All of us have had experience with street preachers in one place or another. Sometimes these men or women do a good job presenting the gospel. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Many of these preachers messages are offensive, condemning, name-calling, and rarely teaches the hope of the Gospel, and therefore not a Gospel at all. If you’re like me hearing this sort of ‘preaching’ makes your blood boil. The last time I heard one of these bullhorn preachers I had a big final that I needed to study for, but I just couldn’t focus when I knew someone was out there damaging the Gospel. So instead of studying the rest of the day, I confronted the preacher and I thought you may be interested to know things that you should bring up to one of these ‘preachers’ next time you encounter one.
Jesus did not come to condemn
The bell that many of these preachers often ring so loud is that everyone is condemned. That we are all sinners and going to hell. They’re right in that without Christ we are all condemned, but when Jesus himself did not condemn why is it they feel they are called to do so?
John 12:47 Jesus says ‘If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.’Furthermore John 3:17 says ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’.
I know that these preachers believe that they must say this because there are people that believe they are good enough to reach heaven on their own, but there is a better approach. David Geisler in his book “Conversation Evangelism” illustrates a way to show people that they are in need of savior by appealing to their own moral code, be that it is biblical or not. Instead of name calling, condemning, and shamming we can simply ask those who we are reaching if they believe there is some moral code they should follow. Most likely they will say yes, and then we can ask them if they believe that they always follow that code. Most likely they will agree that they fall short. From here, we simply illustrate that like any other law if it is broken then there are repercussions for breaking it, and in the case of the moral law it is God who passes judgement.
Now I must say that obviously one may object at this point that they don’t believe in God, or the Bible or any number of other things, but at least this approach would bring someone at least understand the concept of a falling short of Gods law. If they object on the grounds above that is when we must then give our apologetic defense of Christianity.
We ALL are condemned
One further thing that would make these street preachers approach much more fruitful would be admitting that we are no better than those they are preaching to. When I confronted one street preacher last year he was as bold to say that he no longer sinned. His obvious pride in that moment made me beg to differ, but months later I realized a verse that I should have pointed out to him.
1 John 1:8,10 reads “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us’ and ‘If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has not place in our lives’
I don’t think there could be a more clear way of saying that this preacher was wrong in saying he did not sin. But perhaps more importantly about his heretical statement was the fact that it most likely created many barriers to the gospel among his hearers.
How much more effective could his outreach had been if he was willing to admit to his audience his own struggle with sin: to admit that he is condemned along with those he is preaching to?
How much more effective could he have been if he simply said ‘I am with you’?
So, there you go. Next time you hear one of these bullhorn preachers you have two things to confront them with, perhaps like me you won’t get through to them, but you will probably break down some of the barriers to the gospel they are erecting in the people that hear you.