(This is the conclusion of my 7-part Fiesta Hermosa perspectives series. Click here to start the series.)
Five angry emails, two mean voice mails, and a nasty postcard were all I received from people offended at our open air preaching and Gospel tract distribution during the Labor Day weekend pagan celebration called Fiesta Hermosa.
One person wrote that we were “an embarrassment to the Christian faith.”
Another said that Hope Chapel should be “ashamed by the lack of professionalism and concern for visitors….”
Also, “…don’t think this is how God wants His Word spread,”
And, “…This is not the way a Church of God should represent itself… What an insult to His name.”
John Wesley endured as much in the 18th century when he preached in the open air, or field-preaching as he called it. He wrote in his diary: “At four in the afternoon, I submitted to be more vile and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation…”
Before he was to preach in a traditional church setting a few days later a note was sent to him saying: “Sir, Our minister, having been informed you are beside yourself, does not care that you should preach in any of His churches.” Wesley went and “preached Christ our ‘wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,’” half a mile down the road from the church.
It’s not surprising to be persecuted when the Biblical Gospel is preached. In fact Jesus promised it when He preached in the open air in the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Mat. 5:11-12).
The postcard (sent anonymously, of course) said, “I refer to them as spiritual vampires takin’—sucking out… they’re evil, wicked…”
Let’s take a quick look at the numbers:
8 people complained in a festival that traditionally has 120,000 attending. That’s .0000666 percent (Ooooo, 666!)!
Okay then, let’s say each complaint represents 10 people; that’s 80 complainers. That makes, ummm, .000666 percent (There’s that 666 again!)
I’m going to be really generous. Each complaint represents 100 people so that makes a whopping 6/10 of 1%!
My final offer: Each whine equals 1000 people!!! That now makes a little under 7% of the people who sneered, railed, and hated us.
Jesus said, “All men will hate you because of me…”
Yet only 7% did.