Saturday, 12th December 2009
The shrill blast of a whistle drew the attention of not just Louise and I, but of everyone in King George Square. As we looked for where the whistle was coming from a new noise reached our ears, this time it was the deep rhythmic beat of a drum. Still the multitudes of people in the square were none the wiser as to where the noise had originated. Then a new sound was added to the din, this time it was the cry of a female voice calling out “EVERYONE SAMBA!” Then as if on cue the drums beat louder and the whistle blasted again. This time those looking saw a dance troupe start walking from in front of City Hall to a more central location within King George Square.
By now people in the Queen Street Mall, King George Square and the surrounding streets were coming to see what the commotion was all about. The crowd continued to build as the music beat on and as those in the crowd began to dance even more people stopped to join in. Young and old stood in the square and began dancing along with the bikini clad leader. Photos were taken and ultimately it seemed like people were having a good time. As the crowd grew so did the danger, for the crowd had gotten to the point where they were spilling out onto one of Brisbane’s busiest inner-city roads.
As I watched the events unfolding before me, I thought it would be good to tract the crowd when the show had finished. Turning to my pack I began to get out all my Christmas tracts, as I thought these would work best, since the square was all lit up for the festive season. The only problem was that I was massively outnumbered. In no way could I manage to get tracts to the majority of the crowd. As I thought about this problem, a solution appeared. Crossing King George at this point was Ryan and Alex (not the atheist). Quickly I hurried up to them and gave them each a pack of Christmas tracts and then explained how we would reach the crowd when they dispersed. We were fully expecting the music to come to a stop then people would leave, but to our utter amazement this was not the case. With music still being played the crowd began to walk with the dancing troupe. Quickly we spread ourselves out and began to hand out tracts. It was very easy to get tracts in the hands of the crowd, all we said was “Merry Christmas” and offered them our literature. Within a short space of time nearly 300 Christmas tracts were handed out and then began the one to one conversations.
As normal Ryan had no difficulties in getting into a witnessing encounter, he seems to attract people who wish to talk. As the group surrounded him to discuss Christianity I continued to hand out tracts. Then it came my turn for a conversation.
A young man took a tract then came back a few seconds later and said, “Aren’t you one of the preachers from Queen Street?” I replied in the affirmative and from there a conversation began. He stated that he admired the work we did, even though he disagreed with us in certain areas. The discussion then focused on the areas of disagreement and it was then that he made the statement that on that particular day he had de-converted from Christianity and embraced Judaism. That was something I had to explore further, so I began by asking him if he accepted the New Testament as truth, he replied saying he believed it to be holy and from God. I pointed out to him that as a Jew, he could not accept the New Testament as truth and yet hold onto the Judaic understanding of salvation, for the Bible indicates that Jesus is the Messiah, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Then this man said something strange, he said “I believe that!”
I had not expected this reply from a man who had just de-converted, so I took him to the book of Galatians to show him that if someone has truly turned from their sins and trusted that it is by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that they are saved, then it is foolishness and a curse to put themselves back under the law. It was at this point that the man said, “I have been told not to debate Scripture”. I asked who told him this, and again I did not expect this reply, he said, “The angels and the visions told me not to debate Scripture, they all told me to leave Christianity and become a Jew.” Since, I was in Galatians already I showed him that if any angel preached something other than the Christian gospel, then that angel is damned. For the next 20 or 30 minutes we went back and forth over the biblical gospel. In the end the man seemed to be getting a little frustrated with the fact that I kept God as Sovereign and that the Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice for the Christian.
The man maintained his position on having visions and angels telling him what to do, he also made the claim that he alone possessed a secret knowledge of God. These were all easily countered via the Scripture. Then he made this statement, “I am humble before God, but I must put myself on a pedestal for a time, since the world must know that I am the chosen one!” To which I replied, “I’m sorry, but you have a Messiah complex, the only Chosen One is Christ Jesus, you can’t take His position.” At this the man huffed and walked away.
It was now nearing 2030hrs, so we came together for a time of prayer and bible reading. The night had already been great for evangelism, but it was shaping up to be an interesting night.
As we entered the mall to set up for the night, I got to encounter our second strange person for the night. This man who claimed to be an artist came to me and began to argue that I didn’t know the Bible. The interesting thing was at this stage I hadn’t even used my Bible in the mall. He told me to read a passage of Scripture, so I turned to Colossians 1 and began to read. As the man heard about Christ being the Creator of all, he began to get angry and started to yell at me to stop reading. I refused and kept reading the Scripture. The man then screamed, “IN JESUS NAME I ORDER YOU TO STOP!” Yet, I continued. The man turned and walked away, only to return a few moments later. He came back and said, “Jesus did not create all things on earth, he made the angels and they made things. That was the job of Lucifer.” Again, I opened my Bible and began to read from Colossians 1, which shows that Christ is the Creator of all things, including the angels. Again, the man went nuts at the reading of the Scripture. He then told me that God was speaking though him and that I was to read Matthew 24. I turned there and asked, “Where should I start reading?” The man gave me a verse then said, “That is what God would say to you!” I agreed that God speaks through his word, but that is not the same as God speaking through him. The man then made some really non-sense arguments. But, it kept coming back to the fact, that he did not believe Christ was God, nor was He the Creator. I pointed to the tree standing in the mall, and said, “That there is proof of the Creator God.” The man disagreed and said, “God created himself! The earth created the tree!” I asked him, “How could God create Himself? The mere fact He can create shows that He must be pre-existent”. The man had no reply. I pushed him on if the tree was created by God, the man said, “No, the earth made the tree, God made everything!” I pointed at the tree and said, “Is that apart of everything?” The man nodded, I continued, “So, God must have made that tree, since God made everything?”
At this the man launched into a demonic tongue and began to pronounce curses upon us. He denied that Jesus was come in the flesh and that God was not eternal. I rebuked him from the Scripture, stating that he had the spirit of antichrist and was an enemy of God. The man walked off, but hung around all night. Constantly being a harassment to the team. This behaviour even resulted in Wayne the Agnostic to comment on how the night seemed to be more strange than usual.
Since we were light on preachers tonight, we decided to let Alex (not the atheist) preach first. It was his first time up, so we thought it best to let him have a go, before the crowd got too hostile. He did a great job of preaching. His voice was clear and even, and when the hecklers arose he did a splendid job of countering their objections in both a biblical and logical manner. Towards the end of his open air a couple of hecklers opened up fairly hard on him, and at one point it looked like he may lose control of the crowd, so I tagged in and took over.
The question that was presented by one of the hecklers was the issue of the Bible and the perceived inconsistency within local churches. He maintained that the Bible ordered all women to cover their heads in church, yet no one does it. So I read him the Scripture and was able to counter his argument. This then spawned into a women debate, the agnostics claimed that Christianity suppress women and order them to be silent in the church. I argued that the Scripture teaches that men and women are equal, however, within this equality there is different roles. I then showed him from the Bible how a female is not allowed to preach / teach in the church and how that is a male only function. But, I stressed that it was in no ways declaring a woman lesser than a man. I then swung it back to the gospel and how we are all equal before God as sinners.
For about an hour I debated and reasoned with the crowd. I had heckles from atheists, agnostics, Roman Catholics, Satanists and the like. Each time I would try to answer their questions and preach the gospel. At the end a young Roman Catholic lady came up to me and thanked me for my preaching. Even though she disagreed with what we said, it had made her think. Please pray for her.
Ryan by now was preaching and as the night got later the crowds got bigger and more hostile. While Ryan was preaching within the space of a few minutes there were two fights. The interesting thing was that it centred around one foul mouthed atheist who claimed to have all the answers. First fight erupted when a bunch of Maori got annoyed at him for his “know it all” attitude so they walked up and pushed him in the face. I jumped in and told the group to clear off. It was then that one of them turned on me and said he would punch my face in. I told him to step up and try if he wished, but it wouldn’t look good for him to punch a preacher. The others at this stage dragged him away.
Then a few minutes later an Irishman smacked the atheist once again because of his “know it all” attitude. Like before I was forced to jump between them and this time I cleared the atheist off. He was claiming victory because the preacher couldn’t answer him. I pointed out that the only victory he had was not being seriously injured by some drunk who wanted to punch him out. The man didn’t care and he stayed around for some time. Later on in the night Ryan engaged this man in a one to one and systematically dismantled his arguments.
Finally a young man who had been there all night heckling got moved on by police because of his foul and abusive language. It was turning out to be a rather hostile and strange night. So much for this being the season to be jolly!
At the close of the night, I was approached by a young guy who wanted to talk about the gospel. His friend however did not. He did everything to disrupt the conversation, but I persisted in talking to this one young guy. As I spoke to him you could see him come under conviction and he believed that I was telling the truth. He took an in-depth gospel tract and left. One of the agnostics saw this conversation and he remarked to Louise in a serious tone, “It looks like someone is about to be converted from darkness to Christianity.” I find it interesting that the agnostic knew that those without Christ are in darkness.
This Christmas, are you in darkness or are you in the light? Have you seen the need of the Saviour? Have you realized that your sin is against God? If so, you must repent (turn from your sins) and trust that it is by Jesus dying on the cross and rising again that you can be saved. Would you do that today? Look to Jesus Christ and live.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 5th December 2009
The air was dripping with the sounds of Christmas, everywhere you turned you could see decorations, trees and festive lights. Playing throughout the Queen Street mall, were Christmas songs of every description. It was plain to all those present that the holidays were here. As Louise and I walked towards King George Square we happened to pass under a seasonal walkway with the words “Love, Peace, Hope” written upon on its steal structure. But, how was it, that this city could associate such words with Christmas, yet forget that we cannot know real love, peace or hope apart from the babe that was born some 2000 years ago in a little manager in the little town of Bethlehem. As we neared the square we saw the Brisbane Christmas tree, and all around it were many people taking photos or having their photos taken. The celebration was on, yet many of those who celebrate the birth of Jesus do not realise that the Christ of the cradle is also the Christ of the cross.
The city had changed in the two weeks since I had last been here, in fact I myself found my life had changed for the better. As today was the one week celebration of being joined with the most beautiful lady in the world. Just the week prior I had said my vows and exchanged rings with Louise. Tonight was my first night on the streets witnessing as a married man, and I counted it an honour to have my lovely wife with me. This coming together in marriage had put my weekly routine out, so I must apologise to our readers for not being able to get all the normal weekly reports done. It was said by the atheists that the reason we have not been writing reports is because we have been beaten in recent weeks by them. Let me assure them and also those reading that this is not the case, in no way have we been beaten back by those holding to atheism, in fact by them coming out and debating us, we have found that our faith has deepened, and that we are now more assured of the truth of Christianity when it is compared to the foolishness of the atheistic worldview.
As the outreach began for the night, we found ourselves meeting in our normal location in King George Square. There we spent some time in fellowship, prayer and reading the Bible. It was during this time that we saw our main heckler for the night, for strolling across the square was one with whom we have debated many times before. He walked across the square in his black leather jacket and as he strode with an air of arrogance we knew he was in town for a debate. Upon seeing him I called out “G’day Alex!” This greeting was met by Alex holding up two fingers showing his disdain for us.
It was nearing nine o’clock when we made our way to Queen Street for the evening of preaching. By now the weather had changed slightly and instead of it being dry, we found that a few drops of rain had began to fall. This played havoc with our Bible table, for it is impossible to have a display table with tracts, apologetic booklets and Bibles out if the weather turns bad. Then to top it all off a strong wind began to blow down the mall. This in course blew the literature off our table and into the street. Eventually the rain stopped and we came up with ways of limiting our material from being swept away with the breeze.
Around this time Ryan came up to me and told me that Alex the atheist was in town to debate me. This is something I did not want to do. I did not want to give Alex the attention he so eagerly craved. My mission for the night was to preach the gospel and that is what I intended to do. But of course, we knew that any preacher would have to deal with Alex first. With this in mind I decided that it would be best for Ryan to go first and then Dave. The logic in this was that by putting up our two strongest apologists when it comes to atheism we would hopefully wear Alex down to the point where the gospel would go out all the more freely.
Ryan was the first preacher up and as expected within seconds Alex came in yelling his one word objection. It seems that if Alex yells out his disbelief long enough that must make it fact, since it is rare to see Alex engage with the arguments presented by the preachers. Ryan did a splendid job of countering Alex and refuting his objections. By now a second heckler had arisen, it was our old friend and regular heckler Wayne the agnostic. Wayne is in many ways different to Alex, he is much more reasonable and much nicer when it comes to talking to us. While Alex is of the militant camp, Wayne is more open to discussion and reason.
Sadly I didn’t get to listen to all of Ryan’s apologetics and preaching of the gospel, for I saw that over near the camera was a man who had taken an interest in Louise. So I wandered over to him and I heard that he was voicing his objections to our preaching. It was not so much the content that he disapproved of, but rather it was the manner in which we did it. He believed that we should not be doing street ministry for this kind of outreach causes wars and murder. While that may sound strange, in his country religion had caused war and murder. The man was Irish and his fear was that at any moment the Roman Catholics and the Protestants would start a fight. I assured him that while such things may happen in Ireland, we are yet to see that occur in Australia. But the man couldn’t understand this, his worldview was one of if religion is preached then it will cause violence. I assured him that it was people that caused problems, sinful, unregenerate people who hated God and if those same people killed in the name of religion then they did not know the Christ of Scripture. The Irish man wouldn’t budge, he changed his argument to say that it may not happen in Australia, but since we are preaching not far from two Irish pubs we had better except a war. My reply was one that shocked him and I am afraid may of offended him. I said, “If any Irishman comes to Australia and starts any sort of religious war, then he should get on an aeroplane and go back to where he came from!” The Irishman didn’t like that too much, but my position still held.
By now Wayne had walked over and was kind of listening to the going on. As the Irishman argued that there would be a religious war kicking off soon, Wayne interjected and stated that he believed that if I was pushed far enough I would support the killing of people of different religious opinions be it Roman Catholic or otherwise. I argued that under no circumstances would I ever support the killing of someone who disagreed with me in regards to God. While they may be wrong, as Christian I am told to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute us, under no circumstances am I commanded to kill them. Wayne’s reply was, “It was normal, reasonable human beings that built the gas chambers in World War Two, they killed people.” To which I replied, “You’re right, they were normal sinful, totally depraved sinners who made such things, that is why humans need to come to Christ and become a new creation, then those things would not happen!” Wayne just shook his head and walked away, it was at this stage that the Irishman had lost interest and wandered away.
By now the preachers had changed and David was up engaging Alex and answering objections from the crowd. A good size crowd gathered around to listen as he shared the message of the Gospel. Alex intensified his objections as Dave explained that even though we have sinned against God, in love He sent Christ to die in the place of His elect, so that if we would repent and trust that by Jesus dying, and rising again we could have all our sins forgiven. The hatred for God and the gospel flowed from the mouth of Alex. He objects and tries to make out that as an intellectual the belief in God is not plausible, but in reality it is him suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Alex hates the fact that God exists, that He is ruler and Sovereign over all. He especially hates the cross, for it is at the cross that God bled and died for the sins of His people, and three days later He arose again defeating sin and death. The sinful man hates such things and will object to it, for it shows that he is a sinful human in need of a merciful Saviour.
During Dave’s preaching a drunk man entered the crowd and began to head butt people. It didn’t matter who they were he would just walk up and ram them in the back. They could be atheist, Christian or just a onlooker, they were all targets to this intoxicated man. I stepped in and encouraged him to walk away. This resulted in him head butting my shoulder and then letting out a groan. Somewhere around this time the police were called in to deal with him, and it was then that his friends intervened and took him away before he could be arrested.
Dave finished preaching around 11:30pm, and it was then decided that I should up and preach. Both Alex and Wayne were waiting to heckle. So I stood and began to preach about Christmas, and how we should remember that Christ came to save His people from their sins. By this point Alex had opened up and began to heckle. His arguments were basic at best. He claimed that somewhere along the lines nothing made something and here we are today. I found the best apologetic for this was to simply quote a Julie Andrews song from the Sound of Music, “Nothing came fro
m nothing and nothing ever will!” As Alex tried to prove the unprovable I was more convinced of the stupidity that is atheism. It is true when the Scripture says “professing themselves to be wise they became fools.” No amount of evidence or countering would prove Alex, for his mind is made up and he has hardened his heart. However, God is still Sovereign, He is in control and salvation is all of His sovereign grace. Please continue to pray for Alex, pray that God would grant him the gifts of repentance and faith. But, also pray for Wayne and his son, who quite regularly heckle. Pray that Christ will reveal Himself to them, and that they would repent and trust in Him.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tonight as I prepared for the city I was concerned. Concerned because of the fact that it was party night due to university being finished, and concerned because we had a smaller team. But, our trust is in the Sovereign God, not in how many troops we can field.
Once again, it was good to be joined by our Australian brother who lives in Texas, USA. Andrew Peck came out for the second week in the row, and it was a major blessing to have him on team. He is a great guy who is passionate about the Gospel and the God of the Gospel.
The first preacher up for the night was Andre, he did a marvellous job of expounding the gospel and bring the knowledge of sin. In the time I have known Andre he has developed into a great open air preacher. While he has a long way to go (as we all do) he is turning into a good open air communicator.
After Andre preached it was my turn to take the box. I started off by talking about death and how early in the night a man became angry when hearing about the reality of death. Before long I had a couple of hecklers. One of them was a young man from the UK, who argued that atheism is the way to go, so I engaged him in apologetics and showed that the belief in God is rational and logical. This in turn created more hecklers. I then proceeded to engage them in open air discussion. But the whole time I kept swinging back to the gospel. The arguments were the same old arguments “Who made God?” “What about evolution?” I was able to answer these, but then two men stepped up who both claimed to have theology degrees. One claimed to have studied in Oxford, UK (I think he was breaking the 9th commandment). They wanted to argue Church History and how they believed the Bible to be wrong. I dealt with their non-theological objections, and found out there ‘theology’ came from the Da Vinci Code (Hope that isn’t a course at Oxford).
During this time another man came up to me and began to yell “THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL OF PEACE!” I replied and asked him, “Is not preaching Christ died for sinners a peaceful thing? For it by that action we can have peace with God!” The man ran off, only to return a few minutes later. This time he came back angry and began to scream at me “OPEN THE BIBLE!” Which I found interesting since my Bible was open in my hand. He then demanded I read John 1, I complied since reading the Bible is always a good thing. As I read the first few verses he yelled “THERE! SEE WE ARE GODS!” I asked him how he got that out of those verses, since they are talking about Christ. At this stage he yelled and ran away again. Only to return a few minutes later. This time I went after him for being a wolf, and for trying to deceive people with his demonic doctrines. The man went ballistic and ran off for the third and final time.
After preaching for about 55 minutes, I tagged Ryan in, who continued the discussion. He did a great job in countering their objections and presenting Christ to them. Whenever we went near the topic of Jesus Christ, people would respond in anger. People have a natural hatred for God and they want nothing to do with His plan of salvation.
The night finished with many hearing the gospel and receiving tracts. Praise God for His kindness in allowing us to share such a good message.
Soli Deo Gloria!
As I walked into the city I noticed that many of the walkways were free from pedestrians, and it seemed that there was a hush over Brisbane. There wasn’t many people out partying, nor were there many people out in the restaurants. At first I couldn’t think why this would be, but it soon became clear when I was told that University exams were being held that week.
As we set up for the night, people began to gather around a conversation soon developed. I was approached by two men of middle eastern appearance who started to throw questions at me in regards to “How do I know Christianity is right out of all the religions?” I did a quick apologetic, but they weren’t interested in answers. But, I did however, manage to present the gospel of Christ to them. One of them claimed to be Roman Catholic, so that assured him of favour with God. I replied that no man made religion can get anyone favour with God. He then asked me, “How do I find favour with God?” It was then I was able to talk about how Christ satisfied the wrath of God, and by repentance and faith we can enter into relationship with our Creator. At this stage he had to leave, but did promise to come back later. He took a tract and then left.
By now all the Bible table stuff had been set up, so I stood to preach. I began by talking about how in life, everything is captured in some way, be it CCTV or personal records, but then I swung and spoke about how God captures everything we do, and how He calls us to account. A few young people stopped to heckle, one of them was drunk and drugged out of his skull and one young female was talking in obscene language about sex. I engaged them and presented Christ to them. The beauty of their heckling was that it drew a crowd to hear the gospel.
My preaching lasted for about 40 minutes. After that Blake got up to preach. He did a good job, and then it came time for David Gee to preach. He went for about 30 minutes but then his voice gave way. But not a drama as we had Ryan to finish the night off.
Throughout the night we were able to have many great conversations and hand out many tracts. Also, it was great to see so many people getting witnessed to then have them walk away with a Bible. Please pray that God would grant repentance and faith to all those who heard the good news tonight.
Soli Deo Gloria!
This week Josh was back from his 8 week long outreach in the USA and was happy to be part of the Brisbane outreach again. We met in the newly opened King George Square in the elevated part to read the Bible, to pray and to have fellowship. At 9pm, we walked to Queen St Mall and started setting up the Bible table.
Blake preached first up, and he had a few hecklers ask him questions and he was able to provide responses to them. He faithfully preached the gospel for about half an hour before stepping down.
Then Josh got up to preach. Wayne was delighted to be able to heckle Josh, something he had been missing for the past two months. Josh argued that evolution does lead to racism and Nazism. But Wayne disagreed and said Darwin never talked about different races. So I brought up a picture of the cover of Darwin's Origin of Species on my phone and showed it to Josh. For the book's full title is: "The Origin of Species by means of natural selection on the Preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life". Wayne was completely unaware of the full title.
Wayne then asked Josh, "Do you celebrate Christmas?" Josh said, "Yes". Wayne then pointed out that some other pagan deity as well has their birthday being on the 25th December, and so Wayne concluded that Christians copied from this other religion. So Josh responded by saying that no where in the Bible does it say that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, that day was chosen as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus because it was a day set aside in the Roman world to celebrate a pagan deity. Since Christians did not worship this other god, they instead celebrated the birth of Jesus on that day. Wayne kept trying to insist that it's part of Christian doctrine that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, and tried pointing to the Catholic Catechism. So Josh reminded him that evangelicals do not subscribe to the Catholic Catechism, only the Bible.
After Josh finished preaching, I discussed with Wayne for a little bit and asked him whether he thought that just because there may be similarities between Christianity and another religion, does that make Christianity wrong? He said it did because it means it was copied. So I pointed out that firstly, having similarities with something does not necessarily imply that it was copied. And secondly, that argumentation actually commits the genetic fallacy - which is, dismissing a belief as being wrong because of the origins of that belief. Even if Christianity did have its origins by copying from other religions, it does not mean that the beliefs of Christianity are wrong. He didn't seem to understand that at first and so I gave him a few examples - such as if someone said today: "America will never be at peace, for look at who founded it", then that person would be committing the genetic fallacy. As who founded the nation is irrelevant as to whether America can be at peace at some stage in the future. After giving a few examples, he seemed to understand it.
To God be the glory!
To begin the night off, I got into a conversation with two gentlemen - one a Hindu and the other a Sikh. Firstly, I brought them through some of the 10 Commandments to show them that they aren't good people in the sight of God, in order that I could tell them of the great news of Christ's death on the cross and what that means. I explained the atonement, that Jesus' perfect life and His death on the cross can satisfy God's wrath on our behalf, and so God can declare us righteous in His sight. The guys seemed to like the idea and agreed with it. But so often with people who hold to religions that are popular in the East, they simply add Jesus onto their existing religion. So I explained that Jesus said that He is the only way to Heaven, meaning that every other religion is wrong. They were shocked at this thought, for although they say they believe in Jesus too, it is always that they don't believe in the real Jesus whose life and sayings are recorded in the Bible. They thanked me for the conversations and said they would read the Bible and think about this important matter.
The first preacher up was Blake, he faithfully proclaimed the message of the gospel and some people stopped to listen.
This evening, Wayne (the friendly atheist debater) and his son were in again, ready to do some heckling to support their viewpoint. And so when Andrew got up to preach Wayne and Andrew had a long debate in the open-air over "What is true, Christianity or Atheism?" During this time, a pretty large crowd of people had gathered, and various people asked Andrew all sorts of questions.
Wayne's son didn't have a chance to ask any of the questions during that time that he had been thinking up, so when I preached, he asked away. He asked questions like: 'How can God create a world knowing that people would sin?'. We also had a big discussion on evolution and he was wondering how there are different skin colours. So I explained about genes and also natural selection, how things more suited to their environment will survive and reproduce, and so things adapt to their surroundings. Christians believe in natural selection, just not evolution (animals changing from one kind to another).
To God be the glory for another great night!
At 7:30pm we met in King George Square for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Once the clock struck 9, we walked to Queen St Mall, and started setting up the 'Free Bibles' table. I got up to preach first, and a number of people heckled as I preached the message of reconciliation with God by the death of Jesus, which every person must believe in and repent to be saved. None of the hecklers stayed for a long period of time, however. But other people did stop to listen to the message being preached.
After I got down from the preaching spot, I offered a tract to a man that was walking past eating a burger. Upon hearing that there was a Christian message inside, the man got outraged. He started spitting on me and so I pulled back, hoping that the guy would just move along. Then he started yelling at a whole group of us. A newer team member then went forward and started preaching about the atonement of Jesus. The angry man did not like hearing about Jesus and started spitting on him as well. At this point, Andrew stood on the soap box and tried to engage the man in some sort of discussion. The man wasn't at all keen, and instead was just hurling abuse at Andrew. A few moments later, the angry drunk man decided to throw the burger he was eating in the face of the first person who started preaching at close range. At this point, we called the police and arrived pretty quickly and arrested the man.
But while this was all happening, a massive crowd had gathered and Andrew was able to preach the message of the gospel to them all. Week after week, whatever the devil tries to do to stop the preaching simply results in more people hearing the gospel.
To close the night off, Blake stood on the soap box and faithfully preached the gospel. Just after this, Andrew and I had a conversation with some guys who had been studying philosophy and their studies unfortunately had lead to some of them denying that we can know anything of history. We tried reasoning with them, and made sure we shared the gospel wit them. Please pray that God will convert them.
To God be the glory!
The city was very busy this evening and so I expected that it might be an interesting night. After praying and reading the Bible, we made our way to Queen St Mall at 9pm to begin our evening of witnessing. After the Bible table was set up, Andrew got up to preach. Wayne (one of the friendly atheist debaters) was in again this weekend and started discussing with Andrew in the open air trying to prove his worldview.
A group of people stopped to listen to the discussion taking place. This brought with it more hecklers and a crowd of about 50 people quickly gathered. Most of the hecklers were arguing an atheistic worldview, and so Andrew presented a number of reasons about why the Christian worldview is the true one. He then went on to explain the dire predicament that mankind is in because of their sin, that we don't naturally deserve Heaven, instead we deserve God's punishment in Hell. This then lead onto the proclamation of the news of the cross; Jesus died to pay the punishment for all the sins of those who would repent and trust in Jesus' death alone for their salvation.
At one point, a group of 'Christians' came and started heckling Andrew, saying that people don't need to hear about sin or the atonement. They just said people only need to know that God loves them. Andrew tried reasoning with them from the Scriptures, but they were not interested. They were trying to talk to the non-Christians who were heckling to tell them that they are not sinners. At this point, Andrew called them out and rebuked them. Thankfully, soon after, they left.
There was also a point at which one young girl (possibly drunk) got outraged when Andrew was going through the 10 Commandments with her when she recognised she was a sinner, that she went up to him and rubbed the soft-serve ice-cream that she was eating all over his face. It seems the devil will try anything to stop the Christian gospel getting out, however all that did was simply attract a larger crowd.
After Andrew had been preaching for about an hour and a half with constant large crowds, his voice was beginning to strain, so he tagged me in to preach and I started dealing with the hecklers that were still very vocal. After addressing many of the people's questions and proclaiming the gospel many times, I finished up preaching.
Here are some photos from the night:
To God be the glory!
As I was drawing near to the city, I noticed that there was again lots of dust in the air, similar to what we had just days earlier that was reported on the news. I knew that this would keep a number of people away from the city and so I expected a quiet night. But we had actually rather large team tonight with a few new team members. One of the new members was a guy called Paul Ross. He had written a book on the case against scepticism, and so I knew that he would be great value on the apologetical side of things.
After having a brief witnessing encounter with some people who were at the spot we normally meet at, we prayed, read a bit from the Bible and had great fellowship. At 9pm we made our way to Queen Street Mall and starting set-up the 'Free Bibles' table. The dust was very thick, but it was a little better in Queen Street Mall, but it did certainty make things a bit quieter in the mall.
Blake, Jeremy and I all took turns preaching, however because of the dust, there were no real hecklers and only a small number of people stopped to listen to the message that was being preached.
However, Alex (our regular agnostic heckler friend - although he claims to be an atheist) was in again. He had a rather long conversation with Paul Ross and had to concede a number of points. Alex admitted that he doesn't know for sure that God does not exist, even though he is the leader of the Brisbane Atheist group, and 'atheist' by definition is one who says there is no God. Paul said the conversation was beneficial and he hopes to continue to discuss with him further at a later stage. Please keep Alex in prayer. It's been over two years since we first met him and he has been coming into the city just to heckle us for nearly every week for that entire duration, so he knows the gospel but clearly hates it. Please pray that God will soften his heart and he might come to the knowledge of the truth.
Throughout the night, our larger-than-normal team was faithfully handing out gospel tracts to all those that were passing by and through the tracts, many one2one encounters started. Please pray that God may grow the seeds of the gospel that were planted in people's hearts tonight (1 Cor 3:7).
The only photos we have of tonight were taken right at the end of the night, as Peter Webber, our normal photographer, has been away for the past few weeks. Here they are:
To God be the glory!
PS: If you live nearby or are in the Brisbane area for a week, you are more than welcome to be part of this outreach. We meet in King George Square at 7:30pm for prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Then we head to Queen Street Mall at 9pm and evangelise there till midnight.
When I arrived at the city at 7:30pm, Warren was already at the meeting place. He then handed me two pamphlets that he had been given by some people standing outside of City Hall. I then had a brief read of the tracts and noticed on them that it said, "One must be baptised by full-immersion in order to be saved." So I went up to them and had a conversation with them about this erroneous doctrine of salvation by works. I asked them what Biblical support they have for requiring a person to be baptised to be saved. They tried pointing to Mark 16:16, where it says "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." So I pointed out to them that verses 9-16 are most likely not in the original manuscript of Mark as they are not in the earliest manuscript copies we have today. And secondly, the second part of that verse would indicate baptism is not a requirement: "but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
They then tried pointing to Peter's exhortation on the Day of Pentecost where he said, "Repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38). I reminded them that any doctrine that we believe in shouldn't just be based off a single verse. They agreed with this, and so I asked them what other support do you have to support your idea that one must be baptised to be saved? They didn't have any. So I laid a case from the Bible where it talks time and time again about salvation being only by God's grace through faith and not of works. So even from the outset, since the rest of Scripture disagrees with Acts 2:38, the surface level interpretation of that verse must be incorrect. But if you look at the Greek, you'll find that that verse does not actually indicate salvation by water baptism (this is due to the shift from second person plural when mentioning repentance, to third person singular when mentioning baptism, back to second person plural again when mentioning the forgiveness of sins. Thus indicating that this verse is not saying that baptism is what makes a person have their sins forgiven).
At this point, one of the gentlemen that I was talking to conceded, "Well I don't believe someone needs to be baptised to be saved." But the other person rebutted what he was saying, by saying that it is still required.
They then went on to mention that speaking in tongues is also a requirement for salvation. For they said, that is the fool-proof way we can know someone has the Holy Spirit. So I asked, "Is it not easy to fake tongues? In fact, I know many atheists who have spoke in tongues, but clearly they do not have the Holy Spirit." I then turned to 1 Corinthians 12:30 where it says: "Do all speak with tongues?" - implying the answer no, the Greek makes this abundantly clear (question starts with: μὴ "no").
After talking with them for about an hour and a half, they finally resorted to saying, "I agree our beliefs are not Scriptural, but they are based on our experience and you can have this experience too..." The 'church' holding the rallies was 'The Revival Centre International', it's clearly a cult. So if you ever run into any one from that 'church', witness to them, they need the gospel.
At 9pm we started setting up the Bible table at our usual location in Queen Street Mall. Then Andrew and myself took turns having a preach, and a number of people listened and asked questions.
Reece Freeman also had a turn preaching. He had never done preaching in the open air before and was hesitant to do it at first, but he managed to muster up the courage to do it. He did very well, speaking of the reality of death, the coming judgment, our sin and the news of the cross. He pleaded with people to repent and trust in Christ's death alone for their salvation.
Many one2one conversations were also had this evening by all the members of the team. Often those that don't preach in the open-air don't get a mention in the report, but we have a number of faithful men and women who attend each week to witness to people one-on-one and hand out tracts. In fact, this evening, a father came with his son, Steven, to witness. His son is only twelve years old, and yet was very enthusiastic to hand out tracts throughout the night. He would make sure everyone walking up and down the mall got their hands on the tracts he was handing out. In fact, even by the end of the night when everyone was leaving, he wished he could stay to keep on doing it. Praise God for keenness of this young boy and the faithfulness of all the team members. Thank you each one of you for being part of the team.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!