Taken from Art Katz's Reality: The Hope of Glory: Chapter 4 -
Thus saith the Lord, "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." But they said, "We will not walk therein." (Jeremiah 6:16)
Christ, Our Wisdom and Knowledge
In 1968, the ministry of speaking on university campuses began for me at the University of Illinois, in Urbana. I was in over my head, beyond my experience, maturity, wisdom, and knowledge, but I was constrained of God to go. When I arrived at the campus, I found that my associates there had fashioned little strips, and had glued them all over the place. On each of them, three words were joined together as one: KATZISCOMING.
I cannot express how mortified and embarrassed I was to see that. I hated anything that celebrated personalities or the names of men, and I really took issue with the committee that had decided upon that course. They promised me that the Lord had clearly directed them. They were sure that if they had advertised some kind of abstract gospel meeting no one would have come. A new question arose in my heart: "Are you so dead and hid with Christ in God that it makes absolutely no difference to you whether your name is used or is not?" I knew that God had cornered me and that He Himself was ordaining the use of my name. I told the committee that I would go along with it.
That university was known at that time for all sorts of radical activities, and had recently been visited by state troops and militia during a student riot. Every day at one o'clock at the Student Union center, radicals would take the microphone, spew forth filth, and give invitations to violence. It was right there that I was scheduled to speak at the first of eigth days of meetings. Before my conversion, I had been a Marxist of the old vintage and did not even have a vocabulary in common with that generation of radicals. But the Lord was calling.
I remember going into a little football huddle with the other Christians and, clinging together, we asked the Lord's blessing. The prayer ended, the circle broke, and I found myself before the microphone-alone. Standing there with my face sticking out, I had never felt more weak, beggarly, or ill-equipped. I looked across a room which was jammed with angry and contentious students. The fate of the next eight days was hanging on this initial encounter.
As I started to speak, I looked straight to the back of the room and my eyes fell upon a particular individual. He had a face that was the epitome of every wise-alecky and cynical opposition to God that this world can produce; he was a perfect type of the Art Katz that I was only a few short years before. When I saw that guy licking his lips and rubbing his hands in gleeful anticipation, I knew that he was going to be trouble.
Having finished my short presentation, I foolishly opened for questions. Of course, his hand was the first to go up. Elbowing his friends and smirking, his whole demeanor seemed to say, "Okay, guys, I've got this under control. I'll put this guy Katz down from the beginning and that'll be the end of the whole ball game." With a voice that was dripping with mockery, he said, "Mr. Katz, do you believe in hell?"
I was completely taken aback. It was a question for which I was totally unprepared. Once again, I found myself without a neat little booklet, alphabetically indexed: "H-hell." The Word of God is explicit about His provision for His children:
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom ... in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (1 Corinthians 1:30a, Colossians 2:3)
Do you believe that? Will you believe it, not only when you are sitting safely and comfortably in the company of the saints, but also when your face is sticking out before a hostile audience, and it is a matter of life and death for them and for you?
For the rest of the chapter.