Some people think that they are sharing their faith by doing good works, and that they don’t actually have to say anything.
Our atheists who come out to oppose the street preaching on Mill Ave brought a rack of used clothes to give away to those in need. This is very generous and thoughtful thing to do, as there are some homeless and needy people on the streets of Tempe. So what is the difference between these atheists doing good and a Christian doing it?
Only the Gospel being proclaimed. A Christian cannot simply “live the life”, “let their light shine” or think that people will just notice some sort of “hope within” and consider that sharing the Gospel. Good works are great, and we should do them and continue doing them. But we are also commanded to proclaim the Gospel with words (Rom 10:13-14).
So, to our local atheists I commend them in helping out those in need. To the Christians, I say if you’re not proclaiming the Gospel, speaking it to people you come in contact with, how will anyone realize the difference between you and a humanist?
In the words of Penn Jillette (who is an atheist, yet understands the importance of evangelizing for those who truly believe), “How much do you have to hate someone, to believe that eternal life exists and not tell people that?”
I did some Open Air Trivia and a man named Ace stopped for the Good Person Test. We went through that and found that he was actually a self admitted lying, coveting thief, and a blaspheming adulterer-at-heart, just like most of the rest of us. He had heard of repentance before, but I explained that there are two things required in order to make Christ’s sacrifice apply to our lives: First we must repent, turning away from our sins, and then trust in Jesus alone for our salvation. He understood, and we sent him away with a Save Yourself Some Pain booklet.
Later on Tom talked with a man named Rick, who took some extra tracts to hand out to others. He was very enthusiastic about witnessing and he is looking forward to going through a training class that Tom is putting on next month in Tempe.
We were playing with the light illusion and a couple of guys stopped. We talked to them for a while before they mentioned that they were Mormons. They were very set in their beliefs, and Tom and I talked to them for a bit on their belief that Jesus saves us “after all that we can do” and how that doesn’t match up with the Bible teaching that we are saved by grace alone. Richard brought up the verse in the Bible where Paul said that if anyone brings a different Gospel, that they are to be accursed. Our Mormon friends insisted that it wasn’t a different Gospel, but there is a definite difference between what Mormonism teaches and what Biblical Christianity teaches.
They didn’t seem to have enough knowledge to properly defend their beliefs, so they left us after a little while.
Then a few Japanese tourists stopped and asked if they could take a picture with our cross. I gave them each a tract and they took their pictures. I’m still not sure why they wanted that or what their thoughts were about it.
Later on a drunk guy decided he wanted to drag the cross out to the sidewalk. It’s interesting how many people have attempted to steal the six foot cross made out of 4x4’s. I tried to talk to him a bit, and he informed me that Jesus drank. I explained to him that Jesus never got drunk or sinned in any way, so then he cursed at me and walked away.
Tom and I stayed out there with Marcus and Jennifer until 1:00 in the morning. Over all, it was a pretty typical night out on Mill, planting seeds and distributing tracts.
Soli Deo Gloria