I am sure most of you have heard about or unfortunately seen the “South Patio Preacher.” I, as a Christian, am first of all, saddened by this man and his followers and secondly, upset that he is blaspheming the Word of God.
When I first heard about John McGlone, I was very curious. I consider myself to be a child of God and a patriot and therefore support our right to freedom of speech. I think no matter what your view is on an issue, you have the right, as an American, to express it within the bounds of the law.
In the past, McGlone was asked to leave for violating Tech’s policy of giving two weeks notice of your intention. That policy was not only in the interest of student safety, but also so certain parts of campus were not double-booked for use. I understand why Tech had this policy in effect; however, McGlone and the Court of Appeals did not. McGlone filled a lawsuit against Tech and lost in trial but appealed the decision. The ruling was overturned in his favor by the Court of Appeals. Tech then changed its policy to a four day notice. McGlone took all steps legally to be on Tech’s campus this time.
I had the chance to interview the “South Patio Preacher.” I wanted to clear the air for myself as a Christian and find out the reasoning behind his hate. My findings were not of Biblical backing.
I asked him several different questions to try and come to some understanding of his beliefs and from where in the Bible he was taking this extreme view. I told him that I had been on the patio the day before and heard one of the other followers say to someone that he no longer sinned because he “picks up his cross every day and prays that God will deliver him from temptation.” I was shocked and very offended by this.
I feel like this man is making the rest of us who are trying to live a life pleasing to God look like a bunch of “crazies.”
When we are born into this world, we are born into a sinful nature. It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. From that bite of forbidden fruit, sin entered the world.
The Bible teaches us in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Does that mean we are all going to Hell like the crazy man says? Yes and no. Yes, the wages of sin is death, but you do have a choice. The choice is whether to accept the gift mentioned in the scripture. The gift is the sacrifice God gave us by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. It was through this that our sins were paid for, and if we choose to accept it, we will live eternal life in Heaven.
The “South Patio Preacher” also agrees that is the way to Heaven. However, if you sin again and fall short, you are going to spend life in eternal damnation. The problem with this idea is that you are putting yourself into the equation of salvation. The Bible teaches, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8. If I say, “Ok God, what you did was great and all, but that is not enough. I also have to do X, Y, and Z to spend eternal life in Heaven,” I would be putting myself into the formula of salvation and would be devaluing the ransom that was given by Jesus dying on the cross for atonement of my sins. The fact remains that the only thing that will get me to Heaven and make me worthy before my maker is to accept the price that was paid at Calvary so long ago.
As Christians, we must lead by example and love people right where they are. Judgment and wrath are not mine to have. I am not worthy of such a position. When Jesus walked this earth and did “open air evangelism,” he did so with love and compassion. He did not scream at people. He led by example and put Himself among the people to show them that He accepts all and loves all.
I love the story of the woman at the well. Jesus sat with her and talked with her and showed her His love, even though the people of the town had cast down their judgment and wrath on her, calling her a whore. When Jesus showed her kindness, she was so taken back that a Jewish man would even talk to a Samaritan woman, especially one with her reputation. But by the love and acceptance of Jesus, her heart was convicted, and she turned from the life she was living to a life filled with Jesus. We have to start loving and leading by example, not by hating and casting down judgment. Anyone can become a child of God as long as you accept the free gift that has been given and put your trust in Him.