Tuesday, February 23, 2016

An Open Letter To The “Christian” Hellfire Preachers Outside The Concert

Greetings to you in Christ Jesus,
I hope you are having a great day. I debated not saying anything publicly about this. I did not want to be put in the same category as your group. I know you feel like you accomplished a lot for the kingdom the other night outside the Rock & Worship Roadshow. I could tell you were super passionate about what you were saying because you were screaming louder than anyone else and calling everyone walking out of the arena sinners. I realize your goal was to get people to repent of sin and realize that rock concerts don’t glorify God.

Granted, I don’t know that all the attendees went to the concert to necessarily “glorify” God. I saw a lot of people dancing, singing, and just happy to hear some good music. For their credit, many of the artists songs were about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, worship, salvation, discipleship, and, yes, the rejection of sin. There were one or two that sang songs that had nothing to do with any of that. And I didn’t particularly enjoy those bands.

Can I level with you Mr. Brimstone? There was a time when a preacher in a church I used to attend made fun of guys like you (true story). The minister called what you were doing fruitless and ineffective. What you were doing was a slight to Christianity. As he made fun of you, the rest of the church laughed and giggled at the parody that was on display from the pulpit. It angered me that they would be so cruel. I was in tears. I shouted “This is so inappropriate!” as I walked to the restroom to weep. My thoughts were that you were doing what you believed you were called to do even if it was not the proper way. I was sad that my church was making fun of someone even though they were poking at a fanatic. I was crying that perhaps they would do that to me if I went and shared my faith in an unorthodox way. I rejected that church. They all had sunk to a low that they could not gain back favor in my eyes. You were naïve people teaching the law without the Gospel of Jesus, but you were sincere. You just needed a shepherd to teach you the proper Gospel. You need the Savior too.

But, I have to say, the other night you made me feel less sorry for you. As we walked out, you were screaming at people and treating them like they were crap to be trampled on. Your legalistic ranting was from a place of moral superiority. I could have easily gone over to you and shared the true teachings, but you wouldn’t have listened. I’m sure many people tried that night and you’ve probably heard all of their arguments before. Would you care? Did you know that you are a sinner too? Did you know that Jesus asked for mercy first over sacrifice? Did you know that the Gospel is for everyone? Do you know that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works? Do you ever feel real compassion for the lost, not the displayed anger-condemnation that you think is the loving response to sin?

As we walked swiftly around your gathered group, my children gripped my hands tightly. They were terrified of these people shouting, wearing shirts with flames on them, and proclaiming that we were all headed to the gates of hell. My daughter, whom we are teaching to take a breath before she responds, because she gets angry easily, was so confused. How could these people preach the same Jesus we preach while screaming at the masses of people who had just spent 5 hours together worshiping the God of the Universe?

I told my daughter that your group was not following Christ. I told my children that you don’t know your Bibles. I told them that there are groups like yours that have distorted God’s Word to make yourselves feel more righteous and pious. Thank you for scaring my children and making them feel unsafe around other “Christians”. It is no wonder the people of our nation reject Christianity when they see groups like yours. And, you cannot claim the Scriptures that speak about the world persecuting you. You put yourselves in that position. The only Christians being persecuted were the ones leaving the arena that night.

As a minister, I am using every ounce of my energy to teach the young people of our church what it means to be a mature follower of Jesus. It means giving up a lot of our selfishness. It means not exploding in anger. It means taking responsibility for our actions and committing to the body of Christ. What you are teaching is immature beyond the scope of the cross. You show that you still need milk because you have rejected the solid food of Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). People are more likely to listen when you teach from a place of gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

I won’t defend you any longer. I won’t put up with people who continue to mock you, but I won’t defend you either. I pity you. I will pray for you (Matthew 5:44). In Jesus’ holy name.

Mike Lewis
Follower of Christ Jesus
Minister of the Gospel
Attendee of the Rock & Worship Roadshow 2016