11 September 2015 by romanin
Yesterday my heart was troubled deeply. As I was walking on campus, I came across a pit preacher. I have heard the term once or twice to describe what I saw yesterday, but I don’t know that the term is well known, so let me elaborate.
What I saw was a group of about 6 people standing in a major intersection of campus shouting the judgments of God to passers by and holding up signs that say “Repent or Perish!” and “Obey the 10 Commandments or face Hell” and “Jesus Saves”.
When I saw this, I was sad, because I knew that they weren’t doing justice to the Gospel of Hope. I was angry too. My problem with them is this: they are presenting judgment without really presenting hope, they are shouting out judgment without giving the back story; in short, they are shouting judgment out of context hoping to scare people into curiosity and salvation. What’s more, there are many people on this campus who are international and have never heard or read the bible before, and this may be their first experience with Christianity! I can’t imagine someone being able to see the loving arms of the father in a display like this.
Now many of the things they were saying were true. But once again, out of context, I feel these were inappropriate. I decided I would talk to one of them to hear what he believed.
In talking to him, I found out that he believed that Christ’s chief message was that of judgment. He claimed that Christ talked about judgment over 100 times in the new testament and love only 4 times.
I fact checked him this morning. Among the 4 gospels, hell is mentioned 15 times, Love is mentioned 42 times.
He believed that after being saved, he no longer had sin in his life; he believed that the very day I talked to him, he had not sinned, and that he had planned to never sin again in his life. However, I read in the bible in 1 John 1:8 that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is no tin us.”
He also must be doing better than Paul, because Paul describes his struggle in Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”
Further, in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Paul describes our journey of faith as we throughout our walk become closer with Christ, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Transformation form sinner to righteous saint is not an overnight thing.
Finally, as I read 1 Timothy this morning, I saw something that hits to the heart of the matter. Paul in 1 Timothy 1:3-7 is warning Timothy against false teachers. The emphasis below is mine.
“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart an d good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.”
Sorry for this rant. It irks me that the people that I am trying to reach for Christ through love and relationship may be listening to these christians preaching condemnation from a God who’s true desire is that none should perish.
I wish, if the preacher thinks he is so much like Jesus, that he would begin where Jesus began his preaching in Matthew 5:2, “Blessed is the poor in spirit…”