Morality without God? 
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Iris, age 3 helps Grandmother start the meeting at the University of Central Missouri.
"Weeping and Wailing and ...
 

GOD'S STANDARD OR HUMAN STANDARDS?

April 16, 2012, University of Central Missouri,

   We had a sizable team today.   Bro Cope, Sister Pat, Micah, a young man from Searcy, Ark, who has joined us for a week, Sister Cindy and granddaughter, Iris, all made the 90 minute trip to Warrensburg. Stanley and Rosemary Hoerman from Manhattan, KS, met us on campus.  Stan founded the Full Gospel and Businessman's Fellowship in Manhattan back in the 70's; Rosemary founded Women's' Aglow. Bro started the meeting, but he was drowned out by a loud grass mower.

...Gnashing of Teeth!

     Sister Cindy took over and preached from a park bench with Bible in hand; three-year old, Iris, stood next to her with her children's Bible in hand imitating Grandmother. With this spectacular scene Cindy quickly drew a crowd that ranged from 50-100 until we stopped at 3:30. 

Rosemary Hoerman tells the students, "I would be going to hell if it were not for this man (her husband) telling me the Gospel!"

   

     I had a debate scheduled at 4 PM with Brandon Christen, a graduate student, who is formerly a Church of Christ preacher, but he is now an atheist. I first met Brandon on this campus 6 years ago, when he was a young outspoken Christian. Then he challenged me on my approach and doctrine that Christians are people who live victoriously over sin. Today, every thirty minutes Brandon gave a minute promotion on the debate.  Dave Muscato, an atheist from Columbia, whom I have debated in the past, drove over to help with the promotion of the debate.  I only preached for about 20 minutes outdoors. I was saving myself for the formal debate. One of the boys from the Baptist Student Union informed me that he and his friends were taking the advice I gave them last year which was to pass out tracts and work the crowd.

Brandon, Bro. Jed's opponent, argued that one can be moral without faith in God.

 

     About 200 students turned out for the debate; the question was, "Can one be moral without believing in God?" My basic argument was that if there is a good God, who created us in his own image, then we have an obligation to him.  Therefore, we cannot possibly be moral and deny him.   I thought it ironic that when Brandon was still a preacher, he argued that men could not live a holy (moral) life; now that he is an atheist, he contended that men can live moral lives without God.  I suppose that if one can a make up his own standard of morality or merely is conformed to a general societal standard, then one can live up to such human standards. I kept coming back to the fact that we have to live up to God's standard of perfect love as exemplified in the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  

"We have an obligation to our Creator."

   Each time Brandon tried to define what was good, he referenced the need to love others. He appealed to the Christians standard! Late in the Q & A I hopped on one leg and said Brandon is trying to get somewhere on one leg, I fear he will continued to stumble and fall and not live up to his own standard until he gets his other leg, which is the great commandment to first love God. We must walk on two legs if we have any hope of consistently living moral lives and reaching our Heavenly destination. Otherwise, we are in for a great fall. The debate lasted for 45 minutes; then we had an hour of Q & A.  Everyone was polite and well behaved.

"I try to stay as focused on the audience as my opponent. Each debate is an opportunity to preach the Gospel, " Bro. Jed.

     One thing I have noticed as the scholars debate the atheists is that their arguments may be too heady and philosophical for the average student in the audience. I attempt to keep my arguments simple and to the point. Also, I like to work in Bible quotations and present both the law to bring conviction of sin and the Gospel to extend the hope of salvation. In others words I take the opportunity to do some preaching.   I try to stay as focused on the audience as I do my opponent. I want to make sure the audience understands their obligation to God and the terrible consequences of rejecting God.

     The Secular Club from Columbia provided free pizza for everyone. I will posted my debate notes on FaceBook. Brandon and I talked about a rematch next year.

Q and A from the audience. Students were very polite.
                 

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WASTING TAX PAYERS MONEY TO GET WASTED

April 17, 2012, Missouri State University,

     Sister Pat, Cindy, Iris and I toured Evangel University and met with faculty and administrators in the morning and early afternoon.  Priscilla has been accepted as a student at Evangel for the fall semester.   She is also planning on enrolling in the ROTC program and joining the National Guard. 

     Bro and Micah meanwhile were preaching at MSU which is only about a mile from Evangel. When Pat, Cindy, Iris and I arrived at MSU at 2:30, Bro had a lively crowd of dead beats gathered around him. I dropped the ladies off and parked the car. When I arrived at the preaching scene, Cindy was speaking.

Sis. Pat tells the students at MSU how to get a husband and a wife.

     The crowd cheered when they saw me come on the scene. Cindy turned the meeting over to me and I began to contrast the two colleges. I said, "We have been visiting Evangel University where I did not hear any cussing and where the students are not partying and getting drunk. We spent several hours on campus and I did not hear one cuss word. I have only been at MSU for a few minutes and I have already heard much foul language at this state run institution." I expected that the students would condemn the Christian university since I was painting the contrast more than it may actually be. Or else they might have defended their own institution. They did neither.

Bro. Micah exhorting students to follow the straight and narrow path.

     Too bad the churches have largely turned over the business of educating youth to what has become an essentially godless state. Regrettably most of the private liberal arts colleges which were founded by the churches have become virtually totally secular also.  After I was finished a man informed me that he had worked at Evangel and he said he heard cussing on the campus and some students were expelled for a drinking escapade. I said, "Well, that is the difference between the two institutions; the drunkards are more tolerated at the state institutions."

     By 4:15 the crowd had divided up into groups with Pat, Bro and Micah all conversing with students. I suggested that Cindy start preaching again to gather another crowd. She moved away from the discussion groups so as not to interfere.   She gained little attention until she called Iris up on the platform. Grandmother and granddaughter quoted Psalm 1 together and a large crowd gathered to listen. Cindy preached to until shortly before 5 PM when she turned the meeting to Bro. The students were quite stirred; I had Bro cut it off at 5:20 since we had a 90 minute drive to our hosts and we did not want to be too late for dinner. The students continued hanging around while we were getting our stuff together. Many were asking what time we would be starting tomorrow. One girl cursed Bro and claimed she knew a lot more about the world then he did. Evidently, she worked in a mortuary and had been around the dead.   And she was convinced they did not go anywhere after death. I mildly reproved the female, "What you do not about know is the Kingdom of Heaven." An angry girl with tattoos and lewdly dressed begin to revile and curse the worldly female for her unbelief. They soon were involved in an argument.      

Grandmother and Granddaughter quoting Psalm 1.
Iris likes to hold her Bible.

     Before, leaving campus Bro had a talk with the lewdly dressed, tattooed, foul mouthed girl who defended the faith. She was inquiring why the students became so upset at the preaching. Bro commented later concerning her vulgar defense of Christianity, "Chains may have been broken when she took a public stand." 

      Several of the hecklers thanked me for coming. One boy said, "I am glad you come here; I like to argue; you are my best argument for atheism." One who thanked me for coming was a lascivious and uncouth girl, who earlier had been bragging about her sexual exploits and had been making out with her "boyfriend" in front of the crowd.   I admonished her, "Be a good girl!" She answered, "I will be good alright; I will be good for my boyfriend tonight." Alas, that is the main concern of so many students these days to be good in bed. They have no concept of moral goodness nor do they have an understanding of intellectual development. These state cesspools of sin ought to be shut down by cutting off taxpayers dollars. The state should never have gotten involved in the business of education.   Education without God is not true learning. How can one learn truth when the source of Truth has been rejected?     

       

 

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MORE THAN YOU KNOW

April 18, 2012, Missouri State University 

     There are three designated free speech areas on campus all of which are good locations. Today we were assigned to mall north of the football stadium since the other two areas were occupied. This turned out to be a very good place because there are picnic tables with benches for seating and the acoustics were better than the other locations. One usually has better crowd control when the students are sitting than when they have to stand. I started the meeting and it did not take long to build a crowd.   They was more subdued today than yesterday. We had 50-100 students throughout the afternoon.

Bro. Micah answers questions on the sidelines at MSU.

 

     My first session I spent most of the time opposing the doctrine of an inherited sin nature explaining over and over we are born not with a sinful nature but a human nature which has the ability to choose between right and wrong. Alas, all have chosen to do wrong; these wrong choices quickly become habitual until we acquire a sinful nature. When we are born again, we receive a new nature, the nature of God. If we are born with a sinful nature without the ability to do what is right, then we deserve a second chance which would make our salvation rooted in justice instead of grace and mercy. We have the ability to do right from birth, but we have all chosen to rebel. Yet God offers us what we do not deserve his grace and forgiveness provided we repent and believe the gospel.

Seeds are being planted.

      Sadly the more we oppose sin; the more the students (including professing Christians) defend sin. We are there to set them free from satanic bondage but they have come to love their captivity and hate freedom. This love for bondage even carries over into their politics and economics; they despise principles of economic freedom; they prefer to be dependent on government. They prefer serfdom over freedom. They tend to vote for politicians who will rule them instead of voting for men who will serve them. Of course economic freedom requires work and instead of working six days and resting on the 7th, they prefer to rest every day and never work and never thank God for his abundant provision.   They will not govern themselves so they will vote for men who will control them.

     Bro said after his second session, "This is has been one of the best preaching days of my ministry. Much of the time the students were stopped like deer with a light in their face."

Bro has a great teaching session on the sufferings of Christ.

     The students were quiet as Bro taught how that Jesus had "to learn obedience by the things that he suffered (Heb 5:8);" he was not born perfect. He was perfected through his death and resurrection.-Luke 13:32.   "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."-Hebrews 5:9. So we his children need to learn obedience by the things we suffer:   "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."-1 Peter 4:1-2.  As we truly identify with his death and resurrection through baptism and by daily following him by denying ourselves and taking up our cross we are perfected. "For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified."-Heb 10:14. Rarely do I meet Christians who have any idea of sanctification. It is rarely taught from the pulpits.

     The students were attentive as I shared my testimony and two strong gospel messages with little interruption.      

       When Sister Pat announced that she was going to tell them how to get a husband or wife. One girl said, "How about a one night stand?" The girls who were sitting with her even gasped.  Later the girl who was looking for a one night stand raised her hand claiming she was a Christian.  Sadly, few of them are looking for husbands or wives these days.

     Micah answered students' questions for about 45 minutes and did a fine job.

       When we were gathering our stuff to leave at 5 PM, a student thanked me for coming and said, "There are more people supporting you than you know."

     Michael B., a professor on campus who always helps, provided a box of free Bibles and paperback books against evolution.   We were able to give away all the Bibles and the books.            

      

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SO WHAT, EVEN IF THERE ARE BIBLICAL DISCREPANCIES?

April 19, 2012, University of Missouri

     Micah was the one who drew the bulk of the crowd. When I took over I announced that we were bringing in the big guns today and tomorrow, Gunnar Diekman and Craig Rogers, Gunnar is PhD in Chemistry and Craig is a seminary student. The atheists' organization, SASHA, which stands for "Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanist and Agnostics," claimed to be celebrating National Ask an Atheist Day. When asked, they were not clear as to who had declared this day.

Bro. Micah draws the crowd at Mizzou.

 

     Gunnar drove down from Madison, WI, and arrived about 1:45. I immediately called upon him. The atheists had their table set up in the inner circle. Gunnar challenged the atheists to explain what they do believe instead of what they do not believe. That conversation was going well when Dave Muscato confronted Gunnar on an apparent discrepancy in the exact time of the events of the Passover and the timing of Jesus' death. The conversation degenerated into minutiae. It is typical of atheists that they get lost in relatively insignificant details of the gospel accounts and miss the fact that Jesus was crucified.   And I have rarely known them to show interest in the reason Jesus was crucified. Often times Christians even fail to investigate this crucial question.

Speakers' Circle at Mizzou is a wonderful place for students to gather and hear the preaching.

 

     Personally, I have no problem with minor apparent discrepancies in the Bible. Some of them may be actual discrepancies others may not actually be inconsistencies but we lack of information in the accounts which would explain the discrepancies were that information available. As a historian by training I know of no great historical events for which there are not discrepancies in the accounts of the witnesses to the events. If the Bible did not have any of these, then the Bible would seem to be contrived.  If each of the gospel writers were in perfect agreement on every detail, skeptics would surely be howling charges of collusion. If courts demanded absolute agreement of every detail from witnesses of a crime, there would rarely be any convictions of criminals.

"Chemicals cannot produce ideas," Gunnar.

    The hacky sack man was in the circle most of the afternoon playing decadent music on his boom box; he was able to get a number of people involved in playing hacky sack which created more distraction.  Gunnar had driven nine hours from Wisconsin to get here in time to preach so I was disappointed that he was not fully able to display his talents as an apologist.  Bro had computer work to do so he did not arrive on campus until late. From about 2:30-5 we had several small group discussions going on.

Mizzou student raising an objection.

 

     Late in the afternoon I approached the atheists' table and asked, "As atheists what is the one question you would like people to ask?" They did not have any particular questions they cared that students ask. I said, "The one question I would like students to ask me I rarely get asked: "What must I do to be saved." I also indicated that I would like students to ask me, "What is the meaning to life?" This question prompted a discussion among several atheists. Of course, they have no answers to the vital questions because ultimately skeptics believe that you cannot know anything. They sometimes call themselves atheist activists, but they are active for nothing. They are not convinced of anything. Or so they often say. Of course, that is not the way they live.

 

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THE TOP GUNS

April 20, 2012, University of Missouri

       I promoted our meeting over facebook stating  that I was bringing in the top guns to fight the atheists. Gunner was returning for a second day and Pastor Craig Rogers, who is a student at one of the leading seminaries in the country, Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, arrived this afternoon. 

       The temperature had dropped at least 25 degrees from yesterday and it was windy. When there is a radical weather change for the worst, it makes it more difficult to get the students to stop and listen. I started the meeting by holding my YOU DESERVE HELL sign and spending about 30 minutes preaching hard on the subject of Hell using my verbal skills to paint as terrifying pictures as I could. Regrettably, I do not have the word power to adequately describe the horrors of the place.      I did gather a few and then called upon Gunnar. He was soon confronted with the heckler who carries the sign, "God hates the Seattle Supersonics." The heckler mimics my speaking style and speaks nonsense. However, his antics did draw more people.

      Next atheist Dave arrived and started questioning Gunnar. Dave has adopted more of a tactic of badgering the Christian witness whether than questioning. Gunnar's initial reaction to Dave was refusing to answer his questions since he claims to be a universal skeptic, who believes either that man can know nothing or at least must doubt everything. Gunnar position was that with Dave's philosophy he was predisposed to reject any of Gunnar's evidences for God.   

     Gunnar did have a good discussion with other atheists as to how they explain the reality of guilt, which they either attribute to chemistry or social conditioning. Gunnar, who is a chemist, shot back, "Chemicals cannot produce ideas."

Pastor and seminary student, Craig Rogers gives prophetic evidence for the Bible.

 

       Craig spent much of his time defending the veracity and reliability of the Scriptures by speaking of the fulfillment Biblical prophecy, etc. Dave claimed that the "best scholars" attribute late dates to the gospel accounts. Craig countered that the synoptic gospels all teach of Jesus' prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem. Had these gospels been written after 70 AD, when Titus' armies destroyed Jerusalem, then the gospel writers would have included this event as a fulfillment of Jesus' prophesy. 

     Craig also introduced Suzanne, a lady from is church, who gave her conversion story. The students attentively listened to her testimony. I let Gunnar and Craig carry the load since the students regularly hear me. At one point Dave got very irate against "bigots" like me, who have prevented the legal acceptance of gay marriage in Missouri. I have never heard Dave so incensed.   At one point Gunnar and Dave had gotten into a discussion in which they were only dialoguing with themselves. Gunnar has a good strong voice but Dave's does not project as well. As a result they had lost the attention of their audience. I interrupted to inform them they needed to present their arguments so that the audience could hear. Dave admitted his goal was to prevent the audience from hearing our point of view. I decided to take over in order to regain the attention of the audience. Gunnar and Dave continued their argument on the sidelines.

              Another seminarian joined us from Covenant, Mark. He told the story of how when he was 18 years old he had a talk with an 80 year old lady for whom he worked. The lady said to him, "There were only three things that sustained me, T.V., instant coffee and cigarettes." Her emptiness strongly impacted Mark.  His introductory story led into a discussion with the students concerning the meaning of existence.      

Gunnar was a great match for the atheists.

       Mark was very thankful that I gave him the opportunity to speak. This was a new experience for this Canadian, who has never known such a free forum in Canada. Mark interacted with the students in an engaging and personal and manner.
        He disarmed the unbelievers with his gentleness and charm. Mark is too sweet of a brother for the students to oppose vehemently.      

     I invited Mark to have dinner with all of us. He was impressed with our approach to evangelism and had all sorts of questions concerning the dynamics of the confrontational style. He identified himself an entrepreneur, which I liked especially considering he is Canadian. Craig and Mark may join us for a day next week at SEMO.

             It was a memorable day especially considering the bitingly cold weather. Micah had to leave early since he was only wearing a short sleeve shirt. He returned to Arkansas the next day acknowledging that he had learned a lot in his second week of open-air preaching.      

               I received the following FB message from Chase at MSU, "Brother Jed, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the appearances you made at Missouri State University. I had had a couple of very long, very strenuous days and had a desire to do nothing, but still something moved me to come watch your sermon. I had never been able to maintain a relationship with a public faith, but after listening to you speak and the way you did not waver in the face of criticism, I feel new strength, new encouragement to do. Thank you for doing so much more than you had to do."

       This week I have received more personal "thank you" comments from students than usual.      


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In This Issue
Human Standards?
Getting Wasted
More Than you Know
Biblical Discrepancies
The Top Guns!
Prayer Request!
Contact Us
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