Arminian Today

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Thoughts on “Offensive” Preaching

Several weeks ago I posted a post on Tony Miano and him preaching outside of an abortion clinic in Portland, Oregon in which he had an atheist come and yell in his face while Tony sought to preach to those visiting the clinic.  The atheist shouted over and over again, “Old white men should not be allowed to tell women what to do with their bodies.”  In the course of the video, the man asks Tony why he is doing what he is doing, why doesn’t he go out and adopt children if he wants to help, and he tells Tony that he is judgmental for preaching at the women in the clinic.

I read another blog post where a lady wrote about the same video in which she makes the point that she agreed with the atheist and she finds Tony’s approach to “evangelism” as offensive.  She thinks that his tact of preaching outside of an abortion clinic does nothing for the kingdom of God, brings shame to the women in the clinic rather than hope, and presents Christians as we are often seen, “critical and self-righteous.”  She never offers any advice for how to evangelize and I have a feeling from her blog that she likely doesn’t share her faith, doesn’t see the necessity of sharing the gospel with the lost, and basis her entire view of Jesus on pure love and not holiness.

I have been asked about open air preaching and confrontational evangelism in the past but let me state again that I feel that the New Testament examples are clearly in favor of this type of ministry.  Friendship evangelism, lifestyle evangelism, etc. often never lead to the gospel.  Doing good works (as the lady advocates on her blog as the best form of presenting Christ to a skeptical world) are fine if they are accompanied with the gospel.  To merely feed a person or to clothe the person without the gospel just makes them comfortable as they go to hell and nothing more.  Jesus said that only those who have been born again (John 3:3-7) will see the kingdom of God.

I do agree with Paul Washer, however, that street preaching and evangelism should be done out of brokenness and out of a burden for the lost and not out of anger.  I have seen angry street preachers.  The wreathe and pronounce judgement after judgment upon the lost without any hint of compassion and fear for their souls.  When I was in Washington DC back in November I saw the folks from Westboro Baptist Church preaching outside of Arlington National Cemetery and they were full of rage, hatred, and lack of love at all for the lost around them.  Westboro folks are hyper-Calvinists and so they had no problem saying that all these people they were looking at (including myself) were non-elect and were going to hell for the glory of God.

Preaching to the lost must be done in brokenness.  We should weep over the lost before ever whipping the lost (see Jesus’ example in Luke 19:41-46).  Jesus had no problem denouncing the world (Matthew 11:20) and we should not fear from preaching the truth of God.  Truth is offensive by nature (1 Corinthian 1:18).  Truth separates.  Truth divides at times.  Truth shows people that they are in error and people hate to be told they are wrong about God, about eternity, about heaven and hell.  In our postmodern age, people want to believe that we are all equal, we are all right, we all have truth.  To be told otherwise always leads to anger and resentment.

In conclusion, do we really think that people today would treat Jesus any different if He preached to us in the flesh?  If Jesus said what He said such as in Matthew 5-7 or in John 14:6, would the world accept His teachings?  If Jesus defined marriage as He does in Matthew 19:1-9 then would the world accept Him?  If Jesus taught what He taught in Luke 14:25-35, would the world (or even many so-called Christians) accept Him?  I believe the results would still be the same: let us kill this man called Jesus.  Face it, we don’t love God, we hate Him (Romans 1:18-32).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/01/2013 at 11:53 AM

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