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Traveling preacher draws counter protest

By Hillary Akers
Around the Town Editor

April 19, 2012

Photo by Mindy Hubbard
Matt Bourgautt preaches to students at the amphiteatre by the water feature.

Students reacted to the preaching of Matt Bourgautt of Consuming Fire Campus Ministries April 3-4 at the amphitheater, the University's free speech zone, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

While Bourgautt preached, crowds of students, faculty and staff gathered to listen. Many individuals engaged in debate with Bourguatt over his beliefs.

Some became passionate in reaction to his speech and use of terms such as whore and harlot.

Bourgautt told individuals they were going to Hell for things such as alcohol use, sexual acts and listening to certain forms of music.

"I just want to preach," Bourgautt said. "My goal is to call sinners to repentance and glorify God while doing it."

Bourgautt said he has traveled to over 35 states in 12 years and other countries, such as Ukraine, Jamaica, Haiti and Mexico.

His time preaching at the University was very fruitful, Bourgautt said. He said the reactions from students were mixed, and although mostly negative, he believed some people were touched. He said Christ's stamp of approval was on his message to the campus.

Various student ministries showed up in protest of Bourgautt's message.

Ministries such as Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) and Cru organized members to stand around the amphitheater with posters that had Bible verses written on them in rebuttal to Bourgautt.

It was a silent response to a condemning preacher, BCM member Connor Josleyn said. Josleyn said Bourgautt's condemnation and judgment of people outside the church was wrong.

"They are supporting God in the way they should be," student Trevor Bowman said.

Dr. Sharon Lea Mattila, a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, said that Bourgautt had no business calling students derogatory names.

She said she wanted to start a petition among faculty about his speech and ability to get a permit on campus.

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Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012
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