'Did you agree with Dave?'

Enigmatic speaker unveils mystery of religious organizations' campaign by sharing faith

Iowa State Daily/October 4, 2002
By Ben Burke

The mystery of the neon-green T-shirts was revealed Thursday. "Dave" of "Do you agree with Dave?" infamy, otherwise known as David Newendorp, spoke to a crowd of 250 people in front of the Campanile at noon and 2 p.m.

"When we're living in sin, we're dead - we're dead to God," he said.

Newendorp, senior in mechanical engineering, said before becoming Christian, he studied, "Buddhism, Muslim and all that stuff."

He said he was the man whose name was printed on the front of hundreds of bright green T-shirts and fliers across campus this week and last.

Newendorp is a member of Campus Crusade for Christ. The campaign was arranged by his organization in cooperation with The Rock, Salt Company, University Impact, Illini Life, Cross Seekers, Chi Alpha, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and InterVarsity, according to fliers distributed about the event.

According to Illini Life representatives, however, their organization is not a part of the Dave campaign.

Newendorp said he began to look to God when he "came to a conclusion real fast that people will fail me."

On Thursday, he read portions of the Bible to the crowd to emphasize his views. He read the stories of King Solomon and the prodigal son, comparing his life to both.

He said his life changed when he went to a church retreat in high school.

"My image of God, the image that looks down and says, 'Don't, that is wrong,' changed," Newendorp said.

He said he "deserved to go to Hell," but found Jesus, who paid the penalty for his sins.

"God is sitting there right now, and just wants you to come back," he said.

Saralyn Ohanian, senior in genetics and member of the ISU Atheist and Agnostic Club, attended the speech at noon.

"I disagree with Dave," she said.

"I don't believe in God and I'm here to protest their views. There are other ways to gain happiness and meaning in life, through personal strength and determination that you draw upon from yourself."

P'Angela Haynes, junior in religious studies, attended both the noon and 2 p.m. speeches.

"They had a wonderful testimony," she said. "I am waiting to see if they ask people if they want to accept Jesus Christ into their lives, if they want to know God."

Haynes said she was skeptical of the way the groups operated their campaign, including the T-shirts.

"It's gone astray. They should be out in the open," she said.

Daniele Marchisio, postdoctorate student in chemical engineering, attended the noon speech as well.

"What are they trying to do?" he said. "This seems strange, like brainwashing. They do not think for themselves."

Tony Friedricksen, staff member for Campus Crusade for Christ, introduced Newendorp before the speeches.

Friedricksen said the campaign had been performed on other campuses.

"We're hoping to clear up misconceptions about what it means to be a Christian," he said of the campaign's purpose.

Friedricksen said some people think it is enough to be a nice person or be good to others, but that is not being a Christian.

"To be a Christian means to put your faith in Jesus Christ," he said. "He can be the only payment for your sins."

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