Bekk and I were running quite a bit late tonight, but thankfully Trevor was there and was able to lead the team in prayer and then get stuck into the outreach. So when Bekk and I arrived, John was already preaching. The team let me know that the council had already gone past threatening to come back and fine those handing out tracts on council land.
Not too long later, two council local law compliance officers came back and started talking to a few members of the team. They were simply saying that handing out gospel tracts on council land is to distribute business advertising publications. However, that is simply not true. So we simply kept handing out tracts like we had been doing.
The gospel is not anything that can be sold, bought, traded or used for commercial purposes. The gospel is the message about the death of Jesus who died on the cross to forgive the sins of all those who would repent and believe, then rose from the dead on the third day. It is good news that everyone needs to hear. Anyone who tries to stop the message of the gospel being spread will have to give an account of their actions on the day of Judgement. The Scripture says “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)
During this whole time, John was still preaching – speaking about the great news of the cross. He ended up preaching for about two hours! Praise God for the passion God has given him for the gospel.
At this point I decided I would preach, but do it about 40 metres from where we were. For the area is brightly light and the awnings are a bit higher. I started preaching on Mark 4 where Jesus calmed the storm – in light of the recent floods in Brisbane, I spoke about how there is someone who has control over all the nature – Jesus.
After only a few minutes, there were a few people heckling me. One women in particular was arguing that Christianity is simply a copy of existing religions prior to it. This is not a new argument; I hear it quite often from atheists. The way they try and argue it is to point to similarities between Christianity and other religions before it, and then they say ‘See it must have been copied!’
So I responded to this lady by pointing out that there are hardly many similarities between Christianity and prior pagan religions. The claims of similarities are often based upon some traditions that now tied with Christianity – eg: there being 3 wise men, or Jesus being born on the 25th December – which they allege is similar to other religions. But the thing is that none of those things are actually mentioned in the Bible, they are just Christian tradition.
I then provided another argument that even if I granted her premise that there were some similarities between Christianity and prior pagan religions, the question needs to be asked, “What exactly does that prove?” Does it prove that Christianity must have copied from these other religions? No not at all. Similarity does not prove copying. I gave an example of two textbooks that might have very similar content, yet it doesn’t mean they copied from each other. They might have just done the same experiments, bringing up the same results and thus have the same conclusions.
This lady knew her basis for not believing Christianity was crumbling, so she quickly walked away. But this discussion did cause a quite large crowd to gather, so I was then able to preach the gospel to them all. The lady returned a bit later, and tried arguing the same point again, but to no real avail.
There were all sorts of other questions that other people brought up. I would respond to them and then direct the discussion back to how we have all sinned, and so deserve Hell forever, but Jesus died on the cross for all those who would repent and believe.
When speaking about sin, I would mention some of God’s laws – using it to bring the knowledge of sin to people. But what I find really interesting that in Australia, since we have such a drinking culture, whenever people hear that God says drunkenness is a sin, most Aussie’s are shocked. They wonder how on Earth God could forbid it. So many people in this country have, as the Apostle Paul states, “seared their conscience with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:2). I pray that God will grant many Aussie’s repentance and faith before it’s too late.
After preaching for about an hour, I stood down from preaching and as a team we prayed together to finish off the night.