‘Confrontational evangelism’

The oval has played host to a variety of religious radicals time after time. This week it was Brother Jed Smock’s turn.

“I preach on college and university campuses across the country for 35 years in every state including campuses abroad,” Smock said. “I a formally a college professor-I got involved in the drug radical revolution of the ’60s and wound up being a hippie dropout living in a commune in Africa.”

While in Africa, he began reading the Bible and decided to devote his life to Christian.

His approach is controversial. Some people think his yelling is unnecessary. “I call it preaching,” he said. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing about the word of God. How will they hear if they don’t have a preacher?

“God commanded his disciples to go and preach the word of God. I call this confrontational evangelism. We’re out to confront sin and wickedness and call the sinner to repentance and faith in the lord Jesus Christ. It’s part of being a Christian to openly proclaim the gospel out where the people are.”

Smock said that today’s society is reducing people’s faith and knowledge about Christianity. This makes his job even more important.

“People are indifferent to the Bible-indifferent to the truth,” Smock said. “Most of these students are more interested in their party life; the sex; the booze; the drugs; the rock n’ roll than they are in the truth because they are rebellious and selfish.

“I’m encouraged that some of them are insulted when I refer to them as fornicators and drunkards. It tells me down deep that their conscience affirms that they aught not to be doing these things.”

Jenn Holland, freshman mass communication major, had a confrontation with the preacher. “He basically said I’m not save though I have more faith that most people I know for Jesus. I think its not right that he shouts random things at people he doesn’t even know without even knowing them. He told me that my boyfriend, if I had one, was going to be the ‘boy enemy.’ I found that kind of funny,” she said.

She decided not to argue further. “I don’t like to waste my time.”

Though controversial, Smock’s methods of preaching have gained him some attention.

“Normally I get a crowd of about 50 or 100 students,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a little while for me to catch students’ attention but I anticipate that students will gather around to hear what I have to say.”

Smock calls his own beliefs “militant,” and refuses to back down from his beliefs. He says this ensures discussion of God and Jesus in hopes that he will win a convert.

“I encourage dialogue and debate and try to stir them from their spiritual apathy and get them thinking,” Smock said. “Most of these students know virtually nothing about the Bible or the basic truth of Christianity, but I inform them on what Christianity teaches and hopefully they will meditate on these things and come to the conclusion and decide that Jesus is the son of God and the savior of mankind.”

“My primary tactic is to publicly preach the word of God. Well, I believe in taking the offensive against the humanistic philosophy that is being propagated on this campus.”

Smock says his campaign at colleges and universities is based on battling the principles of humanism, multiculturalism, pluralism, socialism and feminism.

“These are some of the philosophies that have gripped the students minds are anti-Christian and I wanted to spread it and confront and expose the lies of,” Smock said.

Emily Allbritton, junior children’s ministry and elementary education, disagrees with Smocks militant approach.

“I just find that Christ didn’t come to condemn, he came to love and him screaming out your sins doesn’t help out anything,” she said. “He who is sinless should cast the first stone. I think he isn’t helping anything and if he really wants to get to Christians on campus he should be loving and caring.

“Christ went to dinner with prostitutes, lawyers and tax collectors so why doesn’t he go to dinner with the gays and lesbians and Greeks that he is condemning. Why doesn’t he try to attract them with honey and not vinegar? Christ is going to leave 99 sheep for one and Christ left and would comfort those who are lost. He wouldn’t condemn them.”

While trying to preach the word of God, Smock is not shy about admitting to judging people.

“We’re not to judge is what we always hear but we are to judge,” he said. “We are to judge in the light of truth and the light of the Bible and the light of conscience and the light of reason and I’m condemning and judging their basic lifestyles as being wicked and sinful and against God. They don’t like that. When I announce that it affirms that what I have said is true and it tends to upset them.”