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 Copyright by Jed Smock 1985

Used by Permission

Confrontational Evangelism on Campus


Chapter 19



As I preach to the students throughout the afternoon I often pause for questions or comments. Occasionally a serious seeker will have a sincere question. However, most of the inquirers are simply trying to trap me in my speech. Even worse, the majority of the questions asked reflect the typical sinner's attempt to justify his rebellion and condemn God.

How Do We Know the Bible Is the Word of God?

I have done many surveys on university campuses and found that less then 10 percent of the college students have ever read through one of the four Gospels. Despite their ignorance of the Bible, they are contantly trying to discredit it. If they read the whole Bible, they would be amazed at its unity of themes and lack of contradictions. They would find that contrary to what their professors have taught them the Bible is the most logical, reasonable and practical book that has ever been written. But they are living too selfishly to take time for the Book by which they will one day be judged. They will not research the scriptures. They are willingly ignorant of the hundreds of biblical prophecies that have been and are continuing to be fulfilled.

Most college students are so woefully ignorant of the scriptures that they cannot even ask an intelligent question. One student informed me he was sure the Bible was not the Word of God because "King Charles was a sinner." (I assumed he meant King James).

They claim the Bible has been rewritten or translated so many times that it could not possibly be credible. They ignore the way the Hebrews meticulously copied the sacred writings. They never complain about the translations of Plato, Aristotle, Freud or Marx. If the Bible translations are so inaccurate, why do people of all languages share the common faith? The critics strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

A serious truth-seeker can find overwhelming evidence for the Bible in Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict or even better, Charles G. Finney's The Heart of Truth.

Why then do most reject the Bible? Because it is antagonistic to their sinful nature. Every page commands holiness. Madly searching for an excuse to live selfishly, the students ignore the evidence and fall for any line an anti-God professor will give them.

The Bible answers any legitimate question a person could ask about the issues of life. The problem is that most do not like the answer.

Did God Create Evil?

The question that has confounded philosophers throughout the ages is how do you reconcile a benevolent God to the existence of evil in the universe? Did God create evil? If God created evil, how can he be benevolent?

It is important in answering this question that we define our terms.

Benevolence is a disposition to do good from a pure motive. God wills to promote the highest well-being of all and to prevent the highest misery of all. All evil is a result of violation of God's law. "Sin (Evil) is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4).

God created a heavenly being by the name of Lucifer who was perfect in all of his ways until the day evil was found in him. When Lucifer exalted his will over God's will, evil entered the picture. Evil originated not with God but by Lucifer. God does not act against his own will or law.

Why then did God create Lucifer with the ability to do evil? God created Lucifer as a moral being with the ability to choose. There is only virtue where there is freedom of choice.

Mother ties Johnny to the chair and tells him not to get into things and make a mess. Johnny does not make a mess but there is no virtue in his behavior because he had no choice in the matter.

Remember God did not create Satan. Satan means adversary. God created Lucifer which means "Son of Morning." Lucifer chose to become God's adversary and lead a third of the angels in rebellion against God. At this point he became known as Satan.

What about Isaiah 45:7? "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and I create evil." Evil here is used in the sense of calamity as other translations make clear. Calamity and disasters are usually the natural consequences of violating God's Moral Law.

Is God Limited?

A trick question I am invariably asked is, "Can God make a rock that he cannot lift?"

This question results from a false notion of God's omnipotence. God is by nature all-powerful. When God created man he chose to limit his power in that he would not usurp man's free will except according to exceptional exercises of his providence. Man is the rock that God has created that he cannot lift, unless man is willing to be lifted out of the pit of sin.

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" (Psalms 78:41).

Actually, there are many things God cannot do and be true to his HOLY character. God cannot lie and be the TRUTH. God cannot be JUST and be unjust. God cannot provide another way to him, and Jesus Christ be the WAY.

Who Created God?

Often students ask absurd and ridiculous questions with an air of intelligence. The most absurd question is "Who created God?"

God by definition is the Creator or the First Cause. It is stupid to ask who created the Creator or what caused the First Cause. If something or someone created God, then that someone or something would be God. God had no beginning or end. He always has been and always will be. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the Beginning and End.

What About the Heathen?

Every day someone asks, "What about those that have never heard of Jesus Christ are they damned?"

Indeed, they are damned but it is not because they have not heard the Gospel. They are damned because they have rejected the light they have through nature and through their consciences. Paul declares that all men will be without excuse on Judgment Day because God has made the truth clear and plain to them through his planned and orderly creation (Romans 1:18-20). Furthermore, Paul states that God has written his law on every man's heart or conscience. Each man knows right from wrong within himself (Romans 2:11-16).

Therefore, since all have sinned, all are guilty before God and condemned. The heathen is not lost because he has rejected Jesus Christ. How can he believe if he has not heard? The heathen is condemned because he has sinned against the light of nature and his conscience.

The cancer patient is not dying because there is no cure for cancer. He is dying because he has the deadly disease. So it is with the heathen. He is dead in his sins because he has intentionally exposed himself to the deadly disease of sin.

A man's guilt is measured according to his knowledge. Since western man has greater knowledge of God through Biblical revelation and living Christian examples, his condemnation will be greater than the heathen's. The heathen will rise up on the day of judgment and condemn civilized man who, by wickedness, suppressed the truth.

Should the heathen, as a result of the witness of nature and his conscience, seek for God, he will move heaven and earth to reveal Himself. Commonly, God works through missionaries but He is not limited to that means. He has appeared to the heathen in visions and dreams and He can still do it.

Of course, the real reason this question is asked is not because unbelievers care about the heathen; but they want to accuse God of injustice! They want an excuse to continue their sin.

What's Wrong With Mohammedism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Other Religions?

Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."

He did not say go to Japan and teach and baptize in the name of Buddha, or to China in the name of Confucius, or to India in the name of Krishna and later to the Arab nations in the name of Mohammed. He said teach them (all nations) "whatsoever I have commanded you."

Jesus made it clear that he was the only way to salvation: "I am the door of the sheep." He added: "all that came before me are thieves and robbers" and "I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by me."

"I am the true Vine," he said.

"I am the bread of life. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood ye have no life in you," he added.

"For if you believe not I am He, ye shall die in your sins," he said.

There are an estimated 900 million Moslems in the world. Millions more are Buddhists and Hindus. Students constantly ask "Are all these people wrong?"

Liberal professors and ministers have said the religions of the world are like many rivers flowing into the same ocean or many paths up the same mountain.

The famed Ghandi was quoted as saying, "I'm Hindu, a Buddhist, a Moslem, a Jew and a Christian."

Many consider this is a profound statement. but once the facts are examined it becomes an obviously stupid remark. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way to God and all other religions are false. Note these words: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

If any other religion is true, Jesus was a liar and all Christians are deceived. On the other hand if Christianity is true, no other religion can be correct. It is amazing that students respect someone as irrational as Ghandi and the liberal theologians.

"What makes Christianity so special?"

One word: Atonement.

Atonement refers to the governmental substitution of the suffering of Christ for the punishment of sinners. It is a covering of their sins by his suffering.


Nature and conscience have revealed three things to men everywhere:

1. There is one good God (Benevolent Governor of the universe).

2. All have broken God's moral law.

3. God will judge all in the last day.

Men worldwide ask:

1. How do I get rid of my sins?

2. How can I receive forgiveness?

3. How can I escape judgment?

Some try to merit salvation by good works or by terrible sufferings. Throughout history men have sought ways to appease pagan gods and to rid themselves of the guilt of sin. But their consequences bare witness that they are not forgiven or cleansed from sin so they repeat these practices over and over.

Some teach that mere repentance will bring God's forgiveness. Although God desires to show mercy on the repentant sinner, a blanket pardon would not be just because God's law says, "The soul that sinneth shall surely die." Justice must be executed if men are to respect God and His government. If God were to grant a pardon to men on the grounds of repentance alone, He would be virtually repealing his law. Men would not need to fear punishment because they could repent anytime they please and be forgiven.

Justice must be executed if men are to respect God and his government. A distinction needs to be made between retributive and public justice.

Retributive justice is concerned only with the letter of the law by punishing evildoers according to the exact precepts and sanctions of the law.

Public justice considers the spirit of the law and is primarily concerned with promoting and securing the public interests. If God's justice were strictly retributive, then every soul would be damned to hell for eternity since all have sinned. Although an exception can be made if something else can be done that will effectively secure the public interests; then, upon the condition of repentance, God can uphold his law, protect the public interest and pardon the lawbreaker.

Jesus Christ, God's Son, suffered and died on Calvary's Cross as a substitute (the atonement) for the penalty of eternal damnation of sinners, thereby making satisfaction to public justice by demonstration to the world that sin will not go unpunished. Jesus is the only way that men can get rid of their sins, receive forgiveness and escape judgment.

Simply quoting the Bible can sometimes be futile when witnessing to someone of another religious background. Instead, a witness can bring forth scriptural principles by appealing to the evidence of nature and conscience to show the serious seeker that his religion is false.

For example, the Moslems believe one of the seven principle attributes of God is "will." They say everything that exists and happens is according to God's perfect will. That would mean if a man is a murderer or rapist it is because God wills it. The Moslem god condemns man for what he cannot help. The conscience of every Moslem tells him this is absurd. Would a Moslem parent punish a child for disobeying a command he could not keep? Of course not. With a little forethought it is easy to show the Moslem that his god is an unreasonable tyrant and not the Benevolent Moral Governor of the universe revealed everywhere in nature.

Are All Jews Going to Hell?

One day on campus I asked a girl, "Are you a Christian?"

She replied, "No, I am a Jew."

"Jesus was born a Jew, he came to the Jews first, and all his initial disciples were Jews. one of the greatest Jews who ever lived was the Apostle Paul of the tribe of Benjamin," I said.

Paul wrote, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone--who believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

I added, "If you're a Jew that is all the more reason to be a Christian."

Angrily, she replied, "If I were a Christian, I wouldn't be a Jew anymore."

"What is a Jew?" I asked.

She gave the answer I have heard many times from Jewish students, "A Jew is one who doesn't believe in Jesus."

This statement tells me two things. One, most Jews on campus are shamefully ignorant of the history of their fathers, the faith of Abraham and Moses, and their own Holy Scriptures. Two, for most of these descendants of Abraham, being Jewish is just another excuse to reject the truth of God, remain stiff-necked, uncircumcised at heart and continue in their sins. There are multitudes of people who do not believe in Jesus: Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems and most college students. Certainly this does not make them Jews.

Some students will add, "The Jews are God's chosen people. we don't need Jesus."

They have never heard the conditions that God told the Hebrews they must meet to be his people: "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine' and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shall speak unto the children of Israel" (Exodus 19:5,6).

Most Jews on campus have never read the 613 laws of Moses, much less kept them. Neither have they read that there are great curses placed by God on any Jew that does not keep all his commands, "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen" (Deuteronomy 27:26).

There is only one Jew throughout history who has never broken God's law. He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

What about all the rest of the Jews? Is there not hope for them? God forbid! Their own scriptures give them their only hope. ". . . for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11). Only a blood sacrifice can provide forgiveness of sins. The Hebrew scriptures prove that Jesus of Nazareth became that sacrifice for every Jew who has ever lived (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22).

John the Baptist, a Jew of the tribe of Levi, knew this. That is why the moment he saw Jesus, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world." John was speaking to a crowd of Jews who, being familiar with the passover, understood Levi's statement. As a result of John's witness, a number of Jews believed in Jesus as the Messiah and began to follow him (Matthew 1:35-49).

I have said on campus that any Jew who will seriously study the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures) prophecies of the Messiah must conclude that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled them. He is indeed the Savior of Israel and the world.

As a result of my preaching some Jews have recognized their failure to keep the law of Moses and their great need for Jesus the Messiah. One was Phil S. at the University of Illinois. Here is the powerful testimony he wrote after his conversion:


"The Lord said to me recently, 'Publicize yourself, and let people know that you are a Christian.' So I am writing this paper to let people know who the Lord Jesus Christ used to convert me from the road of sin that is headed toward hell and certain damnation, to the narrow path of deliverance in belief in Christ.

As a child, years ago, I was taught in the beliefs of Judaism. I was told that the Jews don't believe in Jesus being the Messiah, but never told why. I developed a curiosity about Christianity. I felt that since more than one-half of the country's population were what I considered Christian, I should find out what it was that turned them to Jesus in the first place.

Being from a Jewish home, I didn't have access to a New Testament, so my curiosity about Christianity diminished, and I forgot about it until the Fall of 1978, when I came down to this campus from Chicago as a freshman. By chance I happened to hear brothers Max Lynch and Jed Smock preaching in the Quad.

I listened to them preaching, and to the crowd that was constantly heckling them, and found much amusement in the remarks that the crowd shouted at them. Although I didn't believe in what they were saying, I stayed out there listening because it kept me from spending the time playing pinball in the Illini Union.

On Ash Wednesday, 1979, I received a Bible from the Gideon people, who were passing them out on every street corner. After a while I started believing in some of the things that Brother Max and Jed were saying out on the Quad; and if I had a question I could ask them for an answer, or I would look for an answer in the Bible. If

I couldn't find the answer that I wanted, I would ask one of my friends, Bob. I discovered that Bob was a Christian last semester, when I walked into his room while he was in the middle of a Bible study with some other believers. After that day, he was willing to help me in my struggle for the truth. He suggested that I read the book of John, and I did getting some powerful meanings out of it.

Summer came, however, and I succumbed to more sin, drunkenness, lust and drugs. Coming down to school again in August, I discovered that my new roommate Jeff was a "born again" person. The presence of the Holy Ghost on his side of the room seemed to rub off on me, s I decided to give up drinking and drugs. My trips through the Quad started again, and I became acquainted with Sister Cindy Lasseter. I started becoming more receptive to the Word of God, and began to ask questions of her. She began to connect the two testaments of the Bible together, by showing me where everything about Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament. I was still unsure about the validity of Christianity, so I began to pray to God to tell me what was the true path. I reached the point where I thought that I believed, but wasn't ready to make a commitment to Christ. In a further attempt to find the truth, I went to a Bible study Jed started to pray for our souls, and when we joined him in prayer I had a weird experience. I became tense, and felt as though electricity was flowing through my body, not letting me move my joints. I knew that something was going on in my body, but I wasn't sure what it was.

Later that night I decided that I should be born again. I was unsure about how to go about it, so the next day I talked to Cindy on the Quad, and decided to go through with it. So at 8:20 p.m. that night I Jesus to come inside me, to guide my ways, and to keep me from straying. Immediately after I got up, a feeling of complete contentment and peace came over me. later that night I was going to smoke a cigarette, because I knew of nothing in the Bible against smoking. But, I heard a voice in my head that said, "Would rather save some money, than keep the body that I have given you from being destroyed?" This was connected to the fact that I had not wanted to throw away the cigarettes because I thought that that would be a waste of money since I paid for them. I found out that if I wanted Jesus to come inside me, that he didn't want to live in a smoke filled room. Needless to say, I threw away my cigarettes that night, and haven't had one since.

The next night, I was baptized with water in a swimming pool, and today as I write this, I am a new Man."--Phil S.


Phil is just one of the many Jews our preaching has influenced. A Jewish girl at Louisiana State University confessed that she hated Christians but she did respect Sister Cindy. Returning to campus a year later we found the girl was converted, had led two Moslems to the Lord Jesus and was involved with a strong Christian group.

Sister Cindy has commented how she will never forget her Friday night visit to the Hillel Center at the University of Wisconsin. To her amazement she discovered that the young rabbi (a guest speaker) did not believe there is a God. He told her this privately, quickly adding that he would pray to God for Jewish people who asked him to. This confused youth said he considered himself a leader of Israel.

The resident Rabbi was older and more conservative. He told Sister Cindy that it was pagan to believe God has a son. Had not he read his own scriptures? "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fist? Who hath bound waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name? What is His Son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Proverbs 30:4).

At the University of Arizona, Rabbi Morton Levine of the Hillel Foundation was quoted in the newspaper as saying, "We're expecting an upsurge (in Jewish students at Hillel) now that Jed Smock is back. A lot of Jews come here because they don't know how to react."

I have found that many Jews who come to Christ often start by going back to synagogue; when they see the emptiness of modern-day Judaism they usually begin examining the faith of Abraham and Moses as revealed in the scriptures. This points them to the Messiah.

Where Do You Get Your Money?

When students find they cannot discredit my message, they attempt to find fault with me. They accuse me of being in the ministry for financial gain. The students refuse to admit that I am motivated by the love of God, so they frantically search for other motives.

They ask such questions as: "How much money do you make?" "How do you drive a new automobile?" "Where do you get those $500 suits?" "Do you pay taxes?" "Just how do you get your money, anyway?"

When God calls a man into a ministry, it is his responsibility to provide the means. The Word says: "God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). God sometimes has unusual ways of doing it.

One year when I was preaching at UCLA, a Jewish rabbi had been questioning me for several days. This man admitted to being a Pharisee. One day he asked me to read Luke 6:30.

I read, "Give to every man that asketh of thee: and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again."

The rabbi said, "Do you believe that?"

"Every word of God is true." I answered.

"Well, give me your watch then," he challenged.

I had a nice digital watch that a friend had recently given to me' but nevertheless, I took it off and gave it to the rabbi.

I said, "God is able to give me a better watch."

That evening I was speaking in a local church. Some of the members had been helping me on campus and they told the pastor how I had given away my watch. The pastor said to his congregation, "Let's pray that God gives Brother Smock a new watch and not a $49.95 Timex but a good watch."

Before the prayer a man who had never been in the church before or since raised his hand and said, "I have just the watch for Brother Smock."

The next day he presented me with an expensive Seiko quartz chronograph--the Cadillac of watches!

I went back out to campus and showed the crowd my new watch. The rabbi came on the scene again and said, "Give me that watch."

I answered, "Rabbi, I understand you believe the Old Testament."

"That's right," he replied.

"Do you believe the 10 commandments?" I asked.

He answered, "Of course, I am a Jew."

"Rabbi, the 10th commandment says thou shalt not covet. You are coveting my watch. God did not give it to you, but to me."

The laughing crowd sided with me and that silenced the rabbi.

I speak in churches and to Christian organizations which usually give me an offering or honorarium. In addition, there are individuals who have taken an interest in my ministry and make donations. I have never solicited any money on the campuses. Occasionally a student or professor does make a gift.

One Friday at Louisiana State University, late in the afternoon, a student said, "Brother Jed, I want to give you this $10 bill. I had been planning on going out and getting drunk this afternoon but instead I have stayed here listening to you; and I want you to have the money I saved."

That evening I was speaking to the Chi Alpha Christian organization. That student attended the meeting. After my message he came forward to confess Jesus as his Lord and Savior. That $10 was not the biggest offering I ever received on campus but considering the testimony that resulted it was one of the best.

When the students see that God has blessed me financially, they become envious. They attempt to hide their envy under the cloak of sympathy for the poor: "Why don't you sell your new automobile and give the money to the poor?" This is said, not that they care for the poor, but because they resent my prosperity. It is not so much that they want what I have but they want me to be deprived of it.

The same might be said of my spiritual prosperity. These guilt manipulators envy the purpose of life and peace of mind that the Christian possesses but they do not want to forsake their selfishness and take up their cross in order to experience it. They are not merely content to attempt to discredit me or Christianity. They want to rob every Christian of his purpose and peace by making him feel guilty for his prosperity, which is God's blessing.


"The power of Christianity is not in the big but the small. Jesus did not form a giant corporation but he released revival through a small group of twelve."--Ron Simpkins, Handbook for Small Churches



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