Saturday, April 21, 2012winning souls for... the community???
It was a cold, miserable night for street preaching. A frigid, humid wind blew through the marketplace all night, and my spring jacket offered very little warmth under those conditions. Nevertheless, I pressed on, determined to give a full three hours of street evangelism for the first time in weeks/months.
I made it to the market a good hour before Pastor Tim (he was on a date with his wife... celebrating 44 years together), and I wasted no time, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and handing out Bible literature. By the time Pastor Tim showed up, I was seriously shivering from the cold, wet weather. He immediately took over preaching duties while I warmed myself in the nearby parking garage.
Crowds were obviously smalled tonight. Still, up until 9:00pm-9:30pm, there was a pretty regular flow of people walking by our preaching spot. I handed out a fair number of Bible tracts and both Pastor Tim and I had a few chances to speak one-on-one with lost sinners. We didn't face too much opposition from the Lord's enemies tonight, though the same old wicked guitar player was up to his antics again; howling and yelling all manner of mockery toward us and against the Gospel of Truth. The Lord deal with him as He sees fit.
I had a long conversation with two men who professed to be believers. I knew from the get-go that there was something a bit off about these men, but as is my custom, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. They said they were part of a community of believers called the "Twelve Tribes". Both men were fairly knowledgeable in Biblical teachings but one of the men was definitely the leader; he was the most vocal. I would even say he was borderline aggressive. We spoke about a number of Biblical doctrines and practices and I found myself agreeing with them alot, but the conversation kept being steered to "loving each other IN UNITY" and "having all things IN COMMON". I started suspecting these men were some sort of Christian Communists, and as it turns out, I was pretty much right.
After a good 20 minutes of us agreeing with each other and both men expressing their respect and admiration for my way of life, the chief man pointed to my John 3:16 sign and boldly proclaimed that my sign, my evangelical effort and my very Christian walk wasn't Christian at all! I was lost and not doing God's work because I wasn't bearing fruit. I wasn't bearing fruit because I didn't love the brethren. I didn't love the brethren because I didn't sell off everything I had and moved in with them in order to provide for their needs, physical and spiritual. I have to admit I was both amazed and disturbed at the same time.
So, after confirming that with the men that my lost estate could be traced directly to the fact I wasn't part of their "community", I made sure to point out that I believed this to be heresy and that I believed they erred greatly concerning the faith. I ended the conversation pretty much there because I didn't want to waste the whole night arguing with cultists. Still, I was glad I took the time to learn about these guys. It is a rare thing to see these cult communities actually coming out of their enclaves to reach out with their message in the public place; so their beliefs and practices are rarely well understood. In 20-30 minutes, I came to understand exactly where their faith, which truly seemed Christian, got all messed up... this is from a pamphlet they gave me:
"Community didn't save me in the sense of forgiving my sins. No, Yahshua did that. But this life does save me in the sense of making me fit to rule and reign in His Kingdom with Him. It (the Community) saves me daily as I'm trained to love."
You notice above how Yahshua, or Jesus, has a co-redemptor: the Community. Enough said.
Pastor Tim also had a short, pointed conversation that was something to witness. I watched as the good preacher dealt with a drunk homosexual who has caused us some trouble in the past. The lost soul was far gentler tonight, probably due to the fact that he was in a drunken stupor. Slurring his words, he tried to express his exasperation toward Pastor Tim's preaching. That's when Pastor Tim turned his attention to him and with a gentle yet firm tone, he said:
"I see you every Friday night, drunk out of your mind... and I believe I know why you do that to yourself... it's how you deal with the awful mess and shame of your life. By your wickedness and your perversions, you likely brought shame not only to yourself, but to your father, mother and your siblings. You don't have to continue this way. If you will call upon Jesus right now and ask Him to make things right, if you change your mind about how you are living your life right now, if you follow the Lord, He'll make you clean, He'll save your soul."
Again, slurring his words, he tried to express how he didn't appreciate Pastor Tim judging him. He even made an attempt at citing Matthew 7:1. Even the drunkards can cite Matthew 7:1. Too bad none of them keep reading down to verse 20.
The Lord have mercy on this poor lost soul.
There were a few other conversations, a few other notable events I could report, but I'm too tired now... it's time for some rest. Remember us in your prayers, dear saints.
God bless you all,
"Therefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." (Acts 20:26-27)
Labels: Friday evangelism