Top College News Subscribe to the Newsletter

Brother Jed's message may be misconceived

Staff Reporter

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 01:01

Richard McKinney | The Houstonian

Richard McKinney | The Houstonian

"Warning all non-Christians, Hell awaits you!"

These are familiar words to see or hear across campuses when a certain gentleman comes to town.

"Brother Jed has been hitting campuses for over 40 years now," theatre professor, David McTier, Ph.D said. "I remember him calling me a sinner 35 years ago when I was an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Georgia."

Crowds surrounded the orator perched atop a chair in the quad as he shouted antiquated language to the students of Sam Houston State University. Key phrases such as "whoremonger," "drunkard," "seducers" and "feminists" are never in short supply with the creator of The Campus Ministry USA.

"He was the first person I ever heard twist the message of Jesus into a gospel of hate," McTier poignantly states what many students and faculty echo about the Missouri native.

"It breaks my heart that there are still people on this earth full of such hate," sophomore musical-theatre major, Ryan Smith said. "I think people like Brother Jed not only give Christians a bad name but also scare the people who need God the most away."

This is where I start to think – what does Brother Jed say? I can safely write that I have not heard Brother Jed actually say the word "hate." So, why do people believe he is preaching a message of hate? Perhaps this is a misconception on both sides. On one hand you have a man preaching a basic message of the gospel – albeit in a highly abrasive manner. On the other hand you have a generation who have become increasingly more skeptical of religion on a macro scale – perhaps these coarse evangelist-types are a large reason.

Brother Jed’s website (they’ll give one to anybody) notes that his purpose "is to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the college and university students of America and the world." This is exactly what he does. His signs may instigate an immediate wall preventing passersby from truly hearing anything he says, but he does hold up his mission statement.

I’m sure you turned to this page hoping to find an exposé on the crazy, deranged, decrepit, possibly insane person shouting at students every year. The truth is, though, I’m here to defend him. Not defend his particular brand of evangelism, but to mention that as a Christian (and future pastor), I can’t honestly say he’s wrong. The Bible does say that sinners will be sent to Hell upon death. The only way to be rid of this burden is to accept Jesus and repent of your sins; a message which most people in America have heard in some form or fashion in their life.

What Brother Jed does neglect, though, is the rest of the story. A gospel of love, hope, regeneration, new life and ultimately, love – something that seems to be left off of his signs, t-shirts and scripts.

"I think their method is dangerous and counterproductive," senior criminal justice major, Andrew Colarusso said. "If anything, they succeed at one thing: getting students to think."

Some students may think about how spiteful the message may seem. Others may think about how convoluted Brother Jed’s words might be. Many, though, think about the importance of love. This principle led some students to participate in a peaceful "protest" where students laid down and created a laugh circle for five minutes followed by the singing of "All You Need Is Love" with plenty of hugs for "every sinner."

Through all this talk about love, though, one question remains: who showed Brother Jed love?

Recommended: Articles that may interest you


Wed Feb 6 2013 13:28
I apologize if you feel I'm attacking you. What I'm defending is the idea that Brother Jed (self-proclaimed name) is going out and spreading the gospel. Yes, he may have some of the message wrong, but behind it all, he is correct. His signs need to be updated, undoubtedly. But, the fact is, if you sin, you are going to hell. It's that simple. That's what the Christian faith teaches. I'm not defending anything beyond that. I am simply defending the idea that he is at least doing something.

As I stated, "I'm here to defend him. Not defend his particular brand of evangelism..." The certain people he calls out, telling people without remorse that they are going to hell; those things are not something I look for in evangelism myself, but he is at least getting people to think about God. Sometimes things like this help people find a closer relationship with God - which is amazing. Why? Because the despicable things that are shouted need to be investigated and people find it necessary to challenge his [Jed's] beliefs in order to find the truth.
My biggest message here comes at the end. If we are wanting to spread love, if we are wanting to show Brother Jed that love is above everything - who showed him love? Who was out there smiling and loving him as he said those things to people?

God tells us not to cast judgment upon anyone. Yes, Brother Jed went wrong here (and slid down a horrible path). But he is at least caring about the lives of people enough to tell them to repent lest they be sent to hell. Judging someone is a different issue than judgment.

Judgment is a statement cast about your eternal life. Judging someone is simply making a statement about their actions. Even by calling someone a 'good person' we are judging them. The idea in this being that it is not up to us to cast someone into hell - to make a full statement about their eternal life, but we can say, "Hey, that's not right in the eyes of God." Brother Jed does this - and then some.

I know who I am. I know what God says about me. I would encourage everyone to find a group or get together with people to talk about God. I know there are several Christian organizations on campus. Seek out the word of God for yourself. Reread my article. I point out that Jed misses the biggest message from the Bible. The message of hope, redemption, regeneration, and love that is so present in the New Testament.
I'm sorry if you think I am indicting you like Brother Jed seems to be doing. In fact, I'm not. I'm writing this out of a place of love. I'm writing this because I love you enough not to gamble with your eternity. Perhaps that is what got Brother Jed started - and, over time, things changed.

God doesn't call His people to be rebellious, hateful, or spiteful. So, don't think I'm trying to be. I understand your concerns; I had them myself for a while. But, as I thought about it, I realized that the basic idea that Brother Jed is trying to get across is not something to be admonished, but, in some ways, admired. He at least is sharing the gospel. I can't say the same about myself.

Tue Feb 5 2013 07:36
This is absolutely disgusting. I don't care if "brother"Jed never used the word hate, according to you (even though I personally have heard him use it), he definitely does not follow the teachings of Christ by taking over the role of God and saying that we are all going to hell. I am shocked and confused as to how you, Richard, could defend someone as despicable and hating towards the gay community when you are homosexual yourself. I understand that there are gay ministers, preachers, priest, whatever you want to call them... but defending someone who has his "entourage" holding signs that say if you're gay you will go to hell seems like a slap in the face. As a gay man I feel that you defending someone who is so against us having equal rights is disgraceful.

Tell your "brother" to go watch 'Fish Out of Water' or 'For the Bible Tells Me So'. They are both available on Netflix, unless his religious convictions are so archaic that he doesn't believe in the internet.

Fri Feb 1 2013 09:58
I can't help but think you actually haven't see Brother Jed preach. Students don't have an issue with him for pointing out particularly dark biblical scriptures. For one, he singles out people in his audience and publicly humiliates them. I've seen him attack homosexual couples that are simply watching quietly. I once saw him tell a female professor she was dressed inappropriately and was probably a whore(She had on a sleeveless shirt). And as far as him being right or wrong... he often avoids questions about the Bible when challenged and takes certain scripture out of context. He has even said that though he used to be a sinner he does not sin anymore, ever. Is that biblically correct? Maybe it does cause people to think more or place a personal emphasis on love, but it also causes a lot of anger and magnifies all the reasons non-Christians dislike Christianity.

log out