STATE OF INDIANA
STATE OF INDIANA
IN THE ELKHART COUNTY COURT
CAUSE NO. 20E02-9207-CM-664
AFFIDAVIT OF DEFENDANT,
Date: ca. 15 October 1992 (1)
Defendant, Gary Spaulding, after first being duly sworn states:
It is my sincerely held belief that the Good News of Jesus is central to the spiritual life of a Christian. Jesus himself is referred to as: “the Word,” John 1,1. Receiving the Good News (or the “Word”) is the initial step in following Jesus. The Good News then has a deep effect on the heart and life of the listener as the Holy Spirit brings changes in desires, attitudes, and outlook.
Jesus spent his time mingling, interacting and conversing with the diverse people of his day. He focused his discussions on people’s most basic need of belonging to God and depending on him for salvation from sin and death. Jesus needed to mingle with the most diverse cross-section of people in order to make his message available to everybody.
The day Jesus took the sins of the whole world onto himself on the cross, he was outside, unsecluded, and in broad public view. This act of love on Jesus’ part sets the tone for his followers to emulate; to go outside, unsecluded, and into broad public view to make this Good News available to people everywhere.
Jesus’ own words were: “Go into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Good News to all creation,” Mark 16,15. He also said:
“GO OUT to the ROADS AND COUNTRY LANES and make them come in, so that my house (my banquet) will be full,” Luke 14,23.
Jesus’ disciples did as they were instructed. Of them it was later said: “… you have FILLED JERUSALEM with your teachings,” Acts 5,28.
Then Paul took the Good News to distant countries. Much of his preaching was done out in public. In the city of Ephesus he said: “… I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but HAVE TAUGHT YOU PUBLICLY and from house to house,” Acts 20,20. It was written of Paul in Athens:
“So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as IN THE MARKETPLACE day by day with those who happened to be there,” Acts 17,17.
Another writer of Scripture encourages us who love Jesus to: “… go to him (Jesus) OUTSIDE THE CAMP, bearing the disgrace he bore,” Hebrews 13,13.
This demonstrates biblically and historically that this Good News of Jesus is directed toward people on the public thoroughfares of the world, and NOT ONLY to those who come into a church building OR UP TO A BOOTH.
It is also the task of the messengers of this Good News to brave every obstacle in making it available to everybody. Even the obstacle of being arrested is part of the way God makes the Good News available to people in positions of authority. In Jesus’ own words:
“Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings AS WITNESSES TO THEM AND TO THE GENTILES. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you,” Matthew 10,17-20.
Thus, among those things which are central to following Jesus is the spreading of his Good News everywhere, including on public thoroughfares, and in spite of every obstacle. Furthermore, the proclaiming of this message is INDISPENSABLE, because people cannot know of Jesus and be saved without it. As Paul wrote:
“How can the people believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10,14-15.
In closing, there are also strong words of reprimand for those who block people’s free access to the Good News. In Jesus’ words:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to,” Matthew 23,13.
In light of these considerations I find myself compelled to GO OUT INTO THE PUBLIC THOROUGHFARES, OUTSIDE THE CONFINES OF CHURCH SANCTUARY OR FAIR BOOTH to tell people about Jesus both verbally and by means of a Jesus newspaper, which we publish. Jesus and his followers did not limit themselves to spreading the Good News from within the confines of any booth. Therefore I was not able to live true to Jesus and to the spreading of his message when I was required to do so from the confinement of a booth at the Elkhart County Fair.
Further affiant sayeth naught.
I affirm, under the penalties of perjury, the above and foregoing representations are true and correct.
- See archives of the Elkhart Truth newspaper (Elkhart, Indiana, U.S.A.), for article entitled: “Court to consider if fairgrounds can ban ‘free’ evangelist,” 15Oct92.