Some students are shouting, some are shaking their heads and others just walk away. What is all this commotion about in this crowd outside of Tuttleman Hall? His name is Stephen White (Brother Steve to most Temple students) and his controversial views have sparked many confrontations with students.
A member of the Pentecostal denomination of Christianity, White has been preaching on the sidewalks of Temple since 1993.
“There are different techniques to reaching people,” White said. “The most effective way to reach everybody, the pagans, the Buddhists, the atheists, the liars, the homosexuals, the God haters, the Christians, everybody, is by public speaking, open air preaching. They have to hear it.”
Sophomore Joy Semke, herself a Christian, feels that while the message that White gives to students is important, his technique tends to push students away from his faith rather then attract them.
“I admire his boldness and his desire to share what he believes with people; however, I think the message he preaches is heavy on condemnation. It doesn’t offer any of the positive things about being a Christian, like the fact that your sins are forgiven.”
White travels all over the East Coast to preach. One of his goals in his work is “make Jesus and his word a major issue on college campuses.” He also hopes to reach the future leaders of America.
“All the leaders of America and the world come to college campuses,” he said. “Other countries send their cream of the crop here, so the only way to give our leaders a Biblical, conservative world view is to have a ‘whacko’ like myself come in here and preach it.”
When he is preaching on campus, White can often be found in the middle of several discussions with Temple students. He said that he finds it much easier to have these discussions with college students, as they are much more open.
“I like to bring up theological debates like original sin because people start rising up because they have been taught this as kids,” White said. “They start spewing out what they have been taught and it’s a good way to get into a discussion and to start talking about the Bible.”
“If he is led by God it’s cool,” said sophomore Sapphira Ivey. “For me, I wouldn’t come to the religion like that but someone else might. I can’t judge him.”
If you have ever seen White preaching you know he sometimes refers to students as “sinners” “whores” and “whore mongers.” He uses these terms because he feels there is no fear of God on college campuses.
“The law of God is totally scorned,” he said. By doing this White believes that he is “bringing the law of God in their [the students] face.”
Sophomore Erin Dyer feels that White’s method is not friendly towards Temple students.
“In a way, I think that he has a point. And he has a right to say his point, but he insults people while he makes that point,” Dyer said.
White takes a lot of taunting and jeering from the students he meets everyday. He said he is able to keep coming back and facing these people because he is “totally convinced that the Bible is true. Everything else is wrong. The Bible is right.”
“As long as there are college campuses I want to be there to preach. As long as students say ignorant, stupid things about the Bible, I want to be there to refute their ignorance.”