The weather was a sunny, clear, beautiful 80 degrees today and there was plenty of people to talk to about the gospel.
Questions of the week: "What must a man do to be reconciled to God?" and "Does absolute truth exist?"
We spoke to our friendly GTCC relativist again, met a young man who said it was okay to call a tree Jesus, spoke to a group of four young men who couldn't tell us what absolute truth was, discussed the gospel with a clueless young girl, and then spoke the truth to a clueless young man with a post-surgical right thumb issue that came from an evanjellyfish background. Then, we found three people who knew what the gospel was and we spent about an hour encouraging them and then I witnessed to another churchgoer who couldn't tell me how to get to heaven and then the day came round full circle when ended by speaking with a long-lost Christian friend whose husband was integral in my conversion to Christ.
Our Friendly Community College Relativist
I encountered this same young man two weeks ago when attempting to witness to the two Sunni women. As I walked up, he was waiting at the bus stop in front of the campus reading a book by the New Age guru Marianne Williamson. As soon as he looked up from his book he remembered me immediately and we hit the ground running in a friendly sort of way. This is an example of why it is a good thing to hit the same fishing hole regularly.
I asked him if he had thought about anything that we spoke about last time and he said that he had. I then said something like, "Do you still hold on to what you believe even though we discussed how your beliefs contradicted themselves?" and he basically went into a discussion about how everybody has only 50% of the truth. I then asked him "Is that true?" he said "yes" and I then asked, "If that's true, then isn't a half-truth a complete lie?" He seemed to intellectually "get it", and I further pressed the inconsistency in his relativism, but he finally demurred and basically tried to argue that because we don't know everything we can't really know anything. I then asked how he could know that proposition. I got no response.
At this point I started trying to do some teaching since he seemed like he wanted to listen better this time versus trying to defend himself in front of others like last time. I pointed out to him that he believed that truth was like ice cream, i.e., that you can choose any of the "31 flavors" to suit your taste. I explained to him that truth didn't work like ice cream, it worked like insulin. People that need insulin don't get to decide if they want a different type of hormone or some other medication to suit their taste; they either get insulin or they die. I told him that this is the way that truth is; i.e., it is either true or false, right or wrong, consistent or inconsistent, logical or illogical. I explained to him that to deny this is to embrace relativism and commit intellectual suicide. He didn't care, his bus came, and he had to scoot. He said he would call me and that we would chat more. I surely hope he does. I'm going to continue to dialogue with him as I'm able trusting that the Lord will use some of my efforts to get glory to Himself.
Our Quasi-Pantheist "Christian" Friend
When I introduced myself and asked this young man, "What must a man do to be reconciled to God?" he gave me the usual, "Ask for forgiveness." When I said, "From whom?" he said, "From God" and I asked "which God?" He hesitated. There was an oak tree in front of us on the campus lawn and so I asked, "If I call that oak tree 'God' and I say that all I have to do to be reconciled to God is to ask forgiveness from that oak tree, am I going to heaven when I die?" He said, "Yeah, because God is whoever you want Him to be." I said "Really? So Moses was wrong to get upset at the Israelites for worshiping a golden calf in Exodus 32? After all, they said that that golden calf was their god." He still didn't get it, so I then asked, "What is God?" and he gave me a pantheistic answer. I then said, "The Bible declares that there is a Creator/creature distinction and that to confuse the two is idolatry." I then did some off the cuff teaching from Romans chapter 1 explaining this doctrine, and he then understood what I was getting at. I explained to him that idolaters will have their part in the Lake of Fire on the Day of Judgment and he seemed to intellectually follow what I was saying. I then asked him how he was going to avoid the Lake of Fire, he couldn't really give a coherent answer, and I then preached him the gospel. He appreciated it, shook my hand, and we were off to find someone else to talk to.
Four Young Men Whom The Truth Didn't Set Free
All four of these young men were hit directly with the question, "Does absolute truth exist?" I defined what absolute truth was and asked the question again. Two said yes, two said no. I then asked the two that said "yes", "Where does absolute truth come from?" and one of them said, "From inside you." I said, "If the truth's inside of me, then what if I believe it's absolutely true for me get my jollies by hurting little girls for fun?" He said, "Naw man, that's messed up." I said, "I agree totally, but if absolute truth come from within, then it's not absolute, it's relative" and I made the point that we need objective, transcendent, universal standards that come only from God to determine what's true/false and right/wrong in the areas of ethics, values, and religion. They all seemed to understand and agree. I then explained that Jesus said that He was the "capital-T" Truth and that we can't understand the world rightly apart from Him but most importantly, we can't be rightly related to God apart from His gospel. At this point they asked some good questions about church, false gospels, and I told them, "If you're attending a church where your pastor is preaching health, wealth, prosperity, and Word-of-Faith doctrine, you are in a false church and you need to run outta there with your hair on fire." After I said this, they started to scoot except for one of them and I spent some time talking to this young man for a few more minutes as he seemed genuinely concerned about getting good teaching. I invited him to our fellowship. We'll see if he shows. I pray that he does. So many college kids I talk to have been brainwashed into the prosperity, health and wealth garbage.
A Clueless Young Girl
This young lady was quietly sitting at the picnic table near the campus quad and I approached her, introduced myself, gave her a Narrow Way postcard tract, and asked her what a person must do to be reconciled to God. She said the same tag-line I always hear, "Ask for forgiveness." I then asked "Which God; I mean, we have the Muslim conception of God, the Hindu, etc., so which God am I to pray to to ask for it?" She then said, "Uh . . . Christian?" I then said, "If I had a knife stuck in my back and was going to die in 2.5 minutes and I needed to be reconciled to God and you told me to ask for forgiveness, would it be okay to believe that this oak tree beside us is God and that I need to ask forgiveness from the oak tree?" She said, "No" and I said, "So, what is God in your mind?" She really didn't answer and her cluelessness was apparent. I truly felt compassion for her. At this point, a nice, fat, whiff of pollen got up my nose and I wasn't able to talk well; but God used that in His providence, for she had some time to think and as a result she confessed that she didn't live like a Christian and was denying her profession by her lifestyle. At this point my voice had returned and I confronted her with Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter . . ." I then went through the tests of 1st John and she began to cry. I silently prayed for her while I was talking to her, exhorting her to go home, examine herself in light of 1st John, and cry out to God in repentance and faith. I then told her I'd pray for her and that if she ever saw me on campus and had any questions to come up to me and ask anytime. I still feel a palpable burden for her as I sit and type this right now.
A Clueless Young Man with a post-surgical thumb.
The next group of three people that I spoke with quickly reduced to two once they heard what I was on about. The only one left was the young man with the post-surgical thumb. I asked him some questions about his thumb surgery since I have a background in orthopaedic physical therapy and he was easy to talk to. I then hit him with the reason why we were there, asked him about being reconciled to God, and he was completely clueless and unable to articulate anything coherent about God, the gospel, salvation, etc. He confessed that he had a Christian church background (not sure if he meant CoC, DoC or just plain evanjellyfish). It was obvious that he had had some type of exposure to the Bible, but after I asked more questions, he confessed that he really didn't know what the gospel was. I then said, "Dude, if you profess to be a believer but don't know Christianity 101, what does that say about your Christianity?" The question stopped him in his tracks. He was silent. I used the silence as an opportunity to hear the gospel of God's grace and I enjoined him to repent of His sins and place his faith in Christ. Then he was off. Please pray for him.
Three People Who Actually Knew what the Gospel was and Believed it!
The next 1.5 hours was wonderful. I walked up to three folks and asked them what a person must do to be reconciled to God and they not only knew the gospel, understood it, and embraced it wholeheartedly, but we had great fellowship and one of them even asked me to come speak to their on campus ministry meeting. I spent quite a bit of time with at least one of them answering questions about the Qu'ran, Islam, atheism, liberalism, the Bible, and other neat stuff. It was such a breath of fresh air hearing from kids that are passionate about Christ. May God give us a million more like them!
Another Churchgoer Who Couldn't Tell Me How to Get to Heaven
How many of these people have I written about over the last semester? Too many to count for sure. This next young man said he was "confused because his mother is Seventh Day Adventist, I go to an AME Zion Church, and there are Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, and others and I just don't know who's right and who's wrong." I explained to him that at least historically, all Protestant denominations held to basically the same essential Christian doctrines, but that this is not the case anymore, especially with the mainline denominations having long since caved in to liberalism while many of the modern charismatic groups have given sway to prosperity heresy, and the mainline Baptists are either liberal or seeker. I then discussed the importance of the basic principles of the Protestant Reformation (5 Solas) and laid out for him what a Biblically sound church is and should look like. It's no wonder he was confused, he confessed that most of his exposure had been to either Seventh Day Adventism or the health and wealth garbage. He couldn't explain the gospel; so I gave it to him. I told him he needed to examine his soul and sit under some good, verse-by-verse expository teaching. He said he might visit our church in the future. Man, I hope so, for he was a really nice guy, but he sure was clueless about the gospel.
A Long-Lost Christian Friend and a sorely missed Ray of Sunshine
Finally, the day came around full circle when it ended by speaking with a long-lost Christian friend whose husband was integral in my conversion to Christ. The long-lost friend is named Henrietta and her husband's name was Wayne. Henrietta told me that Wayne died back in 2007. He was such a ray of sunshine. I mean it. It makes me tear up thinking about him. He loved Christ and it just oozed out of him. He was an evangelist par-excellance. He had no fear of man and he loved people and wanted to tell them about Jesus even though he didn't care what they thought about him. Not only that, but Wayne had such a warm-hearted disposition about him. You just couldn't help but want to be around him. When he spoke of Jesus, it made you want to cry. Back when I was an atheist in the early 90s, I heard his testimony and it powerfully impacted me for the gospel. After my conversion, I hooked up with Wayne in college and we went out street witnessing, open-air preaching (I did the preaching since his vocal cords were affected by his previous cancer), and door-knocking. Henrietta told me that he succumbed to cancer. Then she showed me a photo of him that she took about 3 months before he died. Seeing Wayne's smile in that photograph made me tear up. I'm telling you folks, this guy was a ray of sunshine. That was Wayne.
So I'm going to end this outreach report on this note:
Thank You Father, for saving and sanctifying brother Wayne and using him to plant seeds of truth in my wretched soul so that I might come to know You.
Thank You Jesus for letting me spend precious time with brother Wayne by learning how to love people while telling them the truth about your gospel.
Thank You Holy Spirit for letting your light shine through brother Wayne so that I too might know what it means to be a beacon of truth in a dark world.
Dear Christian friends, there are many dear saints that God will place across your path that will never amount to much according to man's standards, but they will be well-received into glory. They will have no degrees, they may not even have graduated from High School, and when you Google their name little to nothing will show up; but they have drank deeply from the well of living water supplied by their Lord and your Lord. May you learn from them, love them, and spend precious time with them while you still have them. Those rays of sunshine are very bright when they are here, but they are not here forever and when they are here, they usually aren't here very long.