Today was my first time preaching alone at Pershing Square. I set up just outside the square, on the northwest corner of 6th Street and Hill Street. It's a great spot. Constant pedestrian traffic and a large sidewalk area large enough for people to stop and listen without running into each other.
Many people were praying for me, and my sister encouraged me to read Psalm 25, which I did. After reading Psalm 25 and praying, I decided to try to read the entirety of the Gospel of John, in the open-air. I began with a gospel presentation. No sooner did I finish that gospel presentation that a young, black man named Nigel approached me. It's possible Nigel isn't his real name. It took him a few moments to recall it. As soon as he asked me a couple of questions, I knew I was dealing with a Black Hebrew Israelite, a racist cult that hates "the white man's Bible," "the white man's Jesus,' and "the white man." Black Hebrew Israelites also hate any person of color who does not hate white people.
For 90 minutes I read John 1-10 aloud while periodically engaging Nigel. I did my best to apply the wisdom of Solomon. I did not answer Nigel so not to be like him (Proverbs 26:4). And I did answer Nigel so as not to allow him to be too wise in his own eyes (Proverbs 26:5).
Nigel was relentless. Taking time only to catch his breath and collect his thoughts, Nigel was profane, self-deceived, and blasphemous with every hate-filled word that came out of his mouth (Matthew 15:17-20). It's been some time since I encountered a heckler as depraved as Nigel.
By God's grace there were a couple moments of peace and rejoicing as I stood atop the step stool. One young man stopped to ask me if I was familiar with Ray Comfort. I told him I was. Another man stopped to listen. When he heard Nigel berating me, he smiled at me and told me to keep preaching the Word of God. The man was able to distract Nigel with conversation, which allowed me to finish reading John 10 and preach the law and the gospel.
When I finished preaching and packed up my gear, I started for the subway station. Nigel followed me and continuing his self-righteous, scornful harangue. He seemed genuinely stunned when I asked him if he wanted to join me for a cup of coffee. It was the first time I saw him smile. But he quickly pulled himself together and told me he would only sit down with me if I would debate him. I told him I couldn't. To do so would be to cast pearls before swine.
Nigel followed me all the way to the subway station entrance, calling me "Esau" and other assorted names.
Sadly, in the Black Hebrew Israelites, Nigel found a religious cult that encourages him to hate The Triune God, the Word of God, people made in the image of God, and the only Savior who can forgive his sins.
Here is the unedited audio of my time at Pershing Square.
WARNING: this audio instances of blasphemy, the 'N' word, and other profane speech.