What Jesus wouldn't do?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
by James Pratt
On Tuesday, September 20, the Daily Illini, the newspaper of the University of Illinois, ran a column entitled "What Jesus wouldn't do" by Jenette Sturges concerning a group of hellfire and damnation evangelists which invaded the north end of the campus Quad. daily illini column Ms. Sturges didn't like their presentation and indicated that many others didn't. She stated in her column that individuals who speak of such things are "spreading the wrong message of God." To that I ask, "is there a wrong message of God?" Is God not omniscient? If so, how can there be a "wrong" message from the One who is all-knowing? Maybe Ms. Sturges simply misstated herself. I'm sure she really meant that she was offended by the group implying she was a sinner and there would be "hell to pay."
"Signs proclaiming the supposed sins of the entire student body probably aren't the most convincing messages for proselytization."
The "supposed sins?" I would ask Ms. Sturges, are you without sin? For that matter, is any student on the campus of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />University of Illinois without sin? According to the Bible we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory (Romans 3:23). She goes on to take issue with another group altogether, which I won't address in this column. But she also compares the subject group negatively to another evangelist who visits the campus regularly. Evidently his message is a tad softer and more to her liking.
When she returned to the topic at hand, she described herself as being entertained by the situation, especially by "the student who mocked the testifiers dressed as a homosexual devil wearing nothing but a red handkerchief and a devil mask." Then she took exception to a little girl "who couldn't have been more than four, carrying a sign as tall as her that said 'Fear God.'" Ms. Sturges went on to say, "Telling a child to fear their god is not only impractical, but for college students as well, it isn't an effective way to spread a message about love."
I would say Ms. Sturges seems to have missed at least half the point altogether. She seems to think that God is only a god of love, peace and understanding, although earlier in her column she states that "Traditionally, God judges non-Christians who have been taught the gospel and reject its message harshly." She also indicates she researched the Bible prior to writing her column, but references Jesus' mission in Rome. At least she did confess herself to be one of "the rest of us" instead of a Christian. I would ask, Ms. Sturges, that you please continue researching for awhile.
Ms. Sturges' column has been a topic of discussion on at least one Christian website. And many people, it seems, have issue with the message the group was espousing. What that indicates to me is that they are judging the messengers based on their presentation of the message. But who are we to say the group was not delivering the message because they love their fellow man and are trying to save them?
Which do you think is more difficult to do, hand out lollipops and tell everyone everything is peachy or stand up and scream the Word knowing that many, if not most, people are going to think you a lunatic for doing it? Who are we trying to please? Why do you think there are so many shows on TV like Fear Factor now? Because the younger generations are being programmed to only respond to an "extreme" message. Which do you think was being delivered on the quad that day? And which one, the soft-spoken evangelist who wooed a crowd of 100 or the hellfire and damnation group (which, btw, made the "news") left a more lasting impression? The only reason the other preacher was mentioned was as a contrast to the group which Ms. Sturges found so offensive. So the next time that solo preacher is there, thousands of students may take more notice of him because they will remember him from the "story" about the other group. That sounds like God working His mysterious ways to me.
The implication is that the group with their placards were thinking themselves to be morally above the student population. Ms. Sturges did not include a single quote from them, though. So we don't know what their motivation was, though I think many of us would concede they were doing so in compliance with the great commission.
The truth is, the group's message is exactly the same as what John the Baptist preached: Repent from your sin and turn to God for the day of reckoning is approaching. And it was from that situation that Jesus himself came forward from a crowd of sinners and asked John to baptize Him. Jesus led by example, and legitimized John's message. He didn't chastise John for his delivery.
One of the biggest problems of the church today is that everything is candy-coated in an effort to not offend anyone. Megachurches address only the warm and fuzzy side of life. The Word is delivered in a friendly, politically correct format. I'll say it again, Political Correctness is a tool of Satan. On judgment day, Jesus will separate us left from right. Those on the right will join Jesus in heaven. Those on the left will be condemned to eternal damnation. It's a hard fact. Try telling Jesus on that day that there is a sliding scale.
When the secular world tells us on television every night that sleeping around is not only okay, but expected; that abortion is a viable means of birth control; that deviant lifestyles are normal (and people who practice them are the norm); that if you videotape yourself in the act of fornication (which I classify as deviant since it goes against the teachings of God and Jesus), and someone posts it on the internet, you will become a rich pop icon; that you are a good guy as long as someone else is worse than you; that if you are a movie, sports or music star you can literally get away with anything up to and sometimes including murder; what do you think the mindset of the up and coming generations is? That's the message people receive 7 days a week. Then for an hour on Sunday morning they hear "God loves you, and will forgive everything you do." I see that message as both coddling and offensive, because if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem. A silent acknowledgement in the face of evil is condoning evil. Our modern church is as much at fault for the state of our culture as the humanist, unrighteous people who put junk on TV because we have not stood up and called it was it is; worthless garbage and an offense to the nostrils of God!
Jesus loves you. But do you want to know something else? Satan hates you because you are one of God's children. Nothing would make Satan happier that to take you home with him and introduce you to the others at his eternal barbecue. Ignoring sin doesn't make it go away. Neither does candy-coating the Gospel. We don't live in a warm and fuzzy world. It's time we stopped pretending that we do.
Finally, Ms. Sturges, as you have proclaimed and proven yourself to be a non-Christian, I would suggest that you may not have enough knowledge of Him just yet to know what Jesus wouldn't do. Once again, please continue the research. There is hop
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