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 Copyright by Jed Smock 1985

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Confrontational Evangelism on Campus




I was raised in the Methodist Church where the name of its founder John Wesley was revered, but his teaching and approach to the ministry had been forsaken generations before. Wesley traces the origin of Methodism to Oxford University in 1729, when he and his brother, Charles, "reading the Bible, saw they could not be saved without holiness, followed after it, and incited others so to do. In 1737 they saw holiness comes by faith. They saw likewise, that men are justified before they are sanctified; but still holiness was their point. God then thrust them out, utterly against their will, to raise a holy people."

Partly because of the vast unwieldy multitudes that wanted to listen to John Wesley's preaching and partly because of his "unfashionable doctrine," he was excluded from one Anglican church after another until at length he was shut out of all. Then Wesley went outside to preach. Years later on April 21, 1777, in a sermon preached when laying the foundation of a new chapel in London, he reminisced about his debut as an open-air preacher, "Not daring to be silent, after a short struggle between honor and conscience, I made a virtue of necessity, and preached in the middle of Moorfields. Here were thousands upon thousands, abundantly more than any church could contain; and numbers among them, who never went to any church or place of public worship at all. More and more of them were cut to the heart...inquiring what they must do to be saved. I said, 'If all of you will meet on Thursday evening, I will advise you as well as I can.' The first evening about twelve persons came; the next week, thirty or forty. When they were increased to about an hundred, I took down their names and places of call upon them at their own houses. Thus, without any previous plan or design, began the Methodist society in England,--a company of people associating together, to help each other to work out their own salvation."

The term Methodist originally was used to ridicule Wesley and his followers because of their methodical manner, strictness, and scrupulous exactness in their attendance on public worship.

The movement grew because of John Wesley going into the fields to "warn men to flee from the wrath to come, and be saved from sin." On Sunday, June 24, 1764, Wesley in his journal warned of the consequences of failing to preach in the open: "About seven I preached at the Gins, and the people flocked together from all quarters. The want of field-preaching has been one cause of deadness here. I do not find any great increase of the work of God without it. If ever this is laid aside, I expect the whole work will gradually die away." Indeed, Wesley was a prophet, for Methodism imperceptibly died as a vital force for evangelism as the church over the generations gradually gave up on open-air preaching.

Men like Thomas Coke who had been ousted from the Church of England for starting open-air revival meetings in 1776 soon joined Wesley. In the beginning Wesley did not consider constituting a church, but simply a group of societies. His preachers were not ordained and members of the societies still received Sacraments in the Church of England.

Wesley pleaded, "Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth."

The work spread abroad to America where Anglican clergymen were sparse. The Revolutionary War severed America from England so here Methodism developed independently of the Church of England. In 1784 Wesley, disregarding the authority of the established church, ordained Coke a bishop of the Methodist Church in America. Coke in turn ordained Francis Asbury who went on to earn the title of "Father of American Methodism."

Asbury was converted at sixteen under Wesley's preaching. Although he had little formal education, he was such a fluent and pungent speaker that he was appointed an itinerant preacher and missionary to the colonies in 1771. Out of concern that it might hinder his work he remained unmarried throughout his life. His travels averaged about 6000 miles annually through pathless forests and untravelled wildernesses, amid the heats of the Carolinas and the snows of New England.

Methodism was well adapted to frontier life. Asbury's preachers ministered to the people under conditions where a settled ministry was not practical. They sought out the scattered log cabins of the frontier, followed the tide of migration as it moved west, preached, organized societies, established "preaching places" and formed in circuits, and once a year they gathered together for conferences.

The Methodist Church grew under Asbury's supervision from 316 members and four preachers to about 700 fearless itinerants, 2000 local pastors and over 214,000 members at his death in 1816. Asbury's brave corps of preachers carried in their saddlebags the fundamentals of civilization--the Bible and a hymnbook. They fought intemperence and every form of evil; and they made godly, law-abiding citizens out of people who might otherwise have been ruffians. Although most of the preachers had little formal education, they dotted their wide circuits with schools.

Rough-hewn but articulate backwoods circuit rider, Peter Cartwright was an ill-educated, gambling 16 year old, when converted in l801. Within a year he made a name for himself as the "Kentucky boy" preacher and was ordained a deacon by Bishop Asbury after five years. Eventually preaching to frontier congregations in Illinois, he served in the state legislature and unsuccessfully ran against Abraham Lincoln for Congress in 1846.

The passing of Peter Cartwright in 1872, marked the end of an era for Methodism. The decline of the Church began at the time the emphasis was put on developing a formally trained and educated clergy. Yet among Methodist clergy today with their seminary training and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, it is doubtful if any could be found comparable to Asbury or Cartwright who had virtually no formal training for the ministry.

For years it had been on my heart to start a movement similar to Wesley's, based on training campus preachers and eventually establishing campus churches across the country. My vision was to reproduce myself in other men, not to make mere followers but to raise future leaders. Paul had discipled Timothy and urged him to pass on what he had learned unto another generation of faithful men, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).

After Cindy and I were married we moved into the Noordewier's home in Madison so we could start a student organization called Christians on Campus at the University of Wisconsin with the hope that it would develop into a church. We caused such a commotion that after several weeks Dean of Students, Paul Ginsberg, remarked to the professor sponsoring us, "Your student group has generated more controversy in this community than any organization on campus ever has!"

We always had huge crowds in our open air meetings and even had at least a dozen and often more showed up for our Bible studies and seminars. But by the end of October the weather was turning cold in Wisconsin and we did not have one individual committed to being discipled. So I made the decision to go back on the road and to be on the alert to find another location to pioneer a church.

In the first four years of our marriage Cindy accompanied me in my travels even after our daughter Evangeline was born. Our home became the next motel down the road. School breaks, we would spend with my mother in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In the years that followed we were becoming increasingly disillusioned with the lukewarmness of the church world and the lack of emphasis on the two subjects which most interested us: personal holiness and evangelism outside the church buildings. We found the churches were primarily interested in growth in membership, building programs, community prestige and sensationalism, instead of true spirituality rooted in service and loving obedience to God. Churches consumed with growth cannot risk upsetting the peace and prosperity of their members or prospective members. We were not bringing a message of peace and prosperity, but we were calling for public warfare against the wicked and sacrifice and suffering on the part of believers for Christ's sake.

The churches had plenty of spectators who loved to be entertained, but few servants.

Pioneering a Church

Evangelism ideally should be done in the context of the local church. We had been operating as a para-church organization which is to protestants what an order is to catholics. I had several churches that helped me financially, but primarily my monetary support came from individual laymen. My radical method and message had limited acceptance amongst the established churches. I concluded it was time to implement the vision that had been in my heart for years.

Early in l987 we began to earnestly pray about where God would have us start a church. I have never been very successful in getting specific direction from the Lord like many Christians, who testify to being absolutely certain God wanted them to be in a particular place at a certain time. I have been increasingly cautious over the years about using such language as "God told me," especially since this language is so blatantly abused. In making decisions in life I have sought to make wise choices in the context of what I knew to be the general will of God as expressed in the scriptures. The Bible is clear that we are to proclaim the truth in public places, make disciples and establish churches. In the light of this revelation, I consider with my capabilities and training how and where can I most effectively fulfill God's purpose?

We had had an outstanding week of evangelism at Ohio State University. At the conclusion of the Spring semester at OSU, several students indicated they would be interested in attending a Bible study on campus. So after months of praying, I decided to settle in Columbus, Ohio. Over the summer Cindy and I rented a townhouse just off campus, bought furniture and set up house-keeping for the first time in our four years of marriage.

When school started in September, l987 we preached daily on campus

and held evening Bible studies in our living room. On Thursday night we examined issues such as taxes, free enterprise, communism, abortion and capital punishment from a Christian perspective. Friday nights we addressed the greater issues such as redemption and the nature and character of God. Typically, we would have 10-12 people come to these classes. Regularly we invited students over for dinner and Cindy was able to develop her cooking skills. We spent hours interceding for the lost souls.

By the end of October three students claimed salvation and became officers in the organization we established on campus. The male and female students fell into fornication with one another and after Thanksgiving no longer attended our meetings. The other student also decided he did not want to be a part of our activities. Nevertheless, we did have our organization in place and were able to use campus facilities and sponsor formal debates with humanists, atheists, socialists, etc. We set up a table in the student union for counseling and distribution of literature.

Early in October we opened up our home for a Sunday morning church service. Our first non-student visitor to College Community Church was Mrs. Pauline Stamm whose son Paul, an OSU student, would come home and mimic our campus preaching to his parents. She explained to us that she had to come and check out these two who excited her son. She started attending faithfully and by the end of the year testified that "our ministry had changed her whole life." However, she was still struggling with a two pack a day secret addition. One service she came forward to ask me to pray for deliverance from this filthy habit. She never smoked again. Pauline became our Lydia encouraging us in times of trials and disappointments and generously giving financial support.


In Search of an Elisha or Timothy

Pauline's son Paul Stamm as a result of listening weekly to a certain television preacher and hearing Max Lynch and me preaching on campus had made a profession of faith in February of l987. Occasionally, Paul would attend our meetings, but he refused to come regularly telling his mother that Brother Jed wants to make preachers and Paul had no interest in preaching. One evening after Bible study I confronted Paul and explained he should not visit different churches indefinitely that if he were to mature in the faith, he should make a commitment to some church. Of course we celebrated when he did finally join College Community Church. I later appointed him a deacon.

Paul continued to assure us that he was not going to preach. But I had other ideas and Cindy and I prayed that the Lord would make a preacher out of Paul. It wasn't long before Paul went out on High Street with us on weekends as we preached to the students carousing between bars. One weekend he found his own corner and started lifting up his voice as the revelers walked down the street. We rejoiced to see God answering our prayers. Paul kept assuring me that he wasn't preaching, but testifying and witnessing. But even our then five year old daughter Evangeline who at the time thought she would marry Paul someday remarked, "It sure sounds like preaching to me." (She later lost interest in Paul as a possible husband when she found out he would not let his children have many toys).

August 28, l989 I invited Paul to accompany me to Bowling Green State University. Normally, I don't start preaching until the class break, so to give Paul some experience I encouraged him to start testifying and when the classes let out to turn the meeting over to me. But by the class break the spirit of the Lord came upon Paul and he started preaching with a boldness, power and authority that was amazing. For the first time in his witness he drew a big crowd and started fielding questions with a considerable expertise. After about 90 minutes he called on me to speak and we alternated preaching the rest of the day. I knew that the Lord had birthed another campus preacher that day. Even Paul had to admit that he was preaching. He continued preaching as he says, "now and then and here and there." He took a trip with me over spring break 1990 to Louisiana State University.

Paul graduated in l991. I was disappointed when he started looking for a job in his field of business aviation, but not finding anything, he continued looking for work in other areas. I knew Paul to be a serious and diligent young man who would be an asset to many employers. When he failed to gain employment I considered that God wanted Paul preaching full-time on campus. Between looking for jobs Paul took some preaching trips on his own and with Tom Carlisle, but continued to question his life calling. Finally, after much soul-searching in the Spring of l993 Paul entered the full-time campus ministry.

Shortly after Paul had made the decision to preach full-time on the college campuses, an experienced minister suggested to Paul that he might "be Jed-sent instead of God-called." It did not faze Paul, but I knew this was an old trick the devil used to discourage young ministers.

The calling of Wesley's preachers was often questioned. Mr. Wesley answered the critics of his lay open-air preachers by reminding his opponents of the inconveniences of the weather they often faced. Wesley explained, "And yet these are some of the smallest inconveniences which accompany field preaching. Far beyond all these, are the contradiction of sinners, the scoffs both of the great vulgar and the small; contempt and reproach of every kind; often more than verbal affronts, stupid, brutal violence, sometimes to the hazard of health, or limbs, or life. Brethren, do you envy us this honour? What, I pray, would buy you to be a field preacher? Or what, think you, could induce any man of common sense to continue therein one year, unless he had a full conviction in himself that it was the will of God concernng him?"

Elijah cast his mantle upon Elisha the son of Shaphat (I Kings 19:19) to be his successor. Because of my experience, calling and faithfulness to the campuses, like Elijah, I have the authority to call men to the ministry.

Elisha should be the prototype for young men entering into God's work. He was loyal and faithful to minister unto Elijah until the very day the Lord had determined to take Elijah to heaven. Even when Elijah in order to test his fidelity told him to follow no longer, Elisha repeatedly said, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." Because Elisha followed to the very end and saw Elijah taken into heaven by a whirlwind in a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire, Elijah left behind his mantle for Elisha who received a double portion of Elijah's spirit.

Possession of the mantle proved that Elisha was invested with the authority and influence of his master. The other young disciples in Elijah's school knew it and bowed themselves before Elisha and said, "The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha" (2 Kings 2).

The relationship of young Timothy to his teacher Paul is the New Testament model for our generation. Timothy was Paul's beloved son, fellow-labourer, companion, and helper. Paul had circumcised him, ordained him, and commissioned Timothy to preach the word.

But these old-fashioned virtues represented by Elisha and Timothy of loyalty and fidelity and willingness to bow to authority until one's time has come are difficult to find in our day.

Young preachers too impatient to establish their own ministry and identity sometimes fail to remember Jesus warning that "the disciple is not above his master" (Matthew 10:24). Too many men in their zeal to establish their own ministry fail to seek faithful disciples. Therefore, in the long run they seriously limit their personal influence and useful in the Kingdom of God.


Shepherding the Flock

With the approach of the winter of l987, I had to make one of the more difficult decisions of my ministry, not to make my annual circuit of the Southern campuses, but to stay in Columbus to work on maturing the little flock we had gathered. This would mean that I would not be preaching open-air daily as I had for the last twelve years. This decision made national news through Campus Voice. For me this was no easy transition. Except for a few months I had taken off from campus preaching to write Gold in the Furnace, I had scarcely missed a day of preaching since I started full-time on the campuses. In all that time I had never stayed in one place for more than a few months at a time and typically for just a few days.

There is a euphoria in being constantly on the move in which a person has a feeling of being above everything. For years I was like the wind blowing where I pleased. People heard my sound, but could not tell from where I was coming or whither I was going. It was a way of life that I had learned to love. But I had learned there was also an unreality and escapism to this constant movement.

I had developed contacts all over the United States. I would come to a campus, proclaim my message and "let the chips fall where they may" and then moved on to the next university.

Jesus preached to the multitudes, but he poured his life into the twelve. Concentrating my efforts in one place with a particular group of people gave me a greater appreciation for the pastor's role in having to work with people through their problems, shortcomings, and usually their sins. It is easier for the evangelist who can take a hard line on difficult and troublesome issues and leave town in a few days and not have to deal with problems. As an evangelist I saw new faces every few days, big and exciting crowds, and was the center of attention (and also, in my case, opposition which I had learned to manage). Of course both the ministry of the Evangelist and Pastor are needed. I had been plowing the fields and sowing the seed, but now I was concentrating on cultivating and hopefully harvesting.

It was a very long winter for me. It was difficult one day when Max Lynch called and asked me to make a trip with him to Florida campuses, but I felt I could not leave the church. There were many disappointments when individuals we worked with for months suddenly and without explanation quit coming to our meetings. I often wondered if I was really making the best use of my time and talents since I experienced frustrations which I had never before felt in my ministry.

There were benefits from a family standpoint as Cindy and I and Evangeline and by now our second daughter Charlotte experienced a more normal way of life and accumulated possessions including my collection of historical prints. That winter we even purchased a home built at the turn of the century with high ceilings and beautiful oak woodwork in the campus neighborhood. I was excited because for the first time I was able to shelve the large library I had accumulated in my travels. One of my favorite pastimes when on the road was to visit used bookstores, but after my purchases I would have to box them up and ship them to my office headquarters.

There were joyous times as we made friends with people like the Stamms and watched Paul develop into a thoughtful Bible student and Christian witness. I took the opportunity to have more time to study and prepare weekly sermons and my Bible studies which did much to develop and mature my ministry.

One cold Sunday afternoon while I sat at my desk wishing that I was in sunny California preaching to a crowd of college heathens, a student named Kirk Downing knocked on our door. After inviting him into our living room he remarked that he had heckled us on the OSU oval, but he kept hearing me quote John 14:15: "If you love me, keep my commandments."

He said, "Brother Jed, every time I heard you quote this verse, I came under conviction and one day I committed my life to Christ."

Kirk attended our church for a time. We were discouraged when he eventually got involved in another Christian group but I understand he is still going on with God.


These were days of trial for me. Oh, to be lifting my voice on the campus again!

Finally March came and while Ohio State was in final exams and then spring break, the family embarked on a three week journey to preach to large crowds at the University of Georgia, University of Florida, Florida State and Louisiana State. By the time we returned to Ohio the weather was warm enough for us to start preaching again daily at Ohio State and other Ohio campuses to which I could commute and return home to fulfill my pastoral responsibilities. I felt I was back in my element open-air preaching.

One of the blessings of being in one location were the visits we got from people around the country. Many of our favorite ministers came and preached with us at OSU. Our regular hecklers were always excited to see who we would bring to campus next. In spite of our similarities each preacher has his own particular personality and approach. The ministers would speak to our flock and they were a great blessing to all who attended. Small as we were in numbers, we had some stiring times in the Lord.

Also we had many visits from those who desired to witness the campus ministry first hand and get some on the job training.

One day I received a telephone call from John Bejorle from Grand Rapids Michigan, he and two friends had read Who Will Rise Up?. They wanted to come to Columbus to see us in action on campus.


Here Comes the Judge

One of John's friends, Bill McMillian an engineering professor from Grand Rapids, Michigan, took the greatest interest in our work. He accompanied me that summer on an evangelistic tour of South Africa as I promoted my book, Gold in the Furnace: South Africa on Trial.

Bill and I became good friends on this trip. I discovered him to be the boldest person in personal witnessing that I had ever met. To this day I have never seen Bill without his Bible. Whether at home in a restaurant, or someone else's home Bill plops his big New International Version on the table prepared to direct the conversation toward the things of the Lord with provocative statements or what I call Billisms:

"I'm a fruit inspector, I'm appointed to judge."

"If you sin daily in thought, word, and deed, then you're going to hell."

"The church is full of bastards! Do you know what a bastard is? It's a child with an illegitimate father."

"We'd counsel you to get out of the churches and into the Bible."

"We're all dying...We only have a few minutes left. The question is what will we do with those few minutes?"

"Let's bring it right down to you and me. Will I be ready, will you be ready?"

After dinner Bill is ready to whip out his Bible audio tapes and recorder and urge everyone to listen to a whole book of the Bible in one sitting. The bigger the book, so much the better.

Bill considers his main calling is to challenge those, who name the name of Christ, to depart from iniquity. To fulfill this calling he might travel hundreds of miles for a weekend to reach one person. Each summer he spends travelling at home or abroad, with his family in tow, pockets filled with tracts and highlighter pens, taking advantage of every opportunity to call "Christians" to repentance or exhort true believers to higher ground.

Many find Bill's approach abrasive, but even those who disagree with him admit that he has his family in order and is a responsible and successful professional man and that few can match his zeal. Unlike some whom I have met, who are very aggressive in their personal evangelism, Bill is ready to do more than simply preach to people, but he also provides a ministry of helps.


Could These Bones Live Again?

The Autumn of l988 we continued our concentrated preaching at Ohio State and other campuses in central Ohio. We tried everything that we knew to build a campus church. We had numerous cookouts and free dinners once a week. Few attended, but of those even fewer would stay for the Bible studies afterwards. We spent hours and hours in our living room and around our dining room table talking to students and pleading with them to turn to God. We called and wrote letters and prayed and fasted and prayed more. Maybe we tried too hard.

About this time Cindy and I went through a period of discouragement and soul searching. We had no doubt that our ministry had changed lives and promoted the kingdom of God. However why could we not see another Acts chapter two experience, where the Apostle Peter got up and preached, the sinners gave their own altar call and 5000 turned to Jesus Christ? We would have been thrilled to see fifty get saved or even ten.

I had studied the Bible for fifteen years. I longed to disciple new converts and see them go on to the deeper things of God and mature so that they could be strong and do great exploits for our Lord. But where were the people who had ears to hear?

Truly disheartened, I began to consider that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere. I contemplated how I might be able to extend my influence in the ministry. It was not that I wanted prestige or power, but I wanted to be wise and reach as many people as possible without having to compromise my message.

I considered that more doors might open if I had a seminary degree so in the winter quarter of l988 I enrolled in a master's program at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. After all, I thought, my roots were in Methodism. Several years after my conversion, I again started attending Centenary United Methodist Church with my parents whenever I was home. I still had a strong sentimental attachment to the church. I had learned to have a respect for their staid traditions, especially as expressed in their worship service. I had even taught on several occasions Centenary's Friendship Sunday School Class which represented the old guard of the church who seemed to receive my messages. The Methodist heritage was parallel to my vision. Wesley had probably done more to promote holiness than anyone since the apostles and the early Methodist circuit riders preached much like I did. Could these dead Methodist bones live again?

My plan was to be incognito until I had time to gain some credibility as a student. But my cover was exposed at a reception for new students by a seminarian who had heard me preach years before at Florida Southern College, a small Methodist affiliated school. He went around the reception room telling how a mob had tried to throw me in the lake.

I had almost forgotten about the incident. The administration at Florida Southern was foiled in every effort to stop my preaching because I took my stand on a public sidewalk which was outside their jurisdiction. They tried turning on the water sprinkling system to discourage students from gathering on the grass to listen. They mowed the lawn when obviously it did not need mowing in the hope that the motor noise would disable the students from hearing. But the crowds just grew larger and gathered so close to me that I could scarcely move. Finally, the Dean of Students completely lost his temper and led a mob which hoisted me over their shoulders and started carrying me to the lake. But cooler heads prevailed and the Dean and his rabble were convinced to put me down and I continued my preaching.

I had aquired more renown after so many years of preaching than I realized. I discovered that many of the seminarians had heard me speak as undergraduates on campuses from all over the nation.

The seminary and the hierarchy of the Methodist Church had come to stand for most everything I had been fighting against all my Christian life. They were polite and fair to me, but could I really identify myself with people who had corrupted the faith not only of their founder, John Wesley, but of Jesus Christ? I was shocked to find that half of the seminarians were women, a number of whom were divorced and single mothers. There were several around campus whose sexual preference was questionable. I found no professors and only a few students who seemed to believe that the Bible was the standard that men must live by in every area of life. A few instructors required that their students use inclusive language and most expected it when referring to the Deity. Which meant one could not call God, Father. At the end of the quarter after making A's in my courses, I left the seminary convinced that these bones could not live again.

In February I instructed Cindy to take over the teaching in The College Community Church because I determined to take a seven week itinerary to plow on California campus. Early in April I returned to complete the Spring focusing on Ohio State. While I was gone, a few had come to our meetings and made professions of faith in Christ, but quickly fell by the wayside. At the end of two school years we had modest results with five students attending our services, and six off campus adults who were fellow laborers which including Cindy gave me a total of twelve disciples. I tried to be encouraged by saying that was the number Jesus had. One started attending in the Spring who was going to prove more fruitful than I could foresee and give us reason to be encouraged concerning our labors.


A Sower Goes Forth

One night when we arrived at our Bible study room in the student union there was a young man with a big smile waiting for us at the door. It was Tom Carlisle, a graduate student who had returned to OSU to take some agriculture classes. Tom had graduated from OSU in 1984 with a degree in welding engineering. However Tom had only pursued this hard course of study because it promised a big salary when he graduated.

Tom was from a long line of farmers. Growing up he loved playing in the corn fields, watching the little pigs grow and helping the mama cows birth their babies. Ever since he was a small boy Tom had two desires: to be a farmer and a preacher. But Tom's dad had different ideas for his only son.

"Tom, I don't want you to be a dirt farmer," insisted Mr. Carlisle. His desires were that Tom would go to college, get a job making lots of money, and raise a nice family.

The idea of Tom being a preacher made his father even more distraught. At age eight Tom made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Tom's Dad said, "That is nonsense, you do not need the Lord to save you." In Mr. Carlisle's eyes, most church people are hypocrites and being a preacher is the lowest of professions and a way to get people's money without working.

Tom's childhood and young adulthood was one of constant inward and outward struggle. On one hand was the desire to serve the Lord totally and on the other was the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Refusing to make a choice Tom sat on the fence, constantly vexed and wounded by the spiritual crossfire.

In the spring of 1980, eight years before our first meeting at the Bible study, as a freshman at OSU Tom had heard, Max, Cindy and me preaching the Gospel on the oval. Tom tells in his own words what happened that spring day on the OSU oval in 1980:

"As I was leaving the library, I noticed a big crowd mocking Bro. Jed. Keeping my distance, I could see that the students were mocking the Bible. I thought 'these preachers must be of God.'

In high school and college I had always wanted to be a part of the 'in crowd'. The devil had tricked me into thinking that if I could become one of the crowd then I wouldn't need Jesus. I thought that if I could make enough money and sin enough to make people like me, I would no longer need God. As I listened to to Bro. Jed, Sister Cindy and Bro. Max tell their life stories, I understood that even though they had once been a part of the 'in crowd', they still needed Jesus. The Lord showed me that the true 'in crowd' serves Jesus Christ.

"They did not preach the easy-believism that I had heard all my life in church. They showed the students that man is responsible for his actions, that he has no excuse for sin and God is fed up with man's rebellion. By listening to the Bible verses that they quoted, I became convinced that I was just plain stupid and headed for hell.

"Strange as it may seem, this conclusion brought me a temporary peace. To hear and know the truth can be such a blessing. It can sooth our hearts.

"It was my opportunity to take a stand for Jesus, but I stood in the back of the crowd, afraid of being ridiculed by the hecklers. I returned to the library listening center and tuned in to my rock-n-roll music to drown out the conviction of the Holy Spirit."

The Bible says that the way of the transgressor is hard. The eight years that followed were very hard times for Tom Carlisle. His dear uncle died in a tractor accident, Tom's appendix burst and he was almost crushed by a beam that fell when he worked as a welding inspector. With each incident Tom thought, "Maybe this will make me get right with God and become a preacher."

But nothing and no one could make him serve God. Turning from sin was a choice that he had to make but refused.

Upon returning to OSU in 1988, Tom stopped again to listen to me preach on the oval. Tom remembers that day:

"Brother Jed was talking to a student who was very rebellious. The guy was so hell bent Bro. Jed finally said in frustration, 'If you want to go to hell, then go to hell,'"

"I thought that Brother Jed was a real Christian because he was not tolerating sin. I thought that maybe I could become a true Christian if I studied the Bible with him. As I pondered these things, Brother Jed came up and handed me, and only me, a tract which included an invitation to the Bible study."

"At the end of the first Bible study I told Sister Cindy that I had made a profession of faith, but I knew I wasn't right with God because I was still sinning. She rebuked me by saying,'It is an abomination for fools to give up their sins (Proverbs 13:19)." I thought that she considered me to be a hypocrite.

"I continued to go to the Bible studies and I knew in my spirit that the teachings were of the Lord. I was thankful when Brother Jed taught me that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. He also stressed how God is greatly grieved over our sins. Even though others were present, it often seemed like he was preaching the sermon just for me."

"The teachings gave me such a great desire and hunger for the Lord. I longed for a right relationship with God."

"The turning point in my life happened when Brother James Reynolds came from Maine to hold a tent meeting in Columbus. There was an altar call after each sermon and I felt convicted. One Sunday morning under the tent Brother Jed preached from Romans 6. He told me to make up my mind to stop sinning. I did! The next night Brother Reynolds prayed for me to be delivered from lust and I have been free ever since."

Soon afterwards Tom got a job as a lab technician, and he started living with us so that he could study the Bible and have Christian fellowship. He became a great financial supporter of our ministry. Tom had a very thoughtful, generous, servant's heart and he was a blessing to us in more ways than we could remember.

Almost two years after Tom first came to our Bible study, he began to talk seriously about entering the full-time ministry. This was a time of great inward struggle and Tom came to me with many doubts and concerns:

"Would it be dishonoring to my parents since they do not want me to preach?

"Is this God's desire or only mine?"

"Do I have enough knowledge and ability to preach?"

"Bro. Jed, would it be better for the kingdom of God for me just to work and support your ministry?"

We went through these questions and many more for hour after hour during a period of several months.

This was a test from God for me. One of my highest aims in life was to prepare and encourage men to enter the ministry. In contrast Tom had been an invaluable blessing to me, our ministry and our family. One night I said to Cindy, "I would be quicker to push him out of the nest if he wasn't such a big supporter."

That was our answer! I told Tom that finances were not a consideration and we would be behind him all the way as he answered the call that God had put on his heart as an eight-year-old boy.

Tom is starting his third year as a full-time campus preacher. He has suffered much for the cause of Christ, fastings often and sleeping in his car in order to take the Gospel to the campuses. Last year he labored on campuses in Florida, opening some new schools and ministering on others that seldom have a preacher. He also has made trips to northwestern states like Montana, Idaho, North and South Dakota, which I seldom reach.

Tom's message is one of total committment and service to God. He tells the students:

"If you are living selfishly, you are enrolled in the College of D- e-s-t-r-u-c-t-i-o-n. Most of you are majoring in Self-G-r-a-t-i-f-i-c-a-t-i-o-n. Make no mistake about it. You will earn a degree, it is called an E.D. degree...that is a degree of Eternal D-a-m-n-a-t-i-o-n. You need to repent and drop out of the College of D-e-s-t-r-u-c-t-i-o-n and enroll in the College of Eternal L-i-f-e through Jesus Christ."


From Hell to Heaven

Although we had a nice home in Columbus, it was in a seedy and transient neighborhood off campus. There was a bar next door and occasional street fights. Since not many students were getting saved, we decided in the summer to reach out to our neighbors who were mostly welfare mothers and fatherless children. We went door to door, gave away food and clothing and shared the gospel. Those attempts to be fishers of men only caught us head lice! The day before Cindy gave birth to our third daughter, Justina, she was combing the lice out of Evangeline and Charlotte's hair. A college girl staying in our home had unwittingly brushed the hair of the neighborhood girls with our girls' hairbrush. When Cindy discovered it, it was too late.

However we did not mind any of these discomforts if only people would get saved. We are willing to preach the gospel and suffer for the cause of Christ to win the small or great. With all our efforts we never won a soul in that cursed neighborhood.

During the l989-90 academic year I was preaching less at Ohio State because of their hard hearts and travelled more to other universities. Being away from home made my family's situation somewhat precarious. We had been getting a lot of crank phone calls some of which were even life-threatening.

We began to look for a home in a better neighborhood but we could find nothing in Columbus that suited us within our price range so we moved to Newark, Ohio into a colonial home in what our realtor described as a very exclusive neighborhood. For us it was like moving from hell to heaven.

We still had hopes of building a church at OSU so we kept our old home near campus for our church meeting place. We rented out rooms to students so we could meet the expenses of keeping a second place. But within a year it became evident that we were having more success in reaching out to Newark than inner city Columbus so we sold our property in Columbus and started holding meetings in our home in Newark.

When we first moved to Newark (population 42,000) my thought was to maintain initially a low profile in the city. But after just a few days in our new location one of the Columbus television news stations did a feature on our ministry at OSU. Upon meeting our neighbors for the first time, they remarked, "Oh, yes, we saw you on T.V. last night."

The prominence I had gained as a campus evangelist proved to be helpful in Newark. We joined a home school support group that included two mothers, Julie Bowman and Lynn Green, who had heard me preach when they attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio in the seventies. They were very enthusiastic about our work which helped us to be accepted and even respected among some who name the name of Christ. Later when a new family joined the group, I introduced myself to him as a campus minister. He told me about a girl who preached on his campus in the late seventies that had caused such a stir. Imagine his surprise when I told him, "I am married to that girl." It was a blessing to make friends and reach out to some who seemed genuinely interested in righteous living.

In the summer of l990 I made my second attempt to operate in the system. For years I had been struggling over the thought that perhaps I could be more effective and have more open doors if I had a denominational association. From the early days of my Christianity I had some roots in the Assemblies of God and had a number of pastor friends in the movement who had accepted my ministry. My old friend and mentor, Clyde Swalls, an ordained Assemby of God pastor, urged me to investigate joining the denomination. I made an appointment with the Superintendent of the Ohio District and the General Secretary. I explained my methods of campus ministry because I was concerned that they might see my approach as too radical. The General Secretary assured me that, "there was a variety of approaches in the Assemblies of God." He did not think that would be a problem. Their questions involved my position on their main points of doctrine and I tried to assure them that I did not think there were any differences that would be problematic.

My next interview with a couple of church presbyters concerned the question of my willingness to tithe to the district headquarters. I assured them that I understood this was part of the agreement.

After weeks of not hearing anything, I telephoned the General Secretary about the status of my application. He put me on hold for about ten minutes, returned to the phone and said, "Brother Smock, we think your approach would not fit into our movement."

I thanked him for his consideration. I called Clyde Swalls and he was amazed because he never heard of them turning down someone with my qualifications and suggested I reapply. But I considered if I was having troubles this early in the process, it was likely, even if I eventually got accepted, it would be according to unacceptable conditions. So my second attempt to work within the ecclesiastical system proved a failure. I concluded, that unless the Lord open up an effectual door, to be content to be what the press usually called me, "a self-proclaimed evangelist."

In October of 1990 we were still toiling at Ohio State. Although we drew large crowds, very few seemed to be seeking God. The Spirit of the Lord greatly encouraged us when a student passed the following letter to my wife.

Dearest Sister Cindy,

I wish to praise God that I happened to cross the OSU oval on September 20, l990. I stopped to listen to you and your husband because I was so deeply offended at the truths you were voicing that day. As I debated with myself to try and justify my own sinful life, I realized that you were indeed telling the truth. I had accepted Christ at an early age to save myself from hell. As I got older I refused "to offer my body as a living sacrifice" and fell deeper and deeper into a life of sin.

I thank you for your time and devotion with which you preach the word of God. Otherwise I may have never known the error of my ways and went to judgement empty handed, knowing the salvation of Christ but living my life as if I never knew.

I think you may remember me. I came to you after you had finished speaking, to question your methods. You answered my question with the following quotation: "to the froward, God will be froward." [Psalm 18:26]. You then gave me the book Who Will Rise Up?

I am writing this letter to tell you that through the grace of God I will rise up.

Thank you for your frowardness.

Sincerely in Christ,

Trent Frank


I try to challenge other ministers I meet to come out to campus but they usually have all sorts of excuses for not getting involved. In l990 I met a missionary named Bob Reid at a Moral Government Conference in Indiana. He had established numerous Bible schools in several nations, and he had founded Faith Tech Ministries out of Lancing, Michigan. Several months later when I went to Michigan State I contacted Bob and invited him to campus. He seemed apprehensive over the phone, but nevertheless showed up on campus with some members of his ministry.

To his surprise I invited him to testify to the rowdy students and was impressed with the boldness of his speech and the expertise with which he handled the students' questions. Here was a man in his mid-sixties, an ex-championship college basketball coach, straightforwardly rebuking the students for their sin.

Later, after I returned home, I received the following letter from Bob Reid:


Dear Brother Jed,

Only Eternity will show the results of your visit to Lansing, Michigan and MSU last Tuesday thru Friday. It changed my life! I can only compare it to previous experiences in the Lord and it ranks with my Salvation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

I have been witness to the Supernatural Gifts of God working thru me for many years on the Evangelistic Field (over 350 churches in California and 150 in Michigan) with all signs and wonders except for raising the dead. Thousands are blessed and my heart was always humbled at the Power of God working apart from my natural efforts. But watching your ministry of the power of God in Spirit and Truth had a greater effect on me than all of those years in that particular ministry. This has changed MY LIFE!

Thank you so much for coming to MSU. Over a dozen of our people also were witness to the Holy Spirit speaking thru you and they likewise have been "changed" within as proved by the constant ringing of the telephone since your departure.

In His Final Harvest,

Bob Reid


I have often wondered why men who profess to have such powerfully anointed ministries seem so weak outside the walls of the church where the power is really needed. Are they phonies, con artists, too set in their ways, or what? To me, Bob Reid was a man who really had the goods.

There is a reality in campus evangelism which is missing in our church services. The spontaneity and the conflict stirs the soul. Crusades and evangelistic meetings conducted in church buildings are too often so well staged, planned and programmed that there is no place for the Holy Spirit. Psychological manipulation is substituted for the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Much of what is passing for the movement of the Holy Spirit is in fact simply spiritual masturbation.

Bob Reid encouraged us to start a school in Newark using the study outlines he used in the Faith Tech schools he has around the world.

As I studied his materials I was impressed that they were founded in the principles of moral government as taught by N.W. Taylor of Yale and Charles Finney of Oberlin in the 19th century and the late Gordon C. Olson of Rockford, Illinois. Bob Reid had an ability to take the principles taught by these men and apply them to the concerns of the contemporary church. In addition his studies were so centered in the scriptures that they primarily consisted of Biblical references on particular topics.

After much prayer in January, l992, we opened the NewARK Theology School in the den of our home with an enrollment of about 12 students meeting for two hours once a week. We have enriching times getting into the word of God and after class long discussions ensue which last into the late hours of the evening. As always my main emphasis has been a heart for evangelism and building character.

I believe that I have much to teach people, but there is more I don't know. "If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." (1 Corinthians 8:2). Therefore, I encourage individuals to dig into the Bible and take the responsibility to seek the think, to ponder, to study and to call upon God for wisdom. Not only do we challenge the orthodoxy of modernism, but we are not afraid to question the dogmas of the evangelicals, pentecostals or charismatics. Too many ministers I know quickly stereotype their view and opinions and refuse to change usually out of fear of rejection from their peers if they deviate from a written creed or doctrinal statement.

Charles Finney wrote in his preface to his Systematic Theology, "A Christian profession implies the profession of candor and of disposition to know and obey all truth. It must follow, that Christian consistency implies continued investigation and change of views and practice corresponding with increasing knowledge. No Christian, therefore, and no theologian should be afraid to change his views, his language, or his practices in conformity with increasing light. The prevalence of such a fear would keep the world, at best, at a perpetual stand-still, on all subjects of science, and consequently all improvements would be precluded."

Those attending our theological school grew quickly the first year. Some of them became very zealous to share the truth they were learning. James Wiggins started emphasizing that Christians don't have to sin in the adult Sunday school class at his church and as a result he was relieved of his teaching position. When Michael Clark taught holiness to the youth group at the same assembly, he was not again asked to teach.

Once when I was on the road Cindy decided to visit the Methodist church where one of our students, Tom Stout, teaches an adult sunday school class. When his wife Emma told Tom that Cindy wanted to visit his class, Tom replied, "She will just hear what she has taught us the last few weeks."

We were encouraged that indirectly our teachings were reaching into the churches. We thought that maybe this was the way for us to be a blessing to the local community and considered giving up our vision of College Community Church for a time. As we sought the Lord on this matter two of the men in our school approached me with the request to start a Sunday meeting in our home. Within eight months we had nine families attending. So College Community Church was to continue.

Since moving to Newark we have become home centered. We have a home church and Theological school. In l991 our fourth daughter, Martha Marie, was born in our home. We home school our children. Finally in the summer of l992 we moved The Campus Ministry, USA headquarters from Washington, D.C. into our home. We believe that for America to be rebuilt, the socialistic structure of this nation must be destroyed, meanwhile we are digging a new foundation by constructing strong homes and families so that this nation might experience a new birth of freedom.

Thomas Jefferson once said, "The happiness of the domestic fireside is the first boon of Heaven." One place I have met with unbounded success and gratitude is our home. After ten years of marital bliss I have an obedient and loving wife with children who are instructed in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. My family loves our hearth and reverences our threshold and is heaven bound. I am a happy man. I covet your prayers.

After almost 20 years as a full-time campus minister, including five years of concentrated efforts in Ohio, even though few are getting saved, and not many show true evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost, and despite our fervent labor the campuses are worse than ever, and we have more than our share of enemies, and we are not experiencing many signs, miracles and wonders and our Theology school and church are small, nevertheless, we are encouraged. We are heartened because the few we have in our school and church are diligently seeking truth, because we believe that eternity will reveal from campus a larger harvest than we know, and because as a result of our labor at Ohio State, we have trained two circuit riders, Paul and Tom, who are dedicated enough that they could have travelled with Asbury or Cartwright. Who else will rise up?



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