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On Dealing With A Street Preacher

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  • On Dealing With A Street Preacher

    Is there a better way to show the Gospel?

    The link can be found here.

    The text is as follows:

    Could there be a better way to spread the Gospel? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Saturday Allie and I were driving around and happened to pass by some street preachers on the side of the road waving their Bibles and holding the signs telling people to repent. These kinds of guys I think have really good intentions. I don't doubt they want to serve the Kingdom. What I think is that in the long run, they turn more people away from Christianity than they turn people to Christianity. I told Allie sometimes I'm tempted to stop and put on an atheist hat and see what happens.

    And she suggested that I should just do it. How well could a street preacher do at defending the faith?

    So we stopped and ended up talking to one of them. We'll call him Jim, though that wasn't his real name. Jim seemed to be a nice enough guy. I just went up first and asked him "Why should anyone believe what you're saying?"

    It really is a reasonable enough question. If you're going to say that you think something is true, it would make sense that you would have some reason for believing that that something is true. In fact, this is why I think everyone needs some basic apologetics. If you want to talk about the change that Jesus made in your life, which is usually the most common apologetic, that's fine, but it's far better if you can build that on an argument beyond the subjective.

    Jim didn't have much. He did talk about some tablets found that talked about an OT king that existed and we had no record of that until we found these tablets. I do not remember the name of the tablets, but unfortunately, he could not tell me the name of the king. I suspect it was king David.

    He also said he had astronomical data to show the truth. I asked what that was. He replied that the moon follows the sun every day in its circuit. The moon is to be a symbol of the church and the church is always following the Son.

    Oh dear readers. Please never ever ever use an argument like this.

    To begin with, this kind of thinking relies on astrotheology and you'll find someone like Acharya S. who will happily use that kind of argument to show Jesus never existed and the whole thing is based on astrological symbolism. This would also fit in since the guy pointed to a Gospel in the Stars approach where the constellations are meant to tell us about the truth of Christianity.

    Second, it relies on the English language entirely. In the Greek, the words for sun and son are not that close. This would assume then that God wanted to make this revelation known yet only to people who spoke English. (Which fits well since the guy was, shock, a KJV-onlyist.)

    He then tried to ask Allie and if we feel any lack in our lives or anything missing. We just said "No. We live pretty good and happy lives." This is again another problem with this kind of methodology. If your opponent does not admit that they are feeling the thing that you want them to feel, at that point you are sunk.

    As we went on, we started talking about the problem of the Biblical manuscripts. To his credit, he did get right that the Bible was an oral culture. From there, it went downhill. I used the Ehrman line about copies of copies of copies. Jim's response was to point to the Textus Receptus and how this is the one manuscript that has been proven to be right and scholars have found that the other manuscripts are wrong. (And in fact, he blamed it all on satan.)

    This was quite problematic for him. When I asked him when the Textus Receptus dated from, he didn't know. When I asked him what scholars proved the TR was the most reliable manuscript, he didn't know. When I asked what scholars had proven the other manuscripts wrong, he didn't know. So I was to trust a document from an unknown time to be proven by unknown scholars and other unknown scholars had proven the other manuscripts wrong.

    Does that sound convincing to you? It shouldn't.

    As we went on, we kept explaining that with each claim, Muslims and Mormons give similar. He pointed out that Christianity is a religion that relies on grace instead of works. That is true I think of course, but that does not mean Christianity is true. It just means it's a system someone can like a lot more. We have no independent grounds I know of to say "The true religion will be one of grace." It'd be nice, but we need to establish that somehow.

    Eventually, we did tell him that we are Christians and that what we do is to prepare Christians for when real opposition shows up. Allie gave a bit of her personal testimony saying that she was a suicide survivor, twice. He asked if she was a Christian both times and she said yes and he said "Do you really think someone with the Holy Spirit would try to kill themselves?"

    I really wish I'd had the presence of mind then to realize what had been said and let the guy have it for insulting my Allie like that right in front of me. I've taken my own personal vow to do better next time, but if you meet someone who has had suicidal inclinations before and acted on it, the last thing you want to tell them is that they should question if they are really Christians at all. This is not an act of love. People who are like this need to be treated gently. (I can proudly say that Allie has bounced back incredibly from this latest attempt, which was in fact this month. It is like having a whole new person around the house and our relationship has never been stronger)

    He also viewed the claim that I'm a Christian with great suspicion because he said he didn't see any fruit in me. Now he added that he couldn't really judge, but the Spirit in him did not see the spirit in me. It's a way of saying "I'm going to judge you, but I'm going to blame it on God instead of on me." The judging is still going on and it's amazing this guy could see something after so brief a conversation as we had.

    I am sure there are out there some street preachers who can do a good job. There are some who know what they believe and why and they can show it in a Christlike manner, but I'm also convinced that the majority do not do this. They turn off more than they get to come to Christ. Zeal without knowledge is something dangerous to have. Would that we could have more of the zeal of street preachers and the knowledge and love to go with it to show the reality of Christ.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

  • #2
    The Willard Preacher is one of the better examples.

    Source: interview

    As for his sermons, Gary told me, “I pick a starting point and see what happens from there.” Normally his sermons revolve around multiple ideas, sometimes brought about by the news or other events, which blend into each other. His topics are not different every day (you aren’t the only one who notices that he tends to repeat himself, he is well aware of it too) but he tries to keep them relevant, interesting, and most importantly thought provoking.

    © Copyright Original Source



    He has his own website, and is widely enough known that he's been the topic of a Huffington Post article and has his own entry in the Urban Dictionary (both negative, naturally ).
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
    sigpic
    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

    Comment


    • #3
      I think sometimes we sell the Holy Spirit short. If He's in it, even a dumb guy like me can win people to Jesus. The guy who plants the seed doesn't have to have all the answers. Somebody else can water, and maybe another will see the harvest and/or the increase.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
        I think sometimes we sell the Holy Spirit short. If He's in it, even a dumb guy like me can win people to Jesus. The guy who plants the seed doesn't have to have all the answers. Somebody else can water, and maybe another will see the harvest and/or the increase.
        I do not doubt that, but at the same time, we should seek to be as equipped as we can be, especially in the matters about which we communicate with other people.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
          I do not doubt that, but at the same time, we should seek to be as equipped as we can be, especially in the matters about which we communicate with other people.
          But here's what concerns me - and I'm certainly not implicating you in this ----

          It just seems that those who are concerned about being "equipped as we can be" aren't the ones who are actually engaged on the front lines in winning people to Jesus, but are quick to criticize those who are.

          To me, it's far more important that somebody is "saved" than that they are "properly informed" in areas of theology.

          And, yeah, I know these don't have to be mutually exclusive.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            But here's what concerns me - and I'm certainly not implicating you in this ----

            It just seems that those who are concerned about being "equipped as we can be" aren't the ones who are actually engaged on the front lines in winning people to Jesus, but are quick to criticize those who are.

            To me, it's far more important that somebody is "saved" than that they are "properly informed" in areas of theology.

            And, yeah, I know these don't have to be mutually exclusive.
            I understand the concern and in many cases, many of us are not necessarily, but we might not be in the same way. I try to do all I can to be out there in the world in the area that I can be. At the same time, I have a problem with that zeal without knowledge. I think it really brings down the body of Christ

            By the way, I think part of the problem is we emphasize on getting people saved. For the ancients, that would have included discipleship. For us, it doesn't. We get people converted, but we were not told to make converts. We were told to make disciples.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
              I understand the concern and in many cases, many of us are not necessarily, but we might not be in the same way. I try to do all I can to be out there in the world in the area that I can be. At the same time, I have a problem with that zeal without knowledge. I think it really brings down the body of Christ

              By the way, I think part of the problem is we emphasize on getting people saved. For the ancients, that would have included discipleship. For us, it doesn't. We get people converted, but we were not told to make converts. We were told to make disciples.
              Yes, Paul did tend to stay in one area for a long enough period of time to set up a church and get it running. Granted, sometimes his length of stay wasn't his choice.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                Yes, Paul did tend to stay in one area for a long enough period of time to set up a church and get it running. Granted, sometimes his length of stay wasn't his choice.
                It might have been God's though.
                ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                Comment


                • #9
                  So, do we know if this street preacher has any "fruit that remains"? Has he won people to Christ, and is he discipling them? Do we know any of that?
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                    I think sometimes we sell the Holy Spirit short. If He's in it, even a dumb guy like me can win people to Jesus. The guy who plants the seed doesn't have to have all the answers. Somebody else can water, and maybe another will see the harvest and/or the increase.
                    Problems:

                    We're top-heavy on planters.

                    Many waterers spend too long on water and don't move on to beef broth.

                    Too many of the planters act like they're also bearers of water, and they're actually dispensing ipecac when they try to overextend their mission. (Case in point.) They're also very bad about admitting it when they foul up.

                    Too many of the planters are referring to those who want to water as e.g., distractions, unnecessary, or even as inspired by Satan.

                    Planters hog most of the TV time, and too many of those are presenting a lousy face to the world.

                    It just seems that those who are concerned about being "equipped as we can be" aren't the ones who are actually engaged on the front lines in winning people to Jesus, but are quick to criticize those who are.
                    I don't think 20+ years of dealing with this sort of thing leads me to be "too quick".
                    Last edited by jpholding; 05-26-2015, 12:04 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It is up to apologists like Nick to educate those that spread the gospel, like Jim. Then Jim will be equipped to defend the faith.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jpholding View Post
                        I don't think 20+ years of dealing with this sort of thing leads me to be "too quick".
                        Since this was your first post in this thread, I obviously wasn't talking about you.


                        ETA: (in jest) and, I don't think 40+ years of dealing with this sort of thing makes me a novice, Junior!
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                          It is up to apologists like Nick to educate those that spread the gospel, like Jim. Then Jim will be equipped to defend the faith.
                          I think I'll just back out of this one.
                          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                            ETA: (in jest) and, I don't think 40+ years of dealing with this sort of thing makes me a novice, Junior!
                            I wouldn't guess either of us is too quick on the draw. I'd suspect if there were more pastors like you:

                            1) Nick and I would have a lot more teaching engagements.
                            2) Joyce Meyer would be washing graffiti off public buildings for her living.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jpholding View Post
                              I wouldn't guess either of us is too quick on the draw. I'd suspect if there were more pastors like you:

                              1) Nick and I would have a lot more teaching engagements.
                              2) Joyce Meyer would be washing graffiti off public buildings for her living.
                              Why does there seem to be a bimodal distribution of smarts/wisdom on tweb? There's guys(and gals) like y'all that know what they're talking about and then there's the trolls/folks that spout ignorance/fundy atheist types. And the ones that don't do much in the way of posting stuff in general.
                              If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                              Comment

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