions in the open air. With one-to-one evangelism, answering complex questions can also be a problem because I've found that most unbelieving students don't care to listen to a logical train of thought longer than 30 seconds."

    Our culture has been reduced to soundbite theology. Following sustained arguments irritates most folks, whether believers or not.

    Great Commission Evangelism/Disciple-Making by Soundbites??!!

    Fraught with....

  2. Hi Truth,

    Thank you for your encouragement. Yep, many of them have no shame that they are knowingly stupid. I pointed out one kid's irrationality and he said, "I don't give a damn." I told him, "You'd better care, or else you're gonna be damned." They'd rather remain stupid than repent before the Author of rationality. Solomon said it best:

    A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding. (Proverbs 14:6)

    You are right about the "soundbyte" thinking of most of this generation. If you can't give it to them in 10 seconds they aren't interested. However, they sit in class and "listen" at least for 45-50 minutes. The issue is not that they can't listen, the issue is that many of them simply don't *want* to listen. I can't fix that. I can only go and tell. The rest is up to the Spirit.

  3. First of all, this is a great work that you've done Pastor Dustin and I hope that I can evengelize as you do. You and your efforts will be in my prayers.

    One thing that's of interest however, is your quote of Isaiah 9:6-7 to someone of Jewish background. I've actually heard some Jews object to that passage, because one of the titles of the Messiah is "Eternal Father", yet we know Christ as "The Son". How do you think you would field such an objection?

  4. Thanks for posting this. I agree that one-on-one evangelism is preferable, at least the way I'm geared, to open-air preaching. But I'm glad you do both :-D

  5. Mathetes said:
    "I've actually heard some Jews object to that passage, because one of the titles of the Messiah is "Eternal Father", yet we know Christ as "The Son". How do you think you would field such an objection?"

    I'm not Dusman, but if I recall correctly, the standard commentaries would render the Hebrew along the lines of "Father of Eternity" or perhaps "Author of Eternity".

    I'll look this one up in Oswalt's NICOT tonight.

  6. Dusman,

    I need to learn from your example of having patience in dealing with Gospel-rejectors.

    Willful stupidity irks me. Particularly the "willful" part. That's why I thank God for folks like you who know how to be lovingly patient with such hardened hearts and attitudes.

  7. Great job. Thanks for sharing your stories!

  8. Hi Mathetes,

    Here's a decent yet simple response to the "Everlasting Father" of Isaiah 9:6 in reference to Jesus dealing with it from a Oneness Pentecostal perspective:

    Dr. Michael Brown in his Jewish Objections to Jesus Vol. 2, 23-33 says this in an endnote attached to a footnote:

    "Cf. the following Rabbinic statements: 'R. Yose the Galilean said: 'The name of the Messiah is Peace, for it is said, Everlasting Father, Prince Peace'' (Midrash Pereq Shalom, p. 101); 'The Messiah is called by eight names: Yinnon [see Ps. 72:17], Tzemach [e.g., Jer. 23:5]; Pele' [Wonderful, Isa. 9:6(5)], Yo'etz [Counselor, Isa. 9:6(5)], Mashiach [Messiah], El [God, Isa. 9:6(5)], Gibbor [Hero, Isa. 9:6(5)], and Avi' Ad Shalom [Eternal Father of Peace, Isa. 9:6(5)]; see Deuteronomy Rabbah 1:20." [Brown (2): End note 86, page 210] [bolded emphasis mine - Dusman]

    In other words, Jesus is the Eternal Father of peace, indicating His divine nature, and not necessarily confusing it with the Father in the Trinitarian sense.