For nearly two and a-half years we have been witnessing along the waterfront in Redcliffe. In that time, we have seen that the area is gradually becoming harder to Christian things. As I look at this community, I cannot help but wonder if we are in Romans 1 territory with God giving us over to a debased mind (Romans 1:28). Yet, even though I believe we may be under judgement, our job as Believers is still to be a light in the darkness. We need to take the gospel to those who are perishing, so that is exactly what we did today in Redcliffe.
Four of us arrived at 11am, and immediately began to hand out tracts and try to engage people in discussion. While the team members were busy with tract work, I set up the “Free Bible and Literature” table. As I was placing material on the table, a lady stopped and asked for a Bible. She then began to browse the other literature we had. She picked up a copy of “All of Grace” by C.H. Spurgeon, “Ultimate Questions” by John Blanchard, and a booklet on why there is death and suffering. One of our team members, Joseph, started to chat to the lady. It turns out that she isn’t a Christian, but she had been thinking about Christian things. She said her neighbour goes to church, and they have been talking about spiritual topics. Joseph lovingly shared the gospel with her, and called on this lady to trust in Christ. She seemed very thankful for the discussion and books.
I wish I could say that the whole day continued as it began, but I can’t. Redcliffe is hard ground, and each week it seems to be getting harder, yet, I rejoice in the promise of Scripture, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…” (Romans 5:20).
For around ninety-minutes not much happened. A few tracts were handed out, but people weren’t interested. We had a few people stop to make crude comments to us, but beyond that there wasn’t too much interaction. One highlight during this period of being in the doldrums was a conversation which James had with a lady named Julie. He offered her a tract, but she was suspicious. She asked if he was a Jehovah’s Witness, and upon hearing that he wasn’t she was greatly relieved. James shared with her about the Lord Jesus, and as he did so Julie began to cry. He was able to pray for her, and she left with some gospel material.
By now it was nearing 1pm, so I thought it may be time to pack up, but the Lord wasn’t ready for us to leave just yet. As I went to pack up, four young men stopped to chat.; two of them were Samoan and the others Maori. We began chatting about who they think would make it to Heaven. Of course, they all believed they would be running around the streets of gold, so I asked them, “Why will you go to Heaven?” They paused, then one young Samoan man said, “Because I live decently.” The rest quickly agreed that decent living was the path to Heaven.
I asked if they had heard of the Ten Commandments, which they all said they had, since they grew up in the Samoan Methodist Church; one of the boys said his Dad is a Pastor. I walked through four of the Commandments, “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not commit adultery,” and “You shall not murder.” I also explained that God judges our thought life, so lust is the same as adultery, and hate is equal to murder. All of the boys admitted to breaking these commandments, and it was at that moment that they realised they hadn’t lived decently.
The four seemed really concerned that they were on the path to Hell, and none of them could think of any way to avoid it. I let them ponder this reality for a little while, then one of the young men stopped and said, “Wait a minute! Jesus died.” Somewhere in the far reaches of his mind he had heard the gospel before. I was able to use this information to explain that Jesus died as a substitute for sinners, and then rise again three days later. I stressed to these young men that they needed to repent and trust in the Saviour. All of them agreed, and took an in-depth gospel tract.
This encounter reminded me that just because someone grows up in the church doesn’t mean they know the Lord.
Now it was as if the flood gates were opened in relation to conversations. Two young girls aged four and eleven had stopped at our Bible table. With the permission of the parent / guardian, I was able to kneel down on the ground with them and explain the gospel in an age appropriate manner. We had some children’s tracts, so they both took them, and the eleven year old asked for a Bible.
At this stage Joseph was in a discussion with a very vocal atheist who was ranting against God and saying he is angry at Him. The atheist kept trying to say that God was evil and the Bible was evil, so I joined the conversation. I asked the atheist, “You keep saying the Bible is evil, what is your moral standard for determining good and evil?” He said that morality is determined by the individual. I then asked him, “If the individual determines right and wrong, then on what basis can you say the morality of the Bible is evil, since a different individual said it is right?” The man then changed his argument by saying, “Society determines morality, not the individual.” So I asked another question, “In Saudi Arabia it is against the law to leave Islam. People have been killed for leaving Islam. The society says that is their morality. Are they right or wrong?” The atheist wanting to be consistent said that it was right for Saudi Arabia to act in such a way. I then said, “In the 1930’s Hitler came to power in Germany. Everything he did was legal according to the law of the land. The people backed him. Was the holocaust right or wrong?” The atheist said that what Germany did was wrong. I pushed back against this answer by saying, “If morality is determined by society, and the German society was supporting Hitler, what right have you to say it is wrong?” It was at this point that the atheist changed his argument again, this time he said the entire Western culture determines morality. This resulted in me taking him back to Saudi Arabia, but this time he said they were wrong. So, I asked him why his culture could say that another culture was wrong?
He tried to turn the argument back onto me, but I quickly pointed out that I affirm absolute truth and universal morality. He scoffed at this argument by saying, “There is no absolute truth.” I asked if he was sure, to which he replied, “Yes.” I then pointed out that he had made two absolute statements which he believed were true.
The atheist then tried to attack the Bible, but his attacks were built upon misinformation. It was clear now that his arguments had fallen, and that he wasn’t sure which way to go. It was at this point I said, “The reason I have pushed you on these points is because I want to show you something. You have no basis to condemn anything; you have no grounds to say something is right or wrong in your worldview. You need to a universal moral standard to have right and wrong, which means you need a moral standard giver. Ultimately, the reason you are making this argument is because you hate God, you love your sin, and you won’t come to Jesus because that means He’d be King over your life. You want to be King, that is why you object.”
At first he said that wasn’t the case, but then he said he was angry at God. This really was the heart of the issue. The arguments he had were just smokescreens to try and justify his unbelief. The man wasn’t interested in listening any further, so we shook hands and parted ways. His worldview was now in tatters, but he had been told of the Lord Jesus who alone gives sense and reason to life.
The day ended with seven conversations in about thirty minutes. We praise the Lord that His truth marches on.
Redcliffe Team (QLD)
Meets on Saturdays 11am-1pm each fortnight at the Redcliffe Pier.
Contact us for more information.