Saturday, 29 March, 2008
The was a sense of idol worship in the air as I made my way into King George Square, tonight was the night in which the world stopped to worship the earth for one hour. While I fully support the idea that we should look after the environment I think we cross a line when we start to think that the earth runs all things. People who are ‘earth worshippers’ are classical Romans 1, they forget that there is a Sovereign One who holds the earth together, the one who sustains life, the one who created all, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I sat in the square waiting for the team to arrive I noticed that there were a lot more Satanists in the area than normal. And with the city turning their lights off I didn’t really want to be a lone Christian in the midst of the Satanists in the dark. So I decided to put a call through to Josh Mitchell, and leave my phone open so if anything happen he would be able to direct the authorities.
While I was sitting there I listened to one of the Satanists talk about calling up the dark spirits, and how he had been having communion with them. It was saddening to see one so deceived by the enemy. The man failed to realise that those dark spirits whom he calls friends were his enemies and hated him.
At around 7:30pm I was approached by a Satanist who I had debated with and witnessed to many times. He was friendly and started a conversation. We spoke a bit about the gospel, and he kept re-affirming the fact that he is wanting to go to hell because he likes pain. I wasn’t interested in getting into a long debate with him, but rather I just kept pointing him back to the Word of God, he stated that he did not believe the Bible, but that didn’t worry me since in combat an enemy solider may not believe in a rifle, but that still doesn’t stop me from shooting him. As Christians we are called to sow seed, so I kept on sharing the Word with him and his girlfriend. He got fired up a bit and started to make obscene comments about God. This drew other Satanists into listen. One man walked in all arrogant, then yelled as he saw me. He yelled “You are that preacher from the mall!” After that he wouldn’t come near me, nor talk to me. By now the team had arrived, so I got them praying while I continued to witness to the group of Satanists. We all parted on good terms, and many of them waved to us later in the evening when they saw the team. Please keep all of them in prayer.
At 9pm we made our way to the Queen Street Mall, and as we set up we noticed a large group of Islanders hanging around. The Bible table seemed to be attracting them, so we sent Ralph up to preach. It was his second open air sermon, and I must say he has good projection of voice, and knows his Bible. There are a few things he needs to tie down, but those small things come with experience.
It turns out that the Islanders were all Mormons. I was able to engage one of them in discussion at the Bible table. He kept talking about how they support our ministry, I pointed out to him that he couldn’t support us, since we preach opposite to what the Latter Day Saints teach, he informed me that we taught and believed the same thing. This then led into an apologetic conversation in regards to what the Mormon church teaches, and after going through a different topics he said “You know your stuff, I am not here to debate” after that he walked off. I noticed that other members of the team were also locked in Mormon dialogue. It was then that I noticed the man I just spoke to come around to Ralph and start to heckle. Ralph asked him if he was a Christian, and the man’s reply was to say “yeah, kinda”. Ralph pressed him for more information but the man wouldn’t give it, but when it came out that the man was a Mormon, he again took off.
By now I was engaged in a discussion with three Mormons, we were looking at the doctrine of good works. They maintained that one had to earn salvation, whereas the Bible teaches that salvation is not of anything we have done but rather it is all of Grace.
We spent some time going through the Scriptures showing that we cannot earn salvation, we looked at Ephesians 2:8-9:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (ESV)
Then we looked at Titus 3:5:
“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”
We spent ages on many passages like Romans 4, Romans 5, Romans 8, Isaiah 64, Galatians 2, Titus 3, Ephesians 1, Ephesians 2.
By the end of the run through the Bible one of the Mormons who was doing all the talking asked if we had a note pad and pen, since he had never seen this before and wanted to write down all the passages. We were more than willing to give him all the details. After we built the case for salvation being not of works, we compared it with the Book of Mormon that states that we are saved by works. This stunned the Mormons since they were always taught that the Book of Mormon and Bible align.
After parting ways with the Mormons, I turned around was engaged in another discussion this time with a group of young Pentecostal men, who believed that we shouldn’t preach sin, since they believe all men know they are guilty. Also, they pushed that we must have signs, wonders and healings. While I am a cessationalist in theology, I pointed out to them not the cessationalist argument, but rather how from the Scripture those signs, wonders, and healings followed the proclamation of the Gospel.
This debate then led to one of the group just attacking how we preached the gospel, but he wouldn’t present a better way to preach. He just kept saying “I don’t agree!” We went through the Scriptures one by one, and I asked him each time what he thought that verse meant. After about twenty minutes he got frustrated and walked off in disgust. The others in the group thanked us for taking the time to explain the Scripture to them.
Ryan then got up to Open air preach, and he did a go job expounding on the Scripture, after awhile he got a few hecklers yelling at him. One of them turned out to be a Seventh Day Adventist who wanted to argue over the Sabbath. The man was trying to argue from church history, and he clearly was wrong in his statements. Ryan tagged me in to talk to the man. So I jumped up and began to discuss the issue of the Sabbath. As the discussion went on the crowd grew. So I kept on pressing him from the Scripture to prove his point.
The man stated that we must keep the whole of the Law, so I asked him if he would kill a homosexual (Leviticus 20:13), he stated that he would not since Christ fulfilled the Law. So I asked him, if Christ has fulfilled that law, then why do we have to keep the Sabbath, surely He has fulfilled that one also? The man then claimed that the New Testament taught Sabbath keeping, so I pressed him to show me within the New Covenant where the Sabbath was taught. He couldn’t show any Scripture, so his next argument was “Sunday is pagan! It is the day of worshipping the sun! That proves we shouldn’t worship then!” I asked him “Do you worship on a Saturday?” He answered that he did, so I said “Do you know that Saturday is a pagan day? From the worship of Saturn?” He was a bit stunned, I then explained that these were just days in our culture so it doesn’t matter if we worship on them, but rather we should worship everyday.
Then I saw him, a Seventh Day Adventist ‘apologist’ who I have debated with many times before, but when challenged this man will never reply. He opened up by saying that I didn’t know my Bible because the New Covenant clearly taught Sabbath keeping. I asked him to show where it taught this. His reply was read Luke 23:54:
“It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.”
He then said “See, Jesus rose from the dead on the Sabbath, thus we must worship on the Sabbath.” This was the first time I have ever heard this argument so I took a second to re-read over the passage, thinking that I must have missed something. As one looks at the context of the passage one quickly sees that the verse is not talking about the resurrection, but rather it is talking about the burial. So I called him out on the context, he quickly started to back track. As he yelled at me the crowd kept on building, and I was starting to eyeball the crowd to see who I could call out to engage in the Gospel proclamation.
The Seventh Day Adventist kept yelling at me that I was following a lie, and that we must worship on the Sabbath. By now I was getting tired of the debate, so I asked him simply “What day does the book of Acts say the early church met together?” As soon as I said that you could see a look in his face that revealed that he was stuck. He answered “Everyday!” So I asked, “The book of Acts list what day it was, do you happen to know what day that was?” He yelled out again “Everyday!” So once again I asked him the question, this time he said rather quietly “The first day”, then I asked “What day is that?” Before he could respond a bunch of people in the crowd started laughing and called out “That’s the Sunday!” The man refused to answer, so I asked what day is the first day, he eventually said ‘Sunday’. The man then got really angry and started to yell at me about how we must keep the Sabbath, this was fine since it was just drawing in a bigger crowd to hear the Gospel.
Then the worse thing that could happen occurred! Four police officers walked through the crowd, and one of the Constables stopped and called me and the SDA apologist to him. I quickly tagged Andrew in to preach, and he started to preach the gospel to the crowd. The well meaning police officer told the SDA guy to back off and walk away, since I had every right to be there. While I appreciate what the officer did, he without knowing killed the crowd.
Andrew then tagged me back in and now to a much smaller crowd I explained the gospel. Many in that crowd took an in-depth tract afterwards, and we got to have some good one to ones.
Ryan was quickly collared by the SDA apologist, so they engaged once again in debate. Shortly after the debate started the man walked away angry, since he had announced that you must keep the Sabbath to be saved, so Ryan slammed him on works based salvation, and how the Bible says “cursed is every man who does not do all things written in the Law”.
The rest of the night was spent handing out tracts, and talking to people.
Overall it was a great night, and many people got to hear the Gospel of Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
Brisbane Team (Day) (QLD)
Meets Wednesday afternoons 1-5pm in King George Square (near Adelaide St crossing).
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.