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Ministers incite student frenzy

Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012

Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2012 22:09

Chaos erupted in Borchuck Plaza Thursday when ministers from PinPoint Evangelism started preaching and debating passer-by students.

PinPoint ministers Kerrigan Skelly and John McGlone quickly attracted the attention of East Tennessee State University students in the process of, what their reservation permit refers to as, “Free Speech Gospel Preaching.”
Many enraged students shouted insults containing foul language at the ministers as a result of their commentary.

The students’ reactions did not prevent the ministers from returning fire with an indiscriminant barrage of insults and judgmental statements.

Among Christians and non-Christians, the crowd’s reaction to the event was generally the same.

One student brought out a white board and marker to write various remarks, which often resulted in the crowd cheering whenever something new was written.

The PinPoint preachers’ reservation permit stated that the group reserved the plaza on the basis of “Free Speech Gospel Preaching.” The group reserved Borchuck Plaza from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This fact later came became an issue when ETSU Public Safety questioned the time at which the group’s demonstration would conclude.

ETSU Public Safety escorted the PinPoint ministers out of Borchuck Plaza at 3:30 p.m., which was the time at which the group stated that it had set to conclude its gospel preaching.

“I, myself, am a Christian and I believe that this guy preaching hellfire and damnation here on this campus just gives Christians a bad name in general,” said Jesse Ray, a junior. “Christianity is based on mercy and forgiveness from God and not condemnation.”
About midway through the pastors’ time in Borchuck Plaza, Gary Ellis, a sophomore studying pre-business, emerged from the crowd and began to preach against the agenda of the two PinPoint Evangelism preachers.

Ellis read almost exclusively from the Bible and with each pause, the crowd erupted into cheers.

Ellis, who regularly attends The Well, said that he just wanted people to hear the truth.

“These people [the PinPoint preachers] were preaching on lies, preaching on hate, preaching on sin; they weren’t preaching the true character of God,” Ellis said. “How is someone that is hurt and needs healing, redemption and inner peace going to go to God when they think that he is this wrathful character that is going to turn them away no matter what they are? God is not like that.”
ETSU Public Safety stationed multiple officers in Borchuck Plaza to keep the situation from spiraling out of control.

Lt. John Orr, ETSU Public Safety, said that the biggest concern during the event was student safety and making sure the altercations stayed strictly verbal.

Officers occasionally spoke to students or the pastors in an effort to ensure that they did not cross the line and cause a physical altercation.

“You start seeing people when their emotions are up, and that’s when we usually put more of a presence there,” Orr said. “Usually, when we have [these events], we at least have one officer just as a monitor. As you start getting bigger crowds with shouting and noise complaints, then we step it up a little bit.”
Orr said that there could be changes made into how these types of events are handled in the future, especially regarding student safety.

ETSU Public Safety is considering the creation of a buffer zone between speakers and the audience.

Public Safety is also considering the utilization of blockades to further separate speakers from students during happenings of this nature.

“I think that would help the whole situation and everyone would still be allowed to say their comments,” Orr said.


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Sat Apr 12 2014 18:03
Bravo Aaron Gong :) agree agree agree
Aaron Gong
Thu Apr 10 2014 01:57
WOW... Pinpoint's Kerrigan Skelly is an attention seeker, is he not? He says he wants to save souls.... but instead he trolls these pages to defend... not his stance or biblical interpretation... but himself. No Jesus here. Just... "Oh no your article is biased" and "He was a good guy". Posting anonymously simultaneously his video post and articles lifting himself up is also indicative of his obviously low intelligence. My very young children pull stunts like that thinking they are fooling daddy. They are not.. and neither is he. And anyway, posting videos titled "ETSU sinners...". That's not about converting anyone. It's about recognition and judgment. Skelly and those like him are attention seekers and love the spotlight. The are most certainly NOT in this to save anyone. If they were, they would be less judgmental (certainly after the fact.... what is the point?). I don't remember any stories where Jesus demeaned those whom he wished to save... seems like I remember he humbled himself. Pick your cliche': WWJD, more flies with honey, etc. I write this just to make a statement... let's not respond to anymore "Anonymous" or "Objective Truth" or whatever he comes up with to call himself. Just like this or any other reasonable comment instead of giving any more attention to him. Don't feed the animals.
Tue Apr 1 2014 18:14
pinpoint you really troll and post on these comments and articles. noticed you remove all negative comments on youtube videos makinf comments look positive. now it seems you edit your footage to. Freedom right!!!!
Fri Oct 5 2012 02:40
This preacher comes every year and every year students end up yelling, screaming, and insulting him in just the same way he does to them. ETSU continues to allow him to speak and safety continues to protect him from the angry mob. Nothing ever changes! Maybe if ETSU would put as much effort into who recieves the reservation permit as they do in wasting money on signs, new benches (the old ones were fine) and greenspace (takes up available parking spaces) situations like this would reduce dramatically. If ETSU is so concerned about allowing "free speech" then why doesn't the KKK, Hells Angels, Mesonc Lodges etc come to the campus? Free publicity was all that it was. ETSU comes out looking like the good guy while the students had to resort to that preacher's level to defend and protect other students who were either new to Christianity, or still not converted. Ellis did the right thing when he preached the gospel and corrected many things the preacher was confused about, or just plain ignorant about. It not only showed that the bible could be interpreted several ways, but it also showed the other students that he was willing to save them using the very weapon the preacher used to condemn them, the bible!
Living For Christ
Tue Oct 2 2012 10:47
Anonymous (Or should I say Kerrigan Skelley) - in the name of "free speech gospel preaching", you should also post the rest of the video where Gary Ellis stood up and proclaimed the true message of reconciliation which we've been given in Christ. I think you are afraid to post that because your message of condemnation and death bore no fruit or life - only anger and separation from the heart of God. But when Gary Ellis stood up and preached from the Word the TRUE gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation - many people heard and gladly received what he had to say, and it bore MUCH GOOD FRUIT. Even after you were escorted away, a large number of students remained to joyfully hear and receive the GOOD NEWS of reconciliation and new life in Jesus Christ. The letter of the law message you preach kills......but grace and truth in Christ brings life. "You shall know them by their fruits" is certainly evident here. Before you stand up again to mislead and put people under condemnation and wrath, please study your Bible and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the true gospel to you.
Objective Truth
Mon Oct 1 2012 09:11
Oh yeah, this is GREAT unbiased journalism! NOT! Notice that there isn't even one quote from the PinPoint Evangelism team? Notice that there isn't one quote from a student supportive of them...even though there were many? If you were there and were actually objective, this article would actually be titled, "Intolerant Sinners Go Into Hate-Filled Frenzy". Oh well...eternity and the judgment seat will reveal the TRUTH!
Mon Oct 1 2012 00:39
I believe this article was written in a partially biased way against the Pastors. I've seen these guys preach and they aren't saying anything that you can't find in the Bible. The problem is Christians are trying to water down the true message of the Gospel in order to tickle the ears of the unbelieving hearers so they (the hearers) can feel justified in their sin just enough to where they don't want to change. Jesus said repent or perish and talked about the realities of hell more than he did heaven. The point is, it's good to present a balanced gospel and not just a feel good tickle your ear or an all encompassing hell fire preaching message either.
Mr Right Place Activist
Mon Oct 1 2012 00:29
Just a heads up, I am the guy with the white board, I am not actually a student at ETSU, but just so happened to be visiting the campus, I travel the US helping students to set up non-partisan liberty groups on college campuses, and just so happened to be there at the right time. I was lucky enough to be able to show that the First Amendment can be used for the forces of good as well! ;)

I'm also glad I finally found something about this, I've been searching all weekend for pictures and footage!


Sun Sep 30 2012 23:18

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