Monday, January 16, 2006

An Account of My First Laborings at the Tannery

I took the opportunity last Friday evening to go preach at one of the most notorious places in Fredericton: the Tannery. God graciously blessed the time spend there and many people were reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I felt it a good idea to record what happened:

Jan. 13, 2006 - Feeling compelled to preach the day before, I determined to go preaching on the street after class the next day. Left the university at 2:00. Had already felt called to make the Tannery a new mission, so that's where I headed.
By 2:30 I had chosen my place, at the entrance to the Tannery where people would normally flow into the square. There was only a man shovelling snow near me and a few young people across the street talking amongst themselves. In a matter of minutes a crowd of 20 or more people were gathered and listening to what the Bible had to say.

Almost immediately I received hostility from the man shovelling. He boldly claimed himself an Anglican, but when he heard me professing that Jesus Christ alone was the sole basis of salvation, he began hollering and accusing, saying: "I'm an Anglican, but just because someone believes something different doesn't mean that it's wrong!" His manner of shovelling became increasingly more forceful to the point I even thought he might hit me with it. Occasionally he would shriek out in a high pitched voice, much like a demon from hell (I have heard this noise before by people while preaching other times).

In the first group that came over was a very supportive Christian youth, though he later admitted that he was not living for Christ. The conversation excited him and he was soon talking to those around him. He desired to keep in contact and left greatly encouraged.

Another young man, feeling convicted came up close and said, "I'll give my life to God when I'm 60 or 70 years old." Proceeded to tell him about the parable of the foolish builder. I said Jesus called this man a fool. He listened very soberly as I explained the dangers of waiting, nodding his head and saying: "That's true. That's true." This fellow and a few others were working across the street and by this time their boss was outside shouting at them to get back to work, for they had overstepped their break. After much prodding by the boss the group reluctantly left.

Noticed at this point people up and down the street listening in. Would occasionally look at them on my left, but they would shrink back behind some bars so I couldn't see them. This happened most every time I looked, and they remained there more than an hour, perhaps even the entire time I preached, which, I found out later was two and a half hours.
There was also a constant group of listeners leaning up against a brick wall to my right who stayed the entire time and grew in number.

A group of about seven men walked down the sidewalk and proceeded through the gate. I questioned them about their salvation and six of them scoffed and kept right on through, but one stayed and heard what I had to say. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36). He listened at length, but then went through the gate, but I later saw him back and listening again.

Now about this time more people were coming over, a group of obvious gothic and homosexual persons. One man came right over and asked if lying with another man was a sin. Leviticus 18:22 - "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." Immediately he objected by saying the Bible tells us not to do this and that, and he pointed out some minor cleansing rituals and eating laws. I reasoned with him, showing that he was "straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel" (Matthew 23:24). After talking with him for a short time about this he yielded and asked some other questions about the Bible. This man continued to come back and talk the remainder of the time. He was obviously convicted about his lifestyle, yet he put off any reform as far as I know.

There was at this time a lady across the street who was laughing at what was happening. I shouted: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7). And God graciously allowed this text to be the topic of discussion for the next while.

Now there was a new group listening to the Word, this one proved quite passionate about what was being said. There was a young girl, maybe 16, under the influence of cocaine (for she readily admitted it), and amongst the group there were also crack dealers who brought with them a disgustingly arrogant attitude. There was much to be said, and the conversation led in many directions. One young man in particular opened up his heart about life and his belief in God. He was an ex-Catholic and obviously hungry for truth. I perceived quite firmly that the Lord wanted to use him to preach the gospel, and I told him directly. We had fruitful conversation: he was clear on the issues of forgiveness and repentance, but his life was not a God-fearing one. Urged him to repent and "seek first the Lord's Kingdom and His righteousness", and he left very edified and with much to think about.

Here is a wonderful point to write: This whole time there was a young man, over twenty years old, who was listening intentely to all that was being said. He listened for over an hour, then suddenely he exclaimed, "Oh! What time is it, I have to be going!" He checked his watch and then said, "Oh, I've still got twenty-five minutes left." And he stayed the entire time! He inquired about his salvation and when he had to go I gave him a Gospel of John to read, which he took thankfully.

It would take much time to write about everything else that happened, and all the other people I was able to talk with. I will briefly add one more thing of interest, and say that I believe the Lord supernaturally hid us from the police, for during the time with the groups about me, two police cars passed by but not once did I see them even glance over and look at us, and I believe if they had they would have certainly come over and who knows if the work would have been ended then.

After much imploring that I leave rather than get myself beaten by an unruly mob, I packed up and left at about 4:30.


"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" - Romans 10:14

22 comments:

lovesick vagrant said...

i want to meet you

Pat said...

Well done sir. Carry on.

Pat said...

I'd amend the phrase "obvious gothic and homosexual persons." That would likely come across to an external reader as highly, highly, judgemental.

Micah Peterson said...

Praise the Lord Eli! That is awesome! I really thought that that kind of preaching was not effective anymore because people have so much information now. You've really challenged me (and a movie about David Wilkerson preaching to New York Gangs), I think I'm going to have a lot of thinking to do. I've never liked arguing with people about issues because it seems to get so intense and they get angry and stuff. I guess I just need to study the word better eh? Thanks Eli! May the Lord protect you from the Police and the mobs as you carry forth the light into a dark world. Jesus please protect Eli with your mighty angels. God Bless! Micah

Katie Peterson said...

Thank you Eli for being bold enough to step out in Faith and preach the truth to our hurting generation. You have given us an example that we (the youth of this generation) need to STEP IT UP! and become a NO COMPROMISE GENERATION!

Bless you brother as you continue to trust the Lord and follow in His plan for your life!

Anonymous said...

I don't even know where to begin with the countless decrepencies and judgements in your self rightoues account. You have obviously reached a delusional extreme that some would term borderline psychotic but then again that probably doesn't phase you because you would love nothing more to make a mayrter out of yourself. How dare you make judgements about supposed goths, and homosexuals. God made all of us unique and diverse and if some people choose to express themselves differently than you...it should not be judged or ridiculed by any human..especially someones as pathetic and narrowminded as you. You have no supernatural authority over any of us. Your words are like dust. People do not listen to words, they listen to actions and love. Maybe try a humble and selfless approach rather than comparing by- standards to demons and yelling to people from across the street. Like seriously, Eli you need to do a lot of self examination because i think you are losing your mind to a lost cause. Don't get me wrong, I believe in God and his Infinite Prescence but how the hell can you say what the ULTIMATE BEING requires of us? Wake up! There are no requirements! If you don't excersize some sort of tolerance of love for others than i'm pertty sure things are going to get messy for you...but like i said, you're sadistic mind probably can't wait for the day till you suffer for your beliefs.
I hope it never gets to that though.

Read a Course of Miracles.

silent wings said...

Be encouraged Eli. I have been following your blog for some time and have been incredibly stirred. The Atlantic is a sleeping giant and I pray the Holy Spirit will be poured out apon you and this generation (young and old alike)as never before, convicting all (includng the church) of sin, righteousness and the coming judgement. Hugenots Arise! May the consuming love of the Father and the tangible reality of His presence go before you wherever you preach,and I pray for increase with signs and wonders (healing and deliverence) following. I pray that you are but a forerunner of what is to come.

Adam O said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Luke Coughey said...

Eli, I'm proud of you. In fact, it is nice to see that my labours as a youth leader weren't in vain. As for anonymous' comments, please brush them off with the others who scoff at the Word of God. Continue to speak boldly.

Thanks for the encouragement. It is time that I get back out on the streets of Guelph, proclaiming the Good News.

In Christ,
Luke

Hugh said...

I am so sad for all of you. The dispair you feel for those you see as living without God, I feel for you. A careful balance - an interesting design.

anonymous again said...

Dear Adam, Eli and whoever else,

I understand the gospel is not "fluffy." It has been warpped into an intolerant extreme of black and white. There are no grey areas..without the "blood of the lamb" we will all perish and burn in an eternal hell. Do i believe this? Nope. First of all, our souls are not made of physical matter...meaning we will probably not physically feel pain after we die. That's just basic scientific fact. You need a brain with synapsis' to feel anything. You should know that Adam.
Secondly in regards to judgement, I realize that Eli did not wake up and say, "my wouldn't it be fun if i judged every passing person today." So yes, i recognize his intent was to bring "glory to god" by attempting to "further the kingdom of God". But you know what? He DID judge people...what do you think comparing someone to a demon is doing? If that isn't judging then i don't want to know what is. Jesus didn't walk around saying..uh oh, there's a harlot over there...I better scream the truth into her. At least i don't think he did...but who am I to say what he did or did not do.

There are no “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” in God’s world. Do what you want to do. Do what reflects you, what represents you as a grander version of your Self. If you want to feel bad, feel bad. But judge not, and neither condemn, for you know not why a thing occurs, nor to what end. And remember you this: that which you condemn will condemn you, and that which you judge, you will one day become. Rather, seek to change those things—or support others who are changing those things—which no longer reflect your highest sense of Who You Are. Yet, bless all—for all is the creation of God, through life living, and that is the highest creation.

You cannot know God until you’ve stopped telling yourself that you already know God. You cannot hear God until you stop thinking that you’ve already heard God. I cannot tell you My Truth until you stop telling Me yours.

If you think God looks only one way or sounds only one way or is only one way, you’re going to look right past God night and day. You’ll spend your whole life looking for God and not finding Her. Because you’re looking for a Him.


That's all. -Peace xo

Anonymous said...

While your sincerity is clear, you may want to examine the basis for your methodology. Although there have been several people throughout history who have taken this approach, I fail to see how any lasting fruit results from such efforts. I have talked to several Christians. However, I have never met anyone who had a conversion experience due to a preacher on the street, and then after this experience became very involved in the church. In fact, I would submit that this methodology for declaring the Word of God is not clearly outlined in scripture. While the disciples, or Jesus may have taken this approach, Athens, and the rest of the Greek world, was far different than our society today. People would welcome all sorts of ideas.

While your zeal is respectful, it overrides your wisdom. Jesus instructed us to make disciples as we go. I fail to see how preaching in this fashion helps bring people into the church and disciple them. Building relationship is what Jesus did, and Christians would do well to imitate this. Jesus ate with sinners, he didn't preach at them to change. The people Jesus rebuked were Pharisees who stood on the streets to pray so that they would appear righteous. You may want to examine your own heart to ensure that is not your motive.

However, it should be stated that I do not think your method to be morally wrong, but I do think your zeal could be better harnassed and that more of an impact could be made by taking an approach that involved loving people without compromising your values rather than alienating them by revealing their iniquity (that is the job of the Holy Spirit).

Something I have noticed: Eli's approach is such that any criticism fired at him he takes as persecution. This blindness could cause an uncritical self perception which could cultivate erroneous practices. In fact, it is likely that he, and many others, would consider my comments to be critical, and therefore persecution. Which, if i understand your mentality correctly, forces you to conclude you are doing the right thing. Perhaps Eli, and those of you who agree with his style, should ask the hard questions of your own hearts. Try asking: "why do I really want to present the gospel in such a radical fashion?" Why not participate in an ALPHA or other evangelistic endeavour that has lasting fruit and builds the church. Be careful that you do not try to promote your own righteousness in your pseudo-zeal to see the lost get saved. Unfortunately this could turn into an unproductive and costly contest to attempt to glorify oneself ahead of the gospel. Does your style really look innocent as a dove? Does it really build the church and glorify God? Or does it have the unfortunate effect of alienating the very people you want to save by coming across as biligerant, arrogant, self-righteous, and offensive? Why is it your place, or anyone else's place to enforce the gospel on those who don't want to hear it? Doesn't Jesus repeatedly say "he who has ears, let him hear". Furthermore, Jesus never preached when people didn't want to hear his message, in fact he left when the lack of faith persisted.

The wonderful thing about God's grace is that no one who is in Christ is any more righteous than another. You would all do well to remember this.

Anonymous 3 said...

To begin with, I must respond to the ridiculous positive responses and encouragement you received for the schizophrenic baracade you placed around the tannery (on what might have been a pleasent afternoon i should add). Love Sick vagrant: Yes, i too think that you should meet Eli. It will be much like a close encounter with God. (note the sarcasm). Micah: "I thought that kind of preaching was not effective anymore because people have so much information now." That's exactly right micah. people do have information, and some people (god forbid) actually listen and take information and use it to develop new ideas and think for themselves. This is wrong??? Katie: One might refer to eli as "bold" but others would clearly pick up on his Dave Storey/Hitler'esc approach to gaining control over people. Also, every generation has had its "hurts" - The idea that there are more lost souls walking the earth today than there was a few hundred years ago is a misconception. Silent Wings:...where do I begin S-Wings? The Giant is still sleeping babe and it looks like he's in a coma - try the pacific, they might be more open to the emotional manipulation proposed by Eli and Co. P.S. God does not respond to internet prayers. Adam: I don't think the Church of F'ton is blessed in any sort of way to have such a wandering vagrant on it's streets. I know many people who have actually turned away from the idea of God or Christianity through Eli and people like him. Luke: How exactly was Anonymous "scoffing at the word of God" , and why is it that Eli should "brush off" such comments? --moving on to the more levelheaded and better educated comments: Anonymous1: you're hot. Anonymous2:well said, well said, and well said. And to you Eli...your passion is real but your ideals are upside down. At would be wise to ask yourself the following questions. 1. are you really making a positive difference in people's lives or are you simply guiding them into an unfortunate and wasted life of exagerated expectations? 2. If all of the people in this world conformed to your perception of "The Word" would you be content in the knowing that their souls are "saved" or would that deep part of you which seeks power and persecution feel even more empty than before?

Anonymous said...

You are using the verb "to convict" incorrectly.

Adam O said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eli said...

If you've been wondering why I haven't commented so far, it is because I have been waiting for everyone to fully say what they feel they need to say. Now it is my turn.


"The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." - Jesus (John 7:7)

I must now defend myself against four different comments, all under the safe 'guise of anonymous. If you want to say something than put your name on it and don't be a coward.

First of all, I believe that the Bible is God's Word to man. That being clear, let's begin:

Anonymous 1
Your comment was full of falsehood and a foul spirit. The only thing you clearly showed was that the truth offended you and you were angry about what it had to say. Your anger reveals your character and your weak belief in your flimsy ideals. The moment your ideas are challenged you explode.

"How dare you make judgements about supposed goths, and homosexuals." These people were goths and homosexuals. If you were there you would have concluded the same thing.

"God made all of us unique and diverse and if some people choose to express themselves differently than you...it should not be judged or ridiculed by any human." Wrong. The Bible calls homosexuality sin (Leviticus 18:22), it is not a matter of human diversification. I ridiculed no one. I showed these people the Scripture and pointed them to Jesus Christ. To suggest what I did was wrong is to say the Bible is false, which at the heart of this all is what all these anonymous comments are saying.

"You have no supernatural authority over any of us. Your words are like dust." I'll be perfectly honest with you, this sounds very much like something a demon would say, especially since we are talking about the Word of God.

"People do not listen to words, they listen to actions and love." If this was true the gospel would not have made it past the twelve Apostles on the Day of Pentecost.

"i think you are losing your mind to a lost cause." What will you say when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:10)

"I believe in God and his Infinite Prescence" Tell me, where in the Bible is this found?

"how the hell can you say what the ULTIMATE BEING requires of us? Wake up! There are no requirements!" The Bible tells us what to do. "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent." Acts 17:30

"Read a Course of Miracles." I went and found this book, and it is nothing more than a pseudo-Christian cultbook, full of deception and falsehood and lies. This book denies the Bible, denies sin, denies Christ, etc.

Jesus said "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father but by Me."


Anonymous 2
The Bible says, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22)

"First of all, our souls are not made of physical matter...meaning we will probably not physically feel pain after we die. That's just basic scientific fact. You need a brain with synapsis' to feel anything. You should know that Adam." Don't be foolish, trying to justify yourself with such silly arguments. Jesus said, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

'Do not judge' is the biggest excuse for every sinner, but they are terribly mistaken. Have you ever heard what John the Baptist said? Paul? Peter? Jesus was the biggest judger of all.

There are two types of judgment: Hypocritical judgment and righteous judgment. Hypocritical judgment is what Jesus was talking about when He spoke of removing the beam out of your own eye before pointing out the speck in your brothers eye (Matthew 7:1-5). This is the accusation that you are trying to bring against me. You would have told John the Baptist to stop judging. You would even have told Jesus to stop judging. You cannot make statements of try and justify yourself without first knowing what the Scriptures say. If you knew them, you would have nothing to say. "Let God be true, and every man a liar" (Romans 3:4)

"There are no “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” in God’s world. Do what you want to do." God will judge everyman according to what is done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10). Who are you to tell God what is and isn't? Repent.

I don't even need to reply to your explanation of God. Who are you to tell us what God is? Repent of your wicked heart. You have made up your own god and set it up in your heart. This is idolatry. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3)


Anonymous 3
You question the fruit of street preaching.
"I fail to see how any lasting fruit results from such efforts." Did you know that John Wesley was a street preacher? Did you know that Christianity as we know it today is a result of God's work through this man? Did you further know that every man of God in the Bible was a street preacher, right from Noah to the Apostle John.

Let me ask you a question (and I perceive you are a Christian with good intentions. Bless you). Have I questioned the methods you have presented? No. I have never said street preaching is the only way. The only thing that matters is that Christ is preached... why are you opposing me, Christian?

" Jesus never preached when people didn't want to hear his message, in fact he left when the lack of faith persisted." You are mistaken, people DO want to hear the message. You just don't know it because you haven't stepped outside the ALPHA program yet.

"The wonderful thing about God's grace is that no one who is in Christ is any more righteous than another." Amen. Have I said otherwise?


Anonymous 4
Let me ask you a question:

Are you really making a positive difference in people's lives or are you simply guiding them into an unfortunate and wasted life of exagerated expectations?

I perceive you to be a 'Christian'. I find it disgusting how you would oppose the preaching of the gospel. What are you doing in the service of Christ? Do you waste the time God has given you on yourself?

"I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him." (John 8:26)

If you truly believed the Word you would be a different person. Shame on you. Shame.



This is wearisome. My least desire is to defend myself against such godless and foolish people, who know nothing of the Scriptures and nothing of life everlasting. If you want to challenge me, then confront me face to face, and don't hide behind an anonymous veil on the internet. It is time for judgment to start in the house of God. It is time for sinners to repent and believe in the gospel.

I am not angry, I am terribly sad. You must repent and turn to God before it is too late. Repent.

"The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." - Jesus (John 7:7)

Anonymous said...

thanks eli, you have forever turned me off from christianity. i'd rather 'burn in hell' than to have to waste a life on this bullshit meaninglessness.

Eli said...

You've turned yourself off. You've chosen to do what you want. I presented Biblical truth, you've rejected it by your own free will. Your blood be on your own head.

I weep for you because you don't weep for yourself.

Anonymous said...

This is in response to Eli's response to "Anonymous 3"

1. God has used many more men than John Wesley to shape Christianity as we know it today. That is a "great-man" approach to history that virtually all historians regard as falacious.

2. I admit that street preaching may have had positive results in the past (although i am unaware of them, i could do more reading on the topic). However, this does not escape my question: how many people have you seen converted by street ministry who are properly discipled into a local church and trained to be leaders within the last 3 years? Is that your conversion experience? If this is really such a common occurrence, why has the approach been widely abandoned by the church as a whole? How many people have you seen built into the church as a direct result of your street preaching?

3. "every man of God in the Bible was a street preacher" is an absolutely absurd statement; so absurd that it is not even worthy of an opposing argument. It is obviously false and a gross exageration of the facts.

4. You are correct, I am a Christian.

5. I did not accuse you of stating that street preaching was the only way, although it is implied as a necessary condition of being a "man of God" since you assert that all "men of God" in the Bible were street preachers.

6. I am not opposing you, merely your method. This was clear in my opening statement. While I question your integrity, approach, tact, lovingness, and theology, I do not oppose you as a person. In fact, I agree that the gospel should be preached. My argument was not that you were wrong, merely that your zeal, if balanced with wisdom, could be more fruitful if applied differenty.

7. For you to question my faith saying "why are you opposing me... Christian?" based on the grounds that I question your methodolgy only suggests that you have works-based soiteriology, which would be consistent with the supplementary arguments I put forth.

8. I would like to know how you can so easily read people's minds in saying so adamantly "people Do want to hear the message". If this isn't mind reading, i would like to know the source of your claim.

9. My personal experience in "stepping outside the ALPHA program" has indicated that people who you build relationship are much more receptive to hearing the gospel when they know who you are, and when you have relationship with them. I merely used ALPHA as an example of an effective, fruitful methodology that has been proven to have lasting fruit. I never suggested that it was the only program I believed in.

10. Do not take scrutiny as personal attack. The fact that you take critical objections to your methodology as personal attack and persecution proves my main point.

11. A final point is that I never claimed you were way off track, merely that your methodolgy deserves questioning. Simply assuming your methodology to be sound is presumtious and dangerous. All methodology should be subject to critical examination, never blindly accepted as fact or truth.

Thank you for your time.

PS - I am not a coward for not confronting you face to face, it is merely the method i have chosen.

Eli said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for writing back. Allow me to answer your new comments. I pray we can come to an understanding, after all, we are both believers and should be on the same side... I would also like to know who you are.

1. Of course God has used many more men than Wesley. But no one can deny the impact that the Wesley brother, George Whitefield, William Black, Henry Alline (and the list goes on) had on the world. And this is only one piece of history, not to mention other centuries. I simply used Wesley as an example because of the far reaching effects that we as Christian still experience.

2. I would highly recommend you doing more reading on the subject. You will find that in the past, the number one method of evangelism was street preaching with no equal.
But to argue against it because of results is extremely faulty. A ministry is never evaluated by results. If this was so, then Jesus' ministry was a complete failure. A big church does not mean a healthy church, actually, a big church might and usually is very compromising (of course, not always).
I will not cease to preach because of lack of results. I know many wonderful missionaries and evangelists who never converted anyone for years, then, after much labor and tilling the ground the revival they sought came. Remember, people's hearts need to be softened first, and this is not instantaneous. Do not judge by results, friend.

3. Your right, an exaggeration, but not an absurd one. You cannot deny them in the Bible... Enoch, Noah, the propehts, John Baptist, Jesus, the Apostles... well, that pretty much sums it up!

4. You say you are a Christian. Then you agree the gospel should be preached to all creation.

5. No, I never said anywhere that everyone should preach. But I will say this and stand by it firmly: If you have no desire to share the gospel then you do not possess the gospel. The nature of good news is to pass it along. I will challenge every Christian on this.

6. You have never met me, yet you are judging my integrity and lovingness? I would permit this if I had said something wrong, but since I haven't, you are not justified to do this. (Situations like this explain why I want to know who people are when they post on here)

7. The fact is, I am preaching to sinners the gospel and you are confronting me about it. "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice." (Philippians 1:18) Check your heart.

8. This is simple. People are hungry. They flocked over and talked for hours about the gospel. Would you like more proof?

9. Friend, I agree that building relationships is good and the ALPHA program is effective. But it is not the only way, nor is the standard by which we will evangelise. I also have found that preaching to people you don't know is effective, perhaps even more than being with people you do know, for Jesus even said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown." (Luke 4:24)

10. I appreciate the criticism, but I will also answer it. If I am wrong in any point I will correct myself. However, much of what has been said so far by people has been directed personally at me.

11. Absolutely, no methodology is in stone. But I find it interesting how no one has asked me if the Lord has told me to preach like this. I will save you the answer.

Thanks you for your comments. I'd still like to know who you are. May the Lord sanctify to Himself a people jealous for His glory.

Logic said...

Despite requests, I will not identify myself because it serves no purpose. My arguments are best understood coming from an objective source.

1. I will concede that Wesley and several others had an impact on Christianity. I fail to see why this is relevant to the argument, and I also fail to see where I objected to this. In fact, my original argument was: “I believe God has used many more men than John Wesley to shape Christianity as we know it today.” Thank you for your agreement.

2. I have three points:

(a) Please cite the source for this statement: “You will find that in the past, the number one method of evangelism was street preaching with no equal” (I do not believe you have the authority to make a statement like this without reference unless you have a PhD in Church History).

(b) “But to argue against it because of results is extremely faulty. A ministry is never evaluated by results.” How does this cohere with the principle Jesus put forth when he said “for a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33)? Or “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last”? It seems to me that Jesus placed a great deal of emphasis on results.

(c) Eli said: “Did you know that John Wesley was a street preacher? Did you know that Christianity as we know it today is a result of God's work through this man?” Eli also said: “Do not judge by results.” Since Eli uses the example of Wesley’s results to authenticate his practice of street preaching, and then advocates not to judge based on results. This is inconsistent.

3. I did not attempt to deny street preaching in the Bible, I merely stated, and Eli has conceded (this is clear when he says “Your right, an exaggeration”), that not every “man of God” in the Bible was a street preacher. My point was simply that not every “man of God” in the Bible was a street preacher. The statement that every “man of God” in the Bible was a street preacher is absurd. I stand by what I said.

4. “You say you are a Christian. Then you agree the gospel should be preached to all creation.” This fact is not in dispute, and is beside the point. If this is used against any of my arguments, I will say in advance that it is a red herring.

5. In response to this: “No, I never said anywhere that everyone should preach.”

My original claim was “it should be stated that I do not think your method to be morally wrong, but I do think your zeal could be better harnassed and that more of an impact could be made by taking an approach that involved loving people without compromising your values rather than alienating them by revealing their iniquity (that is the job of the Holy Spirit).”
You responded, “every man of God in the Bible was a street preacher.”

I responded by saying, “I did not accuse you of stating that street preaching was the only way, although it is implied as a necessary condition of being a "man of God" since you assert that all "men of God" in the Bible were street preachers.”

Eli, I believe you would do well to more carefully read the content of my writings. Your exegesis of what I say is subject to much scrutiny, which further leads me to believe your Biblical exegesis leaves much to be desired. This is not meant to be an insult, merely a concern. (For those of you who are about to shout “ad hominem!”, remember that ad hominem tactics are permissible when they question the reliability or coherence of an argument or interpretation of an argument. For further information on this topic see: William Hughes, Critical Thinking)

As I clearly (or so I thought) articulated in my previous response, every “man of God” in the Bible was a street preacher (which Eli claimed) implicitly implies that to be a “man of God” (which I assume to be something all Christians desire, except women who likely aspire to be women of God) requires that you be a street preacher. The reason this is implicitly implied is that if you could be a “man of God” without being a street preacher, this ought to be evidenced in the Bible. Eli’s claim was that no such evidence existed, therefore it is indeed implicitly implied that street preaching is a necessary condition of being a “man of God”. However, the facts indicate, and Eli has conceded, that there is evidence of men in the Bible who were not street preachers and still “men of God”. (Jacob would be one example, Samson another, Gidon another). When Eli makes self-contradictory claims such as he did, “No, I never said anywhere that everyone should preach” it only damages his credibility.

Careful examination of this argument will reveal two simple conclusions: (1) Street preaching is not a necessary condition of being a “man of God” and (2) Eli’s exegetical skills leave something to be desired, as evidenced by his inability to follow my arguments. (Once again, please do not take this as a personal insult, it is merely meant to subject Eli’s Biblical exegesis to critical analysis, as well as his historical interpretation of historical Christian theologian’s contributions to Church history)

6. Eli committed the fallacy of equivocation when he said: “you are judging my integrity and lovingness?” This is a false statement. This is in response to what I said, “While I question your integrity, approach, tact, lovingness, and theology, I do not oppose you as a person.” Eli has committed the fallacy of equivocation because he equates the word ‘question’ with the word ‘judge’. To question is far different than to judge. However, one could interpret this defensiveness to be the sign of a guilty conscience, but that person would not be me. Instead, in keeping with the principle of charity, I will simply say that to question is to simply ask if such traits were (or are) present while Eli’s methodology is implemented. The apostle Paul very adamantly stated, “If I speak in the tongues (languages) of men and of angels, but have nto love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.” (1 Corinthians 13:1) I think it is a fair question, just as one could ask if my words here are loving. I believe they are loving, at least not lacking in love. If I am interpreted as being unloving or disrespectful, I attribute that to the means of this communication.

7. What you said in response to me does not answer my accusation of your soiteriology being works-based. Please re-read my comment, and the basis for it before considering my next words.

“The fact is, I am preaching to sinners the gospel and you are confronting me about it.” I believe it was the apostle Paul who said, “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) Yes, I am confronting what you are doing because as I clearly stated in my introductory sentence of my first post “While your sincerity is clear, you may want to examine the basis for your methodology.” Your approach should be questioned, and if it cannot stand up under questioning should be re-evaluated. Your reaction reenforces my main argument of my first post: When you receive questioning or confrontation of any kind, you interpret that as persecution. Consequently, you take this as a sign that your behavior is justified. This type of thinking is dangerous. If a person gets to the point where they believe they are above questioning, where they believe “the ends justify the means” (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince), something of humanity is lost, and something of idolatrizing oneself and one’s own judgment is gained.

So, Eli, if you believe your judgment on the issue is above reproach, do not heed what I say. But don’t demonize me for questioning your methodology, or your motives. To cease to question is to cease to think critically. No where in the Bible does God instruct us to walk around ignorant, never questioning, never suggesting. Jesus asked people about their methods, motives, and reasoning all the time. This is how people learn. If you can demonstrate that your methodology stands up under my questioning, and other people’s questioning, by all means, continue. But no one should be asked to uncritically accept anything. And I will concede that it is better to have the gospel preached rather than not, without consideration for motive; however, I would submit that it is better to preach the gospel with good motive than corrupt. Both of these statements are consistent with the reference you cited (Philippians 1:18). The issue of how the gospel is best preached is different than the question of whether or not it should be preached at all (the latter is not up for debate).

8. My statement was meant to reflect that some people do not want to hear the gospel, and in fact find it offensive that you take it upon yourself to broadcast it in such an arena where they have no choice but to listen. I for one would not like it much if I heard an athiest declaring atheism to be true in the town center, especially if I was forced to listen, even as I walked by. I think the people who do not want to listen also need to be taken into consideration, and surely you would not insist that all people in all places want to hear the gospel. This is simply not true. While you certainly have a right to free speech, a case can be made that enforcing the gospel on someone is a breech of their personal privacy. Your response will likely be that they have the freedom to leave, which is a good point, and I will concede it. However, individual rights of people should not be ignored in most cases, which puts the burden of proof on why this is one of the cases where individual rights should be overridden. And before this digresses into a lengthy dialogue with myself, I will close the argument by saying that legitimate debate can be had over this issue. It is merely meant to be a point to consider, not something I wish to debate.

9. Eli said, “But it is not the only way, nor is the standard by which we will evangelise.” I’m not sure what this is a response to, since I did not claim either of these points. Obviously ALPHA is not the standard by which we evangelise. My original point was that Jesus is the standard by which we evangelise. He was the one who emphasized building relationship. I am curious, after this statement, “perhaps even more than being with people you do know,” how many non-Christian friends do you have? I am reminded of that song… “his name is Jesus, friend of sinners” (Paul Oakley).

10. In addition to appreciating and answering criticism, it is also good to keep an open mind. Do not confuse personal attacks from others with the questioning I have posed. Logic does not attack, it merely tests.

11. In response to what the Lord has spoken, God speaks consistently with what he has already spoken. Your aparent calling begs the question of whether or not God has also called you to be part of, and committed to, a specific local church in your home town. Since God does not direct contrary to his will, (to do so would be a logical contradiction and is impossible ontologically) he would undoubtably direct you to be accountable to a local church.

As a final comment, this will be my final posting along this line of debate. I believe both arguments have been fully presented. I would like my arguments to be read charitibly, and in such a way that they are not a personal attack against Eli himself, merely a thorough questioning of his methodology and motives. It is up to other people to decide which argument has more strength. My identity may be revealed someday, but not today. I see my argument as good philosophy giving answer to bad philosophy. I will close with a quote, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered." (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory)

Eli said...

Logic,

I have no desire to once again go step by step and repeat myself in what I said earlier. You missed the entire point of what I said. You have picked apart my answers and searched for mistakes in them rather than trying to see what I was saying. This is wearisome, brother. Do you not find this wearisome? I have no desire to argue like this, it is completely meaningless and you have failed to see it.

I'm going to call God as my witness right now, and He Himself knows my heart, my thoughts, my intentions, my faith, my work, my devotion, my love, brokenness, my tears. It is He who has led me to preach on the street. I have only to answer to Him, and not to man. Pick me apart if you'd like. Use your critical thinking skills. I'm am so tired of people with big heads and small hearts.

Why must you remain anonymous? I have only to guess that you are a coward and do not want to let me and others know who you are so you don't have to face the consequences of your comments. Stand up for what you believe in. God knows who you are.

Oh, that we may be One even as You are One!