Preacher returns to free speech zone

Jenny Rohl/TheNews

Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor

Ross Jackson of Revival Mission Ministries paid another visit to Murray State Monday and Tuesday, preaching in the free speech zone on campus while students circled around him.

Jackson was at Murray State last October preaching on similar topics. He wore a dress shirt and tie with a body camera strapped to chest and wore the same buttons with the words “homo” and “porn” marked out on them that he wore last October. He again held a black Bible that he thumped while speaking, but rarely opened to quote scripture in context.

According to Revival Mission Ministries WordPress website, the ministry is devoted to laboring for biblical revival in the church and in the world, and is committed to preaching at college campuses, streets, block parties, festivals, pagan parades and “such the like.”

More than 75 students circled around Jackson, some moving into the circle, others asking him questions or debating theology with him inside the free speech zone. The students and Jackson shouted their religious beliefs at each other.

Jackson’s wife and three young children were present, sitting silently under the tree next to the Curris Center.

Jacob Nasserizafar, sophomore from Newburgh, Indiana, attended his speeches on both days to hear what Jackson had to say.

“I came out to listen to him completely for entertainment,” Nasserizafar said. “It has been a lot of fun hearing these crazy things that he has been saying.”

Nasserizafar said he is not religious and Jackson’s preaching has no impact on his beliefs.

“It is quite obvious to me that what he is doing is just to get a reaction out of the crowd,” he said. “He is wearing a GoPro just waiting for someone to come up and attack him.”

Two officers from Public Safety and Emergency Management were present during both days Jackson was on campus.

Sawyer Rambo, senior from Cunningham, Kentucky, and Derek Stine, senior from Sparta, Illinois, said they are Christians and they attended Jackson’s speech to try to speak truth about the Christian faith to those in attendance.

Stine said he skipped class to see Jackson preach, and he attempted to engage in a conversation with Jackson about Calvinism but the conversation was “fruitless” because he didn’t seem interested in answering his questions.

“The thing that really makes me sad is that the people who are lost and don’t know Christ are going to look at this man and have the same perception they have of him and apply that to Christ himself,” Stine said.

Rambo said he also tried to talk to Jackson, but he said Jackson didn’t give much of answer to his question about the conversion of the biblical character Paul.

“You can get really mad and say ‘this guy is not speaking truth,’” Rambo said. “Or you can say ‘this is an opportunity for people to have conversations about faith and really open up about what they believe and share how you see the Gospel.’”

Rambo said he wants those who aren’t Christians to see the way he and other Christians act and notice that there is a difference in the way they act from what Jackson was saying.

“He mentioned that people were going to hell if they died in their sin…but what this man is not doing is preaching the cross,” Stine said. “Jesus came to this world fully God and fully man, and lived the perfect life that we couldn’t live and in our place by the death we deserved to die, and because of his burial and subsequent resurrection God is able to justify us through faith and Christ alone.”