Voicing of diverging opinions makes America great
submitted by Dr. Luis Gonzalez
November 12, 2007 —
I read with interest the article that Alex Baumgardner wrote about Michael Venyah of Soulwinners Ministries International recent visit on campus. Even though I do not agree 100 percent with the things Michael Venyah said and how he said them, I would give up my life defending his right to say them. This is America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. The essence of democracy is the freedom of expression. Free speech and the voicing of diverging opinions is what a University is all about. Listening to and considering different postulations and in the end arriving at your own conclusions, via critical thinking is the ultimate goal of higher education. That is how you take ownership of your opinions.
Some came to ask me where in the Bible appear the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).
Others came to ask me if there were more than Ten Commandments in the New Testament. No, Jesus did not come to abrogate the Ten Commandments, but to fulfill them. He is the only one that was able to do it. Another group came to ask me if kicking the dog, spitting on the sidewalks or smoking were part of the Ten Commandments that would send them to hell. I told them that kicking the dog would get you in trouble with the SPCA but would not send you to hell.
Smoking may not send you to hell but it sure makes you smell like you have already been there, and spitting on the sidewalk is a nasty and an unhealthy business that would get you in trouble with the CDC and local city health ordinances, but it would not send you to the lake of fire and brimstone. Furthermore God is still on the throne, he is sovereign and he alone decides who goes to Hell and who does not. And he has not asked anybody to decide for him, nor has he solicited any input from anybody as to how he should do his job: not Billy Graham, not the Dalai Lama, not the Ayatollah Khomeni, not Amedinajad, not Muhtaq Al Sadr, not Chavez, not even Pope Benedict, much less Michael Venyah. Nevertheless, as I stood there listening, I thought, he was perhaps, like one of the Old Testament prophets and I wondered what the prophet Jonah would have sounded like talking to the citizens of Nineveh or John Wesley's message of holiness at Oxford University that gave birth to the methodist movement. His message of fire and brimstone was delivered to an audience that was just as receptive as this one.
However they listened, made up their own minds and the rest is history.
Some of the prophets of old were routinely stoned to death or beheaded in Jerusalem and the Middle East (Matthew 14:10; & 23:31), giving us a clue that it was not a very popular profession, with lots of perks and built-in longevity (Luke 13:33-34). Even today, in many places around the world, they would have lopped off Venyah's head!
Ah, but this is America, that is why I love this country. Viva America! Long live America!
Dr. Luis Gonzalez Campus Minister (ECM)