On The Streets, 19th October 2013
John & Miguel engaging with young people.
John, Miguel & Amélia took the Gospel to the city centre today. John preached from John Chapter 5 about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the objections of those who held to religious piety. Christ is who people need but too often people confuse Christ with a form of religion. John declared that Loving God above all else and loving one´s neighbour as one’s self is all the religion we need. God wants to be an integral part of all our lives which is why He sent Jesus into the world in order to bring reconciliation between mankind and Himself.
Later Miguel preached. As Miguel was preaching a small group of young people began to fire all sorts of questions at him concerning the Bible and the subject of sin. In our post-modern society people feel that no-one has the right to determine what is right or wrong for any individual. This is why so many young people object to God’s ways as revealed in Scripture. They see those that preach the way of Christ as being judgemental, unloving and condemning, especially when it comes to questions of ethics and sexual relations.
Many young people, as was the case with these particular youths, have a vague notion of what the Bible actually teaches. They assume that they know and, as a result, get upset when the answers we give contradict them. Sometimes we challenge them to show us where certain things that they say are actually written in the Bible. For example, one of them stated that the Bible was full of contradictions. John offered this person a Bible and asked that they show him just one. This youth stated that they didn’t know exactly where things were written, so John then asked if they could tell him–the youngster refused. It became quite obvious that they didn’t really know, they were just parroting objections that have been hurled against the Bible for centuries.
As the young people began to get more and more animated a crowd had gathered to watch. Some people were supportive of John and Miguel, others were supportive of the young people. In situations like this our reactions are being closely scrutinised by others, the way we react speaks volumes, more so than the actual answers we give. Humility is key and the Peace of God in our hearts keeping us from getting angry and becoming defensive. The natural man becomes angry, defensive and turns to hurling insults–even violence–when dealing with opposition, mocking and having several people throwing questions at one at the same time.
Amélia had been approached by a man who stated that he was a Catholic. He was defending the dogmas of his church, especially with regards to the sacraments. For so many they see us as “missing out” because we don’t get to enter into true communion with Christ by eating the flesh of Jesus in the Eucharist. They are taught that the priest is able to bring Christ down from on high onto the altar by transforming the substance of the Host (wafer) into the actual flesh of Jesus. John showed him that we are taught not to believe such a thing in the Bible:
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above🙂 (Romans 10:6) This tradition is so ingrained in the thinking of Roman Catholics that they cannot accept the plain teaching of the Apostles as written in the Bible. They have been taught that the tradition of the church supersedes the Bible. The Bible is NOT the definitive Word of God. Ordinary people simply do not have sufficient understanding in order to correctly interpret scripture which is why we need the priests of the church in order to tell us what we should and shouldn’t believe.
For years the Leaders of the Roman Catholic church sought to keep the bible out of the hands of the masses, even to the point of burning copies of translations, arresting those who would seek to have a copy and execute those who would distribute any and all copies. The Bible´s message contradicts the sacramental system that the Roman Church imposes upon its people. This man advised John to read what the Church Fathers taught concerning these things. Quite a number of the Church Fathers (some who are even venerated as saints by the Catholic Church) did not believe the notion that substance of the bread of the eucharist actually changed, that the bread was symbolic of the Body of Christ, nothing more: amongst these were Clement, Origen, Iranaeus, and Athanasius.
After having dealt with the youths Miguel was approached by a young man from the Czech Republic who was interested in what we were doing. Miguel, and later on John, engaged with him explaining our beliefs about the nature of the church as a group of believers rather than a building where Christians and unbelievers gather for meetings called “Services”! He showed great interest and he was given our contact details. We did not pressure him into becoming involved with us, this is not our way. We are not seeking to gain members.
- Posted in: Chronicles of Manchester Outreach