Wednesday, March 31, 2010

UNCG Outreach Report 3-30-2010

Yesterday, the weather was beautiful and the evangelistic opportunities were plenteous. The weather was too blustery for open-air preaching, so I engaged in tract distribution and one-on-one evangelism for five hours. The question of the day was: Does absolute truth exist? The first conversation that I had using the "starter question" was with two physics majors named Adam and Steve. They behaved and conversed like true gentlemen and the interaction was truly pleasant. They both initially denied the existence of absolute truth and I pointed out to them that this claim was self-refuting since to deny absolute truth is to make an absolute truth claim. They didn't quite get the point initially (probably because I wasn't clear), but as I parsed out the argument they got the point. I then further reiterated the self-refutation by showing that to deny the existence of absolute truth causes you to use the invariant, abstract, universal laws of logic, thus showing that you believe in absolute truth in practice though you deny it in principle. We then discussed the laws of science and after some discussion, they both agreed that they were arbitrarily assuming that the laws of logic and science were going to work the same way in the future that they had in the past, thus committing the logical fallacy of begging the question. We then discussed the existence of moral absolutes and they both denied that such existed, so I asked them, "So, you believe that under certain circumstances that it would be okay to torture babies for fun?" They both hesitated initially, but then admitted that given their moral relativism, they couldn't morally object to it if their society condoned and legalized it. At this point, I pointed out to them that they had made my point for me, namely, that if they don't begin with God, then there is no objective, transcendent basis for right and wrong. They agreed too! I then answered more of their questions regarding creation/evolution issues, gave them some creation literature, and we then shook hands and parted ways. Please pray for Adam and Steve.

Next, I spoke with a girl that had a cross around her neck and after handing a tract to her I asked if she was a Christian and she said "yes". I then said, "Okay Christian, I've got a knife in my back and have three minutes to live, please tell me what must I do to be saved." She obviously had a Catholic background as she said that I had to go to purgatory first before being admitted to heaven. I then asked, "So, I don't need to do anything but die?" She never said that I needed to repent of my sins, ask for forgiveness and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, or anything like that, but instead said, "Well, you should have gone to confession, attended Mass, etc." and I said, "But I don't have time for that now, I'm dying, I feel guilty about things I've done, and I want to go to heaven but I've only got 2.5 minutes to live". She said that as long as I lived a good and sincere life and didn't commit any mortal sins, then I don't have to worry because I'd be reconciled to God anyways. Knowing that adultery and murder are mortal sins per Catholicism, I then said, "But I remember reading in St. Matthew where Jesus said that if I have had a lustful thought then I've committed adultery in my heart and that if I've hated someone or called them a fool then I'm guilty enough to go to Hell." [Matt. 5:21-22; 27-28] She then reiterated that I should have went to confession, the Mass, etc. and then she walked into her building and the conversation ended there. I realize that her responses are not completely representative of how official Catholicism would answer my question, for I am aware of the doctrine of "last rites/extreme unction", but her inability to point me to Christ as the sole source of salvation is telling indeed.

After she entered the building, I then turned to two guys near the bike rack outside the entrance, handed them a gospel tract and asked them about the existence of absolute truth and one guy refused to enter into conversation with me and quickly left whereas his friend said that absolute truth existed but that it was subject to the individual. I then defined absolute truth (truth for all people, times, and places) and he denied it existed. I then pointed him to his own denial as a proposition that proved the contrary and he saw the problem, but demurred and said he had to go.

I then walked to the other side of campus, passing out tracts as I went and met up with a black man outside of the library named Dwight. Dwight was new to the area, was not a student, and was very open to the gospel. I had prayed for God to put people into my path today that were open to the gospel, and Dwight was my answered prayer. He seemed to absorb everything I was saying like a sponge. He admitted that he was a sinner, was not reconciled to God through faith and repentance in Christ, and was living contrary to God's ways. I used zero apologetics with him as he didn't need it. He simply needed to hear the old, old story of Jesus and His love. He was visibly convicted by my words and as I explained the kindness and love of God in sending His Son to die for wicked people who don't deserve His love, he seemed to really be affected by this. I told him to go home, read the gospel of John, put his face in the carpet, and beg God to save his soul. He shook my hand, asked where we went to church, and really appreciated my being there. I told him that our meeting didn't happen by chance, but that it was God ordained. Please pray for Dwight.

I then handed out more tracts, walking through the campus toward the Northern most side and had a great discussion with a young man that I handed a tract to that professed to be a Christian. I asked him that same thing that I asked the Catholic young lady earlier, and he couldn't explain to me what the gospel was, so I asked, "If you can't explain the gospel to me, why should I believe that you are a Christian when you aren't even familiar with it's most basic message?" I then gave him the gospel in a minute and he was off to his class.

At this point, I found myself outside of a building with college kids sitting and chatting everywhere. So, I went up to the young man that was closest to me and introduced myself and asked him what he was studying. He told me he was studying for a psychology test that was on the topic of people who think they have been abducted by aliens. We talked about this for a few minutes and then I asked him about the existence of absolute truth and he had an interesting response that I've never heard before: "I believe in absolute truth, but only if people have been exposed to it." I then pointed out that whether or not people have been exposed to it is irrelevant; what's relevant is whether it's true or not. I then used an imperfect analogy about how Australians who come into our country are still subject to our laws even though they are not specifically aware of what those laws are. He got the point, then I was able to share with him why I was there and we then had a great discussion about God, the gospel, evil, and salvation. He came from a non-churched home (both of his parents were "non-religious" scientists) and his big sticking point was "the problem of evil", specifically, the tremendous amount of suffering in the world. The next 20 minutes proved to be a very fruitful discussion where I was able to not only answer his objections, but also point him to the gospel of Christ. We shook hands and he left to take his test.

Next, I spoke with two young men who overheard some of my conversation with the previous young man. I gave them each a tract, asked them the question of the day, and they both denied the existence of absolute truth. I then pointed out the contradiction, they admitted the problem and retracted their original position, and then I asked them what was the source of absolute truth. They both essentially said that it was God. I asked them "Which God?" to which one responded, "I'm a supporter of the idea that there are many ways to get to God" and I then asked, "How can there be many ways to get to the same God when all the major world religions have competing and contradictory truth claims about who God is and how to be reconciled to their conception of the divine?" I then gave some clear examples. I got no meaningful answer but to be fair, they had to scoot off to class.

I then headed back toward my car and had a great conversation with a young Hispanic man named Carmelio (sp?) who also initially denied the existence of absolute truth, but retracted after being shown the refutation thereof. When asked, he said that he believed in God, but when he said that he didn't necessarily believe in the God of the Bible, I explained to him that he had made a god to suit his own likeness and that was idolatry. I spent some time working through some of the other commandments and he admitted that if God were to judge him based on his violation of those commands, that he would go to Hell. I then preached him the gospel, gave him a Bible (he said he didn't own one), and instructed him to read the gospel of John and call or e-mail me if he had any questions. Please pray for Carmelio.

I then kept heading back to the car and spoke with three young girls outside of the campus ice cream shop that couldn't have been more than 16-17 years of age each. They all professed faith in Christ but blew it when it came to explaining to me how a person is saved. I explained the gospel to them, two out of the three looked disinterested, so I gave them tracts, and thanked them for their time.

The next young man I spoke with was named Josh. I recognized him from somewhere else, but I just couldn't place where I knew him from. We had a great conversation, and he already understood repentance but didn't understand saving faith that well; and I had the opportunity to explain it to him and we shook hands and he took off.

I then spoke to a young black man taking a smoke break outside of a campus thrift shop. He was a really nice guy, listened well, and asked some great questions about Islam and Christianity. He thought that Christians and Muslims basically believed in the same God and I corrected that notion and explained the gospel to him. He gladly took a tract, and I told him if he had any questions to give me a call or e-mail me.

The last guy I spoke with was a black man named Derek. He didn't know what the gospel was, so I explained it to him and he too listened intently as we stood on the sidewalk. Please pray for Derek.

All in all, God granted a productive day of evangelism. A few things I need to work on are as follows:

1. Being more succinct instead of waxing eloquent.

2. When people object to Christ's exclusive claim in John 14:6 by asking about other world religions, ask them if they believe in those religions in order to avoid unnecessary discussion and debate about things they don't believe.

3. Use more Scripture in discussions with people (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 4:12).

May God grant those who I spoke with eyes to see and ears to hear. Indeed, as Jesus said, the fields are white unto harvest.


  1. Dusman,

    You amaze me.

    God bless you and your open-air evangelism.

    FWIW, here's the funniest thing in your report to me (which was on such a minute, trivial point). It was when you wrote:

    "Please pray for Adam and Steve."

    Have you ever heard the old joke about how God created Adam and Eve, and NOT Adam and Steve?

    So when you wrote about "Please pray for Adam and Steve" it reminded me of that joke and the unintended implication that Adam and Steve are gay.

  2. Hi Truth,

    Yep, I actually used that one on them and we all had a laugh at their expense. :-)