Saturday, July 23, 2011the "cute" religious simpleton...
The marketplace was busy, but not quite as busy as I thought it would be, considering the warm weather and the clear skies. Still, Pastor Tim and I shared the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with thousands of souls who were walking the market's streets. The Lord be glorified by our efforts, and may He work what He wills in the lives of those we ministered to.
Our evangelistic effort didn't start out too well. A guitar player (and I'm being gracious in calling him that) has been making it a habit over the last few weeks of setting up right across the street from us as we are preaching the Gospel. His goal is quite simple: drown the preachers out with his noise, and hope the people walking by will drop change in his guitar case. Well he did it again tonight, but this time he went his usual evil and began to sing blasphemous and mocking songs. We eventually moved further down the street and continued our work there, as the sad soul continued with his evil. It was pretty sad/funny... in one of his mocking tunes, he sang that "them Christians are just after your money", yet we were handing out free literature, and he had his guitar case open. Reminded me of...
"They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards." (Psalm 69:12)
Moments later three young men came by to speak to me. Matthew, Patrick and Joel were their names. They were covered in tattoos and piercings, but claimed to be Christians. Wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt, I asked them were they fellowshiped. The answer wasn't much of a surprise: Dominion Outreach Center. Note the word "church" doesn't figure in the name (that would be too fundamental!). Anyway, just like their assembly these guys were charismatics, extremely modernistic and liberal in their theology, and they weren't fans of my "in-your-face-type" evangelism. I talked with them, tried to reason with them and while they were agreeable, they definitely didn't agree. Patrick on numerous occasions went into bizarre monologues about how "he felt the Holy Spirit wanted to use me" in such-and-such a way, and that I was poised to receive great blessings from above (sounded like a long fortune cookie blessing/prediction). I didn't ask for any details on "his feeling", I figured that would be a total waste of time.
I really, really dislike dealing with charismatics. It's frustrating to use the same terminology, but wind up with totally different ideas/concepts. For example, when Patrick spoke of me being near to receiving some great blessings from above, I knew what he meant. He was speaking of earthly/carnal blessings. When I told him that the Lord had and was blessing me in immeasurable ways, not with riches and possessions, but with spiritual blessing, it was clear he didn't have much time for what I was saying. He answered my statement with this: "yeah, but it's good to have a nice car, house, and to be blessed with physical things." And that my friends is the garden variety charismatic right there: seeking and desiring the supernatural, wanting to be Christian superheroes who heal and bless people with a mere touch, all the while wanting worldly riches, comfort and ease. What folly!
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)
Seeing they weren't making much progress with the old fundamentalist, they "prayed" for me (and that was pretty bizarre too), and after a bit more admonition that I should really rethink my evangelistic method, they left. I sighed a sigh of relief.
Roughly an hour later, I dealt with two couples, and both conversations went rather well. With the first couple, the man accepted a tract from me but said he didn't believe the Bible was a reliable authority for faith and practice. He claimed that after centuries of copying and translating, the Bible as we have it today, is unreliable. So I recounted how I had visited "The Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit a few years ago and that the Biblical passages translated from those scrolls were identical to the pocket Bible I carry with me everywhere. He didn't have an answer. The woman smiled affectionately at me, it was clear that she liked my reasonableness. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think she was necessarily receiving what I was saying, but rather, she probably looked at me and thought I was a cute/innocent little man. Tough on the pride, but I guess that's a good thing.
The other couple I spoke too had more promise. She was Caucasian, he was African-American. She asked the bulk of the questions, he just nodded in agreement when I answered. We spoke about the WatchTower's bizarre doctrines on birthdays and holidays, and the many quirks of the myriads of cults and false religions. I told them that the Word of God was the Bible, and with that, there is no need to run to a pope, or guru, or any religious group that ultimately, draw people away from God's Word. She took one of the tracts I was carrying and said: "I'm so glad I spoke to you!" The Lord be merciful to her.
The last half-hour of our night of evangelism was difficult. The noise level of the market, with its many street musicians was extremely high. It was near impossible to find a quiet enough spot where we could preach. We did our best, and I trust the Lord was able to use what we were able to do.
On my way back home, I met Brother Layton of the Open-Air Campaigners. They were just packing in their gear, having presented the Gospel a few blocks down from where Pastor Tim and I were. We exchanged a few kind words of encouragement, and left each other with a "God bless you, brother." The Lord bless him and his team.
That's all for tonight, dear readers. Do remember us in your prayers...
Labels: Friday evangelism