“Sister” Cindy Smock, a native of Terre Haute, IN, visited the campus of Indiana University (IU) Indianapolis on Wednesday and IU Bloomington on Tuesday. She spoke to large crowds, sparking concern among some Christian students who found her vulgarity-filled message disturbing. Some of those Christians included a majority of our editorial board and writers.
While The Collegiate Commons is non-sectarian and non-partisan, there comes a time when it is important to be vocal about issues (and individuals) that challenge our campus and our work as a student-led newspaper.
On the one hand we are staunchly committed to free speech. We recognize that freedom of the press and the freedom of speech are foundational values of our democracy, and ought to be upheld on the university campus.
On the other hand, we believe it is the duty of purportedly Christian individuals and organizations on campus to use their power of free speech and their organizing capabilities in a way that does not threaten their witness, nor the witness of other Christians to the world, and to confront those self-professed Christians who do.
Smock is one of those self-professed Christians that ought to be rebuked.
She claims that her evangelism style is “Biblical style, Holy Spirit style.”
That might be true, if saying things like “You have only been here six or seven weeks and you are already a wet a** p*ssy” and “most of these boys are just pen*ses with arms and legs” could be considered Biblical.
Smock went on to declare that, “Sister Cindy came here to peg you,” To which the crowd erupted with glee.
Her words simply bring chaos, confusion, and disruption.
When opinion writer Rachel Cooper asked her about the efficacy of her methods, Smock insisted that “I led everybody out here to Jesus.”
When pressed on the intentions of the crowd, she deflected and said that it is “between them and God.”
However it appeared that Smock’s most staunch supporters were not interested in hearing about God’s law or his Gospel. One held a sign that said, “Satan loves you,” as students cheered.
The fact that her rants calling for students to “repent” of promiscuous acts were always followed by snickers and laughter is telling. Not to mention the fact that Smock herself almost broke into laughter after a student answered her question about the “difference between an entrance and an exit hole.”
Repentance is the humble admission of sins and wrongdoing, filled with grief and sorrow.
What Smock was evoking from the crowd was nothing less than pride.
Smock herself presents a strange form of pride. Whether through her performative firing up crowds of condescending students or her growing social media presence, she persists in humiliating herself in ways that leave it hard to believe her goal is anything other than attention.
Professions and Faith
Smock wrapped up her “evangelism” by inviting the crowd to join her and hold hands in a circle and pray.
“While dozens of students stood with me in prayer and cried out to Jesus, the “Christians” on campus complained about my methods,” she said on her instagram. “The Christians could have hung around and invited those who made professions of faith to church or Bible study… but they can’t see the forest for the trees.”
It’s unclear exactly what the profession of faith that Smock led her followers in was actually composed of. She told Cooper this meant “They believed in His death and resurrection.” But on her instagram, she quotes herself as simply asking, “Who wants to start over?”
One student recorded the “prayer” she led the students in (which did not even mention Jesus Christ or asking for forgiveness from sins). All the students who repeated what she said in the prayer laughed and smiled throughout.
Sister Cindy’s ministry has long been known to be Pelagian, which means they profess an ancient heresy (long condemned by all Christian groups as a rejection of the Gospel) that says humans could be perfect if they choose not to sin. Her husband claimed to be sinless.
It was once again clear though from watching the crowd that those in attendance who responded were simply playing along with Smock’s fiery, vulgar attempts to gain crowd participation.
The students were mocking Christian beliefs about sexual morals. They were mocking Smock and her provocative stunt. Worst of all, they were mocking the Gospel.
For Cindy Smock’s sake, we hope Pelagianism is false. If her sins of pride and scandal were caused by anything other than ignorance stemming from the brokenness of the sin that is in every one of us, it would mean she is simply choosing to do a great evil by subverting the spread of the Gospel through her “slut shaming show.”
If Smock’s actions were only affecting her, then there would be no need to publicly rebuke her as we are doing here. However, she is making a mockery of evangelism to a degree that might even be considered blasphemous.
A Message to Sister Cindy
Sister Cindy, and we now say sister in all sincerity, as brothers and sisters in Christ we beg of you to please take a long, honest look at your ministry.
Christ called us to call sinners to repentance, but He also gave us a duty to walk beside them in humility and love.
Traveling from place to place, riling up crowds with sexual language, and leaving after a few hours is not Biblical evangelism.
The New Testament shows us that the Apostle Paul and the Twelve went far and wide, preaching forgiveness for those who repent and turn to the mercy of Christ. They would settle in places for months or years at a time, living alongside the people. They would preach, work, and care for the poor and neglected.
When Paul went to Athens where the philosophers gathered, the college campus of his day, he did not have the crowd shout slogans with him about the sodomy and orgies that the Greeks were notorious for. Instead, he stayed and reasoned with them. He took what was familiar, made a real connection, and preached the Gospel.
Sister, know that the Christians of The Collegiate Commons have no malice towards you. In fact, you are breaking our hearts. Your brothers and sisters across the spectrum of Christianity: Methodists, Lutherans, Non-Denominationals, and Catholics are praying for you, and we encourage Christians on campuses far and wide to do the same, instead of playing along with your performance.