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Tim Brandt

Persuasive Speech
Public Speaking

Many of you have heard things shouted to you on campus like, "You are going to hell because
you eat a certain kind of meat," or "you are going to hell because you are having sex with so and so," or
"you are going to hell because you are gay," or "you are going to hell because you wear a certain kind of
clothing."
Things like this are said by various preachers who come to our campus. They condemn students
to hell because of what is stated in the Old Testament of the Bible. The things that they say seem
hateful, disrespectful, degrading, and absurd. One of these preachers that you may have heard of is
named Brother Jed. He states on his website, brojed.org, that his purpose "is to declare the Gospel of
Jesus Christ to the college and university students of America and of the World."(Brother Jed). The
problem with his mission is that he and his companions are not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My
purpose today is to change how you view Christians. When you hear the word "Christian," I do not want
you to think of people like Brother Jed, or any other campus evangelist who yells, screams, and
condemns you to hell. After today, I hope you will have a change of attitude towards people who truly
are Christians. Many people have misconceptions about what Christians believe because of the
evangelists they see on campus. Today, I hope to put those misconceptions to rest.
I have listened to people like Brother Jed come to UNI and scream at students. I have personally
been condemned to hell because of the fact that I go to a state university, or because I enjoy a drink
here and there. The thing they don't understand about me and many other people that they shout at is
that many of us also know, understand, and strive to focus our lives around the true gospel of Jesus
Christ. I have spent the last several years of my life studying from the Bible, which is the book that is
used to condemn everyone they see. I am currently an active attendee at Prairie Lakes Church here in
Cedar Falls. I have also been on student leadership for the college ministry of Prairie Lakes Church,
known as theRiver, and most recently, I have been employed at Prairie Lakes Church as an intern. I have
a lot of experience and involvement in the church. I know a decent amount about what these people
yell about on campus. I have read most of the Bible, many Christian Theology books, blogs, and listened
to more sermons than I can even count from some of the most well-known and influential pastors of the
past century. Nothing that I have studied matches with what these people say.
Why should we focus on anything that these people say? Why does this matter to any of us?
This matters because, to a very drastic extent, some of the things they say are actually true. The core of
what they say is true. Heaven and Hell are real. Life and death are real. Jesus is real. The arguments
they make, the hate they shout, and the ignorance they display are where they fall off track. It is
important that we are informed about the truth of the Gospel instead of relying on people like Brother
Jed to teach it to us. We need to understand the difference between the evangelists like Brother Jed,
and true Evangelical Christians, because the difference is huge.
Again, why does any of this matter? My question for all of you is, "why are we here, what is the
purpose of life, and what actually happens after we die?" The answer is not that we are here for no
reason and it's all an accident and then we are buried in a hole and that's the end. Everything we do has
a purpose. We go to college to get a good job afterwards, we get a good job so we can make a good
amount of money, and we make money so we can enjoy all of life's pleasures and luxuries. Then we
retire, get old, and die. The end? That seems pointless, purposeless, and depressing. Why care about
anything throughout life if it all just goes away and we become dust in the ground when we die? There
has to be something more than that.
Today I am going to discuss the problem that Christians face because of people like Brother Jed.
Not only Christians, but everyone who may hear them speak. I will talk about the problems we face, the
causes of these problems, and eventually what we can do to end this. First, I am going to talk about the
problem that arises with the campus evangelists we see every year at some time or another.
The problem faced because of the campus evangelists is that they are speaking from the Bible,
but taking it far out of context. They read parts of scripture that they can use to scare people into
repentance. They give a bad name to Christians all over the world because they claim to be followers of
Christ, but don't live the way in which Christ lived as He walked the Earth. They are turning people away
from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ instead of guiding people towards the peace, joy, satisfaction, love,
and fulfillment that we find through Jesus Christ. The devastating problem I see is that instead of
leading people to repentance and leading people to the love of Christ, they are turning people away.
They lead them towards destruction and in the end, hell. They are encouraging people towards hell
instead of sharing the truth about how they can escape it.
The main cause of these problems is that they primarily use passages out of books of the Bible,
specifically Leviticus. An important point to address is the significance of the Bible to Christians all over
the world. To Christians, the Bible is the most important, meaningful, divine, and encouraging book in
the entire world. John Piper stated on his website, desiringgod.org, on February 15, 2008, that as
Christians "We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original
manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all
matters of faith and conduct" (John Piper, 2008). Because the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, we
believe that every word is truth. The NIV Bible, copyrighted in 2011, says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that "All
scripture is God-breathed and used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
(NIV Bible, 2011). 2 Peter 1:20 also states that "no prophecy from scripture comes from someone's own
interpretation." The reason I share these verses is to explain why we take the Bible so seriously. We
believe that it is, in fact, the word of God. It was written by men who were guided and inspired by the
Holy Spirit of God. R.C Sproul, a Christian theologian quoted in his work "The Divine Foundation of
Authority" posted in March 2009 that, "The Bible alone is the only authority that can bind the
conscience of a person absolutely because it is the only authority that carries with it the intrinsic
authority of God Himself." (Ligonier Ministries, 2009). So now you may be wondering why I think it is so
wrong for the campus preachers to use the words written in the Bible to get their point across. The
reason this causes problems is because, out of context, you can make the Bible say almost anything.
Out of context biblical passages are something that many atheists use to try to disprove Christianity, or
the existence of a god in general. Many people try to lead us away from Christianity by showing us
verses from Old Testament Law, which was Jewish Law put in place by God to show what we as humans
needed to do in order to inherit the kingdom of God, or heaven. I believe the cause behind all of these
problems is that the campus evangelists preach on scripture that is out of context. So what can we do
to solve this problem?
The first thing we need to do is to know the truth of scripture. We must understand what the
Bible actually says and what it means. I think the law written in the Old Testament is important and I
believe that all of it is true. The standards God has set in place to go to heaven to be with Him for
eternity are great. We can never fulfill the whole law and God says that if we don't then we deserve
hell. So I agree with the evangelists that come to campus who say that we are going to hell because we
do all these bad things or fall short of other things. However, that is only half of the story. They are
leaving out the most important part. They are leaving out the Gospel, which is the good news of Jesus
Christ. They do a great job of explaining the nature of people, the imperfection of people, and the
eternal destination of the souls of people. To solve this problem, we need to understand the second
half of the story. According to the Old Testament, we need to follow the Jewish Law perfectly in order
to spend eternity in heaven. That is impossible, people try to disprove Christianity or call it ignorant and
ridiculous because of all the impossible standards that are set. However, in the context of the entire
Bible, the purpose of the Old Testament Law is defined in the book of Galatians. It states in Galatians
2:16 that we "know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we,
too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the
law, because by observing the law no one will be justified."
We know, as Christ followers, that the law is important. We should learn it, study it, and try to
live lives that are devoted to what God calls perfection. However, God has promised eternity with Him,
not through the law anymore, but through faith in Jesus Christ. We must trust that through Jesus's life,
death on the cross, and resurrection that we can receive eternal life in heaven with Him. Our focus
should no longer be on trying to follow all of the Old Testament law, but instead focus on what Jesus
said the new and greatest commandments are. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all
your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And the second is this: Love your neighbor as
yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." That is what Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31.
As a Christian, I do not want to condemn anyone to hell. However, I cannot say that everyone
will go to heaven without having to make a huge step. I want people to understand that we have sinned
against God, the bible says that everyone has done it, everyone has disobeyed God in some way and
because of this we are all deserving of the separation from God, which is hell. But the most important
part about all of that is what the campus evangelists leave out. There was Jesus, who decided to take
the punishment for all of our sins on the cross. He suffered, died, and rose to life again defeating death
and the power of hell over those who trust in His saving grace. When God looks at the sinners who have
repented and decided to trust in Jesus to be saved, God only sees Jesus, who was the perfect sacrifice
for our sins.
I hope that your attitude has changed after I discussed what it means to truly be a Christian, or
follower of Christ. I hope you won't look at the evangelists that come to campus and continue to look
down on Christians as a whole because of them. Next time you see them, I hope you will think back to
today and remember that as long as you ask Jesus to forgive your sins and you put your trust in Him and
live in a way in which Jesus did, no matter what they say to try to make you feel bad or hurt you can be
water under the bridge. They are wrong. In God's eyes: you are precious, you are loved, and if you
allow Christ to work in your life, then hell is not going to be your eternal resting place. As I finish I would
like to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite theologians, C.S. Lewis, from his book "Mere
Christianity," published in 1952. "[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says.
There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you
have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a
new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to
save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act
in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you" (C.S. Lewis, 1952).
Bibliography
Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: MacMillon, 1952. Print.
Piper, John. "Why We Believe the Bible, Part 1." Desiring God. Desiring God Foundation, n.d. Web. 13
Oct. 2014.
Smock, Jed. "Our Mission." The Campus Ministry USA. N.p., 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
Sproul, R.C. "The Divine Foundation of Authority." Ligonier Ministries. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
The Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2011. Print. New International Version.