Brother Jed's message may be misconceived
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 01:01
"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?