Courageous Christians United exists to boldly and respectfully defend traditional Christianity against cults, and other false religions and philosophies on all sorts of levels, and to equip the Body of Christ in facing these challenges.
1. We believe in only one Creator and Sustainer of literally everything outside Himself.
2. We believe God is a Being who eternally exists in three distinct, but inseparable Persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These Persons each have a center of consciousness, and the terms "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit" are not mere names or ways for simply one Person to appear. These Persons inseparably share their divine nature, and are completely unified in their purpose to exalt their own Being.
3. We believe that 2000 years ago, through the Virgin Mary, God the Son acquired a human nature. He thus became fully man, with the exception of sin, and lives forevermore in this nature as well.
4. We believe that the Son came to seek and save humanity, since they rebelled against their Creator. The Son was sacrificed on their behalf, and perfectly met the demands of an all-holy and universal Judge.
5. We believe that the Son rose from the grave in the same body that was sacrificed, and this same body was glorified, never to die again.
6. We believe that the Son ascended bodily to heaven, and will one day come bodily again to establish His kingdom on earth.
7. We believe that humanity may be saved from God's wrath and everlasting punishment by simply trusting in the finished work of Christ. This trust entails repenting (i.e., changing one's mind) from sins, and allowing the Holy Spirit to continually change one's desires. This trust leads to exhibiting good works as an evidence of rebirth.
8. We believe the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, is the word of God. We believe that God used fallible men to reveal His infallible word. Since the Bible ultimately is the word of an all-perfect God, the Bible cannot have error in its original texts. Translations may err, but since God is all-powerful, He still has the ability to make sure His word "stands forever." It is there to be studied and trusted as a light unto one's path, so that the workman may not fall for every wind of doctrine.
We at Courageous Christians United (hereafter CCU) enjoy doing ministry in various forms. We go in front of high schools to minister. We minister door to door. We minister at universities. We even do relational ministry with people of various faiths. But we primarily love being outside the buildings of other faiths for various reasons.
First, it is a good place to meet people. Of course it is a great place to meet people of that particular faith, but it's also a great place to meet people from various faiths who are passing by. These people from differing faiths need the Lord too, and they also need to be inoculated (as do unsuspecting Christians) from joining the particular faith that we minister in front of.
Second, it is typically where more people will see and hear our message. We simply can reach more people than if we spend an entire afternoon going door to door, for example.
Third, the Apostle Paul told us to emulate him as he emulates Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1). Paul's custom was going to the synagogues to reason with the Jews (e.g., Acts 17:1-3). Christ Himself also went to a place of worship to persuade people (e.g., when He would cleanse the temple of its robbers, and debate with the Pharisees).
As for the claim that these religions are not standing in front of our churches, we wish they would. It would really show how concerned they were about us. Further, following the golden rule, we do unto others, as we would have them do unto us. So of course we wish these people of other faiths would do what we do in front of our churches.
Finally in this regard, what should we care about how other faiths conduct their ministry? We are not them, so why must we act like them? We don't whine about them coming to our homes, so why should they whine about us ministering on public property in front of their places of worship?
When we do this, we enjoy preaching and holding up signs to advertise various web sites. We believe that this is one of the most effective uses of our time in getting the word out to as many people as we can. By definition, anyone who does monologues and holds up signs will be able to reach more people with the gospel than someone who is resolved to simply have dialogues or pass tracts out to people. And the person who God uses to do the former will naturally have more people changed by the gospel than the latter will. That is just simply a fact. Dialogues are far and few between, and not many people will take tracts. Everyone, even in cars that pass by, see the signs, and people within ear shot will get confronted with the truth whether they like it or not.
We really believe in the transforming power of the word of God. The word of God will not return void, but it will accomplish what God has sent it out to do (Isaiah 55:11). The word of God is described as a seed that is thrown out on all sorts of soil (Matthew 13:18ff.). Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God is "powerful," "sharper than any two-edged sword," and "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (King James Version). It is this mysterious power that changes minds and hearts, and that is why 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, "[I]t pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
Raising one's "voice like a trumpet" as Isaiah did (58:1), and holding up signs are simply means to get the word out to more people. It has nothing to do with hate. Quite the contrary, it has everything to do with love, because these approaches are means in which more people may be saved.
Having said this, it should be noted that we also engage in conversations with people and pass tracts out in addition to preaching and carrying signs. CCU is a flexible apologetics ministry, open to a variety of ways to reach people. We encourage respectful confrontations on all sorts of levels.
These broad levels include room for what may be called "relational evangelism." The latter must be careful though to be intentional about confronting at some point with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, bearing in mind to "[w]alk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time" (Colossians 4:5, KJV).
People are dying every minute without the freedom Christ has to offer, and are headed for an eternity in hell. Since these individuals are trapped by ideas hostile to Christianity, CCU exists to "persuade men" as "Christ's love compels us" (2 Corinthians 5:11 and 14, NIV).
The question is often asked, "Shouldn't you be concerned about turning off more people than you can reach by your preferred method?" The simple answer is we would be concerned about this if we really did not believe in the transforming power of the word of God. Preaching and carrying signs are traditional and legitimate means that God uses to save people, and we have seen it work with more positive results than negative. For those negative results, displaying the truth still serves a purpose in not allowing unbelievers to have an excuse when they stand before God.
The all-holy-Judge will not make allowances for unbelievers who did not like some evangelist's approach. This is not to give carte blanche in doing whatever to get the gospel out (although there is still something to rejoice over even when it goes out via improper ways as Philippians 1:14-18 say). Rather, it is simply to say that blaming the actions of others is not going to cut it before God.
Even if it won't cut it, why would we still do things that may repel people from accepting the gospel? If this is the case, then why were not the biblical preachers worried about this potential problem? Perhaps a response to this would be, because they were instructed by the Lord to do their monologues. If that is the case, then who is to say we haven't been? We take it that we have been. Further, the burden of proof seems to be on the individual detractor to demonstrate why we should not do what we do even if we are delusional about the Lord specifically instructing us. We were not instructed of the Lord to eat cereal as opposed to eggs this morning, so why would we have to have special instructions from Him prior to eating or prior to hearing by what way we are to get the gospel out? We submit that it is only micro-managers that try to get us to perform their chosen style of ministry.
We understand the need to be "all things to all men, that I by all means might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22, KJV), and we try to emulate that, but no one particular method is going to work with all people. The goal is to be like Christ and preach the gospel in all sorts of ways. And if you are always so worried about having everyone speak well of you, then you certainly are not following Christ. He said, "Woe to you, when all men speak well unto you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26, KJV). As Walter Martin used to say, "We aren't here to win popularity contests." So if you remain faithful to Christ, you can expect to be hated, since the world hated Him first (John 15:18-21 and 1 Jn. 3:13).
Further, other confrontational methods like simply passing tracts out to people in front of their gatherings are also deemed as highly offensive. Whatever legitimate rationale is used to defend simply doing this, the same legitimate rationale may be used for performing our preferred method. Of course, you may not even like the "confrontational" ministry of politely passing tracts out in front of these places, but again, why try to micro-manage everyone into your particular dislikes?
The issue of "turn off" is not the issue. It is not the "trump card" to determine ministry approach. The issue is how can we best reach the masses with the gospel when people are dying and going to hell everyday? With this perspective, it becomes more understandable why we do what we do. It seems more reasonable that some things are worth the risk of offending others' sensitivities if the message has a chance to get to them. Of course no one likes to be wakened up in the middle of night, but if one's house is on fire, the offense (whether by phone, doorbell, breaking windows, etc.) is understandably justified... and we dare say respectful. We judge that using a sign and preaching, among other methods, are of the best ways to get the word out to as many as possible. It is worth whatever offense is perceived. We know our motives are right before God, and people (other faiths, and unfortunately even Christians) are always going to whine about them and our approach in this life. They will all stand before God like we will, and we believe on that day they will all thank us for all the efforts we made to keep so many out of hell.
CCU will thus continue to encourage offensive Christian apologetics. The term "offensive" is used not to convey disrespect, but to convey our pro-active efforts and our refusal to simply play defense with our faith.
For more on these issues of ministry approach, please see Bill McKeever's Witnessing 'Rules of Engagement.'
R. M. Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United