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The  Campus Preacher is based on a true story. A story I wrote on March 8, 2007, a day after I visited the University of Alabama and witnessed, what I thought to be, an almost unbelievable event. I did attempt, later that month, to send my original story to the editor of the Crimson White, with hope it would be published in the school newspaper, but unfortunately received no reply. 

On March 4, 2008, on yet another visit to the University of Alabama, I was surprised to find myself once again in company of the "Campus Preacher" and those who gathered to hear his words. 

So here, included as a "piece of" God's Hands, My Hands, I hope the story of The Campus Preacher reaches whom the Lord wishes.

This story is dedicated to all the students of the University of Alabama, especially those who where present during the visits of the "Campus Preacher".

Written by: Barbara Ann Hall

It was early March and spring danced in the air. Chalk campaigns decorated the sidewalks of the campus and vote-for flyers blew through the streets. It was the day of student elections.

Student’s fluttered around campus, talking and laughing. Music floated on the wind. Rumors of a student walkout in honor of some worthwhile protest echoed about. And the returning of the Campus Preacher made the front page of the College Newspaper.

The article disturbed me. Surely the students misunderstood his message. He was scheduled to return to the campus that afternoon. I decided to wait.

Shortly before noon a large group of students gathered in the outdoor promenade, waiting for the preacher to arrive.  I stood towards the back of the crowd. Right on time a tall, well-dressed man arrived with Bible in hand. Without hesitation he jumped up on a concrete step, slapped down hard on his Bible and yelled out, “SINNERS!”

I stood in disbelief as he continued to point his finger and condemn just about every young man and woman in the crowd, while claiming himself to be righteous, sinless and called by God.

Confusion instantly ran rampant as the students began to rebel with screaming, cursing, mocking and protesting his harsh accusations. But, the preacher didn’t miss a beat. “YOU’RE ALL GOING TO HELL!”

After several hours of chaos, the preacher finally ended the circus by inviting all the heathens present to attend church that evening. Then he gathered his things together and marched off.

As I walked home that afternoon, I couldn’t help but wonder if any would accept the preacher’s invitation. If for no other reason than to gain another opportunity to continue the mutual abuse shared throughout the day.

My thoughts remained troubled throughout the evening. I struggled to understand. Would God encourage a preacher to preach such condemnation? Perhaps as a last resort, with hope to get through to such a rebellious generation? Surely, a man of God would have preached more constructively, rather than destructively. A man of God would have love in his heart, not hatred on his tongue. A man of God would point first to himself, not out into a crowd of strangers.

I thought of the kids. How confused and troubled some seemed and how defensive others became. Some tried to defend their God and themselves, by quoting scriptures of a loving and forgiving God. Although, try as they might, the preacher’s words of condemnation were far stronger.

The preacher was to be on campus again the next afternoon. Should I try to talk to him? Help him to understand that his efforts were defeating what, surely his true intentions were for those young people. I felt no confirmation from God either way. But my own gut feeling was that it would do no good.

I prayed, searching for answers. I imagined the preacher’s efforts turning the kid’s further away from God, rather than guiding them toward repentance. “Father, why did you have me on that campus today? Why did I observe such a troublesome display, supposedly in your honor?”

As I prayed, an idea came to me. I would get a silent, yet powerful message to the students. A message that hopefully they could better understand, a message that did indeed include reassurance of God's love for them and perhaps lay a personal challenge before them. As I sat to write, God guided my hands.

Many students gathered to hear the message of the Campus Preacher; Words of wisdom from God or distorted viewpoints of man? Perhaps a little of both made up the truth of the matter.

As a silent spectator in the crowd, I witnessed only defensiveness, rebellion and mass confusion among the students. Which I believe, came from recognition that something was wrong with the preacher’s message; a message that provoked emotions more so than sparked desires for repentance.

Some students attempted to shine a light of scripture into the darkness. I was really quite impressed by the wisdom that arose among them; especially the wisdom of a young man who brought forth this scripture: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…” to which he added further insight that Jesus, being without sin, could have cast that stone, but instead he chose to forgive. How powerful! Emmanuel, God with us, our Lord and Savoir, spotless and free from sin, crucified so that we may live, the ultimate preacher sent to call sinners unto repentance, did not point his finger and scream whore, but instead humbly convicted her and her prosecutors and mercifully chose to forgive her sin... But please, let us not forget how Jesus ended that scripture, “now go my child, and sin no more”.

Other students tried desperately to prove our God was a loving and forgiving God. Amen! Yes, God loves us all deeply, in fact, so deeply that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to redeem us from our sins... to suffer humiliation, be condemned and prosecuted of men and ultimately beaten and crucified unmercifully in our place. There is no greater gift of love than the gift of Jesus Christ! Please, let us not mock that love by using it as an excuse or a reason of righteousness to condone our sins.  As much as God loves us, He will never condone our sin. Jesus came into the world to redeem us from sin, not to hand out free tickets for us to live in it and do as we please no matter how much our actions defy God’s will for us. Please, keep in mind that although God is love, He is also holy. He will forgive us our sins, but think how we must hurt Him when we willingly and defiantly sin against Him. It’s the same as mocking His life and His crucifixion, His ultimate sacrifice of love for us. I believe that in all His love for us, He too desires our love in return.

The preacher’s words were harsh and his image of many unfair. But sadly enough, so many students expressed and acted out a much worse image for themselves. I could only imagine that the response from the students made Jesus weep deeply and the preacher’s smile of self-righteousness broaden. Right or wrong, no man’s actions should cause us to fall from the glory of God. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but one right among many wrongs is priceless in the eyes of our Heavenly Father!

Read your Bibles! Search for and sincerely desire the truth of God’s Word. A truth that, yes Jesus loves us all very much, but also a truth of His desire for us to live our lives as His children, according to His will, with a deep love and respect for Him, ourselves and each other. Not as children acting and living our lives as do the children of Satan; mocking the Word of God, disrespecting themselves and others through word and action, but instead as children of The Almighty God. Search your heart and remain humble and faithful unto God in all instances. For our success is not determined by who we are, but instead by whose we are.
The next time you feel faced with unjust persecution, think of Jesus; he too was and still is, persecuted unjustly, but in all He suffered, His actions never disgraced His Father. Know the Word of God and honor His will. Learn how to recognize and handle Godfully, wolves who come dressed in sheep’s clothing. Then put on the whole armor of God, hold your head high and shine with the light of God! For only His light can overcome the true darkness in our lives.

As I studied the words, God assured me they would reach His children. I felt that, possibly, if the kids were troubled enough by the message preached, they’d accept the challenge to search for the truth of God themselves.

Shortly before noon, I arrived on campus just in time to take my place behind the crowd before the preacher arrived in much the same manner as he had the day before. 

I listened to him preach and watched the kids get more and more enraged. Even kids that confessed they did not believe in God became upset for those who did. Many confronted the preacher, challenging him to prove what he said was truth. But, the preacher just continued to condemn them, as he appeared to dance in the spirit. The kids mocked him, jumping up and down and slapping down on the covers of their Bibles.

When finally the preacher gathered his things together to leave, I casually handed out several stacks of colored paper to be passed throughout the crowd. Then I distanced myself and watched.

The crowd was nearly silent as they stood reading the message God had given me for them. After several moments, one young girl jumped up onto the Preacher’s step and addressed the crowd. “WE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF OURSELVES! WE CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS, BUT WE ACT LIKE WILD ANIMALS!” The crowd lowered their eyes. “TOMORROW WHEN THE PREACHER RETURNS, WE NEED TO RESPECT OUR GOD THROUGH WORD AND DEED! DEMONSTRATE THROUGH OURSELVES THAT OUR GOD IS LOVE AND THAT WE TOO LOVE HIM!” The crowd cheered.

When the young lady jumped down, a young man took her place to add a final word to the dispersing crowd. “NOW GO MY FELLOW CLASSMATES, AND SIN NO MORE!”

When I returned the next afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised by the students who gathered to wait for the preacher. Many were dressed more modestly than they had been the day before and except for a few that spoke softly amongst themselves, the crowd was nearly silent. I was also very surprised to see that almost all held Bibles in their hands.

As the Preacher approached, his eyes gazed over the crowd. “HYPOCRITES!” he screamed as his fist slammed down on the cover of his Bible. HYPOCRITES!” he screamed again. All remained silent.
After a short while of preaching to a calmed, cool and collective group of kids, the Preacher’s demeanor began to change. He almost looked defeated. “I CAN SEE MY JOB HERE IS DONE. THERE’S NO USE PREACHING TO HYPOCRITICAL HEATHENS!” As he hastily gathered his things together, the crowd joined hands and began to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

That afternoon, I saw a changed group of students fluttering around campus. I stopped to listen to the newly elected Student President’s speech. He announced that one of his top priorities as president would be to start Bible study classes on campus. I heard cheers echo throughout the promenade.

As I walked home that evening, I smiled up at Jesus. “Thank you Father for once again leading my path. In such a subtle way, you changed the hearts of those children. Your wisdom far surpasses all human understanding.”

I can't help but feel blessed that God chooses to use my hands as His own here on earth. For me, there is no greater pleasure in life than when I am on a mission from God!

Stand Tall & Portray Greatness In Whose You Are
Denny Chimes, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)




JAMES 3:13-18

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom decendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gently, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.