Rude Witnessing

Justification?

There are some people in the Christian world who think making people angry is doing God’s work. Some Christians are convinced that they are fulfilling the Great Commission by crashing public events and barking out, “Repent! Repent!” In reality, many just come off as being inconsiderate, impolite, and obnoxious.

In defense of their actions, many street preachers and their followers (but not all) have suggested the following points:

  • “The Gospel is more important than ______.” (whatever is going on that is being interrupted, such as music, fireworks, etc.)
  • “We’re here to get sinners saved, not to make friends.”
  • “100 years from now the crowd will forget [the event], but they will be happy they heard the Gospel.”
  • “The Gospel (and Bible in general) is supposed to offend. Jesus said, ‘They hated me, so they’ll hate you.’ Jesus never held back when He talked to the Pharisees, did He?”

In response, let me share…

A Few Thoughts

First. In Mark 16:15 Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” But in Romans 12:18 we are told, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Even though we are commanded to preach the gospel, we’re not commanded to stir up strife.

Second. Paul told the Romans, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (14:19).” Maybe that’s because Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek (Matt. 5:5),” and “Blessed are the peacemakers (Matt. 5:9).”

Third. Even though Jesus never pulled any punches with the Pharisees, it is never recorded where He went to a Pharisee picnic with a bull horn blasting out “Repent, you serpent-breathed, white-washed tombs!” As a matter of fact, as best I can tell, it was the Pharisees who came to Jesus in order to stir up trouble, not the other way around (Matt. 3:7; 15:1; 16:1; 19:3). It should even be noted that all the words Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 23 were spoken in the temple (Matt. 21:23), not on the street.

It’s Just Manners

Folks, it’s really a matter of decency, respect, and good manners. Emily Post said, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.” A Christian should be the most mannerly person in the world! Jesus was never rude or obnoxious, so why should we?

The English novelist and war correspondent Maurice Baring is quoted as saying, “Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.” That should be a lesson to us.

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It doesn’t matter how great the message or how right the cause, rudeness is the Great Negator.

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13 Comments

Filed under Preaching, Witnessing

13 responses to “Rude Witnessing

  1. Garrett R.

    Yes, unfortunately the Christians that do things this way think of it as persecution. Even though they are the ones being destructive more often than not…

  2. Reblogged this on a simple man of God and commented:

    I was going merely to write a comment, but then I decided to reblog Anthony’s post with further comment.

    I have been reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. (Finally. I have had the book for quite a while, only getting through the first couple of chapters. This past month I started over!) In chapter 19 (pp. 292-293) is this incredibly apropos quote from a letter Bonhoeffer wrote in the spring of 1937:
    “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matt. 7:6). The promise of grace is not to be squandered; it needs to be protected from the godless. There are those who are not worthy of the sanctuary. The proclamation of grace has its limits. Grace may not be proclaimed to anyone who does not recognize or distinguish or desire it. Not only does that pollute the sanctuary itself, not only must those who sin still be guilty against the Most Holy, but in addition, the misuse of the Holy must turn against the community itself. The world upon whom grace is thrust as a bargain will grow tired of it, and it will not only trample upon the Holy, but also will tear apart those who force it on them. For its own sake, for the sake of the sinner, and for the sake of the community, the Holy is to be protected from cheap surrender. The Gospel is protected by the preaching of repentance which calls sin sin and declares the sinner guilty. The key to loose is protected by the key to bind. The preaching of grace can only be protected by the preaching of repentance.

    In other words, we must preach repentance for grace to be received. We should do it holding to peace, but the message will offend. We must not be rude, but we must not shove it down their throats either, lest they hate the Gospel because of the messengers. And if there is no repentance with grace, grace becomes meaningless to those who need it. (Everyone)
    It is not only street preachers who can be guilty of committing both of these sins. It is also pastors with their congregations, Christians with each other, and Christians who wish to compromise with the world to keep a friend. (And I have been all of these.)
    May we keep a watchful eye on our world, on each other as Christians, and – especially – on ourselves, through washing by the Word and the changing of our minds (Eph. 5:26, Rom. 12:1-2), which is true repentance.

    Daniel

  3. @ Daniel. Yeah I was going to say something, but I don’t think I can get over the new bar height LOL. That was awesome.

    Good post Brother Anthony. You are correct, we don’t have to be jerks. Don’t get me wrong, give me more than a head nod, and I will share the Gospel with you. On the other hand, I probably won’t walk into the bar you frequent and start screaming at people to repent.

    Off topic, but how far is it from you to Gatlinburg?

    • It’s around 2 hours, give or take. You going there?

      • Yes, on spring break. And will probably check in Sunday. Was thinking about driving on Saturday and stopping along the way. Was trying to figure out if Chattanooga was an efficient stop. Be nice to go to a church I know is pretty straight and narrow instead of looking for one in a strange place. I just didn’t know if it was huge detour or not. We will be coming down I 40 all the way from Little rock more or less.

      • Just my opinion, but I’d say it’s on the way. I mean, at least it in the right direction, right?

      • It is actually. It’s like an hour extra going through Chattanooga. Hmm. You might have visitors soon!

      • Yeah, instead of staying on 40 through Nashville, you’d go south on 24. From chattanooga you’d take 75 to Knoxville. All good highway. Just go back home through Nashville and then you’ll have completed the grand tour 🙂

        We’d love t’have ya’!

      • I’d say the odds are good. We always like to catch church on Sunday of vacation week, but it’s really a struggle sometimes, and you never know what you will get. I’m talking snake handling and stuff..okay not really LOL

      • I’d say the odds are good. We always like to catch church on Sunday ofvacation week, but it’s really a struggle sometimes, and you never know what you will get. I’m talking snake handling and stuff..okay not really LOL

  4. Well said Anthony! It is my strong conviction it is just as important how we share our faith as what we share! Good job!

  5. Pingback: Witnessing because we love | From guestwriters

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