The last couple of weeks in Hobart mall have been a mix of enjoyable events and difficult events. We have been praying that all of them would be to God’s glory regardless of how it may feel going through it.
There has continued to be a lot of interest in all aspects of the outreach and we have seen Bibles and tracts going out and people gathering when we have preached. There has also been the wonderful blessing of other preachers coming to join Karl and I in preaching the Gospel!
Danny has been visiting from time to time and praying for us for many months but has recently begun preaching in the mall. It has been wonderful to have his very friendly and inviting yet firmly Biblical style added to the team’s voice in outreach. Ryan and Bec Hemelaar also visited this last week from Brisbane and kindly sacrificed some of their holiday time to join us in outreach. Ryan’s preaching took me down memory lane to my times in Brisbane Mall, and I am sure took many in our mall to the cross to see their need and God’s great love.
One of the blessings of preaching is the conversations that are generated afterwards. These last weeks we have seen this again and again. There have been steady stream of Christians coming and encouraging both me and others in the team to continue in the work.
Also, there have been many opportunities to witness to non-Christian people who come to talk. With the big media focus currently on SSM, there has been many opportunities to affirm God’s love for homosexuals and His call for them to repent and trust in Jesus. Praise God He is drawing some to listen, may the Holy Spirit soften their hearts and turn them to trust in Jesus.
Whenever the Lord brings opportunities to witness you may be sure that opposition will spring up to counter the Gospel. Not all opposition is persecution but there is a point were opposition tips over into persecution. Lately I have had plenty of cause to wonder if that point is getting reached in Hobart’s Elizabeth Street Mall.
Over the last couple of months my Church, the outreach team and I have all faced severe opposition. This has taken the form of legal action, foul mouthed protesters, slander, food thrown at us, two assaults, and once the theft of our things. When these things happen, it can be quite intimidating, occasionally it will hurt and often will make you angry at the injustice of it. But as Christians we are not to be guided by our emotions, rather we are to be guided by scripture.
So how should we respond to intense opposition and even violent opposition? There has been much ink spilt on this topic by others wiser than I, so I will keep my comments brief.
Regardless of what comes, we do not lose heart, for the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through His grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Weather in life or in death, in abundance or affliction matters not, only let God be seen and glorified is our cry!
Today in Elizabeth Street Mall I encountered a first. A counter protest against my preaching! While it was organised by others Mr S. was front and centre as the cheerleader for the “Yes” campainers. This was a fantastic opportunity but was also very stressful.
The day began with a group SSM advocates with signs standing and sitting in front of me. I began to preach from John 3:16-17 and expained that God showed His great love for all people. Again and again I emphasised the lostness and brokenness of people everywhere. The invitation to repentance and faith in Jesus comes if you are gay or straight, rich or poor, employed or not, famous or anonymous. I was able to begin with a clear presentation of the gospel a number of times over. Towards the end of this someone began to ask questions about SSM and over the course of the hour the question came thick and fast from all quarters. During this time Mr S. alternated between vitriolic rants and wandering through the crowd encouraging the counter protesters and spreading lies about my integrity, my motivations and my methods. Many of the interactions were cordial and I am very thankful to the folk who were able to speak reasonably. I am also thankful to the Tasmanian police who were standing nearby and to the SSM protesters that things did not get out of hand as they have at other counter protests by “Yes” advocates.
At the end of the first hour of the afternoon and there was lull and I was able to preach the gospel again. It is wonderful that so many people had gathered to hear what was happening. So many people who are currently opposed to Christian doctrine sitting or standing to hear the gospel of salvation by faith proclaimed!
After this we took a one hour break, during this time a quite a number of people came to show their support for what we were doing. Mr S. had booked this hour and so we left him to advocate for his position, which he was doing loudly as I moved away.
In the second hour of the afternoon there were less counter protesters and I could preach the gospel for quite some time before the questions and heckling took over. I spoke from Luke’s account of Jesus’s crucifixion and the way that Jesus’s death shows us our sin deserves from God and the determination of Jesus to save people from that judgment. There were a moderate number of people listening as I preached and but after a period of heckling and ranting there was a large crowd gathered. The heckling came mostly from Mr S. but also one or two others in the crowd.
Mr S. has a habit of trying to paint me as a moral evil in Hobart and brings up my many mistakes to achieve this end. I don’t mind this at all, I preach that I am a saved needy sinner pointing unsaved needy sinners the way to life. I am not a perfect man and have failed in many ways, I will continue to fail in many ways. This is the Christian life, we do wrong and sin still after we come to faith in Jesus. The essence of the Christian response to this is to hate the sin, confess the sin, and seek the saviour in faith that He will save us.
This by the grace of God has been my path for the last 30 years and by His grace will be my path until my death. God’s love in Jesus Christ covers my sin and I can come boldly to my heavenly Father knowing He loves me. This is God’s work not mine, I cannot earn His love, He sought me and bought me with His blood when I was His enemy! This great gospel I was able to preach another couple of times before closing for the afternoon.
Praise God for His faithfulness in trials!
It has been a challenging and blessed time for us down here in Hobart. The Gospel is going forth and it is a wonderful time to be a Christian in Australia. Due to the debate around marriage there has been many opportunities for outreach on the street and Christians often tell me that they have been able to speak of the Lord to many recently. As my pastor recently preached; “There has never been a better time to be a Christian”! Let me encourage you to use this time to share the great love of God for sinners through Jesus Christ. Let your love for them shine in the dark times that have come upon our nation, that many would give glory to God because of you.
There have been people asking how things are progressing with the legal case against us. In short, the answer is, slowly! The anti-discrimination case has been referred to the Supreme Court of Tasmania for a review of the case. This essentially is challenging the legality of the actions taken against us and asking a higher court to decide if the law is just and constitutional in its application and wording. The case is not likely to be heard until the beginning of November, I will give further updates on the case as time goes on.
Mr S. our accuser and regular heckler has been also engaging with the media over the last couple of weeks. Some of the more interesting comments that he has made include words to the effect: “I am not personally offended by what they (David and Campbell) have done” and “I have never wanted to see anyone fined or prevent them from expressing their views in Church. But honestly, there should be limits on what is said there too…”. When asked in an interview if he thought Christians should keep their views in church he says that Christian convictions (on marriage for example) if expressed publicly would lead to a breach of the peace!
Mr S. has revealed himself to be an enemy of freedom of speech and religion regardless of his claims that he is doing this to help others. I believe all people of faith need to sit up and pay attention to his words. Mr S. clearly wants to prevent people expressing their religious convictions publicly, this is a major problem and very real threat to freedom of speech and religion. Furthermore, Mr S. believes that when he disagrees with the content he should be able to place limits on what is said in Churches (and by extension Mosques, Synagogues and Temples). This desire to gag free speech and religion is founded in Mr S.’s radical opposition to Christian doctrine and not in personal offence.
We are called to rejoice when we are targeted for persecution like this! It is a wonderful thing indeed to have Christ so live in us that others would see Him there and be compelled to respond! Oh, that His name would be glorified in our life and death! That He, our great reward and treasure in heaven would be seen to be worth more than our all our earthly comforts!
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” [Mat 5:10-12 ESV]
Please pray for Mr S. and the many like him in our city, appeal to God on their behalf and plead for mercy and salvation for them.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” [Mat 5: 43-45 ESV]
While out in the mall on Tuesday I had a wonderful conversation that encouraged me and gave me cause to pray and praise God. Previously I have had a young man Mr F. drop by when I am preaching and to the bible table. His arguments have always been cheerfully presented and well-reasoned. In our debates, he and I have always walked away on good terms.
After I finished preaching on Tuesday Mr F. came up with a small group of friends and asked me if I remembered our last discussion? He said he had been thinking about it and wanted to talk more. After prodding my brain into action and a couple of reminders from Mr F.
I remembered our discussion on the nature and origin of ethics. He had been thinking and wanted to more clearly present his view of the way empathy as a precursor of ethics had arisen. What a privilege! To be able to discuss spiritual things in a friendly way with someone who is prepared to work hard at not only seeking to be understood but also to understand.
We had a great chat and I was a couple of points direct the conversation to the gospel need of all people because we fail to be ethical. Mr F. did an excellent job of teasing out with me some of the implications for ethics based in evolutionary assumptions, some of the possible arguments for and against an evolutionary or divine origin for ethics. In the end, we both had to stop talking as the day was so cold and we went our separate ways with a promise to talk more another time.
Please pray for Mr F., not only that he will come again to discuss but that he will be impacted by the fingerprints of God evident in ethics and all areas of life. May the Lord save him and bless him in Jesus our Lord!
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' 43 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 44 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”45 Mat 5:43-45 ESV
Our work in Hobart continues amid ongoing slander and attempts to gag us. It is also amid much encouragement and joy in the faces and voices of Christians who continue to love and pray despite the hatred.
Mr S. is still hard at work to stop the preaching of the gospel if he can. None the less we will continue to share the message of salvation through repentance from sin and faith in Jesus. We will continue to pray for Mr S. and the rest of the lost in Hobart. And we will continue to trust that God will glorify His name in this land.
When Mr S. has his pro-same sex marriage stall up, we gather to pray for his salvation for at least a brief period. We also appeal to God for the many other concerns for friends, in our churches, in our country, and world. We praise the eternal God who controls all things and works all things to His purposes and glory.
There are some who support Mr S. and are opposed to our work and the preaching of the Gospel in the Mall. As Christians, we should never be surprised to see opposition to Gospel work, it was promised by our Lord. But we should always return praise and thanks to our God when He brings much needed encouragements. And God is faithful amid difficulty, encouraging us both in the mall and through messages online. There has been an outpouring of support for the team in the mall, and for my pastor Campbell and I. Frequently these encouragements have come at exactly the right time to counter the negative responses and raise our spirits for the fight once more. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have voiced your support and encouraged us to keep preaching the gospel and fight the Anti-discrimination charges. We have been and we will.
These last couple of weeks have provided many opportunities to share the gospel, in the mall, on the streets, and in conversations. I have been blessed with more people than normal for this time of year coming to talk at the Bible table and stopping to chat after the preaching. I’ve been blessed to speak of our Lord to journalists and on radio, I am humbled that our Lord is willing to use me in this. Praise His name that the Gospel goes forth no matter what!
There are two particularly great conversations that I’ve been part of recently:
Mr S. (not the heckler) – He stopped to chat after I handed him an “Are You A Good Person” tract. We started with the idea of heaven and God, are they real and is it reasonable to believe in them? Mr S. is an atheist/agnostic and so I could appeal to the science that points us to the presence of God and the history that shows He has spoken to us. We then discussed and debated for some time about various theological issues. It was a friendly debate and I was able to share the Gospel repeatedly during it. Mr S. and I parted with smiles and handshakes. A week or so after Mr S. came to the bible table and we had a great conversation again, this time talking around other questions he had and getting to know each other. I encouraged him to come again and talk any time and I hope he does. Praise God for opportunities to share with others the great hope we have in Christ. Please pray that Mr S. will come again and we can talk more of Christ.
Ms E. Ms T. and Ms P. – These three young ladies were sitting at the tree next to Speakers Corner whilst I was preaching and I approached them afterwards. They began by saying that they disagreed with most of what I was preaching. So, I asked them why it was that they disagreed. This developed into a very long discussion of the Gospel and Christian ethics. I was able to share some of the supports for the Gospel they’d heard me preach and reasons we should believe in Jesus. There were times they obviously disliked what they heard from me, especially around same sex marriage issues. But the discussion remained friendly and we parted on good terms. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to talk with them again. Please pray that God would soften their hearts and mercifully draw them to Jesus Christ.
There has consistently been people sitting in the cold to listen to the preaching at this time also. Something that is very uncommon in the cold Hobart winter weather. Praise God that He gathers people to hear the way of salvation, may many be drawn to Jesus Christ and put their faith in Him.
There are many challenges in the Christian life, many ways we trip and fall, many ways we confront suffering and pain, many opponents, and many uncertainties. In all these things, we are comforted that Christ goes with us in it all. More than that, Christ conquers all these challenges through us and makes us more than conquerors in Him.
This last two weeks have been quite a challenge for both my church and I. My regular heckler Mr S. has leveled a complaint against my pastor Campbell Markham and I under the Anti-Discrimination act here in Hobart. The complaint whilst long and convoluted is clear on one thing, the issue at hand is primarily the content of the Christian faith. Christian convictions regarding morality, the gospel, the sanctity of life, and the reality of God’s coming judgment are all under attack. Australia’s usual “holy cows” have been used in this complaint; homosexuality (and SSM), abortion, Islam, and the big one “offence”. It appears that a public Christian response to these is not only forbidden in the eyes of progressive ideologues like Mr S. but also in the eyes of the law (ala the Anti-Discrimination Act).
My Pastor has been targeted for writing letters to the editor and reproducing them as blog posts. The “offensiveness” of his comments is the excuse used to attack his reasoned, gentle, clear, and biblical response to homosexual campaigns in our state and nation. I must wonder what comes next if “offensive” church blogs and newspaper articles are open to legal action. Are we going to have people monitoring the content of pastors’ sermons and submitting them for assessment under the Anti-Discrimination Act?
Before you laugh at the ridiculousness of that thought you need to be aware that part of the complaint against me comes from a sermon I preached at a local church!
I will not weary you with the large list of my apparent legal misdemeanors. Suffice to say that apparently, I can and have breached the law with almost everything I’ve done in Christian evangelism for the last 4-5 years. Obviously, I reject the accusation that I and the team of Christians with me are hatefully bigoted against others who don’t share our views. Our team has worked hard (and sometimes failed) at keeping the balance needed between gracious and gentle proclamation and the clear need to present God’s unflinching opposition to all forms of sin. Over the years we have had a long string of people come to us and apologise for their opposition as they can see that we love the people of Hobart and act from that love. Many of these people are not Christian and some radically disagree with Christian doctrine, yet they can see that Christian street preaching is motivated not by bigotry and hate but rather by loving concern.
Where to then from here? The first port of call in this for all Christians should be prayer. We must praise and glorify God for His goodness in all this, even in challenging times we can trust His wisdom and exult in His Holiness. We need to ask that this will lead to an expansion of God’s kingdom and a deepening love for His ways in Christians. We need to confess our sin and ask for Christ Jesus’ mercy, no Christian is perfect and I am worse than most. We need to ask our loving heavenly Father to give us what we need for today, that we could live and glorify Him in how we live. We need to plead for forgiveness for our enemies, please don’t stop praying for Mr S.. Lastly, we should to call out to God for Him to act on our behalf and fight the spiritual war that this complaint is as small expression of.
Second thing we should be doing is to let this motivate us to Christian witness. Look at what is happening here as a warning brothers and sisters, opportunities to witness are lessening in our nation. Use the opportunities you have now to speak to others about Jesus. Needless to say, this complaint will not stop the team and I from publicly sharing the glorious gospel news here in Hobart.
Thirdly, as Christians I believe we have a responsibility to stand up to this opposition. What does that look like? Firstly, it involves preaching the gospel! Also, though it involves making this issue as public as you can, this sort of thing breeds in the dark. Bring it out into the light. Write respectful but urgent emails to your local, state and national representatives, make them aware of this and your concerns.
Lastly, we should trust God has all this in hand and it will end up glorifying His name and being for the good of His people. We can trust Him!
It has been a cold couple of weeks here in Hobart and it is sometimes hard to go out into the mall and do outreach. Praise God that when we are weak He is strong and supplies all that we lack! In spite of the cold it has also been a wonderful time here in Hobart with many fantastic opportunities to share the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over the last couple of weeks Mr S. our regular heckler has taken to setting up a pro-homosexual marriage table in speaker’s corner. This means that during the hour that he is set up we need to go to other areas. This has been a blessing rather than the irritation I suspect that he intended it to be. It has meant that we have spent much more time in prayer and many more tracts have gone out into the city, as tracting is restricted at speaker’s corner.
The other blessing is that this has been a prompt for us to pray more frequently for Mr S.’s salvation. He is a young man who is blindly committed to atheism in the face of many evidences and has been heavily involved in the occult for many years (he even has the tattoos to prove it). He desperately needs salvation as do so many in this sinful city. Please be in prayer for Mr S., that God would soften his heart and show him the greatness of his sin and the even greater love of Jesus. And if you are reading this Mr S., please be sure of our ongoing prayers and hope for your inclusion in God’s family.
Preaching went well today but was a little quiet as always is the case in winter here in Hobart. At one point a small crowd gathered as I spoke with a man and I could share the gospel with those gathered.
On the other hand there has been a flurry of interest in the bible table today, with most of my bibles taken in the first 2 hours. Also we had a couple of enquirers wanting to talk about theological issues. Both enquirers were utterly committed to anti-biblical positions, one of them parading as biblical.
Firstly was a man from the local hyper-charismatic church, they teach that there is no salvation possible without first baptism and then second speaking in tongues. We have spoken before and today was in many ways no different from previously. I opened scripture to show how their teaching contradicts scripture, and he refused to see what I sought to share. The only difference was a tragic one. Previously people from this church have sought to prevent me from sharing the gospel only by distraction. Today though I was told not to preach the bible message the way I do as it includes parts of scripture that are for Christians only and should never be preached outside a church. This man also told me that I am wrong to tell people to repent and believe only as they must also be baptized and speak in tongues.
These two issues stem from the same root, which is the legalistic rejection of God’s grace. This is a deadly error that the Apostle Paul wrote against in the book of Galations, salvation is all of grace or it condemns us outright. We destroy the gospel and make it very bad news indeed if we say like the legalists of Galatia that we must keep certain laws or do certain things (in this case baptism and supernatural languages) in order to be saved. If we seek to be right with God through law keeping we are bound to keep ALL the law, and none of us do that. Please pray that God will remove the deception that these folks are under and lead them into a relationship with Him of grace. Please also pray for us that we will be kept from this same error of law keeping, we are all bent in the direction of this sin and it is only by God’s grace that we stand.
The second enquirer was a man who believed that the word of God was corrupted and a mish-mash of myth and legend. Yet despite this he appeared quite confident in being able to tell what was true and false in the “mix”. It is the first time I have ever been told that the Cross is a two-dimensional version of the Qiblah in mecca (think folding paper to form a cube…) and that the Davidic star of the Jews links into Revelation chapter 3 and the “synagogue of Satan” in Philadelphia.
Apparently two thousand years after the fact it is crystal clear that the whole bible is cobbled together from previous myths (including Mythras who came after the writing of scripture). Not only that but this man was also certain that Christianity was a hoax and a means of controlling us and keeping certain people in power. I was able to share some reasons to believe the bible is what it claims to be (the divine inerrant word of God) and unfortunately, he was unwilling to listen to much more than that. Please pray that God will open this man's eyes to the truth and bless him with salvation.
Praise God for the many and varied opportunities that He brings us each day!
Even though we are apparently having an extended Autumn in the south of Australia it still feels cold in Hobart to me as an “ex-pat” Brisbane boy. That said God blesses us with beautiful wind streaked skies and amazing sunsets and rises over our picturesque river city. More than that He blesses us with the opportunity to share the gospel.
We spent a fair amount of time at the bible table chatting with people as they came. Things are quieter now that the cold months are here but there is still a steady stream of bibles and literature going out every week. Several Christians dropped by to chat also and they were encouraged to hear about the Dark Mofo festival outreach.
I preached once in the afternoon as there was someone else who wanted to use speakers corner. I preached about the revealing nature of our words and actions. The recent Dark Mofo festival had featured several quite dark, disturbing and plain gross “art” installations. I used this to point to the darkness that is present in the hearts of the organizers and the artists. From this I pointed out that we cannot point fingers at others though as we each have darkness and sin in our own hearts. I urged the people to hear what God says about our sin and rebellion and flee to the savior Jesus Christ.
There were a few people who stopped to listen as I preached. Karl had a conversation with a young guy who has cancer and is struggling with the recent loss of a friend. He said that the preaching really spoke to where he was.
Just as I was wrapping up a young lady Miss C. came and spoke to me about homosexuality. She was very friendly and open to hear what Christians and particularly the bible says on the treatment of homosexuals. We had a good chat and I underlined the responsibility of Christians to treat people with love and respect. I also clarified that love and respect do not equate with agreement and facilitation. Christians love and respect others but will never agree with or seek to facilitate sinful aspects of their lives. This applies to homosexuals and heterosexuals, sexual sin and all other forms of sin. Miss C. understood and appeared happy with what I’d told her. We also chatted about the bible and particularly what it says about Jesus. I encouraged her to read the new testament asking the question “Who is this man?”. Please pray for Miss C. that God would encounter her and bring her to faith in Jesus Christ.
The someone else who wanted to use speakers corner was Mr S. my regular heckler. He set up his atheist’s equivalent of a bible table and spent an hour talking to the couple of people who came to his table. Unsurprisingly I recognized a few of my past hecklers amongst his visitors. Much to the apparent upset of Mr S., Karl and I wandered up the mall and handed out tracts for the hour.
As the day of outreach ended we prayed together and asked our sovereign Lord to save the sinful and dark hearts of the people of Hobart.
Praise God for another glorious day in His service.
(Picture: PAUL FLEMING on Twitter (@lovethywalrus))
After a very busy couple of weeks in April things have quieted down a fair amount this week. Snow falling on the mountain and a chilling wind tends to keep people walking when they are in the mall. Despite this cold there was a number of appointments God arranged for today.
The first of these was with a group of friendly young Mormon men who have been witnessing in Hobart lately. We chatted briefly only today as they were doing outreach in speaker’s corner, it was good to continue building rapport with them. They have stopped to listen to me preach a few times and we have talked for quite some time. We have had good conversations about the similarities and differences between Christianity and Mormonism.
One conversation was about the role of good works in Christian and Mormon lives. The Mormon doctrine regarding good works is that it is essential for salvation as opposed to Christian doctrine which teaches the worth of good works but that they are only an evidence of salvation. As Ephesians chapter 2 states, we are saved by faith and not by works so that no-one can boast. This is a major difference between these two faiths and very clearly underlines the difference between the Bible and what Joseph Smith taught in the Mormon Scriptures. We talked for quite some time on this issue and I encouraged them to consider what God has said in scripture about the role of good works. I hope that we will have a chance to talk about these things again.
I spent some time handing out tracts with Tim and Penny and a moderate number went out. I am always pleased to see people take tracts because you never know where they’ll end up. I’ve met people who say to me that they have one of the tracts I hand out that a friend had floating around their house and they read and kept. I’ve heard people talk about Million Dollar Question tracts that they have pinned to their wall. And I know of at least one cleaner who heard the gospel through a discarded tract that caught their eye one day at work. You never know how God will use them.
Karl and I preached through the week. I am delighted to see my brother becoming more bold in his proclamation of God's glorious word and its always good to see him show up the emptiness of the world's wisdom (he studied philosophy whilst at university). On Tuesday I preached on Genesis 1-3 and then the 1st Psalm, I tried to keep to the passage and apply this to lives of the people of Hobart. It never ceases to amaze me, just how relevant even the smallest section of scripture is to life in any age. The realities of brokenness and sin alongside the beauty and nobility of our world is explained by God’s word with a clarity that is not found anywhere else.
Likewise, there is insight into our personal lives, why there is such beauty and such ugliness in the soul of mankind. While both passages do not explicitly mention the saviour they both point forward to Him with eager longing. My preaching urges people to look to Jesus in faith and trust in Him only. This is the only solution to the brokenness of our souls. The only answer to our accusing consciences. This is the only hope for sinful people living in a sin scarred world. Only salvation through Him, only cleansing by Him, only a good relationship with God through Him.
After preaching this week there were a good number of conversations. Firstly was a young lady who was very interested in the literature we had on same sex marriage on the Bible table. At first she avoided conversation but then asked "Will God send me to hell because I'm gay?". She was quite tentative and shy in her approach and so I spoke with her gently for some time about the holiness of God and how all of us fall short of His glory, not just homosexual people. I also shared the great love Jesus has for her and all people regardless of their sins. She listened to the gospel message and then walked away thoughtful. I pray that God would soften her heart and bring her to faith in Jesus.
Karl also had a fantastic conversation with a Muslim, Mr A. who was very eager for further conversation and promised to come back next week to talk more. There was much discussion of who Jesus is and why He came and what he taught. I hope that we can reach out to him again in the near future.
Just as we were packing up on Friday a group of young ladies and a guy stopped and again engaged with our same sex marriage material. In marked contrast to the young lady previous they were very aggressively anti-Christian in their stance and arguments. Numerous times through the discussion I noted that there was no reasons for their thoughts given, only slogans that could easily have been lifted straight from the newspapers or internet. We discussed why Christians disagree with same sex marriage and say homosexuality is a sin. Karl and I both tried to show the balance of love and judgment that God's word responds to these issues. Tragically they left spouting yet another slogan, "You should try to be more open to love..." . May God work in their hearts to show the bankruptcy of the homosexual life and the great love God has shown through Jesus. May they turn to Him from this broken lifestyle.
God continues to work through my work here in Hobart. Praise His name for that.
It has been a busy fortnight here in Hobart, many people have been coming to listen to the preaching and there have been extensive debates on numerous issues. It has been wonderful to see the gospel preached to the large crowds but there have also been some very challenging moments also. Many bibles have gone out from the table and good conversations had whilst the preaching is going on.
Some of the issues raised are predictable and have been well answered by wise Christians in the past, some of these were:
If God is all powerful, can He make an object so heavy He cannot lift it? (answer: God can do all things consistent with His character and His character is not logically absurd)
The burden of proof in this argument is all on you as a Christian – prove God is real (answer: Christians have a burden of proof to bear and there is huge amounts of evidence for God's existence. Atheists on the other hand have an impossible burden to bear – to prove God does not exist means you must know all things and all time!)
If God is real then why is there so much suffering in the world (and variations of that thought)? (answer: there are many options to answer this, two options in summary: God provides us with the grounds of good and evil, if He is absent what do you base your protest of evil on? God made this world good and the evil we see came into it by our wrong doing, one day He will redeem the world.)
Why do you do this? (answer: Because I care about you and want you to have the great blessing that could be yours in Jesus Christ)
Some of the questions though have been very modern and very topical today and form part of the secular class of “untouchables”. Issues that no one is allowed to question the status quo on, you simply need to shut up and agree apparently.
I'm gay, what does God think of me? (answer: God has shown His great love for you and me both by sending Jesus to die for sin on the cross. We both deserve judgment and hell for our rejection of God and wrong doing but you and I both can be made God's precious children if we turn from sin and humbly trust in Jesus)
What does God think of abortion? (answer: All life is given by God and children are precious in His sight. To perform an abortion is to kill a human being at an early stage of life and is murder.)
What about other religions? (answer: Jesus said He was the only way to God and no-one would come to the Father any other way. He made an exclusive claim and proved His authority by miracles, prophecy and resurrection.)
For most days it has been wonderful to preach as I was given the opportunity to share the gospel liberally when engaging with people. It was good to keep coming back to the centrality of the gospel and Jesus Christ. Arguments are good to a point but the reason for doing this is to draw people to Christ, praise God He gave the opportunity!
Soli Deo Gloria