Week 10 - Oct 27-31

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Monday - University of South Carolina at Columbia

I drove the 71 miles to Columbia for a day of disappointment. They were in the middle of finals. Don't try to preach during finals, or the day before an extended weekend or break. The only thing that happened was that a cackling student, laughing like a rabid hyena...ran past and snatched my lovely new banner out of my hands, and threw it into the reflecting pool. The banner was not damaged, and was fished out by a groundskeeper.

I also was able to explain the confrontational method to Erin, the son of a pastor. He first approached me in fear and trembling thinking I was going to jump down his throat, but was surprised that I was a gentle and reasonable man to talk to. He had many questions, and I shared the scriptures that are the underpinnings of this method. The one significant question was when he asked if I thought that by the confrontational method I was portraying God correctly to the students. I asked Erin what the state of the sinner is. He said they are headed for Hell. I said I am portraying the correct image of God. Until they believe, they are headed for Hell, and dwelling in the wrath of God. He responded that God loves everyone. I said not so. If God hates one man, He can not love all men. Then I quoted Malachi

Mal 1:2-3 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

This verse clearly distinguishes love and hate that they are opposites, and that God hated Esau. If love is the opposite of hate as indicated here, then God does not love the sinners:

Ps 5:4-6 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

I could not persuade him by the scriptures. Even though he claimed to be a literalist, he really wasn't. He said it was my interpretation. Funny thing, all I did was quote the Bible. I didn't interpret. One does not interpret by merely quoting. That means that the only one interpreting was him. He believed that it did not mean what it clearly said.

Tuesday - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

A quiet day, election day. The weather was cold, rainy, overcast and threatening. I got on campus late, and sat for about an hour waiting for a class break. When foot traffic picked up, I lifted my voice and gathered a very small crowd. I preached for only a while then sat down to teach. I taught for about another hour, and had some very profitable discussion with three Christians who testified that they were blessed by my preaching. I went to the student union for a burger, then left for home around 3:00.

Yesterday I received this email concerning my last journal. I thought the questions asked were significant, so I am including the email and my response to it in this weeks journal.

Excellent report, Bro!

I love the way you teach in your reports. I was witnessing to a, as I found out, "completed" Jew yesterday, so your lesson on the Law is helpful. Thanks! I am putting your teaching into Word documents, broken down by subject, so that I'll have a ready reference to common objections and questions in the future. Bro, you are doing a tremendous service to us campus/street preachers by ministering in this way!

I do have one question, though. What do you do with Jesus' clarification of the 6th and 7th commandments, being able to be broken mentally? I guess that's what gets me, Bro! Paul Washer asked the question: "How many of us truly love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength? How many of us truly love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves?" Those are the Great Commandments, meant to sum up the whole Law, yet by not keeping them 100%, wouldn't that be the same as breaking them, God's Law? If we're breaking God's Law, wouldn't we then be sinning?

These are some questions that I have had and which make it difficult for me to buy into sinless perfection, perfectionism, etc. What say you, Bro?

============================================================================================

:I do have one question, though. What do you do with Jesus' clarification of the 6th and 7th commandments, being able to be broken mentally?

I limit the sin to actually acting on the temptation. As I've said before, Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but without sin. That must mean that just a thought is not the same as sinning. To me, the difference is in how we respond to the thought. We are told this: 2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

It must therefore be possible to do. When tempted, I respond immediately with "No, that is not me".


:I guess that's what gets me, Bro! Paul Washer asked the question: "How many of us truly love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength? How many of us truly love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves?" Those are the Great Commandments, meant to sum up the whole Law, yet by not keeping them 100%, wouldn't that be the same as breaking them, God's Law? If we're breaking God's Law, wouldn't we then be sinning?

How is love determined? If I define love as including every single possible situation involving my neighbor, including all things of which I am ignorant, then keeping the commandment would indeed be problematic. But I think it is not so expansive. When dealing with a neighbor, I must chose always to behave lovingly. Behaving lovingly does not require me to anticipate every possible thing I could do to demonstrate love.

Here is an example. I am closing in fast to being unable to pay my mortgage, because of my attempt to return to ministry. Over the last year, I have built up my CC debt by about $4,000. At the same time, my next door neighbor, a Christian, has fallen behind on his rent by about $4,000. He is coming off a bad divorce, and I have been ministering to him to bring him back from the brink. Here is my choice. Do I evict him, so that I can avoid foreclosure, or continue to minister to him in hopes that he will someday be back on top and be able to pay me his back rent. Lose my home, or act in an unloving manner toward a brother? I would be justified in evicting him, but I haven't been able to because I see it as an unloving act. I would rather absorb the damage myself than to damage a brother to save myself. That is the requirement of loving your neighbor. You will always choose to do the selfless thing, even if it means you yourself will be hurt by doing so.


:These are some questions that I have had and which make it difficult for me to buy into sinless perfection, perfectionism, etc. What say you, Bro?

Sinless perfection does not require that we observe every conceivable permutation of the law. That was the error of the Jews. They failed to see that the law was added to the covenant to do one thing. That is to restrain people who would not listen to God. The covenant that God made with Israel was that they would listen to His VOICE. That is what He desired.

De 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

There are only two ways that God can control the behavior of men. The preferable way is for them to listen and obey. But barring this, God's backup was the Law, which He added because many would not listen and obey. The Law is God using the selfishness of the wicked to restrain them. By making the sanctions so severe, God appeals to their self interest and self preservation to provide them with the necessary motivation to not sin.

Ga 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions...

1Ti 1:8-10 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

The Christian is required to be led of the Holy Spirit. We are supposed to listen. That is all God has ever desired. If we will be led of the HS, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. If we will listen, then God will himself warn us of a pending sin, and give us the grace to resist the temptation. Since we have a different means of determining sin than the Law, we are not under the Law. Since we listen, the Law no longer has authority over us. Consequently, the potential expansive scope of the Law is not a problem to sinless perfection. Even if we appear to break the Law, if the Holy Spirit has not checked us and warned us, we have not sinned. The example of this is:

Mr 2:23-28 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath

In this example, the disciples, by the letter of the Law, had sinned. But they had not sinned at all. The Law can only be a guideline, and can not address that which God Himself can address through the Holy Spirit.

GA 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

So, the Law is not set aside per se, but it is fulfilled because in obeying God through the Holy Spirit, we keep the Law. Therefore, as long as we continue to obey in all things, we can attain sinless perfection. God will never give us permission to sin. As long as we do not harden our hearts against the prompting of the HS, we are good.

Bro

 

Wednesday - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The day dawned cloudy and cleared up as the day progressed. By the end of the day, it was just gorgeous. I actually began to preach 4 times over the day. As soon as I would start, someone would come up to me and want to talk in a more serious manner.

I accommodated them because for the last few days, I had been teaching instead of preaching. The first three sessions were small, no more than 7-8 students. But the questions were sincere and honest. I talked about holiness, science, and politics. My subject on politics was the law of unintended consequences. Obama may be a may with good intentions, but our country has a very long rap sheet of failures that began with good intentions that failed to take into account the logical consequences of the actions. Welfare, No child left behind, corporate welfare, to name a few. Strangely though, the group (too small to be a crowd) kept bringing me back to spiritual matters.

I ran into Dan again, but he had to go study. We might get together the next time I am in the area. Another fellow named Nathan was very interested in the idea of ceasing from sin. I took him through many scriptures that indicate that cessation is not only commanded, but also possible.

A young lady questioned me at length on the subject of the division that the preaching causes. I shared with her that what I am attempting to do was far above what she did when sharing her faith. I encouraged her to continue to witness as she was accustomed to do, but that my purposes were multifaceted and at a much higher level. I shared with her dozens of scriptures that supported my contentions. In the end she shook my hand and thanked me when she left.

As a matter of fact, almost everybody who stopped to talk to me today shook my hand and thanked me. It was as if UNCC had been rode hard and broken of it's rebellion. Praise God, I had much liberty and no opposition to speak of.

Nathan told me that people all over campus were reading their Bibles in response to the preaching. He saw that fruit and rejoiced. The young lady was concerned about the fruit. I told her of the many testimonies that we have received over the years from people who got saved years later but that could trace their conversation right back to the day they were rebuked by the preacher. The preaching plants seeds in hearts that grow slowly. We look for our harvest down the road, not in the next 5 minutes.

God has waited for 6000 years for His harvest return. Surely we can wait a couple of years.

Thursday - University of Georgia at Greensboro

I got to campus at a good time and asked the girls at the information booth where the preachers set up when they came to campus. I was told that the circle was where they preached. So I set up in the circle below:

The art was atrocious, but it was a nice place to gather a crowd. I cranked up the old voice box and gathered a group of about 25. I began to rile the crowd up by preaching about the "Law of unintended consequences". I contended that the danger of the new President is that he does not have the maturity to be able to foresee the consequences of his proposed actions.

If Obama even does only one thing he promised to do, it will destroy the country. I heard him say that he intended if elected to fine all coal fired electric plants into bankruptcy. The problem is that 49% of all the electricity comes from coal fired plants. If Obama shuts them all down, the economy will collapse. The law of unintended consequences will always clobber the immature leader.

Then the police showed up.

It seems that the circle that the girl was referring to was over by the building in the background - about 2 zip codes west of my first spot.

I tried to gather a crowd from this distant land, but I was 80 yards off the flow of traffic. The only response I was able to garner was from a girl named Laura. She asked me what I was doing, and since she was the extent of my crowd, I focused on her. The controversy, as in all preaches, was the issue of a Christian ceasing from sin. She could not see how it is possible. As the discussion went on, I realized that her definition of sin was again to expansive.

She had a good knowledge of the scriptures, but her understanding of them was not very good. She was teachable and I think I was able to give her a lot to think about. A friend of hers came up, and she excused herself to go home. Five minutes later her friend returned and asked if he could ask me some questions. The first question was "I understand you told Laura you don't sin any more?"

I said "No, I don't". He couldn't believe it. He told me he was a Lutheran seminary student. I expected that this would be a good discussion. He was a believer in predestination. I of course am an Armenian. It was a lively discussion with me mostly quoting the Bible, and he mostly telling me what he believed. In the end, though, he thanked me and said it had been an enlightening conversation. I hope I planted enough seed to shake some of his beliefs.

Except for those two discussions, I was unable to gather any listeners. Needless to say I was not in a good mood when I left. When I got home, I looked at some pictures from Kerrigan Skelly when he had preached there. He was over in front of a building next to the student union, and had a good meeting. Next time I go back, no Siberia for me.

Friday - Appalachian State University at Boone

The drive to Boone was a joy. As I approached Boone, I climbed up the Appalachian mountains. I was amazed that all over the tops of the mountains were magnificent HUGE houses. Every peak was covered by a house that would have qualified as a space ship. I have always wanted to live on the top of a mountain. It was a fantasy world for me.

Arriving at Boone, it took a long time to find parking and the preaching spot in front of the Library. As soon as I arrived, there was a lot of foot traffic and a large number of students just hanging around. I did not get any photos myself, so I borrowed the photo below from Kerrigan Skelley. Just imagine me instead of Kerrigan.

The day was tremendous! Within only a couple of minutes, I had a crowd of about 60. They started out inquisitive as I was a new face on campus. Soon, the police showed up, but they were very professional. They stayed in the background and just watched over me all day. I commended them and thanked them at the end for their professionalism.

The crowds responded to some of my more humorous aspects, but before too long I was able to slip out of the "wild and crazy crowd building mode" into a more intense discussion of the Kingdom of God. I focused on the fact that according to the Bible, until someone believes, they are in the state of condemnation, wrath, and hatred of God. This so greatly offends those who believe in the false image of God that His only characteristic is "love".

I tried to balance out the message by pointing out God's good news and His bad news, but the crowd would not be mollified. So I returned to pounding them on the issue of sin. There were a number of BBB's in the crowd (Bible Belt Baptists) who know only one verse in the Bible - Ro 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I would bring up the very many verses that state that after the first step of believing, there is so much more to consider.

One girl kept insisting that she loved the Lord with all her heart, but that she went out on Saturday to get drunk, then go to church and ask to be forgiven. She was indignant when I told her she was headed for Hell. I wound up rebuking her dozens of times throughout the day because she insisted that no matter how she sinned that she would be forgiven.

By the end of the day, though, the mass of scriptures that I quoted her began to break through her delusional darkness. I could see that she began to consider that her belief was wrong. She finally left, but I could see from her countenance that she had been shaken.

During any preach, there are always the vocal few who seem to dominate the event. As a preacher, though, we have been trained to look beyond those useful idiots o the crowd behind them. Today was a stellar day, a truly stellar day. I saw that a large percentage of the crowd sat there enthralled. These are the ones you are actually preaching to. But today it did not stop at those.

I saw about a dozen students whose countenance was cast down and somber. They stared at the ground, faces drawn down by only one thing - conviction. I don't remember ever seeing so many under hard conviction at one time. I was about to give an "alter call" when the spirit checked me, but I don't know why. I have been looking for that sign for 31 years. I was almost convinced that the revival I have prayed and looked for was about to break forth. The moment passed.

The day wound down around 5:00 with a couple more rebukes. As I left, there was a small group of Christians standing around some of the students that were convicted. I walked over to them and said "Defend your faith, Christians". They thanked me for preaching and I walked off.

After so many lost and wasted days during this trip, today was a wonderful way to end the tour. ASU at Boone is ripe for a full time preaching ministry to settle down and work the campus.

Tomorrow, I leave South Carolina and drive back to Penn State, where I will be preaching with Gary, and possibly hitting some of the small Pennsylvania schools, like Mansfield, West Chester, and Millersville.

See you next week.

Bro

Once again please consider supporting my ministry.  If you can't support me yourself, would you be able to give me any contacts you have of churches that might be open to my ministry as I travel? Any help you could offer would be much appreciated.    
Bro Cope
3598 N Atherton St, Apt 1
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