29 January 2012

The (Lost) Art of Street Preaching — Must It Be Resurrected?

You may have a particular view on street-preaching (for purposes here, street preaching and open air preaching are synonymous). This could be from a street preacher that you heard or from a YouTube video that you watched, or just the seemingly “weird” people that do it. I want to propose today that this art of public open-air preaching is an important way the gospel of Jesus Christ can effectively be proclaimed to the lost in our culture.

I propose nine reasons why street-preaching should be considered as a valid way to present the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1. It presents the gospel to people who may not otherwise step foot into a church.
Many people in our day and age refuse to step foot in a church. This may result from a myriad of reasons. But one undeniable benefit of open-air preaching is that instead of waiting for the people to come into the church, the preacher goes out to the lost. Thus, those people who may not enter into a church building can hear the gospel proclaimed to them in an area or setting in which they gather. Rightly did Spurgeon remark regarding preachers of the gospel: “traders go to the markets, they follow their customers and go out after business if it will not come to them; and so must we.”

2. It allows the preacher to obey the most frequent command regarding the manner in which the gospel is presented.
One only needs to read through the Scriptures (both OT and NT) to find the clear emphasis on the bold, public, and even at times “in-the-moment” proclamation of God’s truth. A concept that very frequently arises is the command given and pattern exemplified in the act of preaching the Gospel and proclaiming the truth of salvation (cf. Acts 26; 2 Tim 4:2; Luke 14:23; cp. Neh 8).

3. It follows the historical pattern of pastors open air preaching.
Beginning with Noah who was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5), to Ezra (Neh 8:1-4), to Jeremiah (Jer 7:2; 19:2), Ezekiel (Ezek 11:off), other prophets (cf. Jonah 3:2-4), John the Baptist (Matt 3:1-2), our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 5-7, et al.), Paul (Acts 26), Peter (Acts 5:17ff), and hundreds through Church history, an unbroken pattern of open-air preaching can be observed. For instance, in the 18th century, Gideon Ouseley, heralded God’s truth in the open-air in the country of Ireland. Ouseley first preached in a church-yard, at a funeral, and after this point, he preached in the streets and church-yards, at fairs and markets, at wakes and funerals, wherever in fact he could find a congregation assembled. He would ride on his horse from county to county preaching and exhorting wherever and whenever he could.

Even Spurgeon provided a list of eleven qualifications for open-air preachers: (1) a good voice, (2) naturalness of manner, (3) self-possession, (4) a good knowledge of Scripture and of common things, (5) ability to adapt himself to any congregation, (6) good illustrative powers, (7) zeal, prudence, and common sense, (8) a large, loving heart, (9) sincere belief in all he says, (10) entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for success, (11) a close walk with God by prayer, and (12) a consistent walk before men by a holy life.

Read rest of article HERE at The Cripple Gate

1 comment:

  1. One of my biggest questions about street preaching is: Do people have time to stop and listen? Your examples were from bygone eras where lives were scheduled less precisely. Now we have constant urgent appointments, and the time between is filled by staring at our electronic devices or sending inane, "I'm in park LOL. U?"