Thursday, January 20, 2011

UNCG Outreach Report 1-19-2011

INTRODUCTION: I had several profitable conversations with many students about the truth of God's grace yesterday. I handed out at least a hundred ministry cards with the gospel on it, and spoke with many, many unbelievers. Notable conversations were with one man of the Baha'i faith, two agnostics, and several people who claimed to be Christians but couldn't really explain anything about the gospel.

Question of the Day: In your personal opinion what does it take for a person to go to heaven?

Our Bahai friend

This man was the first person I spoke with face to face after handing out a few ministry cards. After handing him our ministry card he said, "What is this?" and I said, "I am a pastor of a local Christian church and this card has to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ; do you know what the gospel is sir?" He said, "Uh, no, why don't you tell me what it is?" So I started explaining the gospel to him and he interrupted me and explained that he held to the Baha'i faith. He then asked me if I knew anything about Baha'i and I said "very little". He then tried to turn the tables and proselytize me (which happens sometimes) and I he told me that the Baha'i believe the gospel of Jesus just like Christians. Then I said, "Let's see if that's true; please explain to me the main teachings of Baha'i." He then said that Baha'i had prophets and I said, "You mean Baha'u'llah, right?" He said, "Yes, but I thought you said you didn't know anything about Baha'i?" I said, "No, I said I knew very little about it, but I did know that." So he continued. He came to the point where he explained that Baha'u'llah was a prophet of God and I asked, "He's the second coming of Jesus Christ right?" He said yes and I said, "Well, there's the problem. Jesus warned us about false prophets and false Messiahs who would seek to mislead many saying that they were the Messiah (Matthew 24:4) and Jesus said that there were certain signs that would accompany His return, Baha'u'llah didn't meet those requirements, therefore Baha'u'llah was a false Messiah that preached a false gospel.

At this point he got a little hot and bothered that I would say such about his prophet and asked me, "Have you read Baha'i literature?" I said, "no", he said, "How can you say such things about Baha'u'llah and Baha'i when you've never read our literature?" to which I calmly responded, "I don't need to, if it contradicts the clear teaching of Christ regarding His second coming, Baha'u'llah didn't meet that criteria, then I know on the authority of Christ's teaching that Baha'u'llah is a false Messiah with a false gospel." Apparently some folks standing by didn't appreciate my Baha'i friend getting a little hot under the collar during our conversation and someone called the cops.

Here comes the heat!

The police officer arrived in his patrol car, walked up to us, and so I quickly but courteously ended my conversation with my Baha'i friend and then introduced myself to the officer with a warm handshake while identifying myself, told him my purpose for being there, and at his request I gave him my driver's license. This officer was one of the two that arrived on the scene in the Fall semester after an atheist came up and stood right in front of me laughing at me and blowing smoke on me when I was open-air preaching at UNCG on 8-24-2010. This officer kindly asked me to do all that I can to avoid upsetting people while distributing literature and talking to them. I assured him that I would, then I thanked him for his service to the community, and then gave him a parting handshake. As an aside, I want to remind my Christian readers that we must always show the utmost respect to the civil authorities as they are ordained by God for the general protection and welfare of society and for the punishment of evildoers (Rom. 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17). We must do this whether they are kind or cruel and we must obey them as long as they don't command us to do something that is sinful or prohibit us from doing something that is explicitly commanded in Scripture (Acts 4:19-20, 5:29). However, even when we disobey in those circumstances, we must still be polite and respectful and accept our punishment as the will of God (1 Peter 2:12, 15; 3:15; Philippians 1:29).

Talking to three day laborers

UNCG always has some kind of construction work going on, and I saw three men sitting outside on the brick patio of a nearly completed building having a smoke break, so I walked over to talk to them. After introducing myself, I asked them what it takes for a person to go to heaven? In a group of three, its almost always the case that one person is more talkative than the other two. So, the most talkative man of the group stated that you can worship whatever you want, as long as you are sincere about it. I then asked him that if I called the maple tree behind him "Jesus" and then bowed down and repented and believed on my maple-tree Jesus and feverishly worshiped it, would do me any good on the day of judgment? He said "Yes". All three men agreed that as long as I was sincere enough, it didn't matter what I worshiped, I would still go to heaven when I die. I then asked, "Since your criteria for whether a person goes to heaven or not is the degree of their sincerity, when the terrorists flew the planes into the World Trade Center on 9-11, they were sincere enough to die for their beliefs, so did they go to heaven?" Then the shuckin' and jivin' started and two of them slowly made their way back to the workplace.

One man was left finishing his cigarette and I sat down beside him, asked him his name, and he said "Omar". He said, "Preacher, I want to ask you one question, if what you believe is true, why is it that most people don't believe it." I said, "Omar, that's a great question, one that the writer of 2/3 of the New Testament had to deal with. The Apostle Paul gave God's answer to that question in Romans 9." Then I began reading and explaining God's sovereignty in salvation from Romans 9:6-23 and Ephesians 1 and he was transfixed on me. I explained to him that most people are created for destruction and that they will glorify God in said destruction; but that God has chosen some to receive mercy through faith in Jesus Christ and that that is one of the reasons I am out there today. I explained that the preaching of the gospel is the means that God uses to gather in His elect, and at that point, he seemed to get convicted. I then explained the good news to him in a way I thought he could understand it (i.e., sin problem > Jesus' active obedience throughout His life > Jesus' passive obedience on the cross > faith in what Jesus did on the cross = justification). We shook hands, he thanked me for my time, and I was off.

A happy agnostic

The next conversation I had worth reporting was with a young, agnostic student who listened to our debate with the UNCG Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics. I asked him why he was an an agnostic and the only really good reason he could give me was the problem of hypocrisy in the church. He said it drove him away from "organized religion". I asked him if he liked "disorganized religion" instead. He laughed and I agreed with him that hypocrisy in the church is a real problem and then I went on to explain that many people are religious but not converted and briefly explained the doctrine of regeneration and the problem of false conversions in evangelicalism. I told him that I used to be a skeptic and so he asked me why I became a believer, and I said, "Because the Holy Spirit did a work of regeneration in me as I just described to you." I then went on to explain, "It was only when I had the light of Christ that I was able to make sense out of things like moral realism, human nature, evil, and scientific and logical paradigms. He wanted to talk more and was a great guy, but he had to scoot.

An unhappy agnostic

After having several other conversations with people, I spoke with another agnostic student named Jessica. Based on Jessica's body language and eye-rolling, she wasn't interested in talking, but I persisted. I asked her if absolute truth existed, she rolled her eyes and said no. I then asked her if that proposition itself was absolutely true and she hesitated a little and said "uh, I don't know." I said, "How can you be sure that absolute truth doesn't exist if you can't know if that sentence itself is true?" I'm not convinced that she was following me, so I moved on to ask her what basis she has for grounding moral standards given naturalism. She hedged a little in her answer and I suggested "Do you believe society makes up moral standards?" and she said, "Who else, if not society?" and I said, "Well, I'd argue that morality is ultimately grounded in God, but that's not what we're talking about just yet, so I want to know how you can condemn another society's actions if each individual societies get to make up their own morality?" She said, we don't. I said, "Really? Do you really think what Nazi Germany did to 12 million people was okay?" She said, "Yeah, I guess" (eyes-rolling). I then said, "So, what you're telling me is that it would be okay for a society to legalize the torturing of little girls for fun?" She agreed that it would and I said, "Oh c'mon, you don't really mean that do you? What about if it was your little girl?" to which she responded, "Well, I wouldn't personally agree with it, but I'd have no choice since society said it was okay." I then said, "You've just given me a great example of why I am thankful for being a Christian. You see Jessica, you may think that what I believe is hooey, but if you begin with the Christian God, you can declare something to be wicked even though society says its okay because God has the final say-so in any matter. I then explained to her, that contrary to her intellectual beliefs, she actually lives in a way contradictory to said beliefs and expects moral order, uniformity in nature, and the absoluteness of logical laws. I then asked, "Do you care that you are being irrational by contradicting yourself like that?" and she rolled her eyes again and said, "Not really." I then said shook her hand, thanked her for her time. Please pray for Jessica, she had a very hard heart.

IN CONCLUSION, I've said it before and I'll say it again: more and more intelligent people I witness to don't care that they are irrational; that they hold to mutually exclusive and contradictory beliefs. As long as they are comfortable, they are quite content to ride the wave of irrationality. I think this is providential, for it is a call for Christians to focus on the gospel as the power of God unto salvation while not leaving the rest of the apologetic task undone.


  1. Hi Pastor Dusman,

    I have invited Dr. Rauser and his blogreaders to read of your open-air Great Commission efforts by posting a comment on his blog.

    Thanks again for all that you do.

  2. TUAD,

    Thank you for your continual encouragement. May God use these reports to encourage others to talk to people about the gospel.

  3. Thanks for keeping us posted on this. Frankly I find your experiences fascinating, and I regularly listened to an open air preacher at PSU.

  4. "I explained to him that most people are created for destruction and that they will glorify God in said destruction,"

    "I said, "Really? Do you really think what Nazi Germany did to 12 million people was okay?"

    And I would reply, of course, because according to your gospel God ordained that it would happen and everything God does glorifies him, right? Besides, doing terrible things to 12 million people pales in comparison to what God will do to most people for eternity for rejecting Him or failing to hear about salvation in the first place, again just as He ordained.

    You try to evangelize by convicting others of contradictory beliefs, but then you'll try to convince them that meticulous divine providence and human culpability are compatible, that morality is whatever God says it is, allowing for the possibility that events which anyone with properly functioning moral faculties would condemn as horrific would be intended by God to bring Him glory, just as the ancient Greek gods reveled in the destruction they rained upon mortals for their own glory.

    I'll give you this much, at least you're honest about what's really going on behind the scenes of this evangelism: it's already been decided who's going to accept and who's going to reject the gospel (or never hear of it in the first place), so all you're doing is 'activating the homing beacon' to attract those who were already destined to be saved, leaving the rest hopeless, rudderless, like sheep having no shepherd.

  5. TPM said,

    ". . . doing terrible things to 12 million people pales in comparison to what God will do to most people for eternity for rejecting Him or failing to hear about salvation in the first place, again just as He ordained."

    "You try to evangelize by convicting others of contradictory beliefs, but then you'll try to convince them that meticulous divine providence and human culpability are compatible . . ."

    God says,

    "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. (1 Sam. 2:6 NAU)

    "So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?" 20 But who indeed are you– a mere human being– to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory–" (Rom. 9:18-23 NET)

    "But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) 6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), "Let us do evil that good may come "? Their condemnation is just. 9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE." (Rom. 3:5-12 NAU)

    ". . . that morality is whatever God says it is, allowing for the possibility that events which anyone with properly functioning moral faculties would condemn as horrific would be intended by God to bring Him glory . . ."

    "But you say, 'The Lord's way isn't fair.' Now listen . . . Is it My way that is unfair? Instead, isn't it your ways that are unfair? 26 When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and practices iniquity, he will die for this. He will die because of the iniquity he has practiced. 27 But if a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life. 28 He will certainly live because he thought it over and turned from all the transgressions he had committed; he will not die. 29 But the house of Israel says, 'The Lord's way isn't fair.' Is it My ways that are unfair, house of Israel? Instead, isn't it your ways that are unfair? 30 "Therefore, house of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways." This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. "Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so they will not be a stumbling block that causes your punishment. 31 Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in anyone's death." This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. "So repent and live!" (Ezek. 18:25-32 HCSB)

    You rage against the Lord because He rightfully does what He wants, yet when the gift of repentance and faith is not given to people, you continue raging against the Lord as if He is obligated to give them what you hate (Romans 8:7-8). As Paul said, your condemnation is just.


    You're recycling stale, rote objections to Calvinism as if we haven't dealt this all this before, on multiple occasions.

    Don't waste our time with your intellectual sloth.