This is an update on what has been happening at the Gold Coast for the past three weeks (10th, 17th, 24th September).
On the 10th September, we were doing our outreach like we normally do in Cavill Ave each Friday night - handing out tracts, talking to people and doing a bit of preaching. When reasonably early in the night, we saw two council local law officers taking photos of us and writing down notes. After they had done this for about 15 minutes, they went up to some police that were nearby. Soon after, both the council and the police came up to us.
The council local law officers said that they were giving us all fines for $375 each. We asked why and they said, "For the person that was preaching, he was a doing a 'prescribed activity in a public place without a permit'. For the rest of the team, fines were received for 'distributing business advertising publications'. No warnings were given, they straight away just came up and fined us, saying "We were sent from the council to fine you guys."
The person that was preaching at the time tried to find out exactly what he was doing wrong. The police said that he wasn't doing anything wrong. But the council local law officers insisted that he was, because they said that doing a public address is against the council laws, however they could not show us where it says this.
Regarding the fines for handing out tracts, the council officers could not explain how the gospel tracts we were handing out could be classed as 'business advertising publications'. One of the council officers recognised this and so on the fine(s) that he wrote, he did not include the word 'business'. But the thing is, is that there is no law against the handing out of advertising publications, only business ones. But even under the definitions section in the Gold Coast City Council law local 5, 'business advertising publications' means "a publication that publicises any business, commercial or trade activity."
None of the tracts advertise any business, commercial or trade activity; so we can't be breaking that law. The tracts simply contain the message of the gospel - that a person can be completely forgiven of their sins through Christ's death on the cross.
We are appealing all the fines because we are simply not breaking the law they think we are breaking. Please pray for us during this time.
The following Friday night (17th September), we received about 3 more of the same fines for the same reasons.
The following week after that (24th September), we received only one fine - for preaching. It's possible they now realise that they have no legal leg to stand on regarding the handing out of tracts. For we advertise no business, commercial or trade activity.
We will continue to be faithful to our Lord and still have our outreaches at the Gold Coast every Friday night despite the risk of fines (for we are not breaking the law). If you are in a area, please come along. Contact us for more info.
For all the fines we will have to go to court, please keep us in prayer during this time. If you think you will be able to help us on the legal side of things, or even the financial side of things (to pay for court/legal fees), please do contact us! Thank you.
Our liberties in sharing the gospel are being suppressed here at the Gold Coast. If we do not fight these fines, Christians in the Gold Coast (and it may extend to across Australia) will not be able to share the gospel as freely as they have enjoyed in the past.
Please pray, and get in contact with us if you think you can support us in some way. Thank you!
To God alone be the glory!
This will just be a quick report to let you know what is happening:
We started our outreach at 8pm and I got up to preach at our usual location in the middle of Cavill Mall. There were quite a lot of hecklers, and I was having a good discussion with them. But after preaching for about 30 minutes, a busker then began setting up his stuff about 5 metres away from me. Then a guy in an Elvis suit (a different person) started playing his music next me, but I just kept preaching. This Elvis guy attracted more and more of a crowd to hear the gospel, which was good.
He stopped playing and then immediately two undercover police officers came up to him, asking him what he was doing. He said that he wanted to listen to this other busker and said that I was preventing him doing that.
The undercover officers then told me to stop preaching and talk with them, saying "Bring your stuff, you won't be coming back." Without even discussing with me at all, they had made up their mind that they were going to move me on.
The police officers were very angry right off the bat and were not interested in discussion. I asked them why I was being moved on and they said that someone had complained that I was stopping someone enjoying someone else's lawful activity. So I asked, "Is what I was doing, unlawful?" They responded, "No, it's not."
This raises the interesting question of: 'Why does that other person's lawful activity have higher priority over mine? Especially since I was there first doing that activity, and secondly the vast majority of people that were there wanted to listen to me rather than the Busker.' It seems like, since one of the lawful activities that were happening that night was preaching, it immediately has the lowest priority out of any other activity.
So I had to move on, but the rest of the team kept going. Blake and David Richardson preached later for quite a while, and did not get stopped. Later in the night, 8-10 police officers came swarming the group, informing them that they could no longer hand out gospel tracts since it says on one of the tracts "the wages of sin is death", they said the tracts are offensive. At this time, David Richardson was preaching and they police went around to the crowd asking them whether they didn't like the preaching, so they could shut him down. Thankfully, none of them didn't like the preaching, so Dave kept going.
Please keep us in prayer that we don't have any more hassles from the police in the coming weeks and months.
Today's evangelism team consisted of my brother Peter and his wife Altamira, Roman, Ben and myself (Andrew). We met up at the high st. ruins and after prayer, we proceeded to split up and pass out tracks amongst the locals. Roman shadowed me to gain some experience and we eventually encountered a group of youths sitting on some public benches. Out of the group, a young girl named Faye had many questions to ask (and a lot of foul language to boot).
I kept pressing the requirements of God’s Law and the judgement that will ensue in having broken it. I think she eventually understood the predicament and I explained the Gospel as accurately as I could for her. She took a Gospel of John and a few tracts so perhaps she will begin be drawn to Christ through this encounter. My brother Peter also had a few conversations...
After the prayer I went over to the entrance of Bay Tree shopping center and handed out some Good Person comics and Million Pound Tracks. One girl named Alice was completely convinced she was a good person, very self confident in her works but once I out lined the Ten Commandments and Romans 3:23, her world view began to crumble. I finished with the good news that Christ had paid the price for her sin if she would choose to repent and put her faith in Christ and live for him.
The overall response was great, many people heard the Gospel. Three young girls sitting on the bench were a great chance to share the word and after we spoke they had (I assume) a much better understanding of they’re position with God, how to get to heaven, which is only by Gods grace and not by by works (Eph 2:8-9), that they needed God and were a heart beat away from eternity in hell if they died today and that Christ was the ONLY way to get there (John 14:6).
As we arrived outside Hard Rock Cafe at the bottom of Cavill Avenue, there was already a busker there playing loud music. So we had a quick time in prayer together and then decided to move more towards the middle of the mall. On the team tonight we had about 10 of us.
Last week at the end of the night we found a great place to preach, because it was an area that was not as open as the stage. So we moved there and I got up to preach and had a number of Muslims heckle me, however they wouldn't stick around for very long.
All the people in the restaurants across from me could hear the message, and a few of them began shouting something in response. It was clear they were against the message of the gospel. One of our team members over heard the restaurant manager call the police to complain about us. However, the police only came about an hour later. At this stage, John was the one preaching. He is a pretty good preacher, but he's not that loud. So that meant by the time the police arrived, the preacher couldn't really be heard at the restaurants at all. So the manager of the restaurant looked a bit silly complaining about a guy who wasn't that loud at all.
But the police went up to John and told him only to move along. We could tell that they didn't want to move him along, but they thought they had to because of the complaint they received. Right after this, we decided to move 20 metres down the Mall to another great spot that wasn't facing the restaurants. Blake then got up to preach. The police did return but had no problem with us being there.
After Blake preached, I got up to preach again. Quite a large number of Muslims gathered round to listen and asked some very interesting questions. Some of their questions and objections consisted of "The Bible has been changed!", "When did Jesus say that He was God?", "When Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, God provided a substitute. Why couldn't God provide a substitute for Jesus when he was going to the cross?", "If Jesus is God, how could He die?"
A number of videos of the interaction I had with these Muslims is below:
The Muslims were very appreciative that their questions could be answered, and said they would be back next week.
To God be the glory!
It's getting to that time of year again, where it seems as though every second person at the Gold Coast is a Muslim. From July to about September, lots of people from the Middle East travel to the Gold Coast for holidays and so that is why it is essential to have Arabic gospel literature on you.
When we arrived outside Hard Rock Cafe, a busker was playing already there with his loud amp. So after a bit of fellowship and prayer together, we made our way to the middle of Cavill Ave. We thought it would be a good idea to begin preaching at the same stage as we preached last week.
I was the first man up, and started off telling a true story about something that happened to someone in the UK just earlier that day. Bekk let me know about it right before I preached. There was a lady in the UK who had been battling breast cancer for years and just today she had been told that she has beaten it. She would have been thinking, I've beaten breast cancer, nothing will be able to stop me now. But on her way back from the doctor's office, she ran off the road in her car and drowned in a river. Death came so unexpectedly. I told this story to show that death could happen to anyone at any time and that is people should be thinking about eternal things.
I transitioned from that to talking about how what we do here matters forever. And since we have all sinned, by breaking God's laws, we are all deserving of Hell. But I then spoke of the cross and how if someone repents and trusts in Christ's death alone for their forgiveness, they would be saved. I noticed there were quite a number of Muslims listening, so I stressed that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and that in no other religion can a person have forgiveness of sins.
After I stepped down from preaching, a young Muslim man came up to me saying, "I have no problem with what you are doing, but you shouldn't say Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Because I wouldn't say to you Islam is the only way." I responded, "The reason why I say Jesus is the only way is because He is. That means that if someone dies a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu or part of any other religion, they will end up in Hell. For example, imagine if there was a blind man walking towards a cliff listening to some music, would you not go up to him and warn him off the cliff ahead (even though he may not want to be interrupted from his music). I would, that is the loving thing to do. In the same way, the loving thing for me to is to warn you and others who are not Christians that they must repent and trust in Christ alone to be saved." The man seemed to understand my point. I then discussed with him why Christianity is true as opposed to Islam.
Josh was the next one to get up and preach. God has blessed him with a really loud voice, and so he could be heard quite clearly even at far distances. However at the end, Josh commented that the stage is not a very good spot to preach, because it is so open and so your voice doesn't rebound. He found his voice was hurting even after 15 minutes. Also people seem to think that they can't heckle when we're on the stage.
We then moved further down the mall, where it was less open and Yarran preached solidly for about three quarters of an hour. After this, Jeremy faithfully preached for about 20 minutes. Since the night was rolling on, he had lots of drunk hecklers. At one stage, a guy who came up to Josh while he was just talking to someone else punched Josh in the stomach. Then moments later he went up to Jeremy who was preaching and pulled him off the soapbox. Josh and I immediately went up to him to get him to stop pulling Jeremy and we told him to move along. Jeremy then got up again on the soap box and started preaching again. At one point, some hecklers even pretended to bow down before Jeremy.
The rest of the team did a great job handing out gospel tracts and talking to people.
To God be the glory!
The past two weeks we have been hassled firstly by the police, and then last week by the council. But in the end, both gave us permission to be there and do what we do. Praise God! So we were thinking that we wouldn't have to deal with them tonight and we didn't.
For when we met together for a time of prayer, one of local law officers from week was walking around with a different local law officer. That new officer was about to say something to us about us handing tracts, when the other officer tapped him on the shoulder saying that we were alright.
In our usual spot, a busker was already playing. So we decided to move up to the middle of the mall in a big open area and preach there. So I set up my soap box and started preaching. I had a few hecklers, mostly Muslims. One of the Muslims seemed a liberal, not even believing that Jesus existed! After showing him why it is indisputable that Jesus lived, they all got stuck on the idea that Jesus died on the cross. This is strange, because Muslims think that Jesus is coming back in the future and then He will die. So why they get all up in arms about Him dying 2000 years ago is beyond me.
The spot where I was preaching was fairly decent, with lots of people in hearing range. But after I got down, we decided that preaching on the permanent 'stage' was probably a good idea too. So Blake got up and preached faithfully about the cross of Jesus. As did another guy named Ryan after him.
After this, we noticed that there was a guy in the middle of the mall who had decent crowd around him. We thought he must be a busker. I decided that it would be a good idea to preach closer to him, so the crowd could hear the message too. As I was getting up to preach, the man in the middle of the crowd and the crowd too started moving towards me (probably heading past me). But as they were right at me, Rhoi wolf whistled and said, "Everyone, listen to this man" (pointing to me). Then I began preaching, and went through the good person test with the man who had attracted the crowd (he was wrapped in plastic). So this meant I had the man and all the crowd now listening to me. Praise God how it worked out! I was amazed. I preached about how there is a judgement to come, and since we have all sinned we need forgiveness that is only offered in Jesus.
This is a video filmed a little after that happened:
After it all settled down, Luke got up and preached a location further down the mall and almost immediately had some atheist hecklers. This was perhaps Luke's first time preaching in the open air, and he did a great job.
To God be the glory for another great night!
This was now the second week having the Gold Coast team on a Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon. We thought we shouldn't have any problems with police tonight, after they gave us permission to preach last week.
It was a drizzly night, however there were still lots of people about. The good thing about the rain is that it kept the buskers away. So this week we didn't have to try and compete with them.
On the team tonight we had: Josh, Blake, Jeremy, Bekk and I. We began preaching the gospel and had a few hecklers. However, while Josh was preaching the rest of us were handing out gospel tracts and then two council local law officers came up to Bekk and I. They said that they have no problem with the preaching, however the handing out of gospel tracts they considered touting. I asked how that could be so and pulled up the Gold Coast City Council local laws on my phone, and went to the one that defines touting.
“tout” means to approach another person and publicise either verbally or in writing a business, commercial or trade activity. (Local Law 5)
So I told them that under the Gold Coast law, handing out of gospel tracts is not considered touting. One of them responded, "But I still think it is." I said something to this effect, "You a local law officer, and so you can only make judgement based on what is the law, not based on what you want the law to say." They said, "Look, get approval from the council to do it and then that will be fine. Then we can know you are not handing inappropriate materials behind our backs as well as these gospel tracts." I responded, "We have tried investigating it with the council, and other local officers we have talked to say it is not illegal, therefore it is not possible to get a permit for something that is not illegal. Moreover, how will getting approval stop the possibility of someone handing out something different behind your backs?" They couldn't really respond and just said, "We are giving you an order to stop handing them out or we will fine you."
I then let Josh know about what they said. And Josh thought it was the silliest thing he has heard! He wanted to go up to them and hand out tracts right in front of them, but they had already left. But a bit later we made a strolled up the mall, and found them in a restaurant. So we decided to hand out tracts outside the restaurant they were in so it would be hard for them to miss us.
They then came up to Josh and Jeremy and said that they couldn't hand out tracts because they thought it was touting. Josh said, "Really? According to Gold Coast law it's not. Go ahead and fine us, and we'll make sure to take it to court. They were like, "Na, we don't want that." In the conversation, they kept changing the reason why we couldn't do it - from 'touting' to 'people could slip on it if they step on it'. Then they decided to call their local law HQ, and they asked the person there about handing out of Christian literature. The person on the phone (who was loud enough to hear) said, "Handing out of Christian literature is exempt from the touting law." At this point the law local officers' manner changed dramatically and they began being friendly, probably realising that we could report them for hassling us and trying to make us to stop doing something that is not illegal.
We were very happy with the outcome, and so began handing out tracts even more fervently in the remaining minutes left of the outreach.
We have now received approval from both the police and council, so hopefully next week we won't have any hassles.
To God be the glory!
The Bible is a Neolithic book! It was written in the Neolithic period! You cannot trust it!
Wayne was in fine form tonight. The heckling began while Alex (not the Atheist) was preaching. I stood in back play listening to the ramblings that is Wayne. Yarran and I were discussing some of the arguments that Wayne was using, and we both found it interesting that in the Neolithic period (allegedly) there was no alphabet or writing, so we were both confused how the Bible was supposed to be written some 4000 - 5000 years before the invention of the alphabet. But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good heckle.
Alex dealt with Wayne for some time, and then Wayne must have been on repeat because once again he went back to the Neolithic argument. It was at this point I jumped in and began to deal with the heckling.
I asked Wayne for proof of the Bible being written then, and his best argument was, “Genesis says there was a talking snake and unicorns”. But then his argument changed slightly to say that the oral tradition began in the Neolithic times.
When I challenged Wayne on these points and made an apologetic showing how unicorn, doesn’t have to mean a mythical one horn horse, but rather it could be a one horned animal and that the talking snake was actually Satan talking via the snake. I concluded by saying for you to disprove the Genesis account, your main argument has to be against God, you have to disprove Him.
Well that sent us on another round of heckling. Wayne the atheist started to talk about how some things are immoral etc. So I asked him on what basis does he make a judgement on something being immoral? His reply was that society determines what is right and wrong. So I took him a step further and said, “What if one society condones child rape, is that ok?” And Wayne replied by saying that it is universally wrong. Now he had an issue, how can right and wrong be determined by individual societies and yet there still be absolutes?
This was a question Wayne was unwilling to answer. So I put to him, “To say that something is immoral requires there be a universal moral law, which is not tainted by our own society values, if that is the case then there needs to be a moral law giver, who is outside of our domain, that is the being we call God. For there to be right and wrong, there must be one who determines right and wrong. An atheist cannot have a moral basis apart from God.”
At this stage Wayne was happy to let another heckler take over, this heckler had the deep theological thought of “What happens to the souls of cars when they die?” To which I simply replied, “Well that depends if they run on LPG or Petrol”.
The rest of the heckling for the night was fairly tame. We had some good one to ones and many tracts were handed out.
Praise God for a good evening.
View photos from the outreach, here.
The following is from Ryan Hemelaar about a certain conversation he had:
Doctor S backslides from atheism?
On Saturday, I got into a conversation with "Doctor S" from the Brisbane Atheist Group. We started talking about the Ontological argument - specifically Plantinga's formulation of it. Not sure what that is? Read it below:
A maximally great being would a necessary being, therefore if he can exist is some possible world, he must exist in every possible world (because he's necessary), including our own. Doctor S admitted that the argument is logical and he knows of no way of refuting it. So I asked whether he now believes the conclusion of the argument. He answered, "I'll have to go home and see whether anyone else has refuted the argument." I responded, "If no one has, will you then believe it?" He answered, "No, because it doesn't mean that no one has been able to refute it and just can't find it." So I said, "This shows you actually have a vested interest in not believing in God because you are unwilling to believe under any circumstances. For this argument is logical with its premises supported, so therefore it is not just a matter of the conclusion possibly or probably following from the premises, it means that the conclusion to the argument logically and necessarily follows."
After a bit of further discussion, he said, "I can admit there is a maximally great being, but that doesn't mean a 'God'." I asked, "But is not a being who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and so on, 'God'?" He refused to admit this. He tried to maintain that admitting that there is a maximally great being does not mean he is no longer an Atheist. I disputed this point with him, letting him know what is the standard definition of atheism in the field of Philosophy (according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - it doesn't mean lacking a belief in God, it rather means the belief that there is no God.
He then went on to try and deny logic to get around the predicament he was in, but I pointed out to him that logic is the basis for all rational discussion and so he cannot do that.
Soli Deo Gloria!
As I made my way into the city I couldn’t help but wonder if tonight was going to be the night that I get seriously injured. The reason for this thought was not because I had experienced some strange prophecy or because I had feelings, but rather it was because the week previous a young Muslim man came in with a couple of his mates. For the most part they were loud, hostile, but yet non-violent. However at the end of the night one of them went to pull a knife on me. He left with a promise that he would be back the following week with a gang to take me down. Ahh… the religion of “peace”.
David and I were both on the look out, but by God’s grace nothing major happened from these jihad wannabes, in fact the Muslim gang was as scarce as a pork chop in Mecca. There was no sign or Allah Akbar from them.
Now that isn’t to say the night was boring, far from it. Instead of Afghani teenage terrorists we had loud mouthed drunk atheists. While Ryan was preaching this one rough looking bloke came up and began to scream and curse. Normally hecklers like this are golden as they draw a crowd, however, this guy would yell, rant and rave but then walk away and start ranting to the crowd. So after Ryan tried to deal with him in the open air, I thought it wise to go talk to him one to one.
The drunk atheist got in my face and began yelling at me. As he yelled I found myself being covered in spit and chewed up dinner, but apart from that he wasn’t too bad. It turns out that this man had some deep hurts. His mother had died recently and his wife was tragically killed in a car accident. He wanted to know why God allowed death and suffering. When I tried to answer he just became more hostile, so I said to him, “You don’t really want an answer do you?” To which he agreed, he was just after someone to blame and God seemed like a good scapegoat. He then said Christianity didn’t have any answers and walked away calling me a coward. A title that confused me, since I was the one who came up to him and tried to answer his questions, and he is now walking away. I guess that makes one a coward…
The rest of the night was fairly tame. Ryan preached, Dave preached and Blake preached. There wasn’t much more heckling, but there were some great one to ones.
To God Be the Glory!
We met a cafe nero Brentwood High st, for a quick revision of what the Gospel was and how we ought preach it. The team consisted of Ruth, Nina and myself (Andrew). After a brief chat and prayer we headed to the main pedestrian areas to try converse with people.
We all found people rather unresponsive but still managed to hand many tracts out. I happened to run into a hare krishna who was also handing out books and chatting to folk. Initially he didn't want to talk to me but after I offered to by a copy of the bhagavad gita he opened up a little.
His name was Prima and he was born into a hare krishna family.
It was evident that Prima didnt like discussing the nature of truth or whether hare krishna beliefs were objectively valid, so I took the conversation very carefully so as not to challenge him with too much too quickly. Surprisingly to me, he use certain Christian terms like "sin" and "repentance" and they appeared to carry the same definitions.
The major differences arose when the Moral Law was discussed and how one atones for their law breaking. Prima felt that God was going to turn a blind eye to his sin and I gently tried to explain from Isa 64.6 and Mark 7.20-23 that both he and I are more wicked than he is concluding. He felt that chanting his krishna lines dissolved his sin and he would get to a higher consciousness.
Prima took a tract and I left him with a number of things to consider, but I'm quite certain he is very closed to the Gospel at this moment. Only the Holy Spirit can do this impossible work!! Lord grant Prima repentance!!! Amen.