Going to our regular preaching spot at the top of Barkers pool I was met by Gemma and Carl who had said they would join me for the night's outreach. We began the night with prayer and then went to it with tracts for all the people flowing past as they went to their night's revelling.
Quickly two conversations started and I was engrossed with Conrad and his friend and likewise Carl and Gemma with another guy. Conrad stopped to ask me about the birth to death tracts that I was handing out so I spoke with them about the certainty that there is life after death. It was one of those rare conversations where I could speak and they would listen and could end with the gospel. I spoke of the evidences that Christ rose from the bible itself, from the historical context of the new testament, from the historical recordings of other historians. At the end Conrad and his friend had to go but not before I could urge them to consider Christ's words that "None come to the father but through me" and to look to Christ for salvation from God's just condemnation of sin.
Carl and Gemma it seems had a harder conversation and the young man they were speaking to left after many justifications and evasions. They were faithful to bring him the truth and having done that we leave the rest to God's hand, praise Him that He breaks even the hardest of hearts.
I set up to preach from what is now our preaching post (or information board as it would otherwise be). Shortly after I began a heckler popped up and the ensuing debate (if it could be called that) continued for the next 45 minutes. The young man who never gave his name was an atheist and loudly proclaimed that there is no God - I responded that he had just claimed absolute knowledge with that statement putting himself in the position of God and contradicting himself. Not only that but the atheistic claim that there is no God is immensely arrogant, claiming not just to know better than the theists but to know all things.
I proceeded to argue that there is a God and He is knowable, generally from the things that are made but also as personally revealed in history through the bible and the person of Jesus Christ. To this he responded with what seems to be the atheist's holy trinity, evolutionary science, historical uncertainty and misinformation, and finally personal scepticism and scorn. The debate as such went back and forth and I offered the many evidences and arguments that meet with those assertions. Unfortunately he kept going to scorn and scepticism and seemed to think that closed the matter. So in response I said that he had only given me his opinion, this was most offensive to him but he could/would not give any support to his comments. He stormed off and I continued to preach the gospel.
A couple of other people stopped to talk and I tried to present the gospel to them having failed with the first hard hearted young man. Likewise they were not interested but would scoff and laugh only. When they left I stepped down and having defended but not really been able to present the gospel - a hard night in a hard hearted city.
We spent some time praying that God would use our work and then headed home giving out tracts to the opera crowd as they came from city hall as we went.
Praise God for even the hard nights, there is a time for everything under the sun, and God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.