This week in Hobart we have had a incident of Christophobic discrimination by both the police and the local retailers. God be praised this only temporarily limited the preaching of the gospel and distributing tracts and bibles.
I was joined this week by a brother from the north of the state and his lovely wife. Caleb and I decided to start a little early and so made use of Elizabeth arcade. No permits are needed for this area and it provides an excellent area to preach and hand out tracts to people coming through the mall.
I began the preaching with a message regarding the Lord's supper and the need everyone has to be saved and made right with God through Jesus' death and resurrection. Caleb next preached on the holiness of God and our sinfulness. In all of this only small comments were made and few hecklers spoke but many people were obviously listening as they stood or sat in the mall.
Shortly following this we were approached by two police officers who informed us that what we were doing was a public nuisance and we had to stop because complaints had been made. It was clear that Jay Jay's manager was one of the sources of the complaint as she was interviewed by the police before they came to speak to us.
Caleb and I declined to stop preaching as we were not breaking any laws. The police constables then warned us that we would be given a move on order and then arrested if we persisted. After they left I began to preach again focusing on a clear proclamation of the gospel and the need we all have of that gospel. The officers again spoke with the council and then the staff in Jay Jay's before coming to speak to me. I was given a move on order because of the content of my preaching. The issue was not the manner of my preaching or any threatening or obscene comments. It was the offensive Christian gospel that was unacceptable and illegal according to these officers. And so under threat of arrest I left the CBD.
Later in the afternoon I walked to the police station to file a complaint regarding this incident. After a short discussion with one of the sergeants the move on order was rescinded and I was free to be in the CBD again. With this done I went with the team to preach again in the mall and proclaim the glories and hope of the gospel.
Please pray that the gospel will be freely proclaimed in Hobart and the police will be lawful in their behaviour from now on. Pray also for the team and I, that we will be wise, gentle, respectful yet bold and not give into fear or anger.