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 Copyright by Jed Smock 1985

Used by Permission

 Confrontational Evangelism on Campus


Chaper 3



During my hippie days in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and Mario Savio rallied with other radicals to conduct massive teach-ins a the University of California at Berkeley. Like cattle going to the slaughter, hundreds gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall and were brainwashed with doctrines of socialism and anti-Americanism. The students were incited to massive demonstrations and rioting. Extensive media coverage of these events had lured me to the scene.

In the midst of this turbulence God had sent one lone, fearless, fiery-tongued evangelist-- Hubert Lindsey-- who answered the call to rise up against the evildoers. This one-man army invaded the radical territory-- often crashing their demonstrations and drawing an even larger crowd to hear him preach. As a result, the lives of many police and students were spared. Governor Ronald Reagan said that Hubert Lindsey had saved the taxpayers of California 10 million dollars in riot control.

"Holy Hubert," as the students dubbed him was regularly kicked, mocked and spat upon as he warned them to turn from their wicked ways and live. When the revolutionaries realized he was a serious hinderance to their movement, they beat him to the point of death over a dozen times. But his love for the lost never failed. He continued this battle on the Berkeley campus for more than eight years. When times were roughest on campus, Governor Reagan would call his staff to prayer for "Holy Hubert" The supplications of Christians in the Bay Area helped him endure until he saw many souls saved. Today some call Holy Hubert the father of the Jesus Movement of that era.

As a hippie I often saw Holy Hubert surrounded by a group of hostile radicals who were making comments and shooting questions with the rapidity of a machine gun. He always had an answer.

One day a long-haired student pushed his way from the outer perimeter of a large crowd and screamed at Holy Hubert, "It takes an idiot to be a Christian. It takes an idiot to be a Christian!"

"You qualify! You qualify!" Holy Hubert responded.

Another student mocked, "Jesus saves! Jesus saves!"

"That's right, hippie, Jesus does save."

"He saves green stamps," shouted the student, and the crowd roared with laughter.

"Hold it little devil. You're right, Jesus does save green stamps and you're the greenest of them all. Bless your dirty heart."

A female Vietnam War protestor asked, "What about biological warfare, Hubert?"

"I want everyone on this campus to know I'm against biological warfare," he answered. "And as for you, young lady, you are an intellectual, spiritual and biological creature. I want you to stop your biological war against your Creator."

"Holy Hubert's" witty replies had the effect of silencing the hecklers and calming the crowd so God's message could go forth.

I stood on the outskirts listening attentively but did not mock or even ask any questions. The preacher's knowledge of the scriptures and his control of the belligerent crowd was impressive. I never imagined that, after my conversion, five years later I'd be doing the same thing.

"Holy Hubert" is now blind-- partly as a result of the beatings he received at Berkeley-- but he is still active in the ministry. Occasionally we preach together on the campuses.

Enemies Become Allies

Immediately after choosing to follow Jesus Christ, I began witnessing to students at Indiana State University. This was a shock to many because I had been one of the original Terre Haute hippies. I was known for wearing long hair, a beard and ragged Levis before it was popular in the Midwest. Word of my new life in Christ quickly spread around campus. It reached Max Lynch, a Christian mathematics professor, who taught at the I.S.U. laboratory school.

When I became a Christian my attitude toward Brother Max turned from that of ridicule and scorn to one of awe and respect. God ordained that our paths cross and two former enemies became friends and fellow warriors for the Kingdom. Frequently we visited and, sharing a common burden for the campus, we prayed for the lost souls.

Max Lynch had been a successful engineer for General Electric. In the spring of 1961 he suddenly realized that he had never sought the perfect will of God for his life. As a step of consecration Brother Max fell to his knees and asked, "God, what can I do for you?"

"Go to Farmersburg, Indiana and join the Friendship Baptist Church," God answered.

In obedience, Brother Max quit his job and went with his wife and five children to live in Farmersburg. He was hired by Indiana State University as a mathematics professor, taking a big cut in pay. Two years later he was called to preach and became pastor of a Baptist church and continued teaching.

From 1961 to 1968 Brother Max had the freedom to read the Bible, pass out tracts and even preach from time to time; but the radical elements began to grow in strength, and in 1968 the University president ordered him to stop these practices. This action provoked Brother Max to research exactly what his legal religious rights were inside the public classroom. He discovered that in 1963 the United States Supreme Court had outlawed prayer and virtually outlawed Bible reading in the public schools. Realizing the freedoms we had lost, Brother Max was shocked and enraged.

In defiance of the state, in the spring of 1970 he started opening his classes with a short Bible reading. The next fall the president gave Brother Max the choice of either discontinuing his Bible reading or taking an administrative position. Because he felt it important to keep some contact with the students in order to be a witness to them, he chose to stay in the classroom and to curtail the scripture reading.

Three years later God awakened Brother Max from a sound sleep and dictated a letter for the president that he must obey God rather than men and if God instructed him to read the Bible to his students he would. Shortly thereafter, upon God's orders, Brother Max resumed his two-minute Bible reading at the beginning of class. This action caused an immediate stir on campus. Considerable pressure was put on Brother Max to recant, but he stood firm. Eventually he was given an ultimatum: the Bible or your job.

One morning he called me, and said, "Brother Jed, a revival is about to break out in my 10 o'clock class. I want you to come in and preach to them." He indicated that he expected to be dismissed at any moment.

I rushed to the class, shared how Jesus had transformed my life and called the students to repentance. Brother Max gave the ones who did not want to hear the opportunity to go to the library. Instead, a few complained to the administration. The dean of education ordered Brother Max to ask me to leave the classroom. I quickly made a closing remark and left, but the class period was almost over so we had succeeded in getting the Word to the students. I had the distinction of becoming the first guest speaker forced to discontinue his message in the history of the university. Yet several radical communists had spoken without interruption.

Brother Max was suspended from the classroom the next day and a few months later he was fired. Actually, this was God's way of promoting him to a higher calling-- preaching at our nation's universities.

Ironically, the twin daughters of one of the humanistic professors who had complained to the administration later were converted. Brother Lynch's stand for truth had made quite an impression on them. Later, when they attended Indiana University, the girls regularly listened to Max preach.

For the first year after my conversion I had been ministering regularly in churches and to other Christian groups. I occasionally held outdoor meetings at Indiana University and Indiana State. I saw that I could reach more lost people in one day on campus than in weeks in the churches. God directed me to make the universities the main thrust of my ministry. Since Brother Max was now free, we joined forces and began touring campuses throughout the Midwest and Northeast.

The chief influence for my campus ministry was "Holy Hubert." Max Lynch was also a great encouragement. His maturity in the faith and knowledge of the Word helped me field the more difficult questions of the students. Paul's ministry at Athens was the primary Biblical example for the campus ministry.

Rev. Smock, we're here to guard you today as you preach.

-- Lt. Thomas Godbehere



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