"Bible Jim"... is this biblical evangelism?

“I cannot decide if these people are wrong or if I am wrong. I don’t think I am doing any better than them. In all honesty, I am probably doing worse.
The Bible tells us to go out and preach the gospel to the world, but I don’t go out and talk to complete strangers about Jesus and what he did for them.”
A student reflects about campus evangelists.

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Wayne Wilson's picture

What a wonderful heart exhibited by the writer of this article. She has done more for the Lord than the angry preachers she sees and almost admires on her campus.

I am reminded of campus preachers at Purdue University more than 30 years ago with a similar approach and message. I was not a Christian at the time, but I was sympathetic to Christianity, and was thoroughly embarrassed by these individuals. Actually, I was invited to see them because for the students it was a form of lunchtime entertainment. "Come on, there are always crazy preachers on the quad at this time every week!" Hundreds would make a large circle around the preachers, eating lunch and laughing. The laughter and ridicule were not primarily a response to the message. It was the method. These preachers never made an effort to actually speak to the students as people. They never carried on personal conversations. As the writer notes of the ULVN preachers, they seemd devoid of real compassion for the lost. To go to a university campus and be everything secular intellectuals accuse Christians of being isn't really about evangelism. There is something else going on. Paul was bold, but he cared about his presentation and about his hearers. He "reasoned" with them. As for the angry preachers, I think that if we can honestly conclude that Satan would be more pleased with them than the Lord, we need not be so conflicted.

While we may legitimately be challenged by the zeal of others (I'm not sure it's courage), I remain after all these years...still embarrassed.

mounty's picture

I'm sure if you asked, they would insist they are "pleading" with people. There may be an obscure point in the dictionary that I haven't seen, but I don't think "pleading" equals "hollering at." Ms. Shaw had it dead on:

Quote:
Nonetheless, here’s the one fault I found in their method: I expect that when genuine people go out and tell others that they are on a path to Hell that they would do it with tears in their eyes.

The Bible teaches to love one another and I would have liked to see from this group a genuine concern for people rather than just fulfillment of the scripture.

When they go out and preach their message, I should see sorrow for the fate of souls, not anger for the sins.

Hate-filled messages of love don't convince anyone. That's what gets me more than anything else about Phelps and the Westboro folks. They're so focused on what God hates (as well as what they *think* God hates) that they miss the love of God. Look at the great interactions with the lost in the life of Jesus: Nicodemus, the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, everyone that came for healing for themselves or others - Jesus didn't get angry at any of them. When he saw great crowds of people he wasn't moved with anger at their sin; he was moved with compassion because they were like sheep with no shepherd (Matt. 14:14 and Mark 6:34 come to mind). The ones he was angry with were the ones who knew better and yet were deliberately drawing people away.

Who knows what "Bible Jim" was doing, whether he was just getting excited and pointing out common sins, or if he was actually berating sinners for being sinners. But there's a good lesson here about watching how you present the gospel to others.