Foreward: After I recently stumbled upon an old post of mine from my personal blog, I decided it would be just as fitting to include it here. I realize the topic of religion or beliefs is a touchy one, and in no way am I trying to impose my own beliefs or offend anyone. It’s sad I must use a disclaimer here, but the way the world is now, I don’t need to deal with legal action.
Originally written: Sept 25th, 2008 @ 1:22pm EST
I was inspired this morning to blog about a certain subject. But first, read this article – otherwise you will not understand this post: http://www.lanthorn.com/preacherman
This man has appeared on Grand Valley State University’s campus a number of times, though I have never stopped to watch because I am a strong enough believer in my Christian faith that I do not need some tyrant yelling at me, trying to make me angry and trying to get a response out of me. This man is one of the many who give Christians and Christianity a bad name, and one who is most likely turning people away from it.
When reading about what Michael Venyah is telling students as they stop to listen or walk by makes me irritated and sad simultaneously. I become upset, of course, by the way he is treating others “under Jesus’ name”, and I pity him. It’s obvious he is so far from the truth he can’t even think straight.
Matthew 7:11 says “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”
1 John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
He is one of these, corrupted by sin, and he doesn’t even realize it.
Venyah says he is perfect, or free from sin. Yet, in Romans 3:23 we read, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
It’s right there. He is not perfect, just as I am not, just as you are not, and so forth. Everyone sins, even when we do our best to follow God. But why does God allow this sin? Because He loves us enough to give us freedom of choice in our actions. In addition, without sin, where is forgiveness? He forgives us and believes that we can become better people. Through Him this is possible, but not through the ways of this man.
In Matthew chapter 7, verse 1 of the Bible, Jesus says, “Do not judge others, or you too will be judged.” This is exactly what this man is doing and by doing so he is condemning himself to that same judgment.
What Venyah is preaching reminds me of colonial days when priests scared and intimidated their congregation into living a pious life with talk of hell fire and brimstone. You are not going to hell because of one single action because all sin separates us from God, which makes every sin equal. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
If you watch the slide show on the website, you will see a man holding a shirt that quotes Psalm and says “all sinners will be destroyed.” However, there is hope, which is not something that Venyah is focusing on. That hope is Christ. With God’s new testament there is a new promise, a new hope, a new form of “guidelines” which He desires us to follow in order to be closer to Him. Christ came to Earth in order for sin to be demolished for whoever believes in Him. This is God’s gift of grace and love to us; not hate and abandonment.
1 John 4:9 says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”
Venyah may believe he has honorable intentions, but what he is doing is forming hate and separation from Christ. By calling people hypocrites, heathens and sinners as he’s trying to spread the good news of Christ is not what God would desire. How is offending people going to want to make people to listen and learn about Christ? This is hateful, sinful behavior in and of itself, which God does not partake of or support.
Of course, many students have been rallying to have this man restricted from campus, but I think we could all easily solve this problem if we stop paying attention to him. Let him call you names, yell in your face, tell you you’re going to hell. He wants your reaction. He’s provoking you on purpose. What can he do if you just pass him by without a glance or second thought? I think that would speak louder than fighting back – even in terms of forming prayer groups around him and playing “distracting” music. You can’t argue with these people, so why try? He’s like the elementary school child who wants attention and will keep acting out if you give it to him.
That is all I have to say about the subject and it’s in my own opinion, which you can agree or disagree with. It’s fine with me and you’re not going to hell if you don’t!
Sources: Bible: New International Version