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 Copyright by Jed Smock 1985

Used by Permission

Confrontational Evangelism on Campus

Chapter 1


Thousands of youth are gathering along the Wabash River for a rock'n roll concert. Sunday morning church services are dismissing all over Terre Haute, Indiana. Even "Christian" youth are hurrying home to change into their cut-offs and T-shirts to rush to the annual festival in Fairbanks Park. Parents are blindly dropping off their children for an afternoon of "fun." Several streets over, Indiana State University students awake after a night of partying and are preparing eagerly for the day of revelry. Preachers and parishioners are going home to dinner and rest.

The stage is set for an all-day and into-the-night concert. Five thousand youth will soon congregate to worship at Satan's altar of sound and fleshly pleasures. Their rock priests are setting their instruments in place to lead the afternoon worship. The sacraments of marijuana, wine, LSD and cocaine are already being served.

A generation of youth is falling into the grip of Satan's fiends. A generation is being lost to drugs, drunkenness and debauchery. Although the police station is just two blocks away, the lawless have nothing to fear. The Christian community seems oblivious to the blasphemous scene.

However, the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro over the Wabash Valley looking for a man to stand in the gap. The Spirit of God is asking, "WHO WILL RISE UP FOR ME AGAINST THE EVILDOERS? OR WHO WILL STAND UP FOR ME AGAINST THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY?" (Psalm 94:16).

Will anyone answer or even hear?

Church was running late that morning at Rosedale Assembly of God. I was kneeling at the altar seeking the will of the Lord. My soul was burdened for the thousands who were gathering for this diabolical event.

The Spirit of God spoke to me, "I will make a way for you to preach to 5,000 people today at that concert."

"But Lord," I replied, "I have never preached before." I had witnessed one-on-one and spoken to small groups, but I had not preached.

God answered, "If you can tell one person about me you can preach. Just say the same thing, but say it louder so everyone can hear."

I had attended the concert the year before with a wine bottle in one hand, a joint of marijuana in the other and my head filled with LSD--my hair flowing over my shoulders blending with a big, bushy beard. Half-naked, I danced myself into a frenzy. But a year had passed and I returned, saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, clean shaven, hair cut, wearing a coat and tie--fully clothed and in my right mind.

The concert's chief attraction was the Doobie Brothers. (They are not brothers, and their last name is not Doobie.) A doobie is a joint of marijuana.

The Doobies finished their set with a song that was popular in the early 70's, "Jesus Is Just All Right With Me." The crowd danced wildly and sang along. There was an intermission when the group left the platform. This was my cue.

I jumped on to the stage, grabbed the microphone and proclaimed, "Jesus is just all right." Pointing toward heaven, I declared, "That means He is all righteousness," and whirling my finger over the crowd, "but ye are all unrighteous," I accused.

The crowd objected, "What do you mean, man, we are the beautiful people?"

I preached my first salvation message to the stunned crowd for 10 minutes. God prevented security from interfering. When I leaped from the platform, a young man shook my hand and said, "While you were preaching, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ."

At church that night I told the exciting story.

Prior to my conversion, most students would not have listened to me five minutes if they had not been required to attend class. Now I was a man with a message--a message of life and death. God had filled me with the Holy Spirit and empowered me to capture an audience and deliver a message that held the people's attention.

This was the beginning of an open-air ministry that over the next two decades would take me to 600 university campuses in every state except Alaska.

By my 16th birthday I had settled into a lifestyle of drunkenness and dissipation.


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