As I was walking to my first class back from fall break, I was in a great mood. Coffee in hand, light breeze blowing. It was great.
But then, from in between New Hall North and New Hall South, I heard it. The unmistakable, “You’re going to hell,” threat being boomed all the way from Centennial Plaza. It could only mean one thing: the “Jesus Preachers” (their self-given title derived from their website) were back. So much for my great mood.
So as many students did, I stood around and listened for a while. Within five minutes, the preacher had effortlessly offended half the crowd. He was on a rant, listing a few major ways to “spot a ‘potential’ lesbian.” The list included wearing pants, having short hair, playing basketball and watching or supporting Ellen DeGeneres. The first three things basically describe an elementary school girl during recess.
The entire crowd was laughing at the absurdity.
The preacher’s supposed reason for being there was to preach the message of Christ, but it was clear he was merely trying to elicit reactions. The real message of Christ is one of love, grace, truth and peace. John Chapter 1 even tells us Christ himself was full of grace and truth.
You catch that?
GRACE and truth.
Grace first, then truth.
Preaching hateful, condemning and judgmental things while including the most microscopic amount of warped truth is embodying neither love nor grace, truth nor peace.
Christ came to Earth, not to condemn the world, but to save it.
In the first part of John Chapter 8, a woman is brought in front of Jesus who was literally caught in the act of adultery. The Jewish teachers wanted to stone her to death – the appropriate punishment for her crime. But Jesus replied that whoever has never sinned should throw the first stone.
He had all the authority – all the right – to condemn her, but instead he simply forgave her.
These “Jesus Preachers” are not a representation of God, Christ, the Bible or the church. The people who actually preach Christ probably won’t stand in the center of a university, spouting out hot-button words and condemnation in a fit of delusional authority. You’ll find the real preacher of Christ caring for the sick friend, sitting with the lonely, including the outcasts, feeding the hungry or opening their doors to the dorm-ridden.
The real preacher of Christ will accept and love you wherever you are at, and the grace and truth of Christ they show you will transform you to be more like Jesus.
Even the jean-wearing, short-haired, basketball-playing women.