Is it Love or Not? Street Evangelists Defend Their Method

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As a follow-up to the article, What is Real Christian Love? Is This it?, I found an enlightening conversation between Tony Miano and Ken of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) and two other individuals.  Tony Miano was recently in Portland at a conference put on by CARM and after the conference, he and Ken went street evangelizing at colleges, around town, and also at the abortion clinic in downtown Portland.  In the article, I posted a 42-minutes video in which Miano interacted with a gentlemen who was not happy about his loud presence outside the clinic.

The subject is love.   Is this method of evangelism showing love?  Eric Fry had a recent response that I really liked:

JA,

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some hard-core fundamentalists defend their tone and attitude as “loving” because, “It’s loving to tell someone the truth, even if it offends them or hurts their feelings. Their souls is more important than how they feel.” It’s a one-size-fits-all approach, and amounts to nothing but beating people over the head with a Bible. I guess they missed Col. 4:6, which is pretty clear that when we speak to people about God and Christ, we speak to them as individual souls, in their own circumstances, with their own emotions. When food is properly seasoned with salt, it doesn’t leave a bitter taste in the mouth, it leaves one wanting more. Of course, to know how to respond to each person with the Gospel, as a unique individual, would require that you actually care about the people for who each one of them are, and not as just a number to be added to the attendance (and financial) rolls.

People can defend this sort of “preaching the truth” all they want, but it’s really nothing more than harassment designed to bring in unquestioning zombies to their little folds.

How does Miano and others like him defend the way they “evangelize?”   This can be found easily by taking a look at his tweets.  Take a look:

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Here’s another conversation that was going on around the same time.   I think you can get the gist of this conversation:

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39 comments on “Is it Love or Not? Street Evangelists Defend Their Method

  1. Part of the text for the sermon I just came from was, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn. 13:35, ESV. The preacher, a woman, had some remarks regarding how evangelical Christians are viewed by non-Christians. She said that, according to Christian pollster George Barna, evangelicals come in next to last among various groups, being followed only by prostitutes (but see Mt. 21:31 concerning the hope of prostitutes). Though not specifically stated by the preacher, the clear inference was that Christians, or at least evangelicals, are not known for love for one another, or for others.

    The preacher (did I mention she is a WOMAN?) went on to address how lack of love negatively affects evangelism. I missed whether she was quoting or speaking her original insight, but she said something like this: “When we minister to the needs of the ‘least of these,’ we do not do it to save their souls, but to save our own.” I find this extraordinarily profound. It is the obvious implication of Jesus’ words at the end of Mt. 25, “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment. . .”

    By the time the preacher finished relating the true account of how one poor and frightened young mother was reached by a teenage boy who, in the name of Jesus, bought her some diapers and cigarettes, and who sat down to attempt to smoke a cigarette with her, the congregation was moved. By the time the preacher finished relating how the teenage boy himself met and was won to Jesus through the experience, the congregation was in tears.

    The woman whose sermon I listened to this morning gets it. The MEN advocating evangelism by condemnation and confrontation just do not.

    Like

  2. Gary W

    We live in a harden society. I think in the process some Street Preachers get the idea that being aggressive or bold means being confrontational or advocate condemnation, because their hearts have become hardened as well..

    Even an act of Kindness, Compassion, politeness and Love is becoming foreign to abusive Pastor’s stuck in their Methodology. Never realizing by their actions causes people to react in the opposite and rebelling even further away from God.

    I think the fact that they are willing to share their interpretation of the Gospel on a street corner is Bold and Aggressive and if they teach Love and Compassion to people passing by, is how I believe Christ would approach outdoor preaching.

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  3. Julie Anne,

    If I have any discernment, the great majority of your readers will actually celebrate the fact that our Lord ministers so effectively through His Blood bought and transformed daughters of Eve. Ironically, the people who are most likely to turn a deaf ear to truth, and Truth, communicated by women are the same people who say things like:

    A leader’s doctrine matters more than his personality; and
    Truth is truth; and
    Truth doesn’t change regardless how it’s presented; and
    True doctrine is never “nothing.”

    And these assertions, as reported in your article of April 24, are just a few of the statements made by only one apparently very conservative, evangelical, and highly educated minister.

    Like

  4. “Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some hard-core fundamentalists defend their tone and attitude as “loving” because, “It’s loving to tell someone the truth, even if it offends them or hurts their feelings. Their souls is more important than how they feel.” ”

    THAT is the EXACT SAME ATTITUDE that “discipling partners” had in the group that I was a part of for many years.

    Like

  5. is there another reason for you being so large other than excessive eating?

    I had to giggle at that one!

    Its normally the aggressive ones that don’t like that tactic used on them. THEY are the ones that need to shout out about evil…NOT YOU!

    Major Yuck Fest!

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  6. Statement: “Think you push more people away from Christ than bring people to him. You are a religious legalist, not a Christ lover.”

    Response: “Can you define what legalism is Biblically?”

    Note the shift into Semantics where he can sidetrack about definitions and words. This is an old shuck-and-jive debaters’ trick to put the fight onto his own turf — abstracted words and definitions — giving him the home-field advantage. Changing the subject without changing the subject, passive-aggressive style. This is an old trick of Intellectual Bullies with Debate skills.

    And the use of “Biblically”, the latest Christianese buzzword along with “Gospelly” to justify spiritual abuse (op cit Wartburg Watch). This is also a setup to get the fight onto his home turf where he can shout the critic down with Party Line-recital of “SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!” And in doing so PROVE that he is More Christian than Thou — maybe even More Christian than Christ.

    I had the exact same tactics used on me by Extreme Leftist Intellectual Snobs back in the Seventies. Communists also used to street evangelize.

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  7. “Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some hard-core fundamentalists defend their tone and attitude as “loving” because, “It’s loving to tell someone the truth, even if it offends them or hurts their feelings. Their souls is more important than how they feel.” ”

    “So what if I rack him ’til he die? I will have Saved His Soul.”
    — “The Inquisitor” from Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

    THAT is the EXACT SAME ATTITUDE that “discipling partners” had in the group that I was a part of for many years.

    This is the “TRUTH HURTS, DOESN’T IT?” tactic I am very familiar with from schoolyard bullying. The last time I experienced it was an email harassment campaign making false accusations against me.

    Like

  8. “Note the shift into Semantics where he can sidetrack about definitions and words. This is an old shuck-and-jive debaters’ trick to put the fight onto his own turf — abstracted words and definitions — giving him the home-field advantage.”

    That’s Humpty Dumpty. “Words mean what I want them to mean.” – Humpty Dumpty, from Through the Looking Glass.

    Like

  9. The warnings by HUG and Eric Fry about semantics, what I might call word games, are very useful. I had missed the point of what they are saying. The following verses, all of which are from ESV, come to mind:

    Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Timothy 2:14.

    Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words. Proverbs 23:9.

    If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet. Proverbs 29:9.

    The verse about pearls and pigs also comes to mind. Unfortunately, Scripture, confirmed by experience, demonstrates that many (most? all?) of these spewers of hate and twisters of words are unlikely to receive truth regarding the Gospel of rightly defined love, even when spoken in love. Still, we have the ability to counter hate with love.

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  10. I happen to know a lot of street evangelists, and participated in it myself some. Although I no longer do so, I want to note that there are some good ones. Those that stand up and speak in a public place (I’m thinking college campus) might be speaking to ppl who’ve never heard the gospel before. And if they’re loving about how they do it, it can be impact full. That’s a major key, are u really concerned about these ppl? It’s a question to ask beforehand.

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  11. Seth – I think that is a good point. If it is done in love, we will see love spewing out of them on a daily basis as they work, spend time with their family, etc. Their whole life will reflect Christ’s love.

    Eric – That was a great article and covers what we have discussed, too.

    Gary W – They can hand-select verses on “the gospel is foolish to those who are perishing,” and miss all the other ones about themselves being a fool in the delivery of their message.

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  12. I had lots of door knocking experiences in my beginner IFB days. I think many pretended to come to Christ to nicely get me to leave. There may have been some real experiences, but they never wanted to come to my church to further their relationship with God, and I don’t blame them.

    I think that of those who had a positive response, I would rather reach them another way than knocking on their door. Having said that, I do know a two truly gifted evangelists who can do whatever comes to their minds and it seems to work well with real fruit to show for it. I would never discourage them from most any attempt they want to make, though they often appear crazy to others.

    But the ONE real response (imo) was a black woman (I’m white) who was desperate with her husband gone in the military. She appeared to have a sincere conversion and wanted to come to church. I took her, only to be taken aside by the pastor and told I should have warned him before bringing a black person to church. I was too young and too stupid to have called the pastor on his abhorrent behavior, but I did ignore him. Unfortunately, The black women knew. She never returned. Hard to go soul-winning when one has no where to take them afterwards.

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  13. I posted this on the thread with the video, but it seems applicable here as well.

    1 Cor. 9 might be helpful here.

    19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
    20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
    21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
    22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
    23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

    The world may, and does, take offense to the “message” and they often transfer that offense to the message bearer, but this is not the same thing as the bearer BEING offensive, rude, loud, unkind, and obnoxious when they share the Good News.

    I believe these people are confused

    Like

  14. Hmmm? Tony Milano tweets…
    “was Jesus “polite and kind” when he called people whitewashed tombs?”

    Seems the people Jesus called – “ye are like unto whited sepulchres,” Mat 23:27
    Were NOT your plain old, run of the mill, – people. These were the special people.

    These were “Woe People” – And there are lots of “Woe People” in the Bible. 😉
    Just plug in “Woe” to your Bible program and see what turns up. 😉

    Mt 23:27
    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! “
    for ye are like unto “whited sepulchres,”
    which indeed appear beautiful outward,
    but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

    These whitwashed tombs were “The Religious Leaders” of the day.
    The Scribes – The Pharisees – Hypocrites – The Lawyers – Blind Guides.

    The only ones I see Jesus giving a hard time to is “The Religious Leaders” of His day.
    Jesus hung out with the sinners – the tax collectors – the least of these.
    And loved them…

    Seems Jesus is NOT happy with “The Religious Leaders” in Mat 23…

    Mt 23:1 – The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat…
    …do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
    …they bind heavy burdens… lay them on men’s shoulders…
    …themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
    *ALL their works they do for to be seen of men:*
    they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
    And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
    And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

    Does this sound like anyone we know today???
    Who do we know that likes “the chief seats.???”

    And – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! “ is 7 times in just Mat 23.

    Mt 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
    for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men…

    Mt 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
    for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer…

    Mt 23:15*Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
    “for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte,”
    and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

    Mt 23:23 – Mt 23:25 – Mt 23:27 – Mt 23:29

    Hmmm? “Woe People???”

    Like

  15. Amos, that is such an important observation. And notice they – these people who demonstrate very little grace and love as they tell people how sinful they are- are misrepresenting Christ. Can you believe it?? They think they are doing it the right way. And in my former pastor’s case if you did not evangelize the “right way” ie, the hard gospel message, you were not evangelizing Christ. The utter hypocrisy is astounding.

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  16. I will just leave this right here. This kind of manure is not confined just to street preachers with loud speakers.

    Debate 101: Strong language does not equate to strong argument. Just look at the press releases from North Korea and Al Queda. If you have strong arguments, you just let them speak for themselves. I know 2+2=4. There is no need to get all worked up about it and employe strident and color language to defend it. The proof is out there. Take it or leave it.

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  17. David Cho, I just listened to your link. Whatever happened to the person in the pulpit sticking to the text? There is such precious little time we all have to focus on the Word, our food.

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  18. Wait a minute, Katie. Are you saying there was text he was following as in Bible text? Did I miss it? I guess I was so enamored by his talk on manliness, I missed it.

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  19. Were you too Julie Anne? I almost thought about reconsidering my choice to become a straight man I made at the age of four on 5/6/70 after watching that clip. How could you not? What a stud muffin.

    As to being soldiers, Paul was talking about waging war against the forces of darkness, not against people. People are captives of darkness, not forces. But who cares about the distinction when you are so manly?

    Like

  20. Just took a look at the Phil Johnson “manliness” sermonette. Wonder what he does with concepts such as binding up the brokenhearted (Is. 61:1)? Maybe I’ve had this passage wrong along. Maybe it means binding up as in putting them in chains. Yeah, that’s gotta be it. After you’ve driven them to the edge of the abyss emotionally and spiritually, make ‘em confess and repent and, especially, SUBMIT. Still, there’s that pesky passage about our God being the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3. Nah, must be reading that one out of context.

    Like

  21. Julie Anne

    Maybe this will help a little with that video clip. 😉

    Found this on -“A Cry For Justice.”
    “Steeple Song” – by Don and Wendy Fransico…

    I don’t care how many buses you own
    Or the size of your sanctuary
    Doesn’t matter how steep
    Your steeple is, if it’s sittin’ on a cemetery

    I don’t care if you pave your parking lot
    Or put pads upon your pews
    What good is a picture perfect stage
    If you’re missin’ all the cues

    I don’t care if your pastor is super powered
    And your program’s always new
    What you need is love and truth
    And men are gonna come to you

    It doesn’t matter if you know the Bible
    If it’s all just in your head
    But the thing I need to ask you
    Is have you done the things I said?

    Do you love your wife?
    For her and for and for your children
    Are you layin’ down your life?
    What about the others?

    Are you livin’ as a servant
    To your sisters and your brothers?
    Do you make the poor man beg you for a bone?
    Do the widow and the orphan cry alone?

    I don’t care if you pray for miracles
    I don’t care if you speak with tongues
    I don’t care if you’ve said you love Me
    In every song you’ve sung

    It doesn’t matter if your sacrifice of praise
    Is loud enough to raise the dead
    The thing I need to ask you
    Is have you done the things I said?

    Do you love your wife?
    With all you’ve got inside you
    Are you layin’ down your life?
    What about the others?

    Are you livin’ as a servant
    To your sisters and your brothers?
    Do you make the poor man beg you for a bone?
    Do the widow and the orphan cry alone?

    Lord, when were you a prisoner
    But we did not come to you
    When was it that we saw you sick
    That we didn’t follow through

    Every time you turned your head
    And pretended not to see
    When you did it not to the least of these
    You did it not to Me

    Like

  22. Pingback: Evangelical Church is Weak and Womanly | Spiritual Sounding Board

  23. A lot of this is fallout from American Evangelicalism’s tunnel vision on Personal Salvation. You have to Get Them Saved! Get that Decision for Christ! Pray the Sinner’s Prayer! (What will you answer when God asks at The Judgement “How much Fruit did You Bear for Me? How many did you Lead to Me?”) And it leads to Wretched Urgency, high-pressure sales tactics, and drive-by evangelism as is being discussed here. Christ becomes nothing more than the product being sold. And anything goes to Close That Sale. “The Heathen’s Getting Away! Stop him!”

    Like

  24. HUG – I agree and I’ve always had an uneasy feeling about counting how many people raised their hands to make “decisions” for Christ, etc. It just seems so commercial. Was there any follow-up or discipling? I’ve seen newsletters sent out where they put these types of numbers and it probably does make people think, “wow, they’ve got a great ministry going on, I should support them.”

    Like

  25. It’s building as good a sales record as possible for your review with the Big Boss and Bonuses at the Bema. And that makes you “interpret” sales figures in the best possible light.

    I was involved in the shallow end of the Soul-Winning pool in the Seventies (the heyday of Hal Lindsay, which added its own brand of high-pressure — “WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A 1978! OR EVEN A 1977!”). Don’t know whether this was a local idea or general, but there was this belief going around that the only thing God will take into account in determining your position in Heaven would be “How many converts did you make? How many did you lead to Christ?” Talk about high-pressure…

    And it gets better (or worse) when a little selective quoting of Ezekiel gave you a direct Word from God that “If you do not warn him and he dies in his sins, I WILL Hold YOU Accountable.” Not only is your Reward in Heaven dependent on your sales record, but any missed sale impacts your Salvation.

    Put these two together and you get some really crazy pressure to Get In Their Face And Save Them. And some equally crazy and desperate Witnessing tactics. You’re desperate, you’re driven, and God’s holding a gun to the back of your head 24/7. Or at least until you burn out.

    Like

  26. .
    HUG

    Nice review of the 70’s… I was there… 😦

    Here’s some Ezek stuff my “Leaders” often quoted…

    Eze 3:18 —- Also – Eze 3:20 – Eze 33:8
    When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die;
    and thou givest him NOT warning,
    NOR speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, “to save his life;”
    the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity;
    but “his blood” will I require at “thine hand.”

    Like

  27. Amos, that’s the one. The “Wretched Urgency” verses. (Even though in the heyday of Hal Lindsay, the “Nuclear War Chapter” of Ezekiel was the only one acknowledged.)

    It was only later that I found out Ezekiel himself was one weird dude, and in the original language probably had the dirtiest mouth of any of the prophets. They never tell you these things after the guy becomes a statue on a pedestal…

    (PLUG) A couple years ago, I co-wrote an SF story where the interpretation of those passages was a major character motive and plot point. (END PLUG)

    Like

  28. “Don’t know whether this was a local idea or general, but there was this belief going around that the only thing God will take into account in determining your position in Heaven would be “How many converts did you make? How many did you lead to Christ?” Talk about high-pressure…

    And it gets better (or worse) when a little selective quoting of Ezekiel gave you a direct Word from God that “If you do not warn him and he dies in his sins, I WILL Hold YOU Accountable.” Not only is your Reward in Heaven dependent on your sales record, but any missed sale impacts your Salvation.

    Put these two together and you get some really crazy pressure to Get In Their Face And Save Them. And some equally crazy and desperate Witnessing tactics. You’re desperate, you’re driven, and God’s holding a gun to the back of your head 24/7. Or at least until you burn out.”

    Uh-uh. Again, this is EXACTLY what went on in the church I was part of. One member of that movement quoted a preacher as saying, “Sixty seconds for you, an eternity for them.” Meaning: if you don’t take sixty seconds to invite that person to church, it could mean an eternity in hell for them.

    Like

  29. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some hard-core fundamentalists defend their tone and attitude as “loving” because, “It’s loving to tell someone the truth, even if it offends them or hurts their feelings. Their souls is more important than how they feel.”

    How does that differ from The Inquisitor in Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court?
    i.e. “If I rack him ’til he die, so what? I shall have Saved his Soul.”

    Like

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