Monday, February 27, 2006

Soapbox Smashed, Nearly Beaten

Brothers and sisters,

Went out preaching last Thursday and had a terribly hostile encounter. I was first preaching on Luke 16, the rich man and Lazarus, and how the rich man was pleading with Abraham to send someone back to his brothers to tell them to repent, and had a good audience of people listening all over.

When I finished the message a young guy (20?) came across the street to where he was meeting his boyfriend and I posed a question to him: "Do you believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" That was all it took to set him off. I barely said anything to him and he became raving mad, clenched fists, cursing and swearing and saying "If you don't shutup I'm going to pound you" (my interpretation) and he meant it. I got off the box and walked right over to him and started to talk with him, but he was angry, sometimes I thought he would lash out, he took hold of my collar at one point. The young man was definitely demon possessed, you could see it in his eyes. He was an open homosexual and probably opened himself up at some point or another. Extremely violent, bad language, very dark...

He and his friend left and as they went by my box he picked up and took it down the street, then lifting it over his head he threw it down hard. That's the last I saw of it. I think he continued to take it down the street and out of sight. Later they came back and were talking to some tough older guys (all from the street I believe) and I honestly wasn't sure whether they were telling them to get rid of the preacher or what. I don't doubt it. By God's grace nothing happened.

I knew this in theory, but now I know from experience, that it is going to cost to be a preacher of the Gospel. I realize more than ever now that the cost of preaching Christ is welcoming in beatings, hardships and persecutions, ultimately it will cost you your life. We have nothing to be afraid of, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, we do not have a spirit of fear but a Spirit of power. God will receive glory from all of us who are willing to go all the way for Him!

Hope this report is encouraging and challenging. God bless saints.

33 comments:

Paul West said...

You're blessed, brother.

Join the ranks of the beaten, reviled, scoffed, hated, mocked and derided. All true soldiers of the cross will suffer, and what an honor it is to actually get beaten up for Jesus! To have your blood spilled out for the gospel! It means you're doing something right, wicked powers are being stirred. John Wesley said that when the gospel is preached, people should either get extremely mad or get saved. But there should be no indifference. Read Wesley's and Whitefield's journals. You'll find them getting punched in the face, thrown in rivers, pounded with bricks, rotten eggs, dead animals, you name it.

Eli, I've got some horror stories of my own. Once, when I was witnessing in the park, I was seized by some homeless, angry drunks and dragged before their "faith healer" and told to tell him everything I was preaching to them. They said they would beat me up if I didn't. So, I preached Christ crucified, and when I mentioned hell, he exploded with anger and profanity. He had these scary, dark shades on and when he got up from the table, I thought he was going to pull a knife or something. I prayed for wisdom and God gave me sudden boldness. I addressed him as a liar, a child of the devil, and that he has no authority. He shut up immediately and sat down and listened to the rest I had to say. The drunks were all astonished, as this man was regarded by them as a powerful psychic/healer that could read minds. Well, it turned out that this guy was actually an ex-Jehovah's Witness who started using twisted scripture to disprove hell and the deity of Jesus. In the course of reproving him, many people heard the truth and God protected me bodily.

Thanks for posting this account. More soldiers need to be encouraged to join the ranks. God protects his own.

Burdened said...

Certainly sounds like an intense encounter! I am glad to hear that it did not end up in violence. I agree to an extent that when people are confronted with their sins they will become angry. This is the evidense of pride. Very few people can remain calm in the face of critism. Sadly, in the case of the young man who was potentially homosexual, his culture and times teach him that being "different" is ok. His mindset is one that lacks education and understanding of where you are comming from. Usually people lash out at what they do not understand. This could have been the case in both scenarios listed above.

Having been in your shoes, I suggest this: continue to preach boldly if you so choose. However, do not go to the point of being annoying. God will stir the hearts of those he chooses to listen. Preach boldly and let the Holy Spirit do the work. Be blameless in front of all men so that they have no excuse. Trouble will come without stepping out to meet it. Just be street smart.

-Burdened

Micah and Katie said...

Eli as I was reading your post all I could think about was David Wilkerson the country preacher who felt called to go to the big city of New York and preach the word to Gangs! His time there was not easy as he was beaten and slapped when he confroted gang members. Through his preserverance many gang memeber came to know the LORD. This is the story of Nicky Cruz and how the ministry Teen Challenge began! Keep it up brother we are praying for you

Acts 5:41~ The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus.

lovesick vagrant said...

I think it was silly of you to approach him when he was in that state. It was kind of like encouraging him to do something.

nicholas said...

Do you think that alternative ways might stop incidents such as this from happening? 'Do you believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?' is confrontational and puts one on the defensive. It disables you from having a fruiful conversation with them and is a yes or no answer. Im sure if he really was gay that he has been through enough needless criticism from Christians and this particular question doesnt do much to ease him into talking to you. Im all for Christians talking about their faith with others but it has to be done in a modern and relevant way. Using Christian rheortic that doesnt make sense to someone who is not inside the church is counter-productive to the well intentioned motives you have. Keep it up but you should think about modifying your methodology. Demon possessed? I hope that anger and lashing out are not seen as demon characteristics. Human emotions perhaps? I doubt Jesus was possessed in the temple.


http://www.nicholascoates.blogspot.com

Eli said...

Brother Paul,

Encouraging! Amen, it is nothing but honor to be persecuted, beaten or killed for our Savior, Jesus Christ! Yeah, Wesley and Whitefield had it no different. People say today that street preaching is not effective today like it was before... but look at the trials they went through to sow the Word. God bless you, brother.

Lovesick,

You'd understand if you were there. I hardly said anything to him and he went off the handle. I approached him to shake his hand and calm him down, trying to talk to him more sensibly. However, this didn't cool him very well.

Nick,

Well brother, I didn't really do anything to set him off so I'm not sure what alternative I could have done. I know he had demonic troubles, that's not even a question. Much of the unrestrained anger and violence on the streets is due to spirits... spirits that have gone unchallenged for years and they react violently to someone preaching the Word of God. Regardless, at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, and that includes "things under the earth".

Just need a new box now. :)

Jane said...

Just a tip from someone who doesn't believe in what you believe... I would be 100 % more inclined to listen to you, if you were not standing on a box yelling at me. I listened to your recording of you preaching before, and all I can say is that I was repulsed. Repulsed not by what you were saying (because I knew I wouldn't agree with you anyway, but wanted to see what your message was about) but by the way you were saying it. Even Jesus changed more people by talking to them, and hesitating to judge them until he had been in their shoes. Yelling at people that they are going to go to hell won't work.

I'm not trying to criticize really, just suggest a more effective way. If you really are trying to save people, yelling at them will not work. Who would you be more inclined to listen to? The person who screamed at you, or the one who talked to you like a person?

Also -- Jesus didn't judge people, why do you get to? You openly admit in this story that you are creating your own interpretations of whether or not he wanted to beat you. And you theorize as to what the group of guys were saying, but you do not actually know. How do you know he was possessed by demons?

I don't know. It's really just my own opinion, but shouldn't you take my opinion to heart, since I am one of the non-believers, and sinners, that you are trying to save? Trust me when I say, that me, and everyone else you want to save, would listen a lot more if it didn't feel like an attack.

Jenni Rayne said...

"what an honor it is to actually get beaten up for Jesus! To have your blood spilled out for the gospel! It means you're doing something right, wicked powers are being stirred."
-That is sadistic! C'mon...for the love of God get a grip!!!!!! You aren't going to save anymore souls by shedding your own mortal blood. Argh.

Ben Peterson said...

This is more a comment for Jenni Rayne.
I admit I don't know you, or what you believe. However, Eli is a Christian, therefore he believes what the Bible says. And if you read the Bible, you will find things like "...It is a priviledge to suffer for Christ.." Philipians 2, and all kinds of stories where the blood of the Martyrs, and the suffering of christians, opens up huge doors to the gospel of the kingdom being received. If you are a Christian, you need to seek out this truth in the Word, if not, I understand your reaction because it clearly goes against what we naturally think and believe in our world.

jedd said...

I think burdened and Nick make some very good points. Though I am reluctant to say so, I especially liked Jane's post. From my own experience with non-believers, her's is a very common attitude towards this style of evangelism, and I wager that the vast majority of non-believers would echo her comments. I think we as believers ought to take to heart her comments and bear them in mind in our evangelical endeavors. We need to be sensitive to people's feelings without compromising our message.

Paul describes his own evangelical strategies in 1st Corinthians. He writes, "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some" (9:22). We get a glimpse of this in his letter to the churches in Galatia: "Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am [they were beginning to backslide], for I also have become as you are" (4:12). Paul came to Galatia and became like a Galatian unto them so as to earn their respect. He met them at their level. Because of this, the Galatians grew to respect Paul and accepted his message. He did not get on a soapbox. He did not directly question their beliefs, even in utmost kindness. He simply became as a Galatian. They received Christ.

Paul's preference for this method of evangelism is also evident by the fact that it was his custom to spend long periods of time in the cities to which he went. How else is friendship cultivated and respect earned but by remaining in the same place for a considerable length of time?

I see very little biblical evidence for singling out individual non-believers in a crowd. The only instance of this that I can think of is when Jesus singled out Zacchaeus. But I submit that Jesus did this only because it was quite apparent to him that Zaccheus was very, very, very intersted in seeing and hearing him (Zacchaeus made the effort to climb a tree just to get a glimpse of him!). Furthermore, Jesus did not question his beliefs. He merely invited himself to Zacchaeus' house for a meal. That is, he met Zacchaeus at Zacchaeus' level. There are many other examples of Jesus meeting people at their levels which I will not get into at this time.

Suffice to say, the most common, and I submit by far the most effective, method of evangelism is so-called 'lifestyle evangelism.' St. Fracis of Assisi is credited with saying, "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."

Having said all of this, I am not saying that you, Eli, are wrong to stand on a soapbox and evangelize. The fact that, as you have previously posted, at least one person has accepted Christ through your endeavors is evidence that God is at work in what you are doing. For this I am thankful. But I suggest that it is inappropriate to single out and question any one person or persons in a crowd, even if you feel it is done in love. Let the Holy Spirit be the One to prod the hearts of your hearers.

I end with another suggestion. I have noticed that some have questioned the validity of what you say in your accounts (i.e., whether or not someone is gay, stuff about demons, etc.) Perhaps someone other than yourself should be the one to post accounts of your laborings. Jesus didn't write an account of what he said and did, but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each wrote one. Paul didn't write an account of his missionary journeys, but Luke did. Why not bring someone with you and have him/her post on your blog?

God bless, Eli.

jedd

Eli said...

I am being criticized for my tactics... yet what I am doing is extremely tame compared to men like Whitefield and John Baptist... I wonder how my critics would react to them? All I know is I have been told by the Lord to do this, and as I go I am learning; adding and taking away what works and what doesn't. But just because a few people get upset with me doesn't nullify the scores of people that ARE listening and that ARE being impacted.

Appreciate your prayers! Thank you so much, it is valuable to know that you are holding me up in prayer. I don't believe hostility is surprising, rather it is expected... almost a necessary obstacle to be overcome before people will be won for Christ.

Jane,

I appreciate your comment and thank you for posting. But let me explain myself:

First of all, I go out on the street to preach, because this is the most effective method. It is unreasonable for me to run up to every person individually and talk to them. Preaching is not a sin nor a crime, and is a great way to get a message out. People gather in crowds, stop to listen all over, and hear about what the Bible is saying. So as to my method: I stand firm that it is effective.

However, this does not mean I simply preach all the time I'm out there. Actually, I'd say a greater percentage of the time I am actually off the box talking to people as they have questions. The audio clips only captures the body of preaching and not the open dialogues. Maybe you (and my other critics) should first come out and see before making their judgments.

And finally, about judgments... Jesus DID judge, and so did Paul and Peter and every Christian should. You are making judgments about my ministry. Judging is not wrong, it is making an evaluation about something. People take the verse "Judge not that ye be not judged..." (Matthew 7:1) totally out of context and justify themselves with it. Jesus was in fact talking about hypocritical judgment if you would read on in the Scripture. The Bible actually tells us to judge correctly.

Therefore, for me to "judge" that a person is going to hell based on truth is perfectly acceptable. Would you rather me lie to people and pretend they are safe? The fact is, when we die, those without Jesus Christ will go to hell, and another fact is, most people don't care or don't know. There is no other way to get the message across then to say it and say it firmly. Think of a person sleeping in a burning house. How would you tell them to get out? Whisper? Climb in bed with them and after a few years let them know (friendship evangelism)? No, I don't think so.

Jedd,

Again brother, appreciate the comment, but I disagree with some stuff you said. I know you don't like what I'm doing, but what can I say brother? I am doing nothing different than what many Christians have done for hundreds and hundreds of years. I doubt the Church today would even be the same were it not for the self-denying street preachers who were willing to be beaten to preach the gospel.

I'm not sure I like the St. Francis of Asissi quote, because the Bible tells us that "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) and "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? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:14-15)

And remember, Paul was beaten and stoned and imprisoned and scourged and in danger everywhere, etc, etc, etc... (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Why? If he simply became a Galatian why would they hate him? The answer lies here: "The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." (John 7:7)

Jesus said the world would hate us (Luke 21:17, John 15:18, John 17L14...)! So let's not be surprised about it. Does the world hate you, Christian?

God bless all,
-Eli

Burdened said...

Eli,

you stated, "I am being criticized for my tactics... yet what I am doing is extremely tame compared to men like Whitefield and John Baptist... I wonder how my critics would react to them?"

I have to comment on Whitefield's ministry. Many scholars have debated as to whether Whitefield was merely using the sociological mindframe of 16th century New England as an anchor for his preaching. The Greak Awakening had many social implications that Whitefield addressed and used to stir his listeners. He was extremely talented and he knew his audience. He used what was happening socially to reach his audience. For example: Jonathan Edwards had set the stage in an Arminian and Rationalistic society by preaching the tenents of Calvinism. He had been doing so for five years before Whitefield arrived. Whitefield, knowing how Edwards had conducted his ministry, continued to appeal to a society that encouraged success based on individual achievements (Pilgrim farming, etc). Whitefield's Calvinist message would, therefore, be accepted amongst the lower class people because Arminianism had made them feel "inadequate" and through the introduction of Calvinism to them they finally felt "wanted". My point on Whitefield is this: he knew what he was doing. He knew the "Streets", so to speak, and he went at it how it was necessary. I think Nick made an excellent point about being aware of modern ideas and thinking. Edwards used pagan philosophy to prove the existence and rational of God to the authors! That's amazing! I think we need to consider doing the same.

John the Baptist also did the same. Keeping in mind that he was prophesied about (Malichi) and was ordained specifically by God to introduce Jesus, I think we should be careful to compare our ministries to that of John the Baptist. Also, the John the Baptist texts that you are probably thinking of come from the Gospel of John. Keep in mind that the Gospel of John was writting in the late 1st century and was addressed to the Synagogue who were threatening to expell believers of Christ from the Synagogue. John was writing to those people specifically trying to persuade them that Jesus was the Christ. So the words you are reading in John are actully meant for a purpose: to prove Christ's diety. The words that the Baptist are recorded as saying are tilted to a late, first-century audience. Perhaps not the exact words that the Baptist would have used (although the themes may have been very similar). So we cannot really compare ourselves to John on the the level because we are not called as he was and second, his words are written to appeal to a specific audience.

I appreciate what is happening, but I agree with Nick: we ought to know what we're doing out there. Paul knew what he was doing. He knew the audience, their philosophy, their thought patterns, etc. That's how the Gospel is made relevent to people. If you want another example take Jesus at the well in John 4. He knew everything that the Samaratian woman was saying and her context and history. So perhaps being educated isn't such a bad idea?

jedd said...

Eli,

Hi again. I apologize if I have implied that I don't like what you are doing. Perhaps you misunderstood me. Or perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I am a fan of repentance. Any time that happens, like, as I mentioned in my first post (1:24 PM), you say that it happened in "Salvation in the Streets!" (Feb. 17), then I am glad. I hope it happens again. I am not against things that bear fruit. If seeds are being planted, and if indeed at least one person has come to repentance, then what you are doing is bearing fruit and I am not against it. I don't know how to be any more clear than this.

But although I am alright with street preaching in general, I was concerned about the fact that you openly and directly questioned the beliefs of one particular individual, even if you feel that you did address him in kindness. The reason for this is because I see no example in the NT of Jesus, Paul, or any other apostle singling any one particular person out of a crowd and questioning that person's beliefs. The only thing that I can think of that comes close to this is the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus, and, as I have previously mentioned, Jesus never actually questioned his beliefs. And so my previous post was more of an objection to a direct questioning of a non-believer's beliefs than an objection to street preaching.

The comments I made about what you call "friendship evangelism" were more of a response to Jane's post. I was not trying to say that all evalgelism should be done this way. I was not trying to say that other forms of evangelism (like street preaching) are wrong. My point was that scripture shows that meeting people at their level, earning respect, and establishing relationships produces results. I was also trying to point out that both Paul and Jesus did this. I also said this so that people like Jane might not be totally turned off from Christianity. Like I said, we believers need to be sensitive to other's feelings without compromising the message. People can either stop and listen to street preaching or they can keep on going. Their beliefs don't need to be questioned by human voice. That was the main point of my post.

Now, to address your points.

I fully agree with you that street preaching has been used by God. Like I've said, I have no doubt that God is at work in what you do. If you feel called to this, then do it.

I agree that we ought not let the quote of St. Francis of Assisi ("Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.") undermine the need to speak the Gospel.

Lastly, Paul didn't SIMPLY become a Galatian to win some of them to Christ. Yes, he did become as them. But thats not all he did. In my previous post I said, "We need to be sensitive to people's feelings without compromising our message." Paul was sensitive to people's feelings ("I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some," 1 Cor. 9:22), yet he did not compromise his message. I think that this is why he was beaten, imprisoned, etc. He did not compromise the Gospel, and was persecuted because of it.

I hope this clears some things up.

-jedd

Paul West said...

Newsflash!! Newsflash!!

The pure gospel is the most offensive, hated message this world will ever hear. Jesus Christ was and is the most hated individual this world will ever know. Consequently, the preacher who takes Mark 16:15 literally will be castigated by the world. There is no middle ground. He will be absolutely loved and encouraged OR rebuked and discouraged ( usually under the facade of "I understand what you're doing, brother, BUT...).

It can be very disheartening, Eli. For someone to discern the vital necessity of preaching open-air repentance is, well, almost as rare as meeting someone who is truly born-again. Armchair theologians will shoot you down; effeminate believers will assert the cop-out of "friendship" evangelism, angry that you're hindering the so-called "seeker-friendly" atmosphere of coming to Jesus.

God has called you, Eli, and you are being faithful. If ever someone needed the armor of God, brother, it's the open-air preacher. The enemy will come against you through this blog and in personal fellowship with others who claim they haven't been "called" to go into all the world and preach the gospel and suffer persecution.

But you, brother, go all the way for the crown! And pray that God torch my heart as well...to completely burn out for Jesus Christ, everyday and everyway experiencing my own personal Gethsemane, through self-denial and the crucifixion of the flesh, weeping and pleading and travailing and grieving over hellbound lost and the neglected poor and suffering. Let the lukewarm servants bury their talents; but you go and preach that men should repent and be baptized for the remission of sins in Christ Jesus!

God's continued blessings on you, my brother! Brother Paul.

nicholas said...

"Jesus was and is the most hated individual. . ." Granted he is not liked by some but that claim is incredibly unfounded. Where is your source/reasoning for that? That Rev, is ridiculous. I think if you polled 1000 people, Jesus would not even be in the top 900 mentioned as who they hate most.

Debate within Eli's blog should not be seen as Satan coming after him. Problems arise when people are absolutely tied up in their beliefs that they will not, under any circumstances, consider alternative options. Alternatives to ministry or anything else for that matter are not by default evil, liberal or whatever you want to call them; They are merely other options. I offered alternatives, the proper thing to do when protesting something. Shooting down those ideas so passionately without logical evidence shows that you havent really thought about them much at all. Theologians, if you want to consider yourself one, are required by profession to talk and dialogue about theology and faith. Not doing so is being an "arm chair theologian" or just ignorant.

Doctrine of Vocation? Hear of it? To minister and witness to those who do not know Jesus does not require one to go out and stand on a soap box, literally. All Christians are "called" to go out and bare witness to His name but they do so in different ways, playing on the strengths and gifts God has given them. Whether its like Eli who has the gift of preaching, or its someone else in music, writing, dancing, or whathaveyou. Dont limit evangelism to open air preaching. All recieve flak for what they profess.

And really, what would any kid who's thinking about his spirituality think if he read your words. "But you, go all the way for the crown" "Experiecning my own personal Gethsemane. . ." Do you even understand what that means? Most people who arent familiar with church have no idea what all that means. Cut down on the rhetoric and focus on getting the message across in a relevant and yes, non confrontational manner. Confrontation will happen without prompting it.

Anyway, good chat.

Pax.

Burdened said...

Nick,
Good post. I think that the issue lies in not being able to understand argumentation. Our arguments are no from Satan. Our arguments should, if anything, cause you to think and become better for it. It is very ignorant to respond to debates by insult. Very unprofessional and, if i should say, very unChrist-like. If you aren't prepared to listen to reason Rev, I suggest you get into another profession other than preaching. All of your life you will be encountered with people who will argue with you. If you want them to take you seriously you need to consider what they are saying and be a servant to them by showing them through their own arguments that they are looking incorrectly at the text (or whatever it is you are arguing). Systematically show your argumentation. If you read the book of Romans, you'll notice that Paul retraces his steps and produces a logical, sound, argument against those people who oppose him. He doesn't resort to calling anyone an "arm chair theologian". That's just petty, sad, and wrong. If you want to be truly effective, try showing some respect.

- Burdened.

jedd said...

rev. paul west,

I'm curious: To whom specifically are you referring when you say "effeminate believers," "armchair theologians," and "lukewarm servants"?

-jedd

Logic said...

Hey Rev. West...
Did you order your divinity degree on the internet? Where's your primary source for claiming Jesus is the most hated guy of all time?

The more you speak the more you reveal your justified-by-works dogmatism. Do you know what grace is?

As a follow up to your Mark 16:15 reference, since we're going to take things literally (as you claim we should), do the signs in verses 17 and 18 accompany the multitudes of converts you observe through living out your sadistic self-denial? Drive out demons, speak in new tongues, pick up snakes, drink deadly poison without being harmed, healings... tell me, have you had any poison lately? If you can't drink poison without being harmed, does that mean you're not saved since these signs will accompany those who believe?

Anyway, it's not that I hate you, as you will no doubt assume, thinking that this is more persecution because of Christ... rather I just think you should reexamine your approach. The in-your-face approach is wrought with unlovingness and insensitivity.

Without love, you and Eli, and myself, are all crashing symbols. Maybe you should read the whole Bible instead of clinging to excerpts that justify your position and tearing things out of context. Didn't they teach you exegesis and hermenutics in Divinity school, Reverend?

-Logic

Logic said...

Eli,

Have you become accountable to a local church yet? Are the new converts being baptized and discipled? We're called to preach, we're also called to baptize and disciple... how are these elements incorporated into your ministry?

I have a question:

Do you think that "ceremonial foods" in Hebrews 13:9 may mean any legalistic works designed to bring oneself honor before God? The reason I ask is that the previous instruction is that it "is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace." Sometimes I wonder if your heart is strengthened more by grace or by the persecution you receive through your declaration of the gospel.

Please continue to preach, this is clear in the Word... but don't forget to do so in love. Perhaps you should heed several of Jedd's points above, they may enable your ministry to be more effective. Add an affiliation and submission to a local church and i'm sure you'd be very useful for the building of God's ever increasing kingdom. But legalism will get you no where, so be careful.

Anyway, let me encourage you again to get connected to a local church, and to not neglect discipleship, relationships, and baptisms.

-Logic

Matt Sears said...

Eli,

I think that Logic, Nick and Jedd all have excellent points. As do many of the other posters on this comment page. So, I will leave the carefully crafted scriptural arguments as they are.

I would, however, like to offer a few "gut" reactions to your site, if I may. Eli, I have always been extremely concerned with your "ministries" that I have seen only a small part of over the years. I think specifically of your tenure at Green Hill Lake Camp. At camp you would routinely gather large groups of very young and very impressionable people around you and "minister" to them. You do have lots of charisma and natural speaking talent, I will not deny you that. But you also have incredible and dangerous arrogance and self-delusion. To even suggest that you are akin to John the Baptist or Charles Wesley is foolish in the extreme. To imply that each and every crticism is simply persecution from the forces of darkness in this world, and therefore a sure sign of your ministry's validity, is self-delusional and potentially very dangerous. It is equally dangerous to accept every compliment and encourgement as God-given and valuable. I think of Mr. West's comments such as "effeminate believers," which are blatantly un-informed and laughably dogmatic, making evangelism into some sort of macho-courage litmus test. It is people like you, who think that everyone who disagrees with them is wrong and deaf to the Holy Spirit, that lead astray young and impressionable people. I can think of several similarly untrained, uneducated, yet charismatic preachers who have done the same in the Fredericton area, whom I will not name. Ultimately, when their ministries collapsed, many lives were severely scarred and many faiths were shaken to the core, while many other faiths were shown to be purely illusory.

I pleaded with the leadership at camp to curb your dangerous "apostolic" and "messianic" ambitions, yet I was unsuccessful. So I now appeal to you personally: Please seek the counsel and guidance of a wise, Spirit-led pastor, teacher or leader that can help identify and hone your natural God-given talents and gifts. Do not be so arrogant to assume that because God is apparently speaking to you, you need no spiritual mentorship and leadership here on Earth.

Eli said...

Lord Jesus, please give us all grace to listen and understand one another.


Burdened,

Brother, I'm not going to argue with you about George Whitefield's ministry. I think the fruit speaks for itself. And also, John the Baptist was a camel-skin wearing locust and honey eater man in the wilderness. I believe the Bible is perfectly correct in it's description of John and his message. And are we not also called to "make a straight path for the Lord to travel? Prepare ye the way of the Lord?" Perhaps the Lord is not moving in our midst because we have not levelled the mountains and filled in the valleys, mmm?


Jedd,

Dear brother thank you for you comment, I understand you very well. I'm not sure I understand the problem with asking people questions... is it wrong to ask someone about their soul? Sometimes I ask: "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeit his soul?" I don't see how this is a problem, brother, but if you can show me that it is, then I will change...

Yeah brother, I've said it before, I have no problem with other forms of evangelism... it just seems like most people have a problem with the street preacher.

Brother, I do my best to be senstive to people, but very act of preaching an uncompromising gospel WILL bother people, no matter how sensitive, and so I agree with you about Paul and why he was persecuted.

Thanks Jedd.


Bro Nick,

Again, thanks for posting brother. I must say though, that if people truly knew the message of Jesus (as the Church should be telling them) then He would be hated by the majority. I believe many people accept and play around with Jesus but only because they don't know the full message of the gospel. All they can quote is: "Love your neighbor as yourself." etc.

No, folks, I don't see your comments as coming from Satan, but some of these comments are coming from ignorance I will admit (I say this gently, not to stir up anger.) Alternatives are fine so long as they are not compromises, I know you know this and don't mean that.

You're right brother, sharing the gospel has many different methods, but let's not toss out the declaration of repentance, which is confrontational (nothing you can do about it).


Logic,

Please friend, I'm tired of your remarks, they are unhelpful and antagonistic: "Have you baptized anyone yet, anyone in a local church yet..."

I do have a local church affliation and I have not forgotten to preach in love... where do you get this from? And where do you think I am being legalistic? I have a feeling your definition of legalism is terribly faulty.

Let me just explain street preaching briefly: It is really a "stump-blasting" ministry, which gets people thinking about and considering the gospel and their soul. You don't see converts very quickly, but over time, and much of the time you are watering seeds for others to grow. It's really a method used to soften up the hard ground of the heart. Let's not compare street preaching to say ALPHA. Both are very very different.

God bless Logic.


Matt,

Brother, this saddens me to see you write something like this, a personal attack against me. Brother, when was the last time you really were around me to know what the Lord has been doing in my life? I think it terribly inconsiderate, callous and unfair to point to years ago and accuse me for the past. This is what the devil does, not Christ. You have written in a very worldy and unChristlike manner.

First: I do not apologize for any of my past. The real issue is of the spiritual man vs the carnal man. When I was at Green Hill I preached the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now I was very young and with youth comes foolishness, but I don't recall doing anything wrong except maybe in youthful zeal. As for doctrine, spotless, and you would do well to re-examine the doctrine of the power of the Holy Spirit. I have not changed on its position. As a matter of fact, I was planning to post something about this today.

Second: I have never asserted myself as John Wesley or John Baptist. But is it such a crime to agree that I am street preaching just like someone in the past did? Why, I'll wager that you could eat chicken just like Abraham Lincoln!

Third: I never said anywhere that criticisms against me where from the powers of darkness, but I DID say that the person who got angry at me was under the influence of demonic forces. I stand by it. You were not there, and even if you were brother, in all kindness I say that you wouldn't of have the spiritual foresight to see it. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Brother, I did not say anything about effeminate believers, you will have to take this up with brother Paul. I'm sure he does not think evangelism to be some macho exercise. It is the work of every believer to seek and save that which is lost. We are dying men preaching to dying men.

Lastly, brother Matt, you said: "Do not be so arrogant to assume that because God is apparently speaking to you, you need no spiritual mentorship and leadership here on Earth."

Where do you get the information to say this?


You know, it's interesting... all I've really done is started to preach the gospel to the lost on the streets, and pretty much all the reaction I've gotten is personal insult, doctrinal attack, methodology crisis, and "loving" discouragement.


To one and all... blessings. I mean this sincerely.

In Christ,
-Eli

Adam Wright said...

Eli,

you said:
Burdened,

Brother, I'm not going to argue with you about George Whitefield's ministry. I think the fruit speaks for itself. And also, John the Baptist was a camel-skin wearing locust and honey eater man in the wilderness. I believe the Bible is perfectly correct in it's description of John and his message. And are we not also called to "make a straight path for the Lord to travel? Prepare ye the way of the Lord?" Perhaps the Lord is not moving in our midst because we have not levelled the mountains and filled in the valleys, mmm?

I'm not going to disagree with you based on the fruit of Whitefield's ministry. My point was exactly that: he was successful because he knew his audience. I would be careful to attribute your success to whether someone becomes angry with you. But maybe you'll learn some street smarts during your outings and it will make you smarter.

John's message was, again, pointed for a particular purpose. Whether they were the exact words of John the Baptist we can't be entirely sure. I'm sure that he was dressed as you described. The Gospel of John was written as a narrative and stands out as just that from the Synoptics. Orginially, this Gospel was not going to be included in the cannon because of it's characteristics. Understand, I am not making a comment against infallibility of scripture. I am making a comment that proves John to know his audience and so he wrote to them.

Secondly, dude, I've read your responses to Logic and Matt's posts. Logic is making great points about involvment in a local church. I understand your comments on the style of your ministry. But I agree, it would be more fruitful to direct these people to a church so that they can continue their education in the Lord. Otherwise, even if they are considering their position before God, they know where they can go.

In terms of how you responded to Matt, I find that you are being extremely defensive. To really say that he would not be able to discern a demonic force? How do you know? Does not the Holy Spirit give gifts? I believe that you are a Calvinist believer so it should be seen as vicious to assert such claims. Trust me, brother, God will give to those as he sees fit. It really has nothing to do with our passion. God has the power to make someone passionate, right? What is passion unless God has created it within a man? Kind of pointless from my perspective.

I think Matt is right. You seem to have created a 'spiritual elitist' mentality. Trust me, you will make mistakes in interpreting what God is saying. You have the Holy Spirit, but you are still human. You are still fleshly and it causes us to be kinda dumb sometimes! Understand that we have all been Christians for a long time and are AVID seekers of his will. Consider for a moment that we are trying to help and not to tear down.

I enjoy your zeal and I believe you will be amazing if you learn more about how things are done. I don't say that to be cocky or to imply your ignorance. But life experience will teach you as you go. I suggest a book: The Soverignty of God in Preaching - John Piper. Very good book for helping us to understand our preaching in relation to God's sovereignty.

(Burdened)

Paul West said...

This will probably be my last post here. I don't want anyone to think I'm a debate-seeker and/or being unreasonably offensive. And since brother Eli is the host of this blog, I choose not further muddy his waters by provoking anyone else. He seems to have enough of that already without my two cents being added! That being said, I'd like to answer some personally directed questions. And I'll try to do this in the most unprovocative way I can.

Although I can't give scripture reference or poll the world concerning Jesus being the most hated person ever, I think it's pretty evident if you study history, and consider the condition our present world is in. On the contrary, I'd say that Satan is the most loved. Jesus said that "all men" will hate his followers (Luke 21:17). Now, if you walk up to a person who is a Buddhist and ask, "Do you hate Jesus?" he'll probably say, "No, of course not!" But What did Jesus say? "If you LOVE me, you'll keep my commandments." But men don't. They lie, steal, cheat, fornicate, divorce and profane his name daily. Do you hear men using Hitler's name as a cuss word daily? How about Jeffrey Dahmer's? How about Buddha's or Mohammed's? No, men express disgust with the most holy name of Christ, which is why God says that they hate him without cause. They call Jesus a liar and fake by claiming there's other ways to God. Globally, he's removed from public schools and all media. Disparaging movies are made about him, blasphemous books about him make New York Time bestseller lists. Draw a cartoon of Mohammed and you've got a "holy" war; depict Jesus as a homo amd you've got a mega-sensational broadway hit. Friend, open your eyes: Jesus is hated and refused by the world, and Satan is embraced (though ask a person on the street, "Do you love Satan," and they'll be horrified.) But by their works, the world shows their love and allegiance to their true father (because they obey HIS commandments). So, yes, I maintain Jesus is the most hated...and I'll even add to it: Satan is the most loved. The entire unregenerate world is the enemy of God.

If any of you feel as though I was personally attacking you, I wasn't. But if you are really this bothered by it, you should look deep inside yourself and ask yourself why this is so. I mentioned no names. I don't know your personal walk, friend. You certainly seem offended, though...and I can;t help but wonder why you (and some others)are apparently majoring on minors. If the words "effeminate" and "armchair theologian" do not apply to you, then just let it go. Try to look past it. Would you come against Steven for calling others "stiff-necked" though you felt you were not? I made the statement that Satan can come through this blog. Is that not true? Why do you automatically align yourself that I mean through you or any other person who has posted thus far? I have NEVER said that preaching should only be open-air or on soapboxes or whatnot. Actually, I have a problem with preachers that merely preach "turn or burn" without works of charity or by demonstrating the love of Jesus by serving the poor and helpless. In light of this, yes, I suppose you can say I'm "works-dogmatic"! I speak of works because Jesus taught it, and Paul's letters are replete with maintaining good deeds and charity and obedience to the Word of God. I will not ask you of your walk, nor will I boast of mine. God knows both of our hearts and will reward us all accordingly at the Judgement. I speak of crowns because Paul spoke of crowns. Paul admonished Timothy to run the race with perseverence and Peter spoke of obtaining an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled. I am not ashamed to remind these things to my brother Eli, and frankly, I'm surprised that you're all not happy to be reminded of them too!

The question of my theological training has come up. I'm going to take the Rev prefix off my blog. I believe...it has turned into a stumbling block for many people. But if you must know: I am affiliated with the Assemblies of God (and no, I did not get my credentials "online" as one of you remarked). My theology is Pentecostal/Holiness, Trinitarian, Armenian. But none of this should really matter.

And finally, no, I do not consider evangelism to be a macho exercise. It is a passion, and oftentimes, a burdenous cross to bear. The word "effiminate", according to John Wesley, imply passivity or softness, and I believe that was what Paul had in mind when he wrote I Corinthains 6. Not feminism or whatever (though I suppose one can interpret it likewise as a sexually-confused man). Do a study on the Greek shades of the word. Someone snidely remarked that I don't understand what a "personal Gethsemane" means. Well, I have had a taste, and it's very, very painful. It transcends theology and political-correctness. It's, in a nutshell, excruciating (and by the way, where do you think the root of that word comes from?)and it's where God wants to drive all of us. Once you've been there, you see things very differently. You get a glimpse (which is really all you can handle) of the pain God has in his heart, the grief of the Holy Ghost, the cries of the tortured, damned souls in eternal hell, it's like getting your heart and guts wrenched and the tears that flow come out like torents of gushing blood. You, literally, "Share in the sufferings of Christ," and let me close by telling you a truth that you'll take to the grave: God is a profoundly hurt and grieving God and the whole creation groans in unutterable travail over the wickedness of man. The blood of each aborted baby cries before His Holy Throne where even Cherabim Seraphim dare not approach without a covering. The day he finally closes history and executes vengeance on man will be of utter and unspeakable terror. This is the true God of the Holy Bible, and if you ever see a glimpse of the eternal Lake of Fire, you too will understand this. I have in no means "arrived", but I have seen enough to shatter the crystal tower of nominal churchology that was my home.

May God bless each one of you, and please cut Eli some slack! He loves you, loves Jesus...and is a faithful soldier of the cross.

Paul West

Eli said...

Brother Adam,

My every intention is to get people into a church and growing, so don't worry. I haven't said anywhere the contrary.

Haha, no brother, I'm not a Calvinist. And let's not negate the fact that we all are responsible for building ourselves up in the Lord. It isn't that God's workings in us supersedes our own workings, but works together, though yes... without God we can do nothing, but this does not take away from our responsibility to function.

As to my reply to Matt, I wasn't upset, maybe I sounded like it, but I stand by what I said. I think it very shameful that he has not seen me for years and yet tears into me about Green Hill Lake Camp. But like I said, I believed in the filling of the Spirit then and still do today.

I would like to know what he meant by "apostolic" and "messianic". Are these bad things? Thank you for the compliment!

However, you are right, Adam, I don't know for sure if Matt would have discerned the presence of an unclean spirit in this person. My apologies, yet the Scripture I posted is still essential for us all to consider.

Lastly, brothers, you both (Matt and Adam) have accused me of being arrogant, independant of leadership and a "spiritual elitist". This calls for a defense of character!

Now the Lord knows my heart, and I speak before God, who judges all words we say to one another here:

I believe you have misinterpreted 'arrogance' with honesty and the boldness to say the truth. I call God as my witness that I do not speak at all from arrogance, but always from love and honesty and with the boldness he has given me. Yes... it is not common for a person to do this, and when a person does speak plainly and brutally it comes in a sharp rebuke or whatever form... people quickly call it arrogance. No, brothers, this is not so.

If I am plain with others it is because I am first plain with myself. If I rebuke others it is because I have first rebuked myself. I judge myself more strictly than I judge anyone else.

Let me explain the "spiritual elitist" syndrome in the more gentlest but truthful way, and please take this well... and I speak before God, so I have nothing to hide:

Person A has 10 coins and Person B has 5. When Person B finds out that Person A has more coins than he, he gets very upset inside. But what does Person B reason? Instead of saying: "I have less, and need to work to get more" he rather says: "Person A has TOO MUCH coins." Thus he passes the conviction over to Person A, when all along it is Person B who is deficient.

This is absolutely true in the Church today. A person decides to get serious about God and seek Him earnestly, getting his life in life with the Word of God. But everytime without execption he gets labelled "Super Spiritual". Is he really super spiritual, or are people just lukewarm and want to pass the burden of conviction to someone else? I believe when you are convicted, you can either face up to your lack or accuse the person of being TOO MUCH. This is the sad case.

Brothers, in all truth and honesty and kindness, since Green Hill Lake Camp those 4 years ago, I decided earnestly to get my life in line with God, realizing there was more to life than the average lukewarm church thing. Right away I get labelled super spiritual. Now I wasn't perfect by no means then, I was young. But I have found, as I grow and mature and become more in tune with God's Word, the accusations get more and more severe. Why? Before the Lord, all I have ever done is sought to obey His Word! My life consists of Bible reading, praying, seeking the lost, loving Jesus, loving one another, seeking a pure heart and hands... this is what I do everyday. I have been SEPARATING myself from the WORLD, but I have found as I do that I get farther and farther away from my old "Christian" friends. This is the absolute truth.

Who's at fault here? The one who is pressing in to God or the one who is content living in the lukewarm state, completely convinced they have it all figured out. This should be obvious.

I will probably be hated even more for posting what I have just posted. This is my heart melting out, I am so sad and I love all you brothers with a deep love, yet for years I have felt completely detached and frowned upon by you all. What have I done? I have sanctified myself, I have made God my prize, I have said goodbye to the world and it's pleasures and have said welcome Holy Spirit!

I'm not perfect, but I'm sincere and all I want is to follow Jesus. Why does it feel like as I follow Him I distance myself from my old friends?

In all love in Christ,
-Eli, least in the Kingdom

Adam Wright said...

Eli,
you have to trust me when I tell you that there is nothing about what you are doing or saying that is making me at all jealous. I believe that is what your recent post addresses. Seeing as how you tell us not to judge you based on what some of us have seen in the past (greenhill lake camp - I wasn't there and don't even know what went on), I'm curious why you would assume the exact same about us?

I can't even believe you would suggest what you did. I cannot wait until I return to our home town to speak with you face to face. I can't even believe you would consider what you just said as being from God either. Telling us that we are content in living in lukewarm states? Comon, Eli. I've known you and your family for too long for you to even suggest something of that nature.

I want to make a few things very clear:
1) I have never told you not to preach on the streets. I have suggested a few things to help you.
2) My spiritual elitist comments are proven by your comments "who's at fault here....". I can only speak for myself here, but I'd love for you to tell me about the ministries I'm engaged in at this time. Please tell me why I am luke warm. For suggesting that you should learn a few things? Suggesting, perhaps, that you should reconsider telling people that they're luke warm?

Trust me, it's not your passion for Christ that is alientating you from old friends. What you've done is put yourself on a cross for all to see. Maybe someday you'll understand what this means. I hope you also learn very quickly that it is not a virtue to become farther and farther away from your "old Christian friends". Just listen to what you are really saying. Great goal. I hope that you carry it out to the prize you think you'll receive.

In the end we'll see who's "convinced they have it all figured out".

Eli said...

Brother, I would love more than anything to speak face to face with you, and anyone else. I only wish we did in the past. If Matt had a problem with me before, should he not have spoken to me about it?

Well brother, who is at fault here, honeslty, can you tell me? If it is me I take full and total responsibilty. But like I have said, I have only sincerely sought the Lord fervently. I believe our definition of 'seeking the Lord' and 'lukewarm' are very different, and is the reason for much of this confusion.

Brother I was trying to speak very generally at first, about lukewarmness etc. Please do not take that as directly pointed to you. In reality, the carnal man persecutes the spiritual man, this is a true fact of life.

I don't know, Adam... you have to define 'passion for Christ', because I think our problems lies in definition.

Nowhere have I said it is a virtue to be getting farther detached, actually I am sore burdened and sad by the whole thing.

This is all in vain, and I knew it would not be received rightly. God help us... Christians arguing like this.

Logic said...

Eli:

The reason you find yourself further away from your Christian friends is not due to getting closer to God. The reason is that you 1) Come of as though you think yourself to be pulling away from the lukewarmness of the common man (meaning the rest of us) and 2) You do not heed any type of advice or criticism that any of us gives.

Perhaps if you were not so arrogant as to assume that you were right before defending yourself and instead thought that perhaps your Christian brothers are offering priceless wisdom rather than scorn, then maybe you would not feel so alienated from other Christians.

Unfortunately, you have alienated yourself by insisting that whenever someone criticizes, questions, or challenges you that it is a weary burden. Is it not more wise to consider that perhaps our comments are not ushered out of lukewarmness but rather out of a heart that is to refine your method such that you can be more effective and see the church further edified. You come across as though you have all the answers already - as though your "ministry" and your street preaching are above reproach. I do not think any one of us would ever assume that we are right and beyond questioning.

Matt Sears is quite correct when he recognizes a problem that I have pointed to many times - you see all critique as persecution, and then this justifies your position. Well, unfortunatley, the critique is not persecution, but rather counsel of the Saints. I believe that wise men heed the advice of other Christians.

Further to this, you insist that you are involved in a church and accountable to a leader. If this is so, who? And how submissive are you to their leadership?

Adam correctly points out that you should not so quickly assume that everyone who questions you is 'lukewarm'. You deny you are a spiritual elitist, but your attitude says otherwise. If this is not so, why do so many Christians question your claims, actions, method, etc. I do not know of any accounts of the apostles being "persecuted" by other Christians, and then claiming this justifies their ministry.

What is common about the Christians who you see as against you? They are all Christians, they are all educated, Matt, Adam, Jedd, and Nick are all leaders, all have experience, and all want the gospel proclaimed. Each one has a heart after God and is effective in contributing to the growth of their local church, wherever that is. It is highly inappropriate for you to claim these individuals to be lukewarm. While certainly, none of them would ever claim to be perfect or right about everything all the time, it should be worth something that they all question you. Perhaps instead of responding as though you're being persecuted, consider that they often make good points - not designed to tear you down, but rather to help you. None of them are unloving to you, on the contrary, they love you... but they desire to see the church edified in the most effective way.

I am very disappointed in how you respond to people's comments. I truly hope you defend the gospel more effectively and do not cause potential believers to run in the other direction as I suspect is often the case. It is not the arguing that is the problem, it is the shortage of love and respect that you have for your Christian brothers masked under the pretenses of 'brother' and 'friend'. It is true, they are your brothers and friends - yet you despise their advice, you mock their critique, and you make yourself to be like a martyr. As I have mentioned several times, your zeal is admirable, but needs to be balanced with wisdom. Be teachable. No man who was unteachable ever had a successful ministry. Humility begins with recognizing that other Christians may have some helpful advice. We are all for the same cause. You Eli, should stop accusing your brothers of lukewarmness. Thats what causes repulsion of other Christians, not your zeal. Answer critique without claiming "PERSECUTION!".

As for my comments being so awful or whatever, you see through a fliter if you think i'm against you. Questioning the validity of your ministry on grounds that you only preach and do not disciple people is perfectly legitimate criticism. It's not directed against you, simply suggests that there is more to life than street preaching. I am not against you, I've never tried to suggest you're not saved, or that you're a lukewarm Christian. I've only said that you are unwise; something that is often learned with experience and heeding the comments and opinions of other believers.

But Eli, you should honestly consider why you have such disharmony with other Christians? Is it really ALL their fault? Are you truly blameless? I mean this not to tear you down, but only to attempt to bring some kind of unity and harmony to this disarray of accusatory factionalism. Have you considered the possibility that your heart may be heavy because the Holy Spirit is prompting you to admit that perhaps you've made a couple of errors in judgment? Who among us is lukewarm? Disagreement is not disunity, and questioning is not persecution. Read, understand, articulate yourself. If you can do those, you'll probably find yourself less separated from other Christians. Avoid dismissing people based on the fact they disagree with you. Disagreement does not mean people are lukewarm. Paul and Barnabass had sharp disagreements about how to minister, but Paul never claimed he was under persecution.

The reason people get frustrated with you, Eli, is not because they disagree with you, but rather because when you respond to their questions you very rarely give adequate answers, and sometimes I wonder if you have even read what they say.

And by the way, my definition of legalism is this: anything done to earn God's favor. You can't just pass off our disagreements on definitions as you so often try to do. Not everything is an argument over semantics (yet another reason why education would be so helpful in your field).

And please, don't chalk this up as another "persecution" from your Christian contemporaries. Put it down as rebuke from a fellow Christian who recognizes the futility of so many of your arguments, but has enough love to let you know without condemning you. A wise man once told me: to not confront is to reject. Be glad we have enough love for you to confront you and not simply reject you. Enemies let a fool continue in his folly.

-Logic

ricky earle said...

Logic I am not sure why you need to know so much where Eli's fellowship is and to what extent his submissiveness lies.

As well, the comment you made "I truly hope you defend the gospel more effectively and do not cause potential believers to run in the other direction as I suspect is often the case." I believe is very erroneous. The Word says no man comes to the Son unless the Father draws Him. It is God who draws all men to Him. Next, how does Eli cause "potential believers to run in the other direction"? Is it because they don't like to hear about sin, judgment, hell, righteousness, and God's ways? So do you think they will become believers by hearing a "seeker friendly gospel"? I believe it was Wesly who said weak preaching produces weak converts - strong preaching produces strong converts.

I don't know what it's like in New Brunswick but I know that alot of Christians like to discourage street preachers to appease their own consciences. It takes much faith to stand on a crate and preach the Gospel. You don't have people saying amen to you, you don't get an honorarium, and often times you have people curse you and speak evil of you. Not only that but for Eli and others to specifically take time to go and reach the lost, and not just witness as the opportunity comes up as the vast majority of Christendom does, is a great example and should encourage us to do the same.

Personally I think y'all that are in Fredericton and replying to all these posts should all meet up and hug each other, then go out together to be a witness for Jesus Christ in your city to save souls.

Eli said...

Ricky said: "Personally I think y'all that are in Fredericton and replying to all these posts should all meet up and hug each other, then go out together to be a witness for Jesus Christ in your city to save souls."

Amen!

Logic said...

Ricky Earle,

1. With regards to Eli's fellowship, and the extent of his submissiveness: If you read other posts I have made, you will see where I clearly argue for church involvement and accountability. Local church involvement is key to successful ministry.

2. Your argument against my claims is clearly falacious. You accuse me of being erroneous on grounds that it is God who draws men to him. No where on this post, or in any other arena, have I argued against this claim. My argument that Eli causes potential believers to run in the other direction is not based on what God is doing, but rather on the un-tactful manner of Eli's approach.

Furthermore, I would argue that, by nature, the gospel itself is seeker friendly. Last I checked the gospel is about welcoming the repentant into God's kingdom. You have committed the fallacy of equivocation when you have articulated that a "seeker friendly gospel" is theologically weak. This is a false claim. You have failed to differentiate between theological content and the manner in which the gospel is presented. My attack was directed toward the method of presentation, not the content of the message being presented. While the content of the gospel itself is one of welcoming all people who repent, which I certainly consider seeker-friendly, it does not require that one preaches in a condescending, abrasive, or intrusive manner, and in doing so, inflicting one's views on others such that they are not welcoming to the message. You are right, it is God who draws men to himself, however, there is a difference in presenting the gospel in a loving fashion, and an offensive fashion.

You have also wrongly equivocated "weak preaching" with "seeker friendly" when, in fact, it refers to 'theologically empty' preaching. Strong preaching refers not to tact, but rather to content.

While I certainly admit that if people are presented with the gospel and reject the truths contained in the message, this is tragic, yet it is not the fault of the presenter but rather the carnal person who has rejected the truth.

But certainly no one would advocate that if people reject the truth based on the method of presentation, this is a tragedy that could have been avoided and is the fault of the presenter.

Further, I would like to add that simply because Wesly said something does not mean it is true. According to your previous argument, it is God who draws men to himself... not strong preaching; i.e., strong preaching does not produce strong converts, God does. You may want to revise your self-contradictory thinking before advocating this message again.

A couple of final things...

I believe you have implied that I argued that people should only evangelize as the opportunity presents itself. This is certainly not what I beleive, and I did not argue for this at any time. Furthermore, I am in agreement that Christians have an obligation to go and reach the lost. I would also add that the people in Fredericton to whom you refer ALL have active roles in evangelizing, even though they are not active street preachers. Not all people are 'called' to preach on the streets, but rather we are part of one body with many parts. I get the impression that you believe we should all be a mouth; but Paul would disagree with you and would say that the mouth should not say to the foot: "i do not need you", or "do what I do". That would be a disfunctional church.

-Logic

Logic said...

I need to correct one of my paragraphs above:

"But certainly no one would advocate that if people reject the truth based on the method of presentation, this is a tragedy that could have been avoided and is the fault of the presenter."

should read:

But certainly no one would advocate that if people reject the truth based on the method of presentation, this is a tragedy that could NOT have been avoided; it is the fault of the presenter.

Perhaps I could have stated this better as:

If someone rejects the gospel based on the manner in which it was presented, this is not the fault of the recipient, but rather the preacher.

The point is not that we should not preach; rather that we should preach with love at all times.

-Logic

Anonymous said...

Eli,
Give thanks for these guys who love you enough to be the "iron" who sharpens your iron. Recognize the value of their willingness to hold you accountable. It's a valuable gift to have friends that love you enough to share the truth...even when it's harsh.

Andrew said...

Eli,

I've been reading your blog and listening to some of your audio. I was hoping you could help me with a problem i've been having. Every morning when i wake up my mouth and throat are completely dry, i'm assuming that my jaw drops in my sleep and i end up sending all my moisture out into the room. No matter what i do i can't get rid of that sore throat feeling. I'm assuming (from all the yelling you do on your box) that you have discovered some wonderful remedy. Please, be a brother in Christ and share the wealth.