Pastor Michael Webber made national headlines last week when his preaching at a movie theater in Redlands, California, following a showing of the “Avengers” caused people to run for their lives and led to his arrest on a misdemeanor charge.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Webber, the 28-year-old pastor of Truth & Triumph Ministries, said he often evangelizes at movie theaters. But following a showing of the “Avengers” on the evening of April 26 the lights in the theater were still off when he began to preach, and he believes that’s what led to the chaos of people running for the exits and some being injured as they tried to escape.
Redlands Police Department officers rushed to the Harkins Mountain Grove 16 theaters after calls were made to 911 fearing there might be gunman inside the theater, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Below is an edited transcript of CP’s interview with Webber and his account of what happened at the movie theater and how he plans to evangelize in the future.
CP: Some news outlets have described your actions in preaching at the theater as an act of terrorism. Can you give us your account of what happened?
Webber: Thursday night, I came to enjoy “Avengers: Infinity War” as I am a big fan of these movies. As I have done on multiple other occasions, I waited until the end of the movie (specifically when the end credits begin to roll) to stand up and preach the Gospel. As the end credits started, I stood up from my seat and began to preach. I have a script that I follow when I preach in crowds to make sure my message is concise, consistent with Scripture, and to ensure that I am clear in my language so that my intentions are not misunderstood.
My exact words were: “I want to let everyone here know that God loves you, and that He has a wonderful plan for your life. If there is anyone here who is unsure as to whether they would spend eternity in Heaven? I have good news! The Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 6:23). And “whosoever shall call upon the Name of The Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). God said, “I will be merciful to your unrighteousness. And your sin and your lawless deeds, I will remember no more!” (Hebrews 8:12). If there’s anyone here who would like to make Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior, say this prayer after me…”
And I then began to lead in the prayer of salvation. The most unusual part about this particular night was that every other time that I have stood to preach in theaters, the lights would come up as the credits began. But this night they did not. However, I did not perceive it to be a problem because my hands were up (evidencing that I was unarmed, and not a threat). And up until about mid-way through the salvation prayer, no one in the theater moved. They were just looking at me. There was an occasional shout back at me telling me to “sit down,” but nothing that would indicate the audience was alarmed.
When I noticed people leaving during the prayer it didn’t seem to me that they were evacuating at a hectic pace. Perhaps because the lights were off. But the people right around me were sat calmly. There was nothing to suggest that people were in a panic. I sat back down (intending to watch the end credit scene that always accompanies a Marvel movie), and about a minute after I was sat, the lights came up.
I heard someone say, “Who did that?” I raised my hand and said, “I did.” They began to yell at me and cuss at me. At this time, theater managers came into the theater, along with theater security. Up until that point, I did not know anyone had been alarmed. After a few minutes, the theater managers asked me to leave.
My wife, my father, and I exited the side door which led to the front of the theater. There was a crowd of people waiting for me who confronted me with shouting and cussing. After a moment or two, I decided to walk my wife to the car in case the crowd became violent. As we approached the car I saw the police vehicles pulling into the theater. I asked my father to take my wife home, and I turned and walked back to the theater to meet the police.
Officers approached me and I put my hands up. One officer approached me and handcuffed me, informing me that I was not being arrested; just detained until they could determine what happened. After two hours in the back of the police vehicle, The officers returned to the car and informed me that this was a citizen’s arrest, facilitated by Redlands Police Department. At the detainment center, the police asked me to sign a consent form that would allow them to search my residence to determine I was not a threat. After the search was complete, they let me go.
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Source: Christian Post