Noted Evangelist to Visit Campus This Week

by Nicole Leonard | 4/13/99 5:00am

To the Editor:

One writer called Jesus, "The Irresistible Christ." How, you may ask, could a man be called irresistible whose followers throughout the centuries have slaughtered Moslems and Jews, enslaved Africans, massacred Native Americans, colonized nations, embezzled money and lied to television audiences? Christians today have inherited this legacy and have to deal with history.

But I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I, like Frederick Douglass, "love the pure, peaceable and impartial Christianity of Christ."

The true Gospel has through the centuries set captives freed, bound up the broken hearted, lifted oppression, inspired social change, reconciled enemies, brought prosperity in the place of poverty, order in chaos and supplanted hatred with love; for it carries a message of reconciliation between man and his Creator God. Indeed, one of the tasks of modern Christians is to disentangle the Gospel, which is truly "GOOD news," from the weeds that have grown up with it which have been BAD news to so many.

Coming to Dartmouth this week is a man who has preached this "good news" to millions of people worldwide. On April 14 and 15, Argentine born, Dr. Luis Palau will be speaking in Collis Common Ground and Leede Arena. He'll be sharing the message that inspired Eleazar Wheelock to found this college and has captured the hearts of millions all over the globe. Indeed, he was just in Mexico, speaking to 100,000 people, including many national leaders.

This occasion reminds me of the scandals currently threatening to contaminate the Olympic games. At the heart of the Olympic games is a love for good sportsmanship and excellence and a demonstration of international cooperation. Yet, marring this ideal is the greed and embarrassing pettiness of certain Olympic officials. Still, we will turn on our TVs and enjoy the games in 2000. We understand that there is something bigger than all that STUFF. We will sift through it all and enjoy the games anyway.

Similarly, evangelists have a lot of cynicism and incredulity surrounding them. Scandals have bred a distrust and marred the reputation of preachers as a whole. Yet, there are thousands of preachers throughout the U.S. who have given their lives working in the inner cities, war torn nations and small communities. The message these men and women share is bigger than all the bad press; it is about the love of God and it still brings freedom, life and hope. Hollywood, perhaps, will never depict such positive examples, but the facts remain.

Just as we have to separate Jesus from some of his followers and alleged followers, so too are we challenged at this time to separate Luis Palau from all the malaise surrounding evangelists and consider the MESSAGE. Sure, Dr. Palau will use modern methods: an arena with speakers and music and all those other trappings, but the Olympics don't look like what they used to in the 1930's either. We all enjoy the conveniences that technological advances have made possible.

So consider coming, and chalk it up to one more experience of your liberal arts education.