Friday, April 15, 2011

American Revolution & Open Air Preaching

"Open-air evangelism has always had a more or less counter-cultural stigma. People have always been offended by it, because it tends to confront them with the truths they least want to think about at precisely the moment they are trying to do something to avoid thinking about things like eternity and accountability to God.

Evangelical Christianity has a noble tradition of open-air preaching, and some of the finest preachers in history have done it. George Whitefield did little else. Spurgeon did it, advocated it, and gave lectures on how to do it correctly. Both of them were vilified for it by more “refined” religious leaders in their respective eras. May the Lord save us from that kind of “refinement.”

It’s true that most people who convert to Christianity aren’t won to Christ through the methods employed by street evangelists. The average Christian is more likely to win someone to Christ within his or her personal circle of relationships. So if you can’t imagine yourself doing open-air ministry, get busy evangelizing anyway.

But let’s not miss the equally-true flip-side of that fact: Some people are so deep in sin and degeneracy and so devoid of Christian friendship that if they don’t hear the gospel from an evangelist like Tony Miano or Ray Comfort, they aren’t going to hear it at all. We should support and encourage what these guys do, because on its own level it can be very effective. Only heaven will reveal how true that is." - Pastor Phil Johnson

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