This afternoon in Queen St Mall (Brisbane) we had a very busy afternoon, there were many people around, the mall was a bit busier than usual and so we took the opportunity to do quite a range of open air preaching, from drawing a large crowd with the preaching alongside the sketchboard, to just reading a small passage of the Bible and talking about salvation, or just generally discussing our sinfulness before a Holy God.
One method that I have used often is that of leaping from Luke 13:1-5. In the passage the Pharisees ask Jesus if those that died in the tragic events (The collapsing of the tower at Siloam and the murdering of the Priests in the temple), if they are any worse than the rest of us.
And Jesus aptly responds, "No, but unless we repent, we will likewise perish."
Then it is easy to expand into human sinfulness and our need for a saviour.
I also talked with an older man, who had been listening to the preaching and I asked him what he thought, he said that he wasn't really sure, he thought he was pretty good, so I went through the law with him. He soon admitted he was not as good as he thought and that maybe he was bad.
But then he asked, "How could a good God let bad things happen to good people?" I looked at him and asked if there were any good people? Is there anyone in this world who is 'perfect' or 'good' in the sight of God?
And he said, "Nah". He recognised that everyone has broken God's law and just like him and I, we were sinful in the sight of God.
Then I explained to him that he was right, before a Holy God we are all sinners, except for one man, God himself come as a man. So then the answer to why do bad things happen to good people is simply, that it only happened once and He volunteered, Christ surrendered His life as a ransom for many.
Then the question turns around, why do good things happen to bad people? Why did Christ die for us sinners? Why does God allow if to rain on the sinners of this world, why does he allow us food, life, a place to sleep or people that care for us.
And that is a tough question because it can't be our merit but only God's goodness! I gave them man (Danny) a Gospel of John and a tract and he said he would have to consider it.
I also had a similar conversation with a young lady Ashley who also had that similar question about bad things happening to good people. I also had to do a little apologetics with her as she didn't really believe in God.
By the end of our conversation she said this was interesting, she wasn't entirely convinced but it had definitely rocked the boat of what she believed!
And at the end I talked to a young man and his girlfriend who were very slippery. They said there were no such thing as absolutes, to which I asked, including that statement 'there is no such thing as absolutes' and he said we all get to determine what is true for ourselves.
And he was winding himself into a knot, he made many different points but all of them when expanded made little to no sense compared to what we observe in this world and the whole time he made continual truth claims then had to back track and say they were only true for him.
The conversation went in many circles, every time I would talk about God's judgement and our sin he would deny the truth of it and say he just wanted to do what he wanted, didn't want to submit to anyone, especially not God and wanted to do whatever he liked.
Even though he had a gaping hole in his belief he was fervently arguing.
We discussed the believability of the Bible and he made some points about how no one believes eye witnesses yet earlier he had said that Julius Caesar existed based on eye witness account.
Then we discussed authorial intent, I was able to use a Don Carson analogy, where I asked him does authorial intent matter, he said no it doesn't for a range of reasons, then I replied so you're saying it is utterly important.
He then got frustrated and said no I said it doesn't matter, to which I replied again, so you're saying it has the highest importance.
I then said, see how you are getting frustrated with me 'misunderstanding' what you are saying, that proves to us both that what you mean when you say or write something matters.
But he did not want to submit to that and was adamant it didn't matter.
After talking about the salvation offered only in Jesus Christ three times he was fed up with the fact that I was so unintelligent that he told me he had to leave.
It was a sad conversation, even though I poked many holes in his worldview by the truth in the Bible and the truth only inherent from God, he did not want to submit to God's Lordship.
Please be praying for these three and all the others whom we interacted with, whether by our presence, the preaching of the Gospel, the tracts, the conversations or any reading of signs that all who had some influence will not be able to sleep tonight before they consider eternity, that they will not be able to rest before that are right with God.
Please pray for the softening of hearts of the many whom we have or will speak to and that the Gospel will penetrate deep and that God may be glorified through their salvation.
Please pray for the team as they go home that they will diligently seek God, committing the day to Him and further seeking Christ and knowledge of God, being more in love and better equipped for representing Christ tomorrow.
Soli Deo Gloria!