Rude Witnessing. Is It Justifiable?

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 bullhorn 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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9 Comments

Filed under Preaching, Witnessing

9 responses to “Rude Witnessing. Is It Justifiable?

  1. Oh my, how many “street preachers” I’ve seen. First, we need to be aware of the potential false doctrine that is being demonstrated by their actions, how many people are they truly bringing to God? Or are they merely chasing those who don’t even know the Cross further from it? Matthew 6:5 When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets that they may be seen by men”. What is the ultimate purpose of those street preachers with the bullhorns? is it to bring people to God and Jesus, or to get their five minutes of fame?

    Christianity already has a bad taste in people’s mouths because of the very visible hypocrisy and prosperity doctrine that hawks endless happiness and riches if you give your $100 to a particular ministry.

    Jesus was a rebel, but He was not rude. The Commandments love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself/do unto others as you would have them do to you in themselves say you don’t stand on a street corner and behave rudely, drive people from the love of Christ, and the potential of finding salvation. What we do and what we say as Christians show the world what we believe, our actions speak louder than words. Instead of hawking rhetoric of sinner sinner….for we all are sinners, even the street preachers…..we need to reach out to people face to face on that street…three words can make a difference and one simple action, a smile and say “God bless you” It doesn’t take much at all.

    The will of God is not to drive people from Him in fear, but to draw them to Him so we can learn how to be Christian.

  2. Amazing how many “alleged” Christians witness with the “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” model, and yes, they say that’s how Jesus did it. Well, Jesus was harsh and hard–with religious people, not “sinners who know they are sinners”! (And some of them just got mad at me because I used the word ‘damn’!)

  3. So much truth , we can be some of the nastiest folks ever , even towards one another . More Christians should realize we are to be Christ like and walk in Love , soft answers turn away strife hatred and uncertainties yet we wonder why more people don’t accept Christ , look at how is represented . We must do better , bravo preacher !!!

  4. I am pretty much on board with being loud and in people’s face at public events is not always positive. Especially, since many street preachers actually trash the Gospel in the process. On the other hand, in the right venue, done correctly, street preaching can be quite effective. It takes more than just some moron screaming, though. I happen to like Ray Comfort and crew a lot. They do a great job of preaching the Word yet also dealing with individuals in kind an gentle way.

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