NAMB Missionary Maligned at Boise State University

NAMB Missionary Shawn Holes at BSU (Cody Finney/The Arbiter)

This past week one of our own made the headlines, but not for what you might think.  The student voice of Boise State University, The Arbiter, posted an article on its website entitled “Boise State is No Place for Hate” about Shawn Holes, aka “Shawn the Baptist”, and his recent evangelistic visit to the campus.  Shawn and his wife Lisa are Mission Service Corps missionaries with the North American Mission Board.  Shawn crisscrosses the nation visiting college campuses and other venues to share the Gospel through open-air preaching and one-on-one conversations.

Using emotionally-charged phrases describing his style as “oftentimes abrasive” and his preaching as “caustic”, The Arbiter story decried the “hateful rhetoric” Holes supposedly spewed forth.  In the piece, Holes was quoted as preaching that “evolution is a lie” and “women are by design inferior to men.”  The article reports that:

Almost constantly, Holes and the crowd berated each other, using derogatory names, interrupting and shouting. At times it seemed they were about to come to blows.

Things apparently got so heated that police and campus security had to be summoned to maintain order.

Hard to believe that a minister of the Gospel would behave this way, right?

Well, that’s because he didn’t.

According to Holes, The Arbiter reporter, Benjamin Mack, left out a few other embarrassing facts about the behavior of some of the students at the place that is “no place for hate.”  Holes wrote on his Facebook page that “one of our signs was stolen, a man threatened to beat me up if the police wasn’t there and one student grabbed an entire handful of tracts and had several students rip them to shreds.”

Holes also took time to correct what he felt the story misquoted, “I preached that women were created as a helpmeet to man. If somebody has a problem with that then take it up with God not with me. Women btw are smarter than men, better at just about everything, and frankly are way better looking!”

The Arbiter piece reports hateful misbehavior from both sides of the soapbox, but downplays the fact that the authorities were apparently standing near Holes for his own protection.  The police were called to quell the noise and misbehavior not of Holes but of the BSU crowd, who set fire to pamphlets Holes offered and one person used a bullhorn to pepper the preacher with obscenities.  (Holes, incidentally, was preaching unamplified; he wasn’t “shouting”, he was projecting.)

This wasn’t Holes’ first experience with angry students reacting forcefully to his message.  On a Colorado campus just two days prior, police were called after students started throwing drink bottles at the itinerant preacher and one full one hit Holes.

The missionary-evangelist is no stranger to this particular campus, visiting and preaching there several times throughout the year.  Like he always does, on this day he invited students to come talk with him personally after his preaching.  About 30 of the students did just that as they wanted to know more of his Christian message–another detail left out of The Arbiter piece. Holes also said that because of his regular visits on campus he has made “tons” of friends there.

For a guy who supposedly preaches hate, Shawn the Baptist sure seems be a likeable guy on campus.

Actually, here… see for yourself.

Here is a video clip Holes posted from his time on campus this week.  Does this match the reporter’s story of his behavior?  Does this look like a man preaching “hateful rhetoric”?

Sadly, some of Holes’ detractors were ones one might expect to come to his side.  The Arbiter story quotes the local Campus Crusade for Christ Campus Minister coolly distancing himself and the organization from Holes and his 2,000-year old method of Gospel proclamation, questioning whether it was “the most effective or the best approach…”

Earlier this year the same outlet, The Arbiter, wrote a much more complimentary piece on Holes, even including an audio interview with him.  You can read and listen to those perspectives here.

You can learn more about Shawn and his ministry at his website, or Facebook.

In full and fair disclosure, I have known Shawn since 2008 and am a small financial supporter of his ministry through the North American Mission Board. -AR


  1. says

    I personally question whether this is a valid way of communicating the Gospel in this context. My concerns are somewhat quelled by the fact that he did have some one on one conversations with students, but I think he could have more one on one conversations if he was not standing on a platform in a public place and “projecting” at people.

    Further, even if his method is not invalid, his language most assuredly is. If you are going to preach in the public square, then preach in the common tongue. So many words that were used in the clip above are “Christianese” which makes sense to an insider, but is inaccessible to an outsider. For example, what does he mean when he tells people not to love the world? To me and you that means do not love the things of this world- sin, money, possessions, etc. To his audience, that’s not what they get. Further, did you hear the guy say “I don’t have one!” when the crowd was told to read their Bibles. Why assume that the crowd has read scripture?

    I’m not discounting the man’s calling or sincerity or passion for the lost. I just think the style of evangelism is unsuited for the crowd he is trying to reach.

    Just my 2 cents…

    • volfan007 says

      At least, he was out preaching the Gospel to lost people! At least, he’s trying to fulfill the Great Commission. God bless him.


  2. says

    Could this be but the opening salvo in an planned and determined effort to shut out all Christian influences from every state and secular campus? These do not happen in a vacuum, and they are generally not spontaneous though they are designed to appear to be so. It was like the protests over the Vietnam War. A pastor friend told me about setting in a restaurant near Columbia Univ. in the 60s and overhearing plans being made for a protest that would be on tv. One of the participants said he had the money to see that the protestors would be there. Americans are beginning, I hope, to wake up to the fact that they have been manipulated…and, least I sound like a know-nothing conservative, let me call attention to the false Gulf of Tonkin (sp?) incident that got that Conflict going in earnest. And now we have a confession about the assassination of Kennedy….Too bad, it could not have come, when the culprits were available for prosecution.

  3. sal says

    Something about this story seems wrong. What was the context? Was he invited to speak? Did people expect it? Did it intrude into their otherwise routine existence? Just as the reporter on the sceen left out some information, I feel we too are missing something. We need to evangelize. But we need to do it appropriately. There is a wrong way. I’m just not sure what happened here and I think we need a lot more information to decide.

    • says

      Context: Public University campus, a place for an exchange of ideas, a place where anybody can speak.

      No, he was not invited to speak. Neither was Jesus at the Tabernacle or Paul on Mars Hill. He just showed up to a public forum where people are known to be.

      No the people did not expect it, but clearly it was needed.

      The most famous preachers in scripture would intrude into people’s otherwise routine existence. Noah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Paul, Peter, Stephen, and..JESUS.

      • says

        I’m sorry John the Baptist but Paul was invited to speak at Mars Hill:

        Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
        (Acts 17:18-19)

        Having said that, please see my comments below concerning this issue, I don’t want to repeat myself. I do believe that preaching on a college campus is more akin to Paul at Mars Hill and I find it interesting that he was invited to share the gospel with that group of philosophers. However, despite his invite, most of them walked away scoffing and doubting as well.


    • says

      Friend, please think about what you are saying. Of course it was an enexpected intrusion. What exactly is “appropriate evangelism?” Jesus roamed all over Judea stirring up everybody! He started with the blunt and to the point message that John the Baptist cried out before him: “Repent and believe in the Gospel!” I don’t know you brother, or Shawn but I do open air preach like him on Campus and on the street and it is the highways and byways where Christ tells us we are to compel them to come to Him from. I’m sorry and don’t want to be mean brother, but How much information do you need before you call someone’s evangelism style right or wrong? What is the right style? How are you informed as to which is right and wrong. As a fellow believer I’ll take Shawn at his word(And that of the author here)until stark evidence tells me otherwise that they were acting ungodly. Please friend, if you have a problem with someones evangelism or walk with God, give solid biblical reasons for it. Otherwise please don’t cast shadows of doubt into the blogosphere for people to latch onto for further ridicule. If you have ?’s ask Shawn. If you have a way of evangelism you think is the right way then get out there and do it. Please pray for the likes of Shawn and all of us who go out to call people to repentance. It is often hard and sometimes even frightening on various levels. We need peoples prayers and encouragement not aspersions cast on our style and methods. God bless you brother and spread the gospel!

  4. repent says

    I think we need more cool guys like this, not squishy cream puff preachers that are scardie cats. Shawn the Baptist is preaching the Gospel and i think Saint Paul said that there is power in that or something. Anyway, keep preaching Shawn!

  5. sal says

    I’m afraid I would like more information before deciding that. I think things can sometimes be done wrongly. I’m not sayin that’s what happened here. I just don’t know. I think the situation needs to be told in detail before one could truly know.

    • Christiane says

      SAL, there are other presentations of Shawn Holes at different colleges on youtube, if you want to see more

      • sal says

        I guess i just don’t understand what happened at this location. What exactly was the arrangement? How did it become obviously heated? It’s good to udnerstand this to avoid similar pitfalls in the future.

        • volfan007 says

          People get mad when they hear the Gospel, which tells them that they are living in sin and need a Savior. People dont like hearing that their fornication, lying, homosexuality, cheating, etc. are sins in the eyes of God. That’s why they get so angry.


  6. volfan007 says

    There’s been a lot of street preaching done in years past….from the Apostles to this present day. Seems like Jesus did a lot of street preaching, too.


  7. John Fariss says

    Some people enjoy and appreciate an individual who “goes against the grain,” while others do not. Hence we have brothers like David Worley defending him and not only what he did, but how he did it. That’s OK; but some people are attracted to controversy, regardless of the content, and have no intention of really listening to the message. I find myself wondering how many of the 30 or so who followed were like that, or if they saw through the rhetoric to the Gospel. And there is the perennial question of would there have been more than 30 had another method been used. I suspect that was Campus Crusade’s motivation.

    Of course, there is an issue of free speech, which is never absolute. So unless Rev. Holes’ speech advanced to the point of inciting to riot or hate-speech (something his detractors would no doubt say happened), he is free to expound his “opinions” in a free country, assuming only there are not property or other rights involved (i.e., the right of appropriate authorities to limit access to non-students, etc.). Assuming what he said did not exceed those limits, he has the right to “proclaim” forcefully, but then, so do his detractors, within the same limits.

    A couple of the students in the clip said something about being filmed without permission, to which the filmer said something like “it’s a public campus, if you want privacy, go to a private school.” I’m not sure he is right there. We have to have people’s permission to show their pictures regardless of where the photos are taken. But some of our lawyers could answer that better than me.

    But let’s assume the only issue is the message. Yes, street preaching is as old as the church–Simon Peter did it on the day of Pentecose, and Paul did it in Athens. But I see some significant differences. Peter spoke to a “religious” audience, and used a vocabulary they understood, which we also understand. Within certain limits, Rev. Holes used a religious vocabulary we understand–the limits being that it sounds as though he is using King James-ese, which is probably not going to get a sympathetic hearing even from Christians on a secular college campus setting. But did his “audience” have the same understanding of his vocabulary? I think not. If we turn to the example of Paul in Athens, we see that he found a “bridge” (actually more than one) to make his “audience” hear, and not only hear, but also to transition to a sympathetic position, from which he could proclaim the Gospel. But Bro. Holes does not seem to be interested in sympathy, rather only to attract a crowd, and an antagonistic one at that. That is my problem wih the presentation. He went on a secular college campus, and said that evolution is a lie and that women were created as man’s helpmate (rather than that they are equals), then tried to explain that away with what would be considered a chauvinistic line that women were prettier, smarter, whatever, than men. I know that most on this board will agree with that position–but how is that the point of what Holes purports to be doing? He says he is there to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, and yet (1) he does so in “Christianese” that most secular college students are guaranteed to misunderstand, and (2) he seems to be proclaiming fundamentalist Christian doctrine which these college students will automatically bristle against and which actually will keep them from hearing the Good News.

    If Rev. Holes’ intent was to be able to go to Poodunk Swamp Baptist Church the next Sunday and tell the good folks there about how the godless, aethists at Boise State mistreated him and spat on the Gospel, I suspect he suceeded. But if his purpose was to make inroads at a secular college campus, he needs to rethink his methods.


    • repent says

      Mr. Fariss you are confusing me with your big words. Shouldn’t you ask us first as to which words would be appropriate in this comment section. (lol, just kidding)

      I believe it is easy for armchair quarterbacks here to diagnose what Shawn the Baptist did or didn’t do. So on that note, did he preach hate? I see no indicator of that. I think we are missing the point as it is. He is a preacher. He preaches the Gospel. Additionally it appears he is very aware of contemporary issues, ie., young earth, repentance, and the love of God. Did he turn the students away? Are you kidding me? Kids these days are already turned away from God. I don’t think we can blame Shawn for that.

      It doesn’t appear as though Shawn the Baptist is trying to get results and be effective as John would insinuate. Nor does it appear as though he is glorying in how the students responded. I looked at Shawn’s website and it appears as though he brings up tough issues and he is not afraid to discuss them. He is bold and outspoken. He is firm and loving. Maybe more of us should try sharing some gospel more often? hmmmmm?

      Secular campuses is exactly where Mr. Holes should be preaching. Also, I hope he goes right into the Bible belt and preaches to all us Baptists. We need to get a little more desperate for souls here in the south!

      • Christiane says

        Dear ‘REPENT’,

        can you ‘assume’ that the students were not Christian people ?

        they are being treated that way, aren’t they ?

        wouldn’t it be better for Shawn to have come up to them and tried to talk to them PERSONALLY, with respect for them ?

        If Shawn came on to a Catholic University campus, and started ‘projecting’, I think the students would have come up to him and befriended him and invited him to sit with them and maybe have a meal and talk for a while . . .

        Shawn assumed the ‘worst’ about his ‘audience’ . . . and they rejected him . . .
        is there a lesson in there somewhere ?

        At first, I thought, this is all a ‘set-up’ to be filmed and used on a ‘circuit’ . . . and I was angry with that . . . but I don’t want to assume that because ANTHONY knows this man and speaks for him and supports him.

        Anthony’s word is good enough for me.

        I just think that Shawn needs to find a way to communicate that radiates and reflects the holy peace of Christ in his life in a way that draws an audience to him . . .
        if that doesn’t translate on this post, then I’ll say it this way:

        Shawn needs to talk, yes, but he also needs to listen with respect to responses, and his ‘projecting’ needs to be done by reflecting the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the gathering . . . patience, kindness, etc.

        • says

          If Shawn the Baptist went on a Catholic University
          –he would be thrown off because he actually preaches the Jesus of the Bible
          –he would be thrown off because he believes that Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins is once for all and not necessary or biblical to repeat every mass.
          –he would tell the truth that the pope and many of his priests are pedophiles and need to be saved individually just like every person who must come to Christ.

          • volfan007 says


            When I hear someone preaching on the street, when I’m passing by, I dont feel that he’s disrespecting me. I dont feel like he’s assuming that I’m lost. I say “amen” to him, and I appreciate him preaching the Gospel.


          • Christiane says

            Hi ‘JOHN THE BAPTIST’,

            I will have to ask a Southern Baptist who works with students on a Catholic University campus about your comment.

            Her name is Emily Hunter McGowin, and she teaches theology at University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.
            It is a private Catholic university.

            Emily is a brilliant young doctoral student, married to a minister, and she is the mother of two beautiful children.
            Emily is a good Christian and I don’t think she would ever working in any environment which fostered contempt for people from a different Christian community of faith.

        • Christiane says

          Hi VOL,

          I have seen ‘street preachers’ that pointed towards Our Lord in what they were saying . . . and ‘AMEN’ to that, yes.

          I always thought Billy Graham was a model ‘preacher’, one of the truly great evangelists of our time . . . because he pointed to Christ, to the Cross.

          Some of the ‘shows’ out there ? I’m not seeing Christ honored . . . especially when they bring a film crew, purposefully antagonize a crowd, film the ‘reaction’, and then show the ‘reaction’ on a ‘circuit’ so that they can collect money.
          Something about that is not wholesome, David.
          It speaks to me of something ‘else’. That’s the best way I can explain it, other than to say Billy Graham cared about the people he spoke to . . . he worked with Churches ahead of time and he followed up . . . people were counseled and prayed for, and were given support to find a Christian community of faith to join. Billy Graham was there for Christ and for those who needed Christ.

          Some of the ‘shows’ out there are purposefully offensive, and set out to record a reaction and use the recording to make money from gullible, shocked believers.
          I’m not buying it. It’s just wrong.

          I trust Anthony that Shawn is not like that. But is Anthony had not reassured us, I wouldn’t have known what to think unless I found out Shawn was working ‘with’ people he spoke with and ‘with’ the faith communities around where he was speaking . . .

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts, VOL. I hope you can understand how I feel concerning the need for ‘Christ’-centered preaching with preparation and follow-up for the ‘hearers’ of the Good News.

        • cb scott says

          Here is an “old time” example of a street preacher.
          BTW, Jesus, the Son of God, had some pretty good things to say about this guy.

          And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,




        • cb scott says


          Let’s have some fun with your comment here.
          Let’s imagine you have just heard John the Baptist do his “riverside, open-air, projecting” and the two of you are sitting at the Starbucks by the Jordan, drinking coffee and eating some chocolate covered locusts dipped in honey.

          L’s – “John,can you ‘assume’ that the Jews and their religious leaders were not Christian people?”

          John sips on his Starbucks and pops a chocolate locust in his mouth. He says, “Yes I can.” The he adds, “Go on L’s, I am interested in what you have to say.”

          L’s – “John, wouldn’t it be better for you to have come up to them and tried to talk to them PERSONALLY, with respect for them?”

          John scratches a flea off of his camel hide shirt and says, “I was talking personally to them and why do you think I do not respect them? After all, they are created in the image of God and if they do not repent, they will burn in hell. That, in my opinion is showing the greatest respect for them. Why do you not understand that?”

          L’s – “John, if you came on to a Catholic University campus, and started ‘projecting’, I think the students would have come up to you and befriended you and invited you to sit with them and maybe have a meal and talk for a while”

          John looks puzzled and says, “L’s, what is a Catholic University” Would a guy like me really be welcomed there?”

          L’s – “John, you assumed the ‘worst’ about your ‘audience’ . . . and they rejected you.
          Is there a lesson in there somewhere ?”

          John- “Yes L’s, I think there is a lesson in there somewhere. The lesson is that lost people love darkness rather than light and therefore will generally reject the truth of God’s Word. I knew that when I began to tell them the truth without compromise.”

          L’s – “I just think that you need to find a way to communicate that radiates and reflects the holy peace of Christ in your life in a way that draws an audience to you.”

          John – “L’s, There is something you do not understand here. My mission is not to necessarily draw an audience to myself. My mission is to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word to all who will listen. It is the business of God to draw the audience as He sees fit. My job is to be faithful to God’s call and , by faith, believe He will determine the consequences of my being faithful. Whether people like me or the message is not a luxury I can afford at the expense of compromising the message.”

          L’s – John, I realize you need to talk, yes, but you also need to listen with respect to responses, and your ‘projecting’ needs to be done by reflecting the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the gathering . . . patience, kindness, etc.”

          John pops down the last of his chocolate covered locusts a takes a big hit from his Starbucks. Then he looks with great compassion at L’s and says, “L’s, my friend, I am going back to the banks of the Jordan now and project loudly, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Would you like to come with me and listen some more? I really wish you would.”

          • cb scott says


            I watched the YouTube piece about Hitler you made mention of in a comment on one of these comment threads.

            Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I ordered the book also. I was amazed that some many people did not know who Hitler was.

          • says


            Without question L’s needs to repent and believe the gospel. The sad fact is, however, that she has hardened her heart toward it and is filled with such venom and hate toward it and those who preach it that I doubt she’ll ever turn. However, I would love to be wrong.

      • John Fariss says


        Do you mean big words like “controversy,” or “motivation” or “religious”? Or do you mean “King James-ese” or “Christianese”? Please! (Like you, just kidding, LOL)

        And BTW, I never said he preached “hate.” I said he used a vocabulary which almost insures misunderstanding in a secular environment, and invites what I perceive as needless controversy. Why needless? The same reason that I wonder why he finds it necessary in a Gospel presentation to introduce things like evolution and complimentarinism: because while those may be part of Christian doctrine (at least to some), they are no more part and parcel of the Gospel than are eschatology or the doctrines of peace and just war, or applications such as capital punishment. If you are going to disagree with me, disagree with things I actually said, OK?


        And in an aside: why not use your real name here? Most of us do, and the others who don’t (such as volfan007) are well known to the rest of us.

  8. volfan007 says

    I believe that the Prophets of the OT preached to crowds, who not only booed and jeered at them, but also did bodily harm. The Apostles preached to the crowds, who were on the street at those times. You know, the whole Day of Pentecost thing for example. Jesus preached to whoever was around at the time.

    It looks like street preaching is a Biblically backed thing to me… whether people like it, or appreciate it, or not….whether people get saved from it, or not…..

    BTW, John, I dont like controversy. I really dont like fighting. But, I just do it when I feel I have to….when I see the need to do it.


    • John Fariss says

      David, I have no problem with street preaching, and if I sounded otherwise, blame it on imprecision on my part. My issue is not with the venue, but with the approach taken by Brother Holes. He did not seem to seek a common ground and vocabulary that these students could relate to, but instead seems to be proclaiming a message guaranteed to promote controversy given the setting. Isn’t common ground where Paul began in Athens? Of course, the folks in Jerusalem–whether listening to Peter or an Old Testament prophet hundreds of years earlier–shared a common vocabulary and mindset that allowed the speaker to more-or-less instantly launch into what God required. But my whole point is that had Paul done that in Athens, he might as well have been speaking Hebrew there, as the Greeks would have regarded what he said as the foreign babel. Well, it seems to me that the average student at Boise State is more akin to a Greek politican or philosopher than a wandering Hebrew, hence the need to approach the situation more like Paul in Athens than Peter in Jerusalem.

      And if I mischaracterized you are one attracted to controversy or reveling in it, please accept my apologies. But the fact remains that some people are attracted to controversy regardless of the content, and they will ignore the content altogether. Even Christian people do this–at one church I served, we had twice as many who attended the one Wednesday night a month when we had Business Meeting (and it was usually tumultous) than attended the other three or four when we “just” had Prayer Meeting.


        • John Fariss says

          Disagree with what? Of course, all sinners–including you and I–love their sin. If not, there would be few sins of commission, though it might have little influence on those of omission. That being said–these students knew “exactly” what was being said? Or was it possible they knew only what they thought was being said, they knew only a caricature of the gospel, which the style of the presentation lend itself towards. I speak here of where I was at when I was 18.


  9. Tim Snider says

    Long time reader, first time commenter…

    The subtext – critique of Shawn’s evangelical methods – of this story is more interesting than the story itself.

    D.L. Moody’s quote on evangelism just has to be (hopefully appropriately) trotted out here. He said: “I like my way of doing evangelism better than your way of not doing evangelism.”

    I obviously claim no knowledge of the evangelical methods or zeal of Shawn’s detractors (both here and in the Arbiter piece), but those detractors should be cautious in their critique, lest they fall into serious hypocrisy. Having seen MANY college street preachers, I can say without reservation that his presentation (judged from 1 YouTube view) is not overly or intentionally provocative. (Please bear/keep in mind that the Gospel IS offensive, so I can only stretch that defense of Shawn so far.)

    To those (both here and in the Arbiter piece) who claim his presentation is abrasive or too much “Christianese”, I am somewhat perplexed because, of the 7 minutes plus I watched via YouTube, the great majority of the time Shawn is: a) reading Scripture, b) quoting Scripture, c) talking about being saved, d) talking about love. God’s Word will not return void. If speaking Scripture, talking about love, and talking about salvation is now ‘Christianese’, then we’ve got a problem and the seeker-sensitive pendulum has swung way too far. I’m not surprised about the critique of ‘abrasive’ or similar critiques – again, the Gospel message is offensive.

    Finally, about CCC/Power to Change/Cru/whatever and their name change, the unfortunate quotes of the BSU ‘Cru’ director regarding Shawn does very little to reassure my otherwise measured and circumspect opinion of CCC/Cru’s reasons for a name change.

    Full/fair disclosure: SB layman; Big CCC/Jesus Film supporter; have never heard of Shawn; generally skeptical about NAMB methods and expenditures, but hope they’ll hire about 20 more Shawns.

  10. Christiane says

    “Does this look like a man preaching “hateful rhetoric”?”

    That appears to be the perception of the reporter.
    Unless he lied.

    I think it was his honest perception. And therein lies the disconnect between Christians who practice fundamentalism and Christians who abhor it.

  11. Lydia says

    Here is another example, which I think is a better example, of what is happening with those who are out witnessing today:

    It is about what happened at the “Arab Fesitival” in Dearborn over the past few years, this past year being the one the Christians were put in jail:

    It is a long read leading up to what happened in 2010 but important to know about on many levels.

  12. says

    I’ve struggled with weighing in on this one because I don’t want to sound opposed to open air preaching. I believe it can be a powerful medium for presenting the gospel. However, I also believe it can be a powerful medium for maligning the gospel.

    I can understand the anger and frustration of the students opposing Shawn. I used to be one of those people. I was a young atheist and the editor of a college campus newspaper. Shawn fits the stereotype of Christians that I held – shouting Bible verses and condemning everyone for their sins. Standing in a crowd and listening to his sort of presentation did nothing to move me towards Christ but only reinforced my preconceptions of Christianity. Words like “world” and “sin” and “repent” had little meaning for me, and I believe have little meaning for Shawn’s audience as well. When talking to those with a secular, humanistic and post-modern worldview this is a poor approach to presenting the gospel.

    Let me stress, God can use this method to reach people. And, if Shawn does this for 25 years and only one soul is saved through his ministry, then it has been well worth it. I just believe there are better starting points and better approaches. Somebody said it previously – he is preaching like Peter on Pentecost to the Jews and he needs to be preaching like Paul on Mars Hill to the Greeks. Just check out “Why They Won’t Listen” a DVD from Answers in Genesis where Ken Ham really explains this. I wish Shawn would take a few minutes and view it too.

    I can also understand the frustration of a campus ministry leader (whether CRU or whoever) when you have invested a large amount of effort and time in reaching out with the gospel and then somebody comes in and stirs up controversy and opposition. You see, Shawn moves on down the road to the next campus, but whatever ministry is on a particular campus has to deal with the questions and the fallout from his visit. Does he coordinate and work with various campus ministries? Does he ask their permission as well?

    I have a deep desire for us all to be more evangelistic. God has given me a door of opportunity through a ministry in the county jail and juvenile detention center. I do not believe in watering down or compromising the gospel message, but I do believe in a dialogue that will be meaningful to the group. Just look at the parables of Jesus, or the illustrations that Paul used – they were things that had meaning to the people they spoke with.

    Finally, a couple of pieces of wisdom I have come to learn: (1) If you go looking for a fight you will find one and (2) if you stick your hand in a hornets nest don’t be surprised when you get stung.

    I am not sure why folks like Shawn or his supporters are shocked and surprised when they are portrayed as hateful, intolerant and ignorant by the lost world. I’d be more surprised if the campus paper lauded him and the students were begging him to stay.

    Ultimately, as said elsewhere, the gospel is offensive. However, we do not have to present the gospel in an offensive manner. I hope that makes sense. May God richly bless those that boldly proclaim the gospel on campuses and street corners.


    • says

      Brother, the problem here is that CRU (which removed Christ long before it became official this year) and other campus ministries are not preaching or teaching the Biblical gospel which demands a continued life of repentance from dead works and sin. I have been on many campuses with Shawn where the most vocal, and wicked, detractors were self named christians who were still living in sin and had the approval of or were members of ‘cru’. Others object because of their question of effectiveness. No, it is not effective. It is foolishness- indeed the best preachers of the Bible were ineffective when it came to large followings, including our Lord Jesus Himself. How many converts did Noah have? Jeremiah? Ezekiel? Isaiah? Paul? (BTW the reason Paul preached at Mars hill was that he was provoked at the idolatry- not because he was invited Acts 17:16) How can you tell CRU is effective in the worlds eyes? Because of the long term ministry on campuses that are against the Gospel by their nature. They are obviously not preaching the whole Gospel because if they were they would be offending those in the administration and would not have as many Catholics and other mainline denominations feeling comfortable in their meetings.

      Yes, the delivery is offensive to those who are in the clutches of the evil one. But God will save whom He will save, regardless of the perceived effectiveness or offense of the preacher. Shawns offense comes from telling the whole truth, not tickling ears. It does not come from name calling (like Fred Phelps and others) it comes from preaching the whole counsel of God.

      • says

        I appreciate what you guys are doing, and I have no idea what it must be like to stand against the sort of opposition you do. I understand that sometimes our greatest enemies come from within. That’s unfortunate. It seems many have embraced an idea of making the gospel “less offensive” to appeal to the masses. Of course, that just does not work.

        I know from my personal experience as an atheist that I paid little attention to your type of preaching. Having said that, I cannot help but wonder what IF I had not heard some of this? What unkown effect did it have on my eventual conversion? Therefore I cannot totally discount it. Like I said before, if you speak to thousands for decades and only one soul is saved, then the effort has been a success.

        On the issue of Paul at Mars Hill, I think we can agree that he was grieved by the idolatry he saw, and he was preaching on the streets and then because of that was invited to speak at Mar’s Hill. So because of his faithfulness to preach the word an even greater opportunity was opened for him.

        Thanks for your civility and I’m praying for you.


  13. Christiane says

    Here is an example of a ‘sermon’ for a street preacher that would really draw people to Christ:

    “He who hung the earth is hanging.
    He who fixed the heavens in place has been fixed in place.
    He who laid the foundations of the universe has been laid on a tree.
    The master has been profaned.
    God has been murdered.

    But He rose up from the dead
    and mounted up to the heights of heaven.

    When the Lord hath clothed Himself with humanity,
    and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer,
    and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned,
    and had been judged for the sake of the condemned,
    and had been buried for the sake of the one who had been buried,

    He rose up from the dead,
    and cried with a loud voice,
    “Who is it that contends with Me?
    Let him stand in opposition to Me.
    I set the condemned man free;
    I gave the dead man life;
    I raised up one who had been entombed.
    Who is My opponent?

    I am the Christ
    I am the one who destroyed death,
    and triumphed over the enemy,
    and trampled Hades underfoot,
    and bound the strong one,
    and carried off humanity
    to the heights of heaven.”

    “It is I,” says the Christ.

    –Melito of Sardis (ca. A.D. 195), Easter sermon”

    • Christiane says

      (I borrowed this Melito of Sardis Easter sermon from Trevin Wax’s blog, I hope he doesn’t mind.)

    • cb scott says

      So L’s,

      Do you think that one “really” drew more people than this one?

      “And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,




      –John The Baptist, from the Gospel of Luke—

  14. Lydia says

    “I watched the YouTube piece about Hitler you made mention of in a comment on one of these comment threads”

    I watched 180 a few weeks ago and had the same impression about how many random people had no idea who Hitler was or what he did. Scary. The result of our schools?

    But I also like the way Ray Comfort approaches it in making people think about why they think the way they do. He does this with witnessing, too. I think it is more effective in the long run.

  15. cb scott says


    We have not “talked” in a long time. May I assume you are in well health and continuing to prosper in our Lord Jesus?

    • volfan007 says


      I also wanted to ask you if you saw the Cardinals game last night? Woooo hoooo….the new war cry is “Rally Squirrel!” It sounds a little like the Auburn fans shouting, “War Eagle!” lol


    • Lydia says

      Hey buddy, I must have missed this earlier. Good to see you around. As to your question, how often do your friends quote Lamentations to you? :o)

      “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

      • cb scott says

        I dropped in for a short visit and a few laughs. It is great to hear that it is “God who is your refuge and fortress, your God in whom you trust for it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper.” :-)

  16. cb scott says


    I did not get to see the game last night. I was out “doin’ preacher stuff” pretty late.

    It appears that it may be a St. Louis vs. Texas World Series. If so, I will have to pull for the Redbirds because I believe you should always dance with the girl you brought to the Prom. I am a National League fan to the end and forever.

    Therefore, I must cheer for the NL team in the WS. But, be assured, my beloved brother, every time I cheer for the Redbirds with my right hand, I will slap myself in the face with my left hand.

    St. Louis beat both my darling Braves and my friends from the City of Brotherly Love and I am heartbroken over that.

    It would be kinda like if the LSU NATION does get to the National Championship over the SABANATION. I will cheer them on because they are from the SEC.

    But, I don’t have to worry about that. Because I can hear it. Can you hear it Brother Vol? It is ROLL TIDE ROLL all the way the way to the National Championship for the 14th time!!!