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Joined: 2005/1/6
Posts: 1830
Hemel Hempstead

 Apologetics in Open Air Evangelism

When I do street Preaching, I find that I am having to answer more and more complex questions and have been wanting more and more complex question?

1 Peter 3:15 KJV
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

How many people if questioned on your faith? Questions like
Could you prove where your bible comes from? Could you prove that Jesus is God from the Bible? Could you refute a Jehovah Witness or a Muslim? Would you know how to pray with someone?
Do you know enough about the Gospel to talk to someone about it? Would you know how to refute someone from the New Age? How do you face Temptation when you are out on the street?

Do you pray before you go out? Do you have faith do believe that even thou noone is listening to you that God is still working and you do not have a crowd and it is snowing that God is still using your message and you are all on your own?

Dominic Shiells

 2010/4/17 7:03Profile

Joined: 2008/11/7
Posts: 1
Collins, Georgia

 Re: Apologetics in Open Air Evangelism

Hi deltadom, Peace be unto you! First, I want to encourage you in your front line ministry of street preaching, other than prayer, it is what is most needed in the building of the spiritual Kingdom of God and in the battle against the evil one and I praise God for those holy brethren who will love and obey Christ enough to engage in it.
As to your question, I also find it very difficult to open air preach alone. One thing that I have learned, is that, although some questions are asked in earnest, most are simply a ploy to distract the preacher from giving his message, and we need to be able to discern this. (One sign, is that it is just plain rude to interrupt someone as they are speaking, and this is not of the Spirit of God) I believe that issues like this are one reason that Jesus sent out His disciples in pairs, and there is great wisdom in doing so.
This said, I highly recommend going to preach, whenever possible, with a partner, and preferably one who can and will also preach (if there is no one willing to go with you- pray for someone! It is the Lord's way as revealed in scripture and a valid request that He will certainly grant). There are many benefits to this aside from the great Joy of walking and working with a fellow laborer for and in Christ. You can trade off preaching and therefore be able to preach the Word for a much greater span of time. The one not preaching can pray for the one who is. If someone comes up with a question or a rebuttal, the disciple not preaching can deal with whatever the issue is, whether it be answering a question, praying with someone, fending off demonic forces or, Praise God! even baptizing someone! Even if the person insists on speaking to the one preaching, the preacher now has the option of stepping down and answering the question, while his partner steps up and continues to preach. Carried out in this manner, personal attention can be given to those drawn by the preaching, while, at the same time, the preaching of the gospel is not hindered.
As to your personal ability to answer questions posed to you, study to show yourself approved and trust in the Holy Spirit's admonition not to worry what you will say, and trusting in His promise that, in that very hour, He will give you the words that you are to speak. Also, pray for the spiritual gifts, most of all that you may prophesy and remember that the Holy Spirit anoints ears and hearts as well as tongues!
One final thing, if someone should ask you some theological question that you do not know, remember that scripture tells us that the Kingdom of God is not in words (theology), but in power, and be humble enough to simply say, "I don't know, I am only a messenger, but if you are truly interested, if you will give me a way to get in touch with you, I will be happy to get back to you with an answer." Their reaction to this will reveal if they are genuinely seeking an answer or simply looking to be divisive. If someone leaves you contact information, it is a very good sign that they are sincere, if not, then it probably really wasn't important to them anyway.
There are many out there wiser and more experienced than I, who can surely shed much more light on this for you, but this pretty much sums up what I have personally learned i my own experience. I praise God for you, my brother, and hope that this may be of some encouragement to you. I pray that the Lord may richly bless your preaching for the glory of His precious Son and our almighty and blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus, by continually filling your nets with lost souls that He may receive the full reward for His suffering. Be blessed, beloved of the Lord, you are in the Spirit led prayers and love of the saints. See you at the Throne!

Jay Sutton

 2010/4/17 9:11Profile

Joined: 2009/12/12
Posts: 592


Good question. I like the way the verse reads:

1 Pet. 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of [i]the hope that is in you[/i] with meekness and fear. (Empahsis added, if my tags work :)

We are only called to give answers of the hope in us. So if you're street-preaching salvation, have a working knowledge of the gospel because it is truly your hope and you are persuaded of its truth. You don't need to be able to answer who the nephilim are or if Daniel's 70th week has occurred or even how to scientifucally refute evolution, because that's not the "hope that is in you" that you are preaching: you are preaching "Christ in you the hope of glory." So be content to let that be foolishness and a stumbling block. Like Jay said, if you feel convicted to answer one of these questions in particular because the Lord is placing the person asking on your heart but you don't know the answer, just tell them you don't know but will gladly look into it and get back to them. It may satisfy their thirst, establish a relationship, and open a door for the gospel.


 2010/4/17 11:00Profile


When questions come that detract from the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is recognized here that this a ploy of our adversary to take the focus away from Jesus Christ.

Continually point to Jesus.

Your hand cannot point in two directions at the same time.

If both hands are pointing in opposite directions, confusion results; and, we all know this is not from God.

All of the Bible is the message of Jesus Christ; but, can i answer so that the issue of this one concern of God towards the hearer remains?

In any type of proclaimation of the gospel done, whether one on one or a group setting, be it a church gathering or on the street, there is often questions volleyed that baffle...

It cannot be told as to what you should say, but as the others have stated, listen for what God would have you say, and speak accordingly.

For myself, it has been so different in every situation.

God knows peoples hearts and i don't.

Continue to grow in Jesus Christ, and He does provide wisdom, knowledge, and understanding into the answers neccessary toward the querants.

(often, these answers, and questions to questions, surprise even me, and i am sure in this that God is glorifying Himself.)

Taking a back seat and remaining out of the driver's seat is what it is all about.

Granted, nobody really cares for the backseat driver.

Worse, when you represent Jesus Christ, you have two strikes against you, because though we may be in Him, we are, by no stretch of the imagination, as He is.

When we walk in Him, we reflect His light.

on another note:

Did you know that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was not just a thing of pentecost.

This is being 'clothed' with power from on high, as Jesus promises. (consider Stephen, and the effect of the words given him, especially in regards to Saul.)

If you read the book of Acts with being "clothed" in mind, you will see that any successful work done by God through His servants always occurs in this manifestation of His Spirit.

It is not a one time thing!

At the beginning of Acts and throughout, if you pay attention to this one aspect, you will see this outpouring of the Spirit is for the sole purpose of ministry, and happens more than just one time, even for individual persons.

From my own experience, this immersion, ie. baptism, always proceeds and preceeds here in like manner.

I have lost count how many times this has occured in and through this carcass.

At the onset of my relationship with Jesus, i began by asking for that 'immersion'; but, as growth continues, i no longer ask, knowing as He has done, so He will do again and again and again...

He tells what to do.
Worship Jesus Christ, thanking Him for choosing you as that tool to serve His purpose and glory in His presence.
The power is poured in and flows out.
Go and do as told.

Sometimes there others who are called to assist.
Sometimes there are not.

Keep on seeking God in WHATEVER you do.
Call on Him instead of relying on your reasoning.
He always answers.
He will always give you directions as to the next step.
Just trust and obey.

[anything else leaves room for "your flesh" to get into the picture. When that happens, that archaic serpent can slither wherever "you give him room".
It shall be repeated: walking in your flesh, the devil is given room to slither accordingly.]

We could sit and talk apologetics for days on end, because i once thought that this was the key to irrefutable answers. I devoured the works of Francis Shaeffer. Josh mcDowell's books have been learned inside and out. Every notable text of Ravi Zacharias was studied. That list tells a small part, but not the whole. I even looked into works the bordered on apologetics, such as the books by Malcomb Muggeridge <sp?), and so on.

Really, it's nothing to brag about, and i am ashamed that i wasted so much of His time wading into and finally swimming that sea of rhetoric.

It has it's place; but, is that what God calls us to do?
From what my Bible says, it is all about following Jesus: however, whatever, and wherever ALWAYS.

All said and done, apologetics is T-totally useless if God's Spirit is not guiding and glistening from you to utilize such.

(note Stephen's sermon to the council of 70(+5) > Acts 6:15)

Fix Your vision on the simplicity of Jesus Christ and His gospel: that he came to search out and deliver those who are lost. Go and do the same.

Prayer and His Spirit are imperative in this work.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
In Him, when we are weak, then we are strong!

When we do His best,
He takes care of the rest.
Zech. 4:6

Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the passions of the flesh.

from this quarter,
prayer for God's outpouring
towards your need
should be already recognized
as a given,

ps. Pray for revival, and the work of all who God leads to walk in this The Only Way. (You might start with the Conference coming up in Canada shortly.) When we pray for the Body, of which we are part, we are in union with the purposes our Head has designed. Accordingly, you will see effectiveness in personal service to our Master.
(Consider the apostle Paul as an example of this very thing.)
edited: for clarity

 2010/4/17 13:42

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC


If you know the gospel backwards and forwards, inside and out, you should be able to tackle most serious questions and objections to the gospel. Of course, sometimes the best answer is not to give an answer. Sometimes there is power in saying, "I don't know," or simply staying silent. And whatever you say, the best answer is always the one that is gentle, kind, being full of charity and grace.

There are thousands of claims that contradict the gospel out there. There is no way you can reasonably be prepared ahead of time to handle most of them on an intellectual level. Be prayed up in the Spirit, and be studied up in the Word, and God will grant you grace to answer.

I experienced this in part when I did some open-air evangelism at UNC Charlotte not to long ago. Some Muslim students heckled me and shouted me down for a few seconds at one point. They objected to the idea that Christ was crucified on a cross. You know how I told them I knew Muhhamad was a liar, and that Jesus Christ did indeed die on a cross? I said I knew because Jesus Christ had personally forgiven me of my sins, and that is why I know He died on a cross.

Ken Ham, Josh McDowell, Norman Geisler, and CS Lewis could probably never teach you something like that. But it was something given to me in a moment in time, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. That is not to say we should ignore the contributions these men have made. But a lot of "apologetics" is simply bunk, and devoid of anything related to the gospel, and requires nothing of the Holy Spirit's leading.

So don't worry. You have the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures. Other things can be helpful, such as a knowledge of Church history, and how the Bible was written and translated. But beyond that, I would not worry about having an in-depth knowledge of Islam, Mormonism, Catholicism, etc. It can be profitable to study on those topics, but, they are not essential.

Jimmy H

 2010/4/17 15:10Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480


it was something given to me in a moment in time, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

This is something I can relate to, as well.

For 15 years I did volunteer counseling at a Crises Pregnancy Center. We took training to learn how to handle questions, excuses, objections. We were also taught to present the Gospel to our clients. This training was helpful is so far that it took some of the fear that lies within as you approach a stranger who may be in a crises. But that was about all.

You see what helped me so much is knowing who I serve. I have studied his WORD for many years, I knew him thus and what enabled me much was the Holy Spirit.

In our counseling we encountered every sin known to man and imagination except for homosexuality. We were not formally trained to know how to handle, counsel victims of abuse, and you name it. But you know what? I did know how to ask questions and that I did. And I just listened and asked questions, not offering anything until I heard the voice of the Spirit leading me to begin talking. Usually I had no idea where I was going with an idea but the Holy Spirit took me there. AND after the client left I had no idea what all I said because it all came from God and He took my memory of it with Him. I also knew He would be there the next time me and my client needed it. Awesome! I figured out that if I would have remembered it I would have used that counsel again and it may not have been appropriate for the next situation. But I always knew this counsel was perfect. Like I said - I could never repeat it.

This is my testimony and I am certain it can be yours as well. I am not 'well trained' or educated in philosophy but I do know the WORD and that is an excellent springboard. Read it for all its worth; let it possess you in your mind, soul and spirit and see where the Holy Spirit will use it. You will be so encouraged. I promise!

God bless you...


Sandra Miller

 2010/4/17 16:58Profile

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