By Bryce Shockley, Contributing Writer
Brother Jed Smock, a zealous evangelist from Terre Haute, Ind., descended upon Asbury University with a small team of like-minded supporters this week. At the end of chapel on Wednesday, Greg Haseloff announced to the student body that there was a group of people on campus that would be preaching on the sidewalk that were not sanctioned to be here by the university. My heart sank deep within my chest as I realized that Brother Jed and his team would be on campus that day. The day quickly transitioned from ordinary to extraordinary.
Though we don’t respond in this way, do we acknowledge that Brother Jed is a real person? He has been doing what he does for decades and truly believes what he preaches. He holds deep-seated theological convictions that many students did not seem to understand. When I saw students approach throughout the day to engage in verbal sparring, I was discouraged by how unprepared many students were to articulate orthodox beliefs to these false teachers.
do we acknowledge that Brother Jed is a real person?
Many students made remarks about how “Jesus didn’t judge” or that Jesus “never called people out for their sins.” Both of these statements show several students have a clear misunderstanding of Christ’s ministry and Christ’s actions. Other students sat in groups and openly mocked, scorned and laughed at the ridiculous and sexually laced remarks that the ‘preachers’ were making.
For Brother Jed and his team, I feel the most important response we can give is to pray God would bring them under true conviction of his word. We should pray that even their heresy would be used to save souls and that God would still make a name for himself.
This unorthodox teaching of sinless perfection can be traced back to a man by the name of Pelagius, a heretical British monk that denied moral inability and the effects of original sin. Their theology takes free will to such an extreme extent that they believe we just never sin again if we are to truly call ourselves Christian. This type of theology is abhorrent and at enmity with the Word of God. It leads to spite, unrighteous judgment, and malice towards those that disagree with you.
As we clearly experienced as a student body, this theology produces anger and defensive pride within individuals that claim perfection because they are constantly looking to themselves for a standard of perfection. They have created a new type of righteousness absent from Biblical teaching. They are so utterly below true perfection that they have deceived themselves into believing in a form of righteousness that the Gospel knows nothing of.
I do not use the term heresy lightly, but it is precisely what is at the root of all of the teaching presented Wednesday.
Brother Jed looks to his own sanctification to justify himself rather than the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to believers. What they believe is truly doctrines of demons and we, as Asburians and Christians should be equipped to stand on God’s word.
Truth is a sword that cuts precisely and should not be used like a club to destroy others. Be in prayer and, with vigilance, ask God that Brother Jed and those like him would forsake their falsehood and surrender their hearts to Christ.