Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Angry Atheists and Dirty Books

Monday was a good day of witnessing at Arizona State University. Otter, his wife and two children, also participated by handing out many tracts and engaging in several one on one encounters with students.

I decided to do the Project Ezra reading of Luke 17 as a springboard into sharing the law and the gospel. About four or five minutes into the reading, “Joe” decided to do some of his own reading…….from an explicit sex manual. I was later told that this was an actually a textbook for a class offered on campus.

It was definitely a challenge to stay on course with the reading as he pressed on with his mocking, but thankfully, God saw me through to the end of the reading without much stumbling. I was able to immediately proceeded sharing the gospel. Joe eventually gave up because he had to get to class, which was a relief as I was able to finish with some sense of clear communication.

Another student told me that Joe made it a point to do this often whenever there were people preaching open air on campus. He also told me that he would be back—after class. I wasn’t thrilled with this prospect, but I committed it to prayer and trusted God would once again get me through it.
My second open air began with a reading of Isaiah 53 followed again with the law and the gospel. I explained how there was a great exchange that took place on the cross in how Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. Thankfully I finished just about the time Joe happened along.

I could tell that he was disappointed to have missed his chance to mock and heckle, so I offered him a bottle of water and assured him that there were no hard feelings, but that I was surprised that he would use such material to try and distract me.

He identified himself as a secular humanist and atheist. A lot was said, but the following was the most important part:

“Don’t you have anything better than that, Joe?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, is that the best you can do. Don’t you have any real arguments or reasons that you hate the message I’m preaching?”

“I just hate what you guys do out here telling lies and forcing your beliefs on people. It’s judgmental”

I have to admit, I was somewhat pleased that he set this one up on a tee for me.

“Do you think I’m wrong for doing this Joe?”


“Well….aren’t you judging me now?”

He paused and surprisingly became a little less irritated.

“I guess you’ve talked me into a corner”

“I think you kind of did that yourself”

We talked a bit more and he expressed that I was the first Christian that had ever really talked to him. I was both please and saddened by that. After sharing the gospel with him (he still rejected it) I encouraged him to come back with something of substance to talk or even debate about. “Your smarter than this, Joe” I said, “You can do better than a dirty magazine just so you can try to shock people.”

We talked a bit more and then he left for his next class somewhat deflated and looking more like a lost child than the mocking proud atheist.

I pray we meet up again and that we can further discuss things like the conscience, creation, God’s law and His forgiveness through Jesus. That would truly be a worthy discourse.


Edwin said...

I thank god for you! Preach it brother!

Paul Latour said...

Atta be, brother!!! Great!

Joe, admittedly, painted himself into a corner. That was made obvious, but I do believe that the real credit goes toward the Lord.
He could melt this guy's heart into absolute mush because of that.

And, along with your gentle, compassionate, challenging and Christ-like response to Joe, he could be further humbled and eventually come to faith in Christ himself because of your example.

"With God, nothing is impossible" as we very well know. If God could save such rebels as you and me, He can save Joe. And I will pray for that.

The Lord bless you for your work this day. Amen!