Saturday, March 17, 2012

HERE I STAND!

by Chris Hohnholz on the blog Defending. Contending.

I want to make something clear. I am a born again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. This means I believe I was born a sinner and that my actions put me at war with God. Because of that, God will judge me for my sins and condemn me to Hell. Yet, in His mercy, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect life I could not live and to die the death I deserve. Jesus rose from the grave three days later, giving me a promise of eternal life. By turning from my sin and trusting in Jesus, He takes on my sins and I receive His perfect righteousness. I have been granted eternal life and will one day be with Him forever in Heaven.
 
As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. That means it is the direct revelation of God to man. This means I believe everything it says. Everything. When it says something is a sin, it’s a sin. What culture says about it today is irrelevant. No matter how we try re-work or re-word what God has already said, His truth remains. I will not bend, I will not yield, I will stand. I will proclaim God’s word, all of it. I may be called arrogant. I may be called ignorant. I may even be called a hateful bigot. But no matter what the world thinks of me, I care more of how I am viewed by my Savior than by anyone else. Jesus paid my fine with His life’s blood. I owe Him nothing less than my total love and obedience.

Because I trust in Christ for my salvation, and because I believe God’s word is true, I will proclaim to the world that it is in sin against God. I will proclaim that through Christ and Christ alone is their salvation. I will do this because I love people far too much to leave them in the delusion that they are “OK” with God. I love them enough to warn them of the judgment that is coming. I love them enough to risk being hated by them, and even have them turn against me. If I am willing to risk my life to save a drowning man, or a child trapped in a fire, how much more must I be willing to risk my standing in people’s minds to try and rescue them from the fires of Hell. It matters not if a blind man does not believe in the cliff he is walking toward. Thus, I cannot and will not stop my warnings because people do not believe as I do. I love them too much to stop.

I make this declaration today because I believe the world is beginning to openly war against Jesus Christ and those who follow Him. I make this stand today to make it known I will stand for Him no matter how tough the opposition may be, and no matter what it may cost me personally. I declare this to let you all know that I believe the greatest love I can possibly show is to point to the way of salvation, not to allow people to remain comfortable in their sins.

In the words of the Reformation preacher Martin Luther, “Here I stand. I can do no more.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

PLEASE DON'T SEND ME TO AFRICA! - Part 1

Man, this is long overdue... I kept intending on posting the e-mails I sent out during my 3+ week trip to Uganda the last two weeks of January and the first 10 days of February. I'm only getting to it now, believe it or not! So, here goes:


Hello from Uganda!

I thought I'd summarize my first week here in Uganda below.  Oh, what a privilege to be here serving the Lord, even if it is only for 23 days! Read on...

Tuesday, Jan. 18 - Friday, Jan. 21
After participating the Dr. Henry Krabbendam's (PEF board member and co-founder of ACTI - The African Christian Training InstituteSchool of Evangelism (SOE) last week, along with 240 Ugandans from the Teso District, in Palissa (pronounced "pa-lee-SA") in eastern Uganda, and around 6O from Kampala, we went out to put the training into practice in the surrounding neighborhoods as well as in a local health clinic, a hospital and a prison. My two groups - one on Wednesday and one on Thursday - preached the gospel to 34 people, including 23 Muslims! Since Muslims don't believe Jesus died on the cross, nor do they believe in the resurrection, they basically "gut" Christianity of its gospel [i.e., "Good News"], according to 1 Cor. 15:1-6. So when a Christian evangelizes a Muslim, he needs to boldly affirm that gospel and, if he senses skepticism, he should address it.  

Therefore, I ask Muslims that if Jesus truly didn't die on the cross and resurrect from the dead, then how do they explain the fact that all the apostles but John died as martyrs preaching that he did? Who would be foolish enough to die for a lie? I tell them that I would rather trust the eyewitness accounts of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection than some religious writings denying those facts written several centuries after the events in question. Up until now no Muslim has had an answer for me.  

(Note: Although Uganda officially speaks English, very few people outside the capital - Kampala - speak it.  There are around 47 tribal dialects spoken in Uganda, depending on what region you live in.  In other words, I'm communicating the gospel through translators up until this point.)

But not all Muslims are totally close-minded. One Muslim lady we shared with couldn't answer many questions we posed to her, so she promised to attend a worship service at the church hosting the PEF School of Evangelism that week. Another Muslim woman invited us as we were walking by to pray for her children, who apparently had malaria. I found it intriguing that a Muslim woman would invite two Christian pastors and a youth leader in to pray for her, so now I know that not all Muslims are so sure about what they supposedly believe. On Thursday, our last day of "practical" training, at least two townspeople were so convicted of their sins that they approached two different groups of evangelists asking, "What must I do (to be saved)?" - right out of the book of Acts (e.g., 2:37)!

This SOE was developed by PEF board member Dr. Henry Krabbendam, a retired Biblical Studies professor from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, TN. Over the past 27 years "Dr. K," as he has been warmly nicknamed, has been coming to Uganda 2-4 times a year, bringing teams of Covenant College students and/or pastors and laymen to experience what he calls an "abundance culture." Americans can do things here that would be unheard of in the U.S. For example, where in the U.S. can you go up to a house and get a family to stop everything in order to to hear the gospel?And be so well received that they'll give you their only chair, stool or bench to sit on while they sit in the dirt to listen? And to top it off, the family is Muslim??!! Uganda was part of what is commonly known here as The East African Revival, which started back in the late 1920's. One denomination - the Anglicans (Church of Uganda- has had an average of 100,000 converts a year over the course of its 150 year existence in Uganda. Even today there is a church that has seen over 500 Muslims convert to Christianity and become members of the church! Abundance culture!

Taking advantage of this openness, we went room to room to talk with patients - mostly with malaria - and their families at a local health clinic last Thursday. Again, we were so well received. In addition to preaching the gospel, we prayed over the sick and are trusting in God's healing, especially for those who need a sign of His love and power to help motivate them to repent and believe the gospel. One patient was a pastor... who doesn't own a Bible! Incredible! Did you know that about U.S. $6.50 will buy a Bible in the local dialect? Yet this is very expensive to the majority of Ugandans. I couldn't get my hands on a Bible in the local dialect of that pastor before having to leave the next morning, but I left him in the hands of host church's youth leader, who lives two blocks from the clinic. I am increasingly burdened over the needs that leaders of God's people have here. On the one hand English materials are in such abundance in the West, but few find their way to English-speaking pastors in Africa (not to mention non-English-speaking ones)! Something must be done!

Oh, and that health clinic? The most appropriate word for it: SCARY! It was dirty, had windows missing glass, no screens, one sink to wash hands... that didn't work! Patients lying on vinyl mattresses. If you want a sheet, you have to take your own! No ambulances. If you're in an car accident, the police will put you in the back of their pick-up and take you as fast as possible to the nearest hospital. Assuming you survive the truck ride, you'll be facing the same conditions I just described. In other words, good luck! The wife of one of the pastors on our team - from Birmingham, AL - is a nurse and was horrified!

Okay, I guess that's about it. We headed back to Kampala - a 6 hour drive - to join up with six more pastors from the U.S. We are a team of thirteen Americans and several Ugandans from Kampala on this project, not to mention the hundreds from the towns and surrounding areas that are participating in the School of Evangelism. May our/their tribe increase!

God bless!

Bill

Friday, January 7, 2011

ENDING 2010 STRONG!

Wow! I can't believe I haven't posted anything here for nearly two months! I guess it had something to do with the school year ending, Christmas, New Year's, etc. I'm sure you can relate.


8-32 BOARD GIVES GOOD ADVICE
Anyway, it's been a good year... especially the second semester. I met last July - while we were in the U.S. for our new mission agency's annual conference - with my The 8-32 Movement advisory board, comprised of two pastors, two mission committee chairmen, a church elder and a very-interested layman. One important piece of advice that I was given was to move 8-32 closer to home by returning to the public university - Fluminense Federal University (UFF) - where our ministry in the Greater Rio de Janeiro area began in 1994! We had wanted to stay away one more semester to allow most of the students we knew while serving with Campus Crusade at UFF had graduated, but I saw the wisdom in my board's advice. I'm sure glad we returned.


ROOTS!
Upon our return our initial strategy was to "filter" out those students at UFF as well as from several private universities in our city - Niterói - by offering a biblical* evangelism course.  We had 26 students participate in our class (in person and/or virtually) but, due to four long weekends this past semester, our class lost some momentum. However, we ended with a strong nucleus of eight students and one professor; these will be our key people with whom we plan to kick off the new school year this coming March.


CAMPUS EVANGELISM
On the evangelism front, I developed a banner diagramming Josh McDowell's Lord, Liar or Lunatic? argument to generate interest in seriously considering Christ's claims to be God and the implications of those claims: "You can either accept Him or reject Him as your God, Lord and Savior." Of course, introducing Jesus' role as Savior opened the door for me to share the biblical gospel with my listeners.  Aïda  and I ended the year having reached - primarily via this method - 1,038 students. Of course we used our campus ministry background in personal evangelism and discipleship to take our Biblical Evangelism module students sharing on campus, which is reflected in our total.


GETTING PERSONAL: Brenda (from our last newsletter) 
As Brenda and I (Aïda) approached Livia on Brenda's campus (UniPli) we immediately felt welcomed.  ”I love to talk about God," Livia exclaimed.  "I've got a whole hour before my bus comes!”  
When we started dialoging with Livia she told us she believed she would go to heaven if she were to die that night.  But soon, after a few penetrating questions, she agreed that if she were to die that night she would be guilty before God and, according to the Bible, deserve eternal punishment.  We asked her if she would like to hear what God had done so that she didn't have to end up in hell.  She quickly shot back, "Yes, of course!"  After telling Livia the Good News of Jesus' substitutionary atonement and resurrection so that she could be made acceptable before a holy God, she said she wanted to benefit from the gospel by repenting and trusting in Christ.  Livia  then thanked us and told us that she had only become interested in spiritual issues a month earlier; at that time she decided to check out a class for seekers at a local Catholic church.  She  confided in us that she didn't get much out of that class because it ended up only being a “self-study” course!



GETTING PERSONAL: André (from our last newsletter
André, a Telecommunications Engineering student on our main campus - UFF - leads evangelism in his church; however, he had never shared his faith on campus.  When he heard of our class he was eager to learn to do evangelism in the university context.  
Bill began taking Andre with him to share the gospel one-on-one with students, in addition to involving him in his "mini-talk" evangelism outside the main student cafeteria.  As you may remember, Bill effectively uses his "The Trilema of Christ: Lord, Liar or Lunatic?" banner there almost daily to expose students to the gospel.  He said that Andre's presence enables him to speak to many more people because Andre deals with students more one-on-one, which frees Bill up to explain his banner – including why  each needs Jesus as his or her God, Lord and Savior and how to benefit from His sacrifice for sin – to many more students who stop to watch and listen.  
Although he has only done five classes so far, Andre has already grasped the essence of how to share his faith biblically, leading a good number of those he's "practiced on" to  repentance and faith in Christ.  He even preached to a group of seven neighborhood bar-goers one Saturday during a heavy rainstorm.  All were stranded at their sidewalk table.  "I was shocked to see all their heads bowed as I led them in a prayer of repentance and faith!" an amazed Andre later exclaimed.  And to top it all off we're in the middle of giving our abbreviated Biblical Evangelism Module to Andre's church - plus 3 others - including taking the 60 participants – along with 3 pastors - out into the neighborhood to put their training into practice! 

 
MORE 8-32 COMPONENTS
8-32's Professional component saw me primarily using open air preaching to reach those who work in downtown Rio. The missionary who had some experience working with professionals sensed God's leading to do something different this year, so we didn't develop this component. In fact, until God raises up some interested professionals (ideally graduates from our campus ministry) or a missionary experienced with "marketplace ministry," we're going to put this aspect of our ministry on hold. As far as our Church component, thanks to one of of the UFF students involved in our class, 8-32 developed its Biblical Evangelism module (a 6-8 hour seminar - including an outing in the neighborhood to put the training into practice).  Sixty-two people started our course, but only 26 finished.  We think it had something to do with the fact that we spread it out over two Sunday afternoons. Live and learn! Next time we'll do it all in one day!  Mainly due to my open air preaching 2-3 afternoons a week in downtown Rio, not to mention some select crowd-gathering events like Carnival, Rio's annual Gay Pride parade, several Catholic and Spiritist festivals and New Year's Eve festivities, 8-32 preached the gospel to over 48,000 people in 2010!  


WRAP-UP
So, I'd say 8-32 had a good first year of existence. I know one thing: Aïda and I feel free now to do what God has gifted - not to mention called - us to do, and that included preaching the biblical gospel to thousands, teaching and training 160 students and laymen in biblical evangelism, preaching six sermons, teaching 25 weeks of Sunday School, etc.


PEF  
On top of that, He has called us to do what we do as part of an excellent little mission agency - in existence since the year Aïda was born (i.e., 1958) - Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship - PEF! After participating in PEF's annual Family Conference last July in Elizabethton, TN, we came away totally impressed with the caliber of men and women who, like us, serve the Lord through this organization around the world! 


2011: THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS
So, that's about it for now. I hope this recap of The 8-32 Movement in 2010 has been an encouragement. Look out 2011! I'll be starting the year out by heading to Uganda on January 13 to participate in a School of Evangelismand missions project put on by two PEF leaders twice a year there. Since we hope to host them here in Rio next July, I look forward to "testing the waters" with them in Uganda. I also look forward to doing some biblical evangelism in a primarily English-speaking African nation for a change. My previous four trips to Africa have been to Portuguese-speaking countries - with the exception of a couple of days spent preaching at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa in February, 2009. God bless!
-----------------------------
Biblical Evangelism is a term used by author and speaker Ray Comfort of Living Waters Ministries along with actor Kirk Cameron, both of Way of the Master TV & Radio. The principles of Biblical Evangelism can be found in Ray Comfort's book, Hell's Best Kept Secret, which talks about the biblical principles that Jesus laid out for us regarding evangelizing the lost (e.g., using the moral law - the Ten Commandments - to reveal to them their sin and show them their need for a Savior); see Matthew 19:16-30Mark 10:17-31Luke 18:18-30 for biblical examples.  The basic concept is this: LAW for the proud-hearted; GRACE for the humble-hearted. In other words, we must first show people that they have a “contagious disease" called SIN (John 3:36Rom 3:23) which will eventually eternally "kill" them (Rom 6:23). By helping people understand this Bad News first - that all will perish and go to hell if they die in their sins -  then the cure of the Good News of the gospel (Jesus Christ's' death & resurrection for our sins) will suddenly make total sense! They will be able to clearly understand what they are being saved from (i.e., God's justice, holiness and wrath); the Good News of Jesus Christ will truly be good news! One more important aspect to Biblical Evangelism: One truly converts to Christianity by repenting of his or her sins and by placing his or her faith/trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Both repentance and faith are understood to be gifts of God, so pressuring an unbeliever to "make a decision for Christ" via "the sinner's prayer" is frowned upon.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BIBLICALLY-GROUNDED AFRICAN PASTORS!

Late last month I had the privilege of attending my first FIEL Ministries pastors/leaders conference in Águas de Lindóia, São Paulo. I, along with over 1,300 pastors and leaders from all over Brazil, was greatly ministered to on the theme The Way of God. God's way is not a new, post-modern/emergent way. In fact, someone has wisely said that we don't need to reinvent - a lá Brian McLaren - Christianity; we need to rediscover it. And rediscover it we did!

With speakers of the caliber of Dr. Joel Beeke, Dr. Steve Lawson and Dr. Don Kistler we were taken back several centuries to sit at the feet of John Calvin, the Puritans and Jonathan Edwards. I stocked up on several Puritan books, which I am currently reading. The wisdom that emerged from the pens - and lives - of those godly men (16th through the 18th centuries) is still educating us today! What a legacy!

I would like to now draw your attention to a very special program highlighted at the conference called "Adopt-a-Pastor," which is coordinated by FIEL for pastors in the Portuguese-speaking world, including several African nations.  Having spent two summer vacations in Mozambique, I can honestly say I have developed a deep love for the Mozambican people, especially the Church there.  We've also been to Cape Verde and Angola on missions projects, where the need for theologically-solid books is just as acute.  For example, a study bible that costs US $50,00 here in Brazil costs US $200.00 in Luanda! Of course the average pastor's salary makes it virtually impossible to acquire such expensive, imported items. Spend a few minutes watching the following video on the Adopt-a-Pastor program in Mozambique. Then, if God leads you to get involved, please follow up on that leading! There are some pastors - and congregations - literally starving for want of the good teaching that comes from good books! 


God bless you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

THE CAMPUS CHRONICLES - Part 2

This week Aïda - my wife - set up two appointments with two women involved in our Biblical Evangelism course that we're currently offering to university students in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. One of the women, Brenda Ticiane, studies on a local private campus, Plinio Leite University (UniPli). Aïda met her on her campus and they approached two different students over the course of the hour they had scheduled to do evangelism.


Both girls were open to conversing, especially after Aïda demonstrated for Brenda how to use the Ten Commandments to appeal to the person's conscience.  With questions like "Have you ever told a lie?" in light of the ninth commandment ("Thou shalt not bear false witness.") and "Have you ever taken something that didn't belong to you, including downloading or photocopying things without paying? in reference to the eighth commandment ("Thou shalt not steal."), Aïda was able to show the women she and Brenda had approached that they were sinners ("...sin is the transgression of the Law" - 1 John 3:4 KJV) and subject to an eternal and painful penalty for their crimes (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 21:8; 1 Cor. 6:9-10). One student had claimed to already be a Christian, but knew nothing about the Bible and demonstrated an very unbiblical worldview. She was left with the challenge to "repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15), thus ensuring her conversion and salvation. The other student didn't decide to abandon her sin and place her faith in Jesus as the only one who "... died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." (1 Cor. 15:3-4), but at least both left understanding their need for Jesus Christ and what they needed to do to benefit from his sacrifice: repentance and faith.


After her appointment at UniPli Aïda went to meet with Michele Estarneks, a Business Administration student on The 8-32 Movement's main campus, Fluminense Federal University (UFF). Michele had asked a Christian friend of hers to tag along and learn how to do biblical evangelism from Aïda, so the three of them first approached two women. They asked questions related to God's Law, but one declared, "I don't believe that God would send a homosexual to hell who only does good to his fellow man while allowing a horrible person who supposedly converts on his death bed into heaven!" Recognizing her comment as an attempt to flee the implications of breaking God's Law, Aïda wisely directed the student back to her situation before a holy God. Both had to head off to class, but not before hearing of the solution God offers in Christ.


Aïda, Michele and Michele's friend then approached a group of five women in the Biological Sciences area. All claimed to be Christians, but Aïda decided to verify their conversions using our biblical evangelism questionnaire.  All but one of the women confirmed they had repented of their sins and were trusting in Christ as their Savior and Lord, so it was good that Aïda decided to take them all through the questionnaire. The one student who wasn't truly converted now understands her true situation before God and what she needs to do to remedy it. Both Michele's friend, who was exposed to our approach for the first time, and two of the women in the group of eight that was evangelized in the Bio-Sci area of campus decided that they want to join our class every Monday afternoon! Aside from the obvious benefits to the unsaved - of Christians doing evangelism - our outreach efforts can be used by God to motivate Christians to "hit the streets" after getting properly equipped!


Meanwhile, after being out all of last week at an excellent conference for pastors and leaders (an annual conference put on by one of the better evangelical publishing companies here in Brazil - Editora Fiel [English site] - that publishes books by John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Joel Beeke, Steve Lawson, Puritan authors, etc.), I was back at UFF this week preaching the gospel via my apologetics banner on "The Trilemma of Christ" (see Oct. 7th post) and training new disciples like André Orsi (Telecommunications Engineering-UFF) and freshman Filipe Gonçalves (Physics) in biblical evangelism.


One guy André and I approached was a former church member who had fallen away. After taking him through the Law, I asked him if he would be found innocent or guilty on Judgment Day for having broken God's Law. He said, "Guilty." I then asked him if he'd go to heaven or hell? He said, "Hell." I asked him if that made him worry, to which he answered, "Yes.  A lot!" I asked him if he knew what God had done so that he wouldn't have to go to hell when he died. He said he didn't know, so I explained the Good News of Jesus dying for our sins, being buried and resurrecting on the third day. I told him that, in order to benefit from Jesus payment for our sins on the cross, he needed to repent of his sins and place his faith/trust in Jesus as his Savior and Lord. I then showed him Psalm 51, had him read it and asked him if that expressed what he was wanting to say to God. He said it did, but because I sensed a bit of reluctance on his part to talk to God in front of us, I encouraged him to follow repentant David's lead and get right with God ASAP.


Meanwhile, André invited him to his church because he lives relatively close to it. Let's pray for Márcio... that he would truly repent and believe and get plugged into a good church like the one André is a member of.


All in all Aïda and I preached the gospel to 54 students this week - primarily at UFF. At least two of those were "ripe for the pickin'," and the others clearly heard who they were in God's sight (i.e., law-breakers and sinners under condemnation), what God did so that they wouldn't have to spend an eternity in hell (i.e., 1 Cor. 15:3-4and how they could benefit from what God did (i.e., Mark 1:15). In addition, each was given evangelistic materials to mull over after. And hey, we recruited at least three new students for our biblical evangelism course in the process... while giving hands-on training to some of those already enrolled!


Not a bad week, I'd say. Not a bad week at all!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

THE CAMPUS EVANGELISM CHRONICLES, Part 1

This week has been gear-switching! I put together a vertical banner on The Trilemma of Christ, based on C.S. Lewis' words in his little book, Mere Christianity (The MacMillan Company, 1960, pp. 40-41):


I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.


Well-known author and speaker Josh McDowell diagrammed Lewis' argument like this:



Of course my banner is in Portuguese, and I added C.S. Lewis' quote at the bottom under the heading "Conclusions of a Scholar." I can assure you these kinds of visual aids really generate a lot of curiosity among students!

For example, the first day I used it - this past Tuesday, Oct. 5, over 70 people stopped to read my banner.  I was able to walk 40 of them through the argument, bringing in the gospel at the end by saying, "The most logical way to deal with Jesus' claims is to conclude that He was telling the truth about Himself. The other options present serious problems in common sense terms. If Jesus was telling the truth, He is God. If Jesus is God, by definition He is also  Lord over His creation. However, Jesus didn't make the claims He made so that we would agree intellectually with those claims. He made them so that we would make Him Lord of our lives! How do we do that? Well, we first have to recognize that He is not Lord of our lives because of our rebellion against His lordship. We demonstrate our rebellion by breaking His laws: for example, 'Thou shalt not steal,' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' 'Thou shalt not bear false witness,' 'Thou shalt not have any other gods besides Me,' etc. When we break a human law, we're subject to the consequences. In the same way, when we break a divine law, we are subject to divine consequences. The Bible says that 'sin is the transgression of the Law' (1 Jn. 3:4) and that the consequences of breaking God's Law - or sinning - is the eternal death penalty (Rom. 6:23). In order to 'make Jesus Christ Lord of your life,' you have to first deal with your sin problem by repenting of your sin (i.e., 'changing your mind' to the point of hating your sin) and depositing your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, as the only one who can solve your dilemma (i.e., Because God is holy and just, He cannot let sinners into heaven and He must execute the sentence He already announced in Romans 6:23). Think seriously about this because, if you die in your rebellion against Jesus as God and Lord, you will not go to heaven when you die. You will end up in hell." At the end I gave each listener an evangelistic tract with The 8-32 Movement's e-mail on the back.

I can't express enough my satisfaction over knowing that I am declaring truth about Jesus Christ in the university context (and in a way they can relate to) as well as clearly presenting the biblical gospel (i.e., bad news + Good News + repentance + faith). God is also bringing Christians to the surface on campus who've been looking for a serious Christian group to plug into.

Speaking of Christians coming out of the woodwork on campus, we had our third week of Biblical Evangelism classes this past Monday. The group was down to six UFF students this week (several had time conflicts and/or tests), one student from a local private university (UNIPLI) and a Math professor from another private university (UNIVERSO). We also had two women participating from the church that is hosting The 8-32 Institute, Red Beach Baptist Church, as well as our two daughters.

During class Aïda and I asked students to put their evangelism training into practice by going out witnessing with us. Aïda set up appointments with two girls, while I set up appointments with three of the guys. Due to extenuating circumstances, I was only able to make one of those appointments, but WHAT AN APPOINTMENT!

I met with Stephan, an Engineering major, to go out sharing. Stephan had already concluded, based on his own studies, that he needs to be biblical in his evangelism. When he saw our poster on campus advertising The 8-32 Institute's Biblical Evangelism classes, he jumped at the chance to be a part! We met a History major by the name of Renato, who was studying alone before heading for lunch. Renato was an interesting person because his mother has been attending evangelical churches the past several years. Despite his mother's influence, Renato has chosen a different "god" - the god of Pantheism. When I read the following passage to him, however, he changed his tune:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.


For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them (Rom. 1:18-32).

After sharing the biblical gospel with him during our interview, Renato congratulated us for "hanging in there and patiently dealing with my views." He also said that my reading of the Romans passage to him made him rethink his concept of God. Our prayer is that Renato's concept of God will become that of the God of the Bible. We're also praying that God's Law will continue to have its intended effect, convicting Renato of sin, righteousness and judgment and driving him to the cross of Christ.




After witnessing to Renato, Stephan and I walked over to the main cafeteria on campus. We set up my Lord, Liar or Lunatic banner display outside a main exit. The curiosity level was not as high as the day before, perhaps due to the fact that many students had the opportunity to read the banner while waiting in the lunch line. Tomorrow I will cover some of the key points so that students will want to stop after lunch to "figure out" the crazy American missionary's banner!


To be continued...