CP: Do you feel that overzealous believers, overzealous Christians make it harder to convert non-Christians in the sense that non-believers become turned off by looking at some of the things that are said?
Laurie: Yes, but in my experience, I don't think the problem that we have today is overzealous believers. I think the problem we have is underzealous believers. I think we have people that are not even leaving their comfort zone to engage people with the gospel. I don't know if you can be overzealous, but you can be unwise in the way you do it. I appreciate zeal and energy and passion but in our zeal, we just need to do it in a loving way and do it in a compassionate way, not share our faith in a robotic or mechanical way, but interact with the person, listen to them, and respond appropriately to their questions.
To me, the model example of how to share your faith is Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4. He was patient with her. He took time for her. To some degree, she was kind of disrespectful to Him at first, initially kind of blowing off what he said and blowing off what he was saying to her. But then, as it continued on, she began to understand and ultimately believed.
The Bible says that the servant of the Lord must be patient. Not everyone believes immediately. Sometimes, God is going to have you sow a seed. Sometimes, God is going to have you water a seed that someone else sows. Sometimes, God is going to have you reap where others have sowed and watered.
When I get up here and speak at these crusades, like last night we saw 3,000 people come forward, I understand that is a result of a lot of prayer, effort, evangelism on the part of the people that brought these folks. I have the privilege as throwing the net, but I understand that I am just a part of this process and ultimately, it is God that does the work.
CP: You said not too long ago that we could be living in the last of days, what exactly did you mean by that and does that make events like SoCal Harvest even more crucial?
Laurie: I do believe that we are living in the last days. I know this has been said before but there are events happening in our world right now that, to me, are what we call signs of the times.
The Bible says there are things that we should look for that signal the last days and one of them of course is the scattering and regathering of the nation of Israel, which we all know happened in 1948 when Israel was declared a nation. But the Bible tells us, for instance, that there is going to be a cashless society. The Bible tells us that there is going to be global instability and excessive violence in the End Times. As we look around right now at the way the world is changing, we look at the change economically, we look at the emergence of radical terrorist groups like ISIS that are incomprehensibly barbaric in the things that they do to people.
I just read today in The Christian Post about how they were using a blowtorch to kill people that defected. I can't remember a time that we heard anything this awful since the Nazis. Now, with social media, which they use quite adeptly, this horror and wickedness has spread and people are radicalized online. Who would have even thought of such a thing 25 years ago. Yet, here it is happening right now.
The Bible says that in the last days that it will be like labor pains. As a woman is ready to give birth, the labor pains get closer and closer together. That's what I think we are seeing that says we are in, maybe now, the last hours because the events are getting closer together. Maybe 20 years ago, there would be an event every few months or so, maybe once a year. Now, it just seems like every week there are things happening that remind us that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled and Christ is coming. Having said that, I think that should produce in the Christians, an urgency to share their faith.
Look, I don't know when the end of the world is, but there are people that I speak to every night, the end of their world could be tomorrow because we don't know when life will end. So, I preach as a dying man to dying men.
CP: We hear a lot about the increasing secularization of America today but do you feel like some of the compromises that mainline denominations have made on biblical teachings are helping lead America away from God?
Laurie: Yes, I do. I mean, I just read in The Christian Post, which I read everyday … I was reading about some minister that has written a book that says that it is OK for people who aren't married to have premarital sex. Then, another article pointed out that she doesn't believe in the authority of scripture.
Yes, this is a problem because they are misrepresenting God. So, someone might believe something like that or another idea that says that they can do whatever they want regardless of what scripture teaches and this now becomes something that can push people away from God or keep them from understanding what a real Christian really is.
We see mainline denominations in many ways dying. The churches that are growing and thriving are churches that I would call evangelical and orthodox for the most part in their beliefs. They are churches that tend to evangelize … and encourage their people to share their faith. These are the churches that are actually growing. The ones that are shrinking are the ones that are compromising and watering down what the word of God says.
Actually, that too is a sign of the times because the Bible says that in the last days, there would be false teachers. And, it also says that in the End Times that ... there would be an apostasy. When someone gets up and says that the Bible is not the word of God, I really don't care what their point is. That, to me, is apostasy.
When someone says that the Bible is not the word of God and that we can make things up as we go, pick and choose what parts of the Bible we want to believe, that to me is apostasy.