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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘The truth sounds like hate speech to those that hate the truth’

While Brother Dean may have come and gone, other preachers have come to replace him.

Evangelic preachers Ryan D. Christian and Brother Mikhail Savenko visited campus and preached to UA students Tuesday.

Christian, wearing a crisp, black suit topped with a fedora, and Brother Savenko,with his black trousers slung-up with suspenders, were hard to miss. The pair echoed many of the same cries heard from Brother Dean — a part of daily life at the UA just months ago. Crying their message from either atop a folding chair or from the center of a crowd of students — who more often than not were shouting back — the two were the centerpiece of the UA Mall for most of the day.

With the sun was setting over Old Main, Christian left the preaching duties to Savenko and sat down with The Daily Wildcat. He discussed his life, religion and just what it is they are doing out there.

The two are in their final stops of a nationwide evangelical campus-preaching tour, which Christian, a musician, has dubbed the “no sodomy tour.” The UA and its sister school to the north, ASU, are two of their last stops before they head home to Southern California. Once home, the two will regroup, re-supply and head back out on the road.

According to Christian, they are traveling the country “trying to bring revival to America” and to spread the word of what they see as the three biggest threats to humanity — abortion, Islam and homosexuals.

“They are all against the family unit,” Christian said, elaborating on why those three issues in particular are the biggest threats.

Christian, who described himself before God as a “six-figure guy” who partied with celebrities and worked in the mortgage industry, said that a car accident that claimed the life of his brother is his reason for so passionately spreading his message.

“I was thrown from the car. People who saw the accident say that it looked like I was floating — being carried,” Christian said. “How else could you explain that, other than I was carried in the hands of God?”

In what UA students may see as a throwback to the methods of the infamous Brother Dean, Christian said that the pair practice “confrontational evangelism,” a method that is meant to “touch as many souls as possible,” according to Christian.

Christian, in stark contrast to his loud, powerful preacher persona, who just moments before was shouting; “yoga pants are sin” and “keep your junk in the trunk” at coeds, was soft spoken and calming while talking one-on-one.

He explained that he and Savenko transition between different preaching tactics depending on the situation — that their mission was purely to spread the love of God.

“Love is really what we do,” Christian said.

Citing the Bible, Christian condemned abortion, Islam and homosexuals, comparing the three to alcoholism.

“You tell an alcoholic to stop drinking out of love — you want them to stop hurting themselves,” Christian said. “That’s what we’re doing here.”

With the shouting contest of the crowd of students and Savenko resonating in the background, Christian justified what he does, saying that those who question his methods of preaching — that he and Savenko spread hate and not love — do not understand what he is doing.

“The truth sounds like hate speech to those that hate the truth,” Christian said.

According to Savenko, who had just wrapped up his day of preaching and joined Christian — folding chair in-tow — said that the UA was just an “average” university in comparison to the places they have visited so far. The real battle, both of them agree, will come next week while preaching to the students at ASU. The two will join forces with UA’s old friend, Brother Dean, who they know well and consider to be “a brother” of theirs.

Christian said that he sees the roads they travel and the campuses they visit as a battleground — he said he is here doing the Lord’s work.

“I am out here to declare war on the devil and sin. … I’m part of the Lord’s army,” he said.

Follow Sam Gross on Twitter.

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