for those of you who were out on the mall for the inauguration and were anywhere in the vicinity of the washington monument, you may perhaps have seen these sign wielding individuals.
along with the commercialization of the event (which i mentioned in my post from yesterday) this was one of the more disturbing observations of the inauguration day.
i’m not quite sure where these individuals came from- but they made their presence well known to the masses- through signs, shirts and bullhorns. they presented their message of the gospel- self-proclaiming that they were merely carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
i ended up speaking with one of these individuals, who approached me as i looked upon the spectacle. obviously their presence at the event drew attention from many. as i looked upon, what i considered some of the worst examples of our humanity from both sides (the cold, superficial nature of the slogans of the signs and utter disregard for meaningful dialogue from the one side- and the horrible insulting banter of those who found them offensive on the other side) as we watched, the man asked me what i thought about it. thinking that he was a mere fellow onlooker, i responded that i felt it was an ineffective way to spread the good news of the the Gospel. at that point, he made it clear that he was with them as he corrected me that it was just ‘gospel,’ not ‘good news of the gospel.’ (i informed him that the greek word for gospel –euaggelion- already entails that the news is good. so- though perhaps slightly redundant, it was not incorrect)
this of course sparked a lengthy conversation about life, faith and this kind of ‘evangelistic’ action. he quoted scripture, and i returned with scripture. i asked him to consider love, and he stated that love will not save me from hell, and that only recognition of sin and repentance will. i found out that they felt they were loving people by helping expose their sin, which in their mind is the only way that people can find their way to God. though, i agreed with some of their theology- i abhorred their methodology. to that end he said that paul wrote, as long as the name of Jesus is preached, that is all that matters- which basically meant that even if they were false teachers or had false motives- they were still giving God glory. if you read the passage this is only partially true, and i am not sure the context matches up either.
from a freedom of speech standpoint- i obviously have no problem with these guys being out there. actually i give them credit for their boldness and perseverance in the face of the cold and the verbal abuse…
however, i do not give them credit for being counter-productive for the Kingdom of God. i would love to hear the testimony of one person, who came to know God that afternoon due to the presence of these men. and even if there was one, how many more turned further away from Him, due to the misrepresentation of what it means and looks like when you are bound to Christ. how many went on to despise the church, God’s very own people, because of this false example, of what is manifested in one’s life when the everlasting Spirit of peace and love- all that comes from being rooted in Christ and having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit- abounds in your soul. How many?
++one disclaimer- i actually like and agree with what is written on the sign that is most visible in the picture above. i do believe that we need to strive for change and hope in Christ, not in obama-
that support is negated however, due to what is on the back of the guy’s sweatshirt holding the sign, which reads ‘turn or burn.’ lol- really… people still say that…? sadly.