Saturday, 28 June, 2008
Tonight was just your average Saturday night, not a lot happened. Just the same old routine of sharing the gospel and dealing with hecklers. It wa s a good clear night, and it wasn't as cold as it has been, so that created some good witnessing weather.
We set up in the Queen Street Mall at around 9:00pm, and we all knew that the first preacher up will have to deal with Alex, as he is a "Preacher Seeking Missile" and since he wasn't present last week we expected him to be as fiery as ever. We weren't disappointed!
The first preacher up for the night was Ralph, he opened up the Scripture and began to share the gospel of Christ. Not long into his message Alex opened fire upon him and began to heckle hard. Ralph did a fairly decent job handling Alex. Ralph is a fairly new preacher so he did well. Alex was heckling and walking back and forth waving his arms about. After awhile Ralph tagged Ryan in. Ryan began instantly by engaging Alex on an academic level. The amazing thing is that Alex seems to move the goal posts every time someone answers his arguments. But, it is growing tiresome with dealing with Alex as he uses mostly the same arguments week in and week out. So each week we have to answer his same objections week in and week out. Although, this week he did have a print out from an atheist website which gave him a few new arguments that we had to look at.
Alex argued with Ryan for sometime, then came over and spoke to me behind the preacher. We had a discussion in regards to the meaning of the word ‘atheist' and ‘agnostic'. I maintain based on the meanings of the words, and also based on the root words used, that you cannot be an atheist and agnostic at the same time. However, Alex believes that you can be an atheistic agnostic. We discussed that issue for awhile, and it seems to be that Alex is prepared to admit that there is possibly a god, but his pride won't allow him to let go of his ‘atheist' title, and become an agnostic.
During this time Ryan got to preach the full gospel, a few people were standing around listening, so they all got a solid message. Ryan preached for well over 90 minutes, and he dealt with a variety of hecklers like Alex and Riley right down to drunks who would just scream something random.
While Ryan was preaching a man who had been listening walked up to me and said "I need to be saved, can you lead in a prayer so that I can become a Christian." My reply was "Do you believe that God should save you?" His reply, "Yes!", "Do you think you are worthy of Heaven?" I asked, again he replied "Yes!". I looked at him and said "Sir, you don't seem to understand the fact that you are a sinner and that you don't deserve Heaven. You aren't ready to receive Christ yet as you still think God should do as you want Him to do." The man became angry and stormed off saying "Well, when I am in hell it will be you who gets blamed!"
After Ryan finished preaching, Andre got up and had a preach. He is very new at preaching, and he did a decent job in fending off Alex who decided to open fire. Andre preached for a bit, and then tagged me to preach. Instantly I was under fire from Alex, so I did my best to engage and answer his questions, but also to preach the gospel. It never ceases to amaze me, that Alex has stated that it is his goal to stop us spreading the gospel, but each week when he heckles he gathers a bigger crowd for us to preach to! His efforts to stop the gospel proclamation has actually increased the number of tracts going out, and also the number of people hearing the gospel via one to ones and open air. If Alex really wanted to slow down the gospel proclamation it would be far better for him to remain silent, and not gather a crowd for us by heckling!
Praise God for a good evening!
Soli Deo Gloria!
2PM to 4PM, June 29th 2008
The Esplanade, Cavill Ave, Surfers Parardise QLD
His Majesty, the Lord Jesus guided my steps today, as we preached for the glory of God.
David Strachnan filmed the crowd and preaching, and Snowy Barwick backed me up for preaching. It's such a delight to serve the Most High, with these His beloved children.
We encouraged each other to share the gospel, and prayed together that Jesus might be lifted up high, and God answered our prayer. Our God is a prayer answering God! For me personally, I find it especially wonderful to see the effects of His working through the gospel proclamation.
Smokey, my dear heckler, who has contempt for me as a christian, sat quietly on the preaching block, before we could start. God bless his soul. We left for the bathroom, and when we came back, Smokey was nowhere to be seen. Instead, two asian young ladies sat on the concrete block. I began to get frustrated, that we wouldn't start preaching, and while I considered preaching at a different spot, God moved her away, and we were able to begin.
Later in the afternoon, three young man sat apathetically in front of the preacher, and mocked the idea of God's existence and his judgment after death. However God was having His sovereign way with one of them, and they stayed to hear much dialogue with others, and one of the lads even admitted God's existance and his fear of judgment with Dave Strachnan. I feel sorry for people, when I consider the darkness that they live in each day.
Speaking of darkness, a young lady wearing nothing but a bikini challenged the preacher with her girl friends. Before long, God in His grace had brought her to an understanding that she was far more wicked than she first thought. As this discussion continued, the crowd got quite a bit larger, and the platform was made to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on thier souls.
A british fellow towards the end of the afternoon, argued that all the preacher had said, was rubbish. He argued God didn't exist, and that he could judge others. With some difficulty, and gratefully aided by the Spirit of Christ, I was able to communicate to him, that he had no right to judge someone in a world where God did not exist, and that he was guilty, before the God who did exist. He shook my hand at the end, and walked off down the beach.
An cocky and upset asian young man, who had been listening began firing foolish question after foolish question, at the preacher. The crowd had grown quite large and they had come in quite close, it seems many were very eager to hear. Our asian aquaintance argued the silly question, "Who made God?" Well, after some time, by the grace of Jesus, he was quiet. His question was answered, and we made one last attempt at the gospel.
One last time, King Jesus let me preach the gospel, and it was a lovely place to finish. As I stepped down, I was delighted to see all the christians present now about eight in number, were engaging in conversations and handing out tracts. Snowy reported that almost every one took gospel tracts today.
God the Father magnified His holy name in the past, and He sure did it again today.
Please continue to make many petitions to God, for the gospel ministry, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12
Credit: Photo's by David Strachnan
This Saturday Anna and I headed into Sheffield to witness, as we went we prayed that God would go with us and work through us to save sinners. As soon as we arrived in Fargate I saw Mekial, a non-Christian friend we have made while witnessing.
Mekial and I talked for quite some time while Anna and Peter (who arrived while we spoke) gave out tracts. Mekial among other things struggles with how belief works in the context of the rest of our lives and what it means to turn from a sinful life. I spent some time encouraging him to not run from God, but rather trust Him and trust that He knows what is best for him. I also encouraged Mekial to read the poem "The Hound of Heaven" and think on the ways that God is pursuing him - something Mekial has often mentioned feeling.
Mekial headed off after promising to come and talk some more another day and I headed for the trees that have become our regular place of preaching. I preached for what seemed like a short period and though not many came to heckle there was still a number of people that gathered around and listened as I proclaimed Christ crucified for sin and sinners and raised gloriously for their hope and justification.
After handing out a couple more tracts the three of us headed around to the Peace Gardens to witness to the youth who would be gathered to enjoy the sun. Anna immediately got into a discussion with a group of people and while some of them joked and laughed at first "George" told them all to be quiet because he wanted to listen. This was the beginning of a conversation that went on for the best part of an hour and a half. During this Anna was able to share the gospel with both "George" and his friends, at the end "George" spoke briefly to me and said it was the first time a woman had talked sense to him (especially on this topic from the other things he said).
Peter who is relatively new at witnessing with us in Sheffield did excellently and held his own with a large group of youth all firing questions at him. Given some time I am sure that he will be very bold indeed for the Lord.
I spoke with "Josh" and his friend "Luke" and was able by the grace of God give them the gospel over and over again and answered their questions to the best of my ability. After speaking with them at some length I went and spoke to Jaunosh the local philosopher-goth. One of his friends was eating a bible he had received from Anna and Jaunosh was gleefully filming the act. Thus the discussion began with the depravity of mankind's heart and their enmity to God through their mind of wicked works. Jaunosh among other things tried to charge God with bribery and blackmail for warning people of their just punishment in hell for sin and rebellion against Him. I tried in a couple of ways to show him that God is immensely merciful in giving any warning to us but that He warns us in so many different ways and so often - this is grace apon grace to a people who hate Him by nature.
At the very end of the night a young bloke that we saw when we first came to Sheffield named Rob (sorry I forgot your name again Rob!) came up and asked if this was our job? I responded that no we do this voluntarily thinking that was it, at which he asked how he could become involved in doing this volunteering also. I got his contacts and gave him mine and Anna gave him a pack of tracts and said "you can start by handing these out...".
What an end to the night, praise God that He raises up workers to this harvest field. To Him be praise and Glory and Honour both now and forever more!
The evening started off very slowly, with only a trickle of people joining the Skypecast. Additionally, Josh Williamson also had microphone problems so that we couldn't hear him most of the time. However, God is faithful and he brought a flood of people into the room for the final hour of the Skypecast.
Also thankfully, Daniel Kissell (who runs the Australian division of Heartcry Missionary) was able to preach in the Skypecast, about topics such as: the holiness of God, the sinfulness of sin and the great news of the gospel.
I had a discussion with a man who had dabbled in a number of the Abrahamic religions but had come to the conclusion that Jesus came to just teach us how to live a moral life. He liked the concept of God being just, but not just enough to punish sin or his own Son. So I went through God's moral law with him to show him his sinfulness. But the fellow kept trying to contend that if he changes the way he lives, he will get to Heaven. So I explained that there is none who do good, and none who are righteous in the sight of God and so we are deserving of Hell because God is just. And if God let people who just repent into Heaven, He would cease to be just. So that lead straight into the gospel.
But when the man heard about Jesus, he resorted back to "He was a great moral teacher. That is everything he is about." So I used C.S. Lewis' Liar, Lunatic or Lord proposition. Jesus himself left no option for him to just be a great moral teacher; He claimed to be God.
Unfortunately during this time, our Skypecast administrator Janet (who faithfully helps us out each week) dropped out of Skype and couldn't return. So that meant we couldn't drop the fellow down to the listening area in order that we could preach the final gospel message. So I continued the conversation with the man and after a while Josh Williamson managed to log into the host account and drop him down.
Over the course of the evening, many seeds of the gospel went out and there were 457 people who listened in.
We will have another Skypecast at the same time next week - Sunday 9pm - 12am GMT+10. If you would like to advertise the upcoming Operation 513 Skypecasts on your webpage/blog/myspace, please visit the Skypecast page and that will give you the instructions on how you can do so.
To God be the glory!
Saturday, 21 June, 2008
A cool south westerly breeze was blowing into Brisbane tonight, so it made it rather cold when it came to doing evangelism. But, nevertheless we pushed on to declare the good news of Jesus Christ coming into the world to save sinners.
It was good to have Heather from New Zealand join us tonight, I first met Heather a couple of years ago while on an outreach in Christchurch, she has since moved to Brisbane, and is now witnessing with us.
The team gathered at around 8:00pm in King George Square and we engaged in a time of Bible reading, and team prayer. After this we had a short time of fellowship before heading up the mall.
As we entered the mall we were greeted with the sight, that there wasn't too many people about, this is probably due to the last week of exams at all the local universities. Another problem we had tonight was that all the preachers were sick, and had head colds. So it was going to be a hard night of preaching, especially if we got hecklers.
Ryan was the first man up to preach, he expounded on what it means to be a Christian, and also on how one can be saved from their sin. He stressed how we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and then how if we repent we will be forgiven our sin because of what Christ Jesus did upon the cross.
While Ryan was preaching Ralph was in back play discussing things with a man and his wife. The man appeared to be rather forceful, so I dropped back to listen to their conversation. The man was building his case for why one must keep the whole of the law and especially the Sabbath to be saved. He was also stating that one does not need to repent in order to be saved, and that Jesus never preached "repent".
I engaged the man with an open Bible, and we looked at a few verses that indicated that one must repent. "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19), "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).
The man still maintained that repentance was never taught by Jesus, and that we could not trust the Apostle Paul as he was a homosexual. I challenged the man on this and asked where he got the information from in order to make such a statement. The man replied "Well, Paul wrote about homosexuality thus he is a homosexual!" I pointed out to him that Paul wrote about many other things as well, but that doesn't make him those things. The man kept on ignoring me saying "Paul was gay!" So I showed him to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 to show that homosexuality is a sin and that Paul says in v11 that people were homosexuals, indicating that one turn from homosexuality in order to be saved. So Paul could not be a Christian and homosexual.
The man quickly changed gears, and went back to the repentance issue. He maintained that Jesus never told anyone to repent. So once again we opened the Bible to show him the Scripture: "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3), " No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:5), " From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17).
These passages made the man change gears once again, this time he said "Yes, but no where in the Bible does it say you must repent to be saved!" To this his wife joined in "You should listen to him, he studies theology and has a degree!" My reply was "You may study theology, and you may have a degree but what if I can show you in the Bible that you must repent in order to be saved?" The man simply said "You can't show me that!"
So I opened my Bible to 2 Corinthians 7:10: "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.". I asked the man from the text to explain to me what leads to salvation? He looked at me, laughed and said "I bet you don't keep the Sabbath, you are a law breaker!"
Now he was off and running down the path of how one must keep the law in order to be saved. I handed him the Bible and asked him to show me one verse where it states that under the new covenant we must keep the Sabbath. He laughed again, and said that there were plenty of verses. I asked him for just one. He refused to show me saying that I was preaching another gospel. So once again I challenged him to show me from the Scripture where it says I as a new covenant believer must keep the Sabbath.
To this both he and his wife said "We both keep the whole law perfectly! We never break it!" I asked them if they kept all the Ten Commandments, they both said that they did, I asked them if they kept all the laws found in the Torah. They said they did. I then took them to Leviticus 20:13 and asked if they killed homosexuals. They replied that they did not, but that law didn't apply to them. So I challenged them on how they can pick and chose what law they wish to keep and what laws they don't wish to keep. To which they replied, that they must test these laws by the New Testament. I agreed with them on this point, and then asked, where in the New Testament does it say "Keep the Sabbath?"
Once again they went on a tirade about how I am going to hell because I don't keep the Sabbath. I challenged them by showing Galatians 3:10: "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." I pointed out to the man that if he thinks that the law will save him, then according to the Scripture he is under the curse, for only Christ can save. The man laughed and walked off with his wife.
By now Ryan had fi nished preaching, and was witnessing one to one with people. I was then called over by Peter to assist with a guy he was dealing with. The man had some strange theological beliefs. The man was claiming to be a Mormon Hare Krishna. So I spoke to him a bit on the problems of Mormonism in the light of the Bible, and stressed to him how his good works could never save him. I showed him in the Scripture: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The night was quiet, so at around 11pm I got up to have a bit of a preach. Within minutes of standing up the crowd erupted in anger. Hecklers emerged from everywhere scream obscenities about God and Christianity. It took ages to get past all the hecklers, but eventually I was able to get to the point where the hecklers calmed down, and then I was able to preach the full gospel while engaging in discussion with a young man.
The rest of the night was spent handing out tracts and doing one to one.
Praise God for a good evening!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday was warm and breezy and in the sunshine with the beauty of the green countryside all around it was easy to think of the great blessings that God has given this country. One particular blessing we have is the freedom to stand and give the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus by grace through faith. Jim, Peter and I joined in prayer before Jim began to preach.
Jim began by discussing the very prevalent thought that "All religions are equally valid". Jim did an excellent job of showing that polytheistic Hinduism and atheistic Buddhism have very little in common with the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Likewise he showed the foolishness of saying salvation is by working hard (Buddhism and Islam for example) is the same as salvation by grace (Christianity). As Jim preached on this I prayed that God would draw in a crowd and I was pleased to see that a couple of people were gathering around. As a group of four of them left I went to intercept them with a tract and was caught in a wonderful witnessing encounter.
After five or ten minutes I turned back to the preaching and found that God had graciously answered prayer and drawn a crowd of 40-50 people. As Jim was hard at it with Muslim apologetics, I went and stood by him as a support as Muslims can be very aggressive sometimes.
Jim kept at it for some time and gave a great defence of Christianity and preached the gospel a couple of times over. The crowd was a real mix with atheist and Muslim and agnostic hecklers and even a couple of Christians smiling encouraging and amending to Jim's words. After a period Jim tagged me in as his voice was going and the crowd was not abating at all.
I jumped up and engaged the couple of Muslims that had been heckling by asking them to consider what Jesus said. From this I discussed many different topics including the veracity of God's revelation with an atheist through to the deity of a philosopher cum Muslim. As often as I could I pointed people back to the glorious gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ alone. Though there are many different objections and protests against the preaching of the gospel, the crux of the issue for most revolves around the question "Who do you say I am?" (Mt 16:15-16). There are only two possible reactions to Jesus, He is either the Lord God or He is to a lesser or greater extent despised and rejected.
After almost 2hrs of continuous preaching and apologetics between Jim and I, the crowd was still present but neither of us had any voice to continue. As I closed I was glad to see that many people had tracts in hand, but unfortunately with only three people in the team we were only able to talk with a handful of people before the crowd dispersed. Please join us in praying that there would be more people raised up in Sheffield to witness with us so that these great opportunities would not be wasted.
With the rain coming down and the weather more consistent with winter rather than summer Anna and I headed into Sheffield, after a time of prayer together we walked into Fargate and I set up to preach under the trees.
As I preached a couple of girls stopped in a nearby shop and then approached to find out what I was doing. I went through the good person test with the three of them but unfortunately they left shortly after getting through the law and it's demands. It is very common that people will leave or begin to object when they come under the magnifying glass of God's standard. I agree that this is an uncomfortable thing, but as any good doctor will tell you, sometimes we need to go through difficult and painful experiences in order to live (cancer treatment for example).
Shortly after this a group of three American missionaries stopped and asked me if I thought that street preaching and witnessing "worked". This is entirely the wrong question, I am in no position to tell if witnessing of any kind works, God is able to see the end results I cannot. I told them that the reason that we witness on the street, is because of the great opportunities God provides there. Many of the people we are able to share the gospel with, are not only "un-churched" but rather they and their parents have never attended church. These people do not look at church as something they know and have no interest in, but rather it is as foreign to many as it would have been to the first British pagans.
After closing we began to give out tracts and talk with whoever would speak to us. I had a wonderful encounter with a young couple that I was able to share the gospel with and though they had to leave for work they left with tracts. Anna also spoke at length with one of the charity workers and though she thought she would be going to heaven because she was good she heard Anna willingly. Just before the rain began in earnest and we went home Anna also spoke with two young men and again the gospel was given and we pray they would turn to Jesus and be saved.
Alister, Tim Neale, and I met at our regular time of 2pm at Redcliffe ready to do some witnessing. Firstly we prayed together, then started walking down the jetty with our tracts.
I first had a conversation with a middle-aged couple and when asked whether they thought they will go to Heaven, The lady said, "Yes". On the other hand, the husband said he doesn't believe there is a Heaven or God. So I proved to him using the cosmological argument why God exists. But the man responded by saying, "I just don't want to believe there is a God. I believe that there is no god by blind faith." I was really surprised that an atheist actually admitted that, because most atheist's don't.
I asked the lady why she thought she was going to Heaven. The usual response came back, "Because I'm a good person." So I brought her through the law and then explained to her the good news of the gospel.
A number of the people we talked to today were postmodern. In particular a Roman Catholic family I chatted to were having a problem with God being just. They couldn't believe in a God that sends people to Hell. They said, "My God would never do that." I pointed out that they are breaking the second commandment because they are creating a god in their own image, a god to suit themselves. However it is one that doesn't exist! They said, "For me, God is like this, but it may be different for you." So I explained what God really is like, our wretched sinfulness, God's holiness and justice, and what we must do to be saved.
Twenty minutes before it was time to head home, I met a man from New Zealand named Jamie. He recently moved over here and wanted to get involved in some evangelism teams. It was really good to meet him, and so we spent the remaining minutes witnessing to some people together.
If anyone else is keen to get involved in any of our weekly Operation 513 evangelism teams, then please contact us and we would be honoured to serve the Lord with you.
A lot of seeds of the gospel were planted today, in forms of one2one conversations and the gospel tracts that went out. To God be the glory!
The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise 22nd June 2008: Operation 513 Gold Coast
His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ, was pleased to permit the public proclamation of the eternal gospel in the ears of both his children, and the lost, perishing wicked. May His Majesty, be pleased with those things he ordains.
The Lord Jesus Christ, my precious Saviour and friend. There is no other like him, amongst the children of men.
Today was a wonderful Australian afternoon, exemplified by beautiful Queensland weather. Waves washed gently against the soft white sand, and the breeze moved softly across the land. Concrete buildings soared up from the ground, and decorated the landscape for kilometres, and in the midst we prepared to be obedient servants of the Lamb.
Today, Snow (Victor Barwick) preached with me again. It was good to have him with me. David Strachnan also assisted with the camera. These men are a pleasure to serve with.
Imagine a conveyor belt, that carries people from one place to another. Now imagine, that conveyor belt starts about 500 metres away, and is arriving near where we preach. Be imaginative, and consider every three minutes, a new heckler arrives, with an argument as to why God doesn't exist, or why logic must be used to arrive at the illogical argument that "nothing became something..", etc etc. Put a grinning christian preacher in front of them, and you have our Sunday the 22nd of June, 2008.
By God's grace we saw muslims, new ager's and all sorts of other "believers" hear the gospel together. A few people took mobile numbers, and wanted to talk more over a coffee. An agnostic argued for a long period of time, and created a wonderful opportunity for lots more people to hear the law and the gospel, through the medium of polite, public debate.
David spent time with a New Age lady who tried to help him find peace with God. She was a relativist, agreed with the gospel, and tried to ask him for money. She left unhappy.
I made a mistake today. That should get your attention. A nice young lady, who was quite affectionate for her sin, mocked me by saying: "next your going to tell us the sky isn't blue.."
I responded by saying, the sky was not blue, but clear, and really just a reflection of the water, to which the crowd nodded. She agreed with me. Poor crowd, poor me. Snowy corrected me later, and gave me the physics reason as to why the sky appears blue. Then you have it, public confession.
Now friends, this is our report for the week, I trust you shall make busy promoting Jesus name, in a perverse and evil generation. Pray that God grant us boldness, and to open our mouths to speak when we ought!
May the God of all peace, order your lives for His glory,
Well, it was an interesting night. The results of the night were rather interesting, as our "friendly enemy" Alex has decided to start his own blog in which he attacks the ministry of Operation 513.
The night began with our normal time of Bible reading, and prayer as a team. Then at around 9pm we headed up the Queens Street Mall. I was expecting a lively night, as today was the big homosexual parade in Brisbane and history has shown that in the past it is normally the homosexuals that respond most violently to the gospel proclamation in Brisbane city. It was interesting to run into Riley, who is a regular. He openly admits to being homosexual, but tonight he was running around with fairy wings, and a halo on. Also, shouting about taking five ecstasy pills.
Andre was the first preacher up, and as normal Alex was standing in the back throwing a few heckles out. Andre ignored him and continued to preach the gospel. During this time it was encouraging to see a few people from my church stop by and watch. I didn't know they were coming, but I was glad to see them there, and also encouraged to see them witnessing to some of the people in the area.
Once Andre had finished his preaching, I jumped up and began to immediately to engage Alex in open air debate. I really enjoy his debates, and the cases he tries to make for evolution and atheism. Although, some other Atheists have commented that they disagree with the arguments he uses. Nevertheless, we began to have our open air discussion. Alex started in trying to prove evolution, this time he used E-coli a ‘proof' of evolution. The case he tried to build was that we have observed E-coli evolving, however, he failed to mention what he believed to be evolution. What Alex described was what is known as "micro-evolution" or variation within a species. Now, any Creationist would agree with Alex over "micro-evolution", the E-coli that "evolved", went from one kind of E-coli to another kind of E-coli. This did not prove his case of "macro-evolution" (one kind becoming another kind - I.e. Primates to Humans") But rather that we observe changes within kinds. However, the case that Alex made was simple "If there is a lot of little changes within the species, then it is possible for it to change into another species". Sadly for the evolutionary camp there is no evidence of one species becoming another species. The "argument" that was put forward by Alex was nothing more than an "argument" built upon speculation. The argument he made has some major holes in it, for instance, "Where did the new information come from in order to create this new species?" If you are going to have one kind evolve into another kind, then new information must be added somewhere along the line. Now where does that new information come from?
After we wrestled over the issue of E-coli for awhile, I decided it was best to make a line for the cross of Christ. My reasoning for this was that earlier when Andre was preaching, Alex argued his hardest against Christ dying on the cross for the sins of His people.
Alex objected to this, which was to be expected, as the Bible makes it clear that those who are not Christians find the message of the cross foolishness, and abhorrent to them. But, I still preached the cross, for it was on the cross that Christ Jesus paid for the price of Alex's sin if he would repent and believe.
I always wish to be fair in open air debates, so I addressed the crowd and stated that I would make a five minute case for the existence of God, and the Christian worldview, and then Alex will present the case for atheistic evolution. Alex corrected me and said that he would present the case for "evolution without the need of God". So I made my case, and Alex then made his case. He stated all these ‘facts' but failed to bring any support for them. And in his speech he spent time attacking Christianity. So I wonder how attacking actually counts as evidence for your claims?
Alex then called on the crowd to vote, and I admit there were 10 known Christians in the crowd. So the crowd put there hands up over which side they agreed with. Without much surprise the theists won. But Alex managed to get three votes. So then Alex launched into another speech on how his view point was correct. [It should be noted the crowd actually grew in this time and no one left]. Then the call to vote was give again, this time Alex lost votes from those who had been with him previously. This makes me wonder how Alex can claim victory on his blog when he actually lost ground with the crowd...
Some of the arguments that Alex presents are self refuting, for instance one of his favourites is "There is no evidence for God!" However, he fails to realise that logically speaking, for him to make that statement, he must have seen ever bit of evidence in the universe, and have all knowledge of everything. Now, if that was the case and he knew everything about everything, then by definition he would be "God". It would be far safer for Alex to say "In the knowledge that I currently have, I am yet to see evidence for God".
This of course led us into the argument of "What evidence is there for God?", this week I thought I would ask Alex a question to see what he would accept as evidence. His reply was "If God is real, then let Him come down to earth, and appear before me!" Now, there are some problems with this demand, firstly, God did come down to earth in the form of a man, and they nailed Him to a Cross. Secondly, Why should God bow to the will of Alex? If there is a Supreme God who controls everything, and He chooses not to appear before Alex, does that make Him any less real? No! The problem is, Alex wants God to conform to his ideals and also to his standard. Basically speaking, Alex is wanting God to be subservient to him, and that he becomes the sovereign.
From here we went onto the argument of the "proof of God", and after reading Alex's blog, I am rather perplexed over why he failed to mention on his atheistic blog for all his atheistic friends, on why he admitted (on video camera) that there could be a God, and since there is a God He could do whatever he wants! No correct me if I am wrong, but I was always under the impression that an atheist believed that there was ‘no god' (a= no; theos= God), however, what Alex admitted to was not being an atheist, but rather an agnostic (a=no; gnosis=knowledge). Was this backsliding on behalf of this member of the Brisbane atheist group? Going from "No God" to "There could be a God" is a fairly big leap for one who champions the cause of there being no god.
This revealed something interesting, the Alex does not have an issue with God. But rather his issue is with Jesus Christ. So I asked Alex "If there is a God, can He do whatever He wants?" to which Alex replied "Yes", that admission destroys Alex's argument against the Cross of Christ. For if there is a God then He is perfectly right to provide one to die in the place of sinners.
Something that I did find rather interesting throughout the whole discussion was the fact that Alex maintained that there is no "right and wrong", and under some circumstances he believed that rape and even child molestation could be ‘right'. Yet, whenever a case was made opposing his view argument, he would very loudly shout "you're wrong!" How can one be "wrong" if there is no "right and wrong"? All these arguments really just go to show the silliness of the atheistic worldview.
Alex then tried to make the classic case of religion being responsible for the deaths of millions. To which I agreed, religion has been the cause of many wars and deaths. Alex then said "Christianity has been the cause!" This is where I had to get Alex to define his terms, what did he mean by "Christianity", his definition was "someone who claims to follow Christ". I disagreed with his definition, and pointed out that if I claim to be a doctor, it doesn't necessarily make me one. Then I pointed out that a Christian is one who has repented and trust in Jesus Christ, as a Christian is a Christ follower. Now, if that is what a Christian is, then we should be able to judge the fruits of those who claims to be Christians. For instance, Jesus made the case in the Gospel of John, that if someone kills you in the name of God, then that person does NOT know God. Jesus also made it clear that as Christians we are to love our enemies, and bless those that curse us. So by definition those who kill in the name of God, are not Christians. But rather they are religious.
From here I made the case that atheistic communism is responsible for more deaths than any religious movement. And that if one takes the time to look at the top twenty dictators you will not find a Christian among them, but rather you will only find Atheists and Muslims. Alex rejected this argument, stating that Atheism is not violent, however, I would like to reference Alex's blog from June 19, 2008: "CASE dislikes violence of any kind (unless it is necessary to futher the One True Cause: Atheism)" [http://casehq.blogspot.com/2008/06/case-note-street-preachers-instigate.html]
Really the question has to be asked, which is more dangerous: A Christian preaching, repent and trust in Christ, Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself! Or an Atheist preaching, the use of violence to advance the cause of atheism?
I will let the reader decided which one is more dangerous for society...
By the end of the hour of the discussion, Alex who openly admitted that there could be a God, and that God could do whatever He wants, made one final attack before withdrawing for a cigarette. His closing argument was "You Christians believe in God by faith!" To which I replied "I accept God's existence by faith, even though I can see evidence for Him, and the atheists accept God not existing "by faith", and I don't have enough faith to be an atheist!"
I tagged Ryan in, and the reason for this was that Ryan has spent a lot of time studying atheism, and the evidences for the existence of God. Each time in the past when Alex has engaged Ryan in debate it has ended up with Alex's arguments being smacked for six. It is interesting to note, that Alex even though he was present did not engage Ryan this time for discussion. So, Ryan preached the gospel to the good size crowd that had gathered.
The rest of the night was quite quiet, with many people being witnessed to, and many people getting to hear the gospel. One highlight for me was a friendly long haired atheist who came up to me, and thanked us for taking the time to come out and debate and discuss many issues. He stated that he enjoyed the night, and hopes to come back to talk again some time. It is my hope that this man would heckle, as he is really friendly and calls himself a ‘rationalist atheist'.
In closing, I must mention, that on Alex's blog he invites other atheists to come out on Saturday nights to the Queen Street Mall. So, I would like to on behalf of Operation 513 encourage the atheists to come along and have some friendly chats. We look forward to our future discussions!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Having met up with Antonio on Friday evening at Tooting Broadway, Phil and I hopped on the tube and headed to Leicester Square. (Antonio stayed behind to hand out tracts to all those coming in and out of the tube station.) We arrived at 8.30pm and immediately met up with Andrew and Virgil. We opened in prayer and spent a short while handing out tracts and talking with people. After about twenty minutes or so I stood up to preach.
At first only a handful of people stopped to listen. People came and went, but then after about fifteen minutes or so a young man by the name of Chris stopped to heckle me. In return I started heckling him (well, not really, I simply engaged in open debate) and in about five minutes the crowd grew from about ten people to about thirty people. Oh the drawing power of a good heckler! Chris openly professed to be a good person and so I took him through the law of God and showed him that just like the rest of us he has fallen short of the glory of God. I reiterated to the crowd the predicament we all in and that we all desperately need a Saviour. This allowed me to expound on the amazing grace of God, fulfilled with the coming of His Son Jesus Christ, who substituted Himself in our place so that we could go free.
At one point a Muslim man began asking me questions about prayer, particularly whether or not God answers our prayers. I told him that there are three responses to our prayer requests: yes, no, or not yet. He had a book on prayer, presumably a Muslim book. He came right up to me and asked me to read a section from it to the crowd. He was quite insistent and at one point I felt rather intimidated. I took stock of the situation and gathered my thoughts as to how I should deal with it. The Lord very graciously helped me to think quickly. I turned to the man and, holding my Bible in my hand, said, "Sir, I am not here to promote that book, I am here to promote this book. If you wish to promote your book then get your own little stepladder and stand here next to me and promote it." At this he went rather quiet and was at a loss as to how to respond. The crowd thought it was very funny and although it was not my intention to embarrass the man it did serve to remove him and win the crowd to me even more. In open air preaching winning the crowd and keeping the crowd is your main task. Your ultimate objective is to preach the gospel so that the people may be won to the Lord.
After I finished preaching I got talking with a Muslim man called Farrukh. He was not aggressive and so that made talking to him much easier. He was, however, loaded with some preposterous notions concerning Christianity and the Bible. He repeatedly attacked the Bible, saying it had been changed and was corrupt. This has become a very common objection that I seem to continually encounter. I will in later posts, provide answers to these objections, evidence that shows the Bible is actually the most authentic book in all of antiquity and that it is not full of error at all. I was able to get Farrukh's email address, so I will be writing to him to show him the overwhelming evidence that supports the veracity of the Bible.
The rest of the team had all been chatting with people and handing out tracts. Open air preaching is wonderful in that after the preacher has finished many one-to-one's can take place. We left a little after 11:00pm. It had been a good night!
Saturday morning came around and once more we took the gospel to the people of tooting. Andrew, Antonio and Barney, Phil and I made up the team. It was great to have Barney with us as he can't always make it, however whenever he's with us he certainly sets to work! After I had preached we all set to talking with people and handing out tracts. I spoke for a short while with a young man named Ian. He'd had a Christian background and certainly had a fair amount of knowledge concerning the Bible. One of the objections he put before me was that the Bible is in affect contradictory because it shows a very different God in the Old Testament compared with how God is presented in the New Testament. I explained to him that this is based very much on the two different covenants we see in the Bible. The Old Covenant, found in the Old Testament, is broken by God's people, and so He makes a new covenant with His people (Jeremiah 31:31-34). "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). Ian was quite pleasant to talk to and he seemed willing to listen. He mentioned that he would like to talk some more so I took down his details and told him that I would send him some information to help him with his questions.
We all had a good afternoon talking with the people of Tooting. Barney, in particular, spoke with a number of people and very kindly wrote up a report of those conversations...
I spent 45 minutes talking to an atheist who openly rejoiced in his sin. Initially he was very confrontational, ridiculing Christianity and the Bible. I was forced by his approach to deal with a couple of individual issues he raised (e.g. Adam and Eve as real people), but I was then able to move him on to consider his own sinfulness before the Creator's law and the saving work of Christ. Towards the end, he was much more open to considering the gospel, but still far from Christ and also, sadly, unwilling to meet again.
I spent a while talking to a Muslim student. She gave the standard Muslim objections to the Bible, which I quickly dealt with and then we used the law to discuss our sinfulness in God's sight and the sacrifice of Christ which deals with sin. She was particularly intrigued as I explained that the Old Testament prophets point to sacrifice, as the answer to sin rather than good deeds, something Muslims know nothing of despite animal sacrifices during their festival of Eid. She has agreed to attend a church service with my wife and I, pray that she does.
I spent some time talking to a group of 6 Muslim teenagers. After talking about our failure to meet God's standards from the law, I explained that arguing from your good deeds on judgement day would not do any good and gave the example of a normal law court. They agreed that they were therefore likely going to hell, but didn't seem worried as apparently they have been told hell will not be eternal, but rather will be like Catholic purgatory (i.e. paying for sin for a while then heaven afterwards). I will have to research this as no Muslim has given this as an objection to me before. Anyway, I explained that the Bible does teach hell as eternal punishment and (continuing the law court example) that Christ's sacrifice is the payment of our fine.
They were not convinced, but one gave me his email to follow up.
All in all, a great weekend of ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria!