| Are those days over?|
I know I talk about street preaching alot, but thats only because I don't believe the church talks enough about it.
This is really on my heart so I want to share.
A friend of mine, Jason Thaxton: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=684 , was talking to some "Christians" about open-air preaching on their college campus because I was kicked off their campus just a few days ago. One of them said "The days of the soap-box preacher are over". This is not a very uncommon belief in the church today. I wrote my thoughts against this lie in an artical "Modern Modernizing" http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=5095
Heres a bit of what I said.
Along with worship music changing, ministry methods have been changing as well. There a great deal of people in our day that reject certain methods of ministry and do so out of ignorance because they have never tried them. Its one thing to say I dont think that works and another to say I know that doesnt work. Some of the most greatly neglected methods of ministry would be tracts and open air preaching. I have heard people say Well God may have used tracts and street preaching in history, but he doesnt use them now. This is a new day which calls for new methods. Some of you may believe the very same thing. This is putting God in a box. Lets ask ourselves just a few questions.
1) Is it possible that the reason it worked then and not now is because we dont use them now? We say God doesnt use street preachers anymore but maybe it is because there really arent many street preachers to be used anymore. I assure you that there are a few and God uses them, but He cant use those who are not willing to be used.
2) Why would God suddenly abandon street preaching and tracts? Is our generation the only generation that cant see God move using these things? God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If God did something in history, he can do the same thing in the present. Would anyone say God used to speak to His church through the bible, but not in this new era, God doesnt use the bible anymore? Of coarse no reasonable and logical Christian would dare say such a thing. Street preaching is found in scripture and the written word is so powerful that God himself wrote His own book. Why limit God by saying He cant move through these things anymore? This is very dangerous because millions of souls that could have been won will not be won due to this one lie.
3) Could saying that God doesnt use these things anymore truly be a cop out? Maybe you are so ashamed of Christ that you cant imagine giving out tracts in public and therefore you say God doesnt use these things. Well if God doesnt use these things then certainly, neither should we. But in reality He does use them and therefore so should we. I fear that many reject the method because they are ashamed of the message.
If you attended the meeting we had on Hudson Taylor you may have noticed that he was saved by a gospel tract. If it wasnt for gospel tracts, who knows what would have became of this great man. Think of all the souls that were won in his own day because of the mission society that he founded. Think of the souls that are still being reached because of this one man who is the founder of modern missions. What would have happened if his generation accepted the lie that God doesnt use tracts.
Great Revivals have come due to street preaching in particular. The revivals of Wesley and Whitefield would never have happened if they did not preach in the streets. Charles Spurgeon said "It would be very easy to prove that revivals of religion have usually been accompanied, if not caused, by a considerable amount of preaching out of doors, or in unusual places." We say we want revival, but we dont want to have to do the things that bring about revival. We want the end but not the means. Is it possible that they saw revival in their day and we do not see it in our day because we dont minister the same way they did? What potential is lost! We are trying to pave our own roads when the old roads lead the way perfectly. We go the wrong direction and then we wonder why we arent there yet. Entire towns get in an uproar when a hell-fire, soap-box, street-corner preacher comes to down. He is criticized by the world of coarse, but even by the church many times. Hes labeled a fanatic, a legalist, a bible thumper, and all the other names people will give to smear his name. If a man like John the Baptist or John Wesley preached in our day they would receive no greater welcome but rather receive an even worse rejection. They would be opposed by the church, the world, and even hell itself but God is for them! Oh boy we want revival so that our friends and families will be saved but we dont want any revival preachers so that our hearts can stay dead. We would kick these men out of our churches just like we kick conviction right out of our hearts even though both are sent from God.
God should tell us how to move. We shouldnt tell God how to move. His holy Word tells us how to fulfill the Great Commission. We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who preached the sermon on the mount in an open-air meeting. God knows the day and age in which we live, we dont have to tell Him. We tell God what this generation needs when He wants to tell us what it needs. The biblical method of outreach has always been frontline evangelism. Going out to the frontlines of the battlefield to where the sinners are and telling them as Jesus did unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Brethren, we need to get back to the bible. We need to dare to be biblical. The biblical church is a dangerous church. A biblical church does not tolerate sin in itself or in the world because God calls all men everywhere to repent. The biblical church is not shaped by whatever new culture arises. A biblical church is solid and can not be molded by any hand except the hand of God. The biblical church does not make up their own methods, but sticks to the guidelines of the battle plan. The battle plans are always prepared before the battle. Our Commander, Christ, has does not expect or want us to make it up as we go along. Although the times may change, his Word remains the same. The tactics of the enemy may change, but our defenses and our artillery are still strong in pulling down strong holds."
| 2004/9/15 23:27|
| Re: Are those days over?|
The new methods today take far too many steps in attempting to give anybody the gospel. A lot of "other things" must be done before somebody finally hears the gospel. For example, the most common form of "evangelism" is simply inviting people to Church in hopes that they might hear a message that is centered in winning a soul. But as my personal evangelism professor said, "inviting people to church is not witnessing!" The great thing about street preaching is that it gets right to the point, and presents people with that which can save them.
| 2004/9/16 7:32||Profile|
quote: "The new methods today take far too many steps in attempting to give anybody the gospel"
Yes I agree. For example what some call "friendship evangelism" can take days, weeks, months, even years. Now if the church really does believe that Jesus can come back any day now, we would abondon modern friendship evangelism and get back to biblical frontline evangelism.
A friend of mine told me that when she was in Amsterdam the method of ministry they were told to use was friendship evangelism. However they were only there for two weeks plus the people they met one day the may never see another day. How would friendship evangelism work in that situation? The world has plenty of "nice" friends but very little truth. Lets give them what they need and not what they want.
| 2004/9/16 16:18|
I am a firm believer in friendship evangelism for those whom we are close with. However, how long the world is willing to be our friends might not be long if we don't act like the world. But, there are some folks that still might be willing to be our friends. For friendship evangelism, I think it becomes more important that those close to us see the fruit of our lives in Christ than to hear sermons all the time. If they hear sermons all the time from you, your preaching might sound more like nagging. But in all this, there must be balance. I do not have too many unsaved friends, and because of the nature of my work, I don't get to be around too many employees at work. Except for my frequent visiting of StarBucks, I don't have too many places I go where I can regularly be friendly with people in order to do "friendship" evangelism with them. There is a balance to all this though.
| 2004/9/16 17:34||Profile|
"I am a firm believer in friendship evangelism for those whom we are close with."
I also believe in friendship evangelism, which is evangelizing your friends. We must share the gospel with strangers and with friends.
"how long the world is willing to be our friends might not be long if we don't act like the world"
"I think it becomes more important that those close to us see the fruit of our lives in Christ than to hear sermons all the time."
I also agree
| 2004/9/16 17:52|
| Re: Amsterdam|
As you mentioned the city of Amsterdam my heart rejoiced. Kind of weird maybe, because it's worse of than Sodom and Gomorra, but I'll explain why.
I live near Amsterdam in Holland (or: The Netherlands). Our country has completely lost its zeal for God. Have you ever been there?
Jimmy stated that he doesn't have much "unsaved-friends". Well...with me it's the other way round. I merely have saved friends in my neigbourhood (none to be exactly). In my class I am the only Christian and I don't think there are more than 20 Christians in the whole College and I am not speaking about Christians who truly love God and follow Him...just the guys who go to Church every sunday.
I believe in "friendship-evangelism", but the problem is that the kind of "friendship-evangelism" our "Christians" prefer is this: Become like the world to win the world. Become friends of the world to win the world. You see, there are many ways to get people in Church, but there's only one way to get people in Heaven!
3,5 years ago God turned me upside-down. Through the Holy Spirit He showed me my personal sins and I repented. Before that time I was as lukewarm as a Christian can be. This country really is lukewarm, compromise is everywhere. The problem only is that the youth gets more excited for God, but I dont think its the true God. Things are being preached like: God is cool, we can win this world for Christ, we as Christians can have big fun with Jesus, were not less than the world
we know how to party. And you know
they love it! But the center of all this preaching is: ME! I! WE! And not Christ and lost sinners. They want to establish Gods kingdom on earth in stead of being willing to die for the sake of Christ to glorify God and save sinners! Theres a lout cry for revival in Holland, but a selfish one. A revival of joy, power of God and fun, but not a revival of brokeness, repentance and prayer.
I seek God for His purpose with my life. I try to soak myself in the word of God and truly want to do whatever He wants. I learn from Him and see many things that are wrong and things that are great, but Im so weak. I want to obey Jesus, but I fail too many times. I desire to follow Jesus and I share Him with lots of people. But Im sick and tired of letting God down in a specific problem. I want to obey in everything! I truly want to forsake all for the One who forsook all to be forsaken by God for the sake of sinners and the justice of God! Jesus Christ!
You guys encourage me a lot. Your love for God and your commitment to Jesus sets an example for me. I have the same desire and I serve the same God and I know that Hes able to overcome every sin in me to serve Him. Keep focused on Jesus alone and be hugely blessed,
Surrendered to Him,
p.s. Jesse, your site is really great!
| 2004/9/17 6:10||Profile|
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
| Re: Are those days over?|
I have read of your exploits and have been quite impressed with your boldness, actually quite inspiring to be honest. I just want to say a few things about what you have posted.
We want the end but not the means. Is it possible that they saw revival in their day and we do not see it in our day because we dont minister the same way they did?
So if I understand you correctly, because we do not stand on street corners we are not giving revival a chance to happen? I thought that it was because of people calling out to God that revival happened. If form was so important to God happenings we could spit on the ground and make mud and smear them over people to get them healed.
We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who preached the sermon on the mount in an open-air meeting.
Just a scripture to ponder on:
"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
[b]2He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.[/b] 3A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Isaiah 42:2,3
I have no negative opinions about street preaching, but I think in this regard we need to keep the brethren free from opinions based upon truth which do not express the whole council of God. I believe that street preaching falls into one aspect of outreach not the only aspect
The biblical method of outreach has always been frontline evangelism. Going out to the frontlines of the battlefield to where the sinners are and telling them as Jesus did unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
The biblical church does not make up their own methods, but sticks to the guidelines of the battle plan. The battle plans are always prepared before the battle.
In this regard some other scriptures to ponder:
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a `sinner.' "
8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
9Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and `sinners'?"
12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matt 9:9-13
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon.' 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions." Matt 11:18,19
Now if the church really does believe that Jesus can come back any day now, we would abandon modern friendship evangelism and get back to biblical frontline evangelism.
Another scripture to... you know
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him...39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony. Matt 4:28-30,39
I think this classical expose of Jesus stratedgy is enlightening as the affect that just one salvation can have.
God should tell us how to move.
Exactly, that goes for either way, public proclamation and friendship evangelism. There is some merit to gaining the world one by one, I think the principle of geometric growth explains it
I think if I had a scripture to some up my opinion it would be you should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Matt 23:23
Maybe you are being this left because the majority of the church is still sitting at home being 'right', if that is the case, I give a hearty amen to what you have said
| 2004/9/17 13:50||Profile|
We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who preached the sermon on the mount in an open-air meeting.
Just on a technical matter...
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Mat 5:1-2 KJV)
The 'sermon on the mount' was an exclusive address to 'his disciples' when Jesus had withdrawn from the 'multitudes'. I don't think this is the model you have in mind?
I have done a lot of street preaching in my time so I would be the last to discourage you, but if you need scriptural justification you'll need another reference. ;-)
| 2004/9/17 14:04||Profile|
I totally thank you for reading my post and giving me your feed back. You can never have enough feed back.
As far as the sermon on the mount, I said it was preached in the open air. Every friday I preach open air to Christians. Jesus also rebuked pharisees in the open-air. Either way, Jesus preached open-air. Whether to sinners or to saints, both are biblical.
-"Every great preacher of the bible was an open-air preacher, Peter was an open-air preacher, Paul was an open-air preacher, and so were Elijah, Moses, and Ezra. More importantly then all, Jesus Christ Himself was an open-air preacher and preached, for the most part, outdoors. Every great sermon recorded in the Bible was preached in the open-air, the sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the sermon on the Mount, the sermon on Mars Hill, etc."
R. A. Torrey
I do believe as David Ravenhill said "God anoints men, not methods". This is true. You can have biblical methods without revival, however there has never been a revival without biblical methods.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon: "It would be very easy to prove that revivals of religion have usually been [b]accompanied, if not caused[/b], by a considerable amount of preaching out of doors, or in unusual places."
As far as friendship evangelism, I do that. Before preaching outside a club I ended up talking to a homeless man. I decided to buy him some "Dunkin Donuts" coffee and a bagel. We sat together and talked for quite some time. I befriended him and shared the gospel. Scripture also says that Jesus ate and drank with sinners and shared the gospel. We absolutely must do this. I have noticed that when the majority of believers today mention friendship evangelism what they really mean is being nice and being friendly. However biblical "friendship evangelism" always, without fail, involves talking about the scriptures.
I think I covered all your points. If not then let me know which ones I left out.
| 2004/9/17 14:30|
A revival cannot occur unless the seeds of harvest are first planted. Open-air evangelism surely plants seeds.
| 2004/9/19 6:42||Profile|