Urban Nations employs a methodology consistent with the apologetic of Cornelius Van Til. In a nutshell, our mindset is: The Bible can defend itself; just don't get in its way. The following report from Urban Nations missionary Gerry Wisz illustrates the soundness and power of this methodology. — Steve M. Schlissel
I teach a small class of ethnic Poles on Saturday mornings in a virtual Polish city in northern Brooklyn. There are three students right now, and one of them attends sporadically. The fellow at whose apartment we hold the class, Zbigniew ("Ziggy"), at first made his place available because he needed enough English to pass a basic oral test required for citizenship. I fully expected him to cancel soon after he obtained it, since of the three students he'd been the most hostile to the Gospel whenever we talked about it after the lessons were done.
But Ziggy wanted to keep meeting, and before long he began to instigate discussion about the Bible. At first he was very belligerent. He claimed it was a collection of mythological documents, the invention of Masons, and even if it contained some truth, it had been so twisted over the centuries that we couldn't be sure what we were reading. I calmly answered each of Ziggy's objections with the external evidences I could remember, but ultimately I told him that God had to open his eyes for him to understand the truth.
Over the weeks, Ziggy gradually stopped objecting and started searching a Polish Bible for himself. He would have verses prepared for me when I arrived: he'd lay them out and proceed to tell me what he thought they meant. He was off by a mile in most cases, of course, but it provided a wonderful opportunity to instruct Ziggy, Alexandra, and his roommate, Jarek, from the Scriptures. They're each attentive, but Ziggy especially appears to be moved lately, at times even near breaking down emotionally. At this point, Ziggy, without saying so, treats the Bible as though it is the word of God. Its authority isn't questioned anymore. He now wants to know what it means.
I called him one night asking him if he intended to go to church on Easter. Poignantly, he said he wanted to go but didn't know where. The Romish Church wasn't an option, he said. The other option, a Pentecostal fellowship, has people falling over backwards-not for him either, he said. Messiah's Congregation is on the other side of Brooklyn and Ziggy doesn't drive. The G-train ride would likely take a couple of hours one way on a Sunday. And besides, he doesn't understand very much English (and Rev. Schlissel doesn't know enough Polish to polish, despite the fact that his paternal grandparents emigrated from Poland.) I proposed we start a church in Ziggy's apartment. Ziggy is mulling it over.
I'm watching this guy change right before my eyes, and it is exciting! Please pray that we can arrange for an opportunity to begin worship — either at Ziggy's place or somewhere else, and that the other students, like Ziggy, would be warmly opened to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Gerald Wisz