NEWS | Anne Lim
Wednesday 16 March 2016
Scores of New Agers were taken through a gospel presentation at last weekend’s Mind Body Spirit Festival in Brisbane.
Christians who staffed a booth at the festival were surprised by how willing the vast majority of visitors were to go through the G7 gospel iPad app, which explains the gospel in simple, non-religious terms.
Amid stalls dedicated to goddess worship, a man claiming to be divine and others offering intuitive spiritual healing, the Christian stall promised to “Tell your future from the Bible – free 10-minute consultation.”
The initiative was the brainchild of Stuart Millar of Train to Proclaim Ministries, a full-time evangelist who has run stalls at events such as the Royal Melbourne Show in the past, and was staffed with eight Christians from local groups and churches.
“We didn’t have anyone commit their life to Christ over the three days, but it’s a niche of society that isn’t normally reached by the church,” said Millar, who would like to run similar stalls at the Melbourne and Sydney Mind Body Spirit Festivals if he can staff them and finance them.
Millar said the main challenge in witnessing to visitors at this festival – 90 per cent of whom were women – was the vagueness and ambiguity of what they believed.
“We spoke to a lot of people who said they were open to talking about Jesus. They’d say: ‘I love Jesus, Jesus is a part of me, I’m a part of him, we’re all part of the same energy, we’re all part of the same vibration, we’re one with the cosmos,’” he said,
“’We’re all part of God because we’re all made up of energy and the whole universe is made of energy so we’re just part of the vibration of the universe.’
“One person even said to me that they were omnipotent and omnipresent.”
Millar said he was able to get through to many people by challenging the absurdity of their claim that all paths lead to God, and so everyone is right.
“A lot of people went away with a lot to think about,” he said.
“They’d say, ‘Because we’re all one, and we’re all part of the same energy, we’re all right, there is no right and wrong, everybody is good.’ In fact, some people were saying everybody is perfect.
“To that I replied, ‘There are three main belief systems in the world – atheism, monotheism and polytheism; they’re mutually exclusive, one is correct and two are wrong, you can’t say that everybody is right.
“’Take your pick, tell me which camp is correct because you can’t put your foot in all of them.’ And they’re like, ‘That makes sense.’”
Millar said that even if people didn’t believe the gospel presentation, it was still a divine message that testified to the heart through the Holy Spirit.
“Ultimately, we believe in the power of the gospel … so it’s God that changes people’s hearts, not the best arguer.”
Josh Williamson, Queensland Branch Director/Evangelist of OAC Ministries (Australia), who helped out on the stall last Friday, was surprised by how open most visitors were to the gospel.
“There were a lot of people at the festival who were very much seeking; they were trying to find some sort of spiritual experience,” he told Eternity.
“A lot of them would stop at the stall and say ‘I didn’t expect to see Christians here.’ And that seemed to open up conversations.
“We had some absolutely wonderful conversations with people; a lot of the conversations centred around the person of Jesus Christ, who he is and his claims about himself, which was tremendous.”
Williamson said there were only three people who stopped for the express purpose of arguing and walked away in hostility.
“So it was a mixed bag but I’d say the majority of those we spoke to were very positive,” he said.
“There was one lady who was there for about an hour with me; she was crying, going through the gospel, asking different questions about theology, the Bible, apologetics, and it was great to be able to encourage her, answer her questions and direct her to a local church,” he said.
“Everyone is delighted with the response. It exceeded all expectations because we really didn’t know what we were getting into – going in there we knew that we were really holding up a banner that was saying light in the darkness and we were wondering what sort of hostility would we get.
“But we experienced very little hostility; a lot of openness. Even one of the organisers came by to chat and I was able to share the gospel with her. She grew up Church of England and she said after hearing about the gospel, now it makes sense – I never understood that before. So that was encouraging, to have someone who was the event organiser saying that makes a lot of sense.”