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Posts Tagged ‘Scoffers

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

A Study of Scoffers

A good biblical study to do before diving into evangelism is to study what the Bible has to say about scoffers.  I recommend also that a disciple study the Word of God in order to have a firm conviction about the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), about the faith in general (1 Peter 3:15-16) using presuppositional apologetics, and a firm conviction about our own assurance before God our salvation through faith in Christ (Romans 8:16).  Yet a study of scoffers helps us to see how people will often respond to our evangelism and also how we should respond to scoffers.  Too often we spend too much time debating with a scoffer who has no desire for the truth of God.

Let us look briefly then at several passages of Scripture concerning the scoffer.  Psalm 73:3-12 describes the wicked:

3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.

5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.

7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.

8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.

9 They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.

10 Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.

11 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”

12 Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.

Notice verse 8.  This is what happens when we present the gospel with the lost.  They scoff and speak with malice toward the gospel.  People don’t love God.  They despise Him and refuse to repent.  John 3:19-21 again describes the normal state of men:

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

People are, by nature, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).  Jesus called people, children of Satan in John 8:44.  The Bible does not paint a pretty picture of us.  We are wicked before God (Psalm 7:11 NKJV).

Scripture reveals that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to save sinners.  He draws sinners (John 6:44) and He convicts sinners (John 16:8-11) and He opens hearts to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  Our duty is to be seed bearers (Matthew 13:3-9).  Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9:

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

The duty of the disciple of Christ is to simply be His witness (Acts 1:8).  We are to preach the gospel to all of creation (Mark 16:15).  God alone saves sinners for His glory (Acts 2:47).

But what about the scoffers?  How should we respond to those who are hostile to the gospel of Christ.  Be assured that people will hate us because of the gospel (see John 15:18-25).  Paul called the gospel an offense (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).  People will not like the truth of God.  We should expect scoffers.  The Bible gives us much information about scoffers and how to respond to them.

1.  Scoffers Will Come (Jude 18).

Scoffers are simply part of sinners.  Psalm 1:1 speaks of the steps of the sinful.  Charles Spurgeon wrote of the scoffer in Psalm 1:1 saying this about the godly man:

He finds no rest in the atheist’s scoffings. Let others make a mock of sin, of eternity, of hell and heaven, and of the Eternal God; this man has learned better philosophy than that of the infidel, and has too much sense of God’s presence to endure to hear His name blasphemed. The seat of the scorner may be very lofty, but it is very near to the gate of hell; let us flee from it, for it shall soon be empty, and destruction shall swallow up the man who sits therein.

Scoffers will come (2 Peter 3:3).

2.  Scoffers Do Not Listen To Wisdom (Proverbs 13:1; 14:6).

Adam Clarke said about the scoffer:

I believe the scorner means, in this book, the man that despises the counsel of God; the infidel. Such may seek wisdom; but he never can find it, because he does not seek it where it is to be found; neither in the teaching of God’s Spirit, nor in the revelation of his will.

A true seeker of wisdom wants to hear the truth and is reasonable (Acts 17:11-12).  Scoffers, however, have no desire for the truth of God.  Use discernment from the Spirit to know the difference.

3.  Scoffers Despise Reproof (Proverbs 9:7-8; 15:12; 21:24; Jeremiah 6:10).

Scoffers have no desire for the truth of God.  They are simply wanting to argue with you.  You can debate them on any issue and they will simply mock you.  They are not seeking the truth but only to suppress the truth of God in their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  Scoffing will bring the wrath of God in His timing.

4.  Scoffers Are An Abomination Before the Lord (Proverbs 24:9; Isaiah 29:20).

God will judge the scoffer.  We can trust in His judgments.  I desire, however, is to see them saved.  Even God addressed the scornful in Isaiah 28:14 calling for them to repent (v.22).  Our cry to the scoffer is the same as it should be to all: repent and believe the gospel.  God alone can bring true repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/13/2013 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Evangelism, Evangelism Tips

Tagged with ,

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