Discussing the so-called “persecution” among street preachers Tony Miano, Josh Williamson, Chuck O’Neal and their appalling behavior when challenged or questioned, also perhaps a kinder and gentler Josh Williamson.
Have you heard of Pastor David Robertson of Scotland?
Pastor David Robertson describes himself as a:
“Bible believing/teaching/evangelising pastor in this wonderful city of Dundee. I have ministered here for 22 years and have seen a church of seven grow into a church of 200-plus, with an increasing gospel impact.”
Having ministered in Scotland for 22 years, Robertson most likely knows the area and Christian climate well, and it would make sense that he would be a wee bit concerned when his country is in the international spotlight after two pastors from two different countries came to his own country and were arrested while street preaching in the last five months.
In 2013, Pastor Josh Williamson had moved from his home in Australia to begin his new ministry in Scotland. He lived there less than two months before he was arrested not once, but twice within a short period of time. Later, in January of 2014, his street preaching friend from the US, Tony Miano, came to stay with the Williamson family on a evangelism outreach trip, and he, too, found himself arrested while street preaching in Scotland. Is Scotland hostile to the Gospel? What is going on? Of course it make sense that Pastor David Robertson would be concerned about these developments in his homeland.
Apparently I am ‘the kitten of Queen Mary’ rather than the lion of John Knox, living in a land ruled by Satan (I knew Alex Salmond was bad…but?!). I am a compromising preacher who is symptomatic of the decline of the Church in the West, having no interest in evangelism or standing up to the forces of secularism and Satan. I am an evil self-publicist cozying up to the enemies of the Gospel in order to save my own skin. I was informed that I was not a pastor because I was not willing to break man’s law and that I was a goat rather than a sheep. My disobedience would result in demons biting my heart and separating me from God!
As if the excerpt above was not bad enough, Robertson described two other accusations which he said should be “knocked on the head.” What were these accusations? The first was, “that I have no interest in evangelism or the gospel” and the second, “I am a liar and a slanderer.” These are very serious assertions to be slung by professing Christians to another professing Christian. (Source)
Take note that the second accusation of lying and slander came from Pastor Josh Williamson on an article he wrote. However, if you click on the link at Robertson’s site, you can see that it is no longer online. This is curious. It makes me wonder what led Williamson to remove the article. (You can still see references to the article on Williamson’s own Facebook page here.)
Sadly, Pastor Williamson has not been alone in dishing out accusations and rude comments to other Christians who question methods of street preaching. Pastor Williamson has had a band of brothers standing beside him, defending him.
I found some tweets in which this band of brothers, men who might as well call themselves the Persecuted Street Preacher club, spout off on Twitter at or about Pastor Robertson and another blogger who challenged him, Joel Taylor. Here is the first tweet:
In the above tweet, street preacher Tony Miano refers to the “Flee,” which is really a typo for “Flea,” referencing Pastor David Robertsons’s Twitter ID “ @theweeflea. Miano is saying he can count on Pator Robertson to side with the enemy when worse persecution hits Scotland. One word: RUDE!
Remember, he’s classifying himself as one who was persecuted in Scotland. Keep in mind he’s the one who chose to bring the subject of homosexuality into the Gospel message as he was street preaching. He followed Williamson’s own example from his arrests a few months earlier. (See this article for a detailed timeline of Miano and his arrest.)
A side note: how many of you, when sharing the gospel, needed to share about homosexuality in that Gospel message? See what I mean? It’s an unnecessary point and I believe it is used to raise the ire of people in the audience. Pardon me while I add a personal note: You did not get persecuted, Tony! This is persecution, quit whining.
Here we go again – – in this next tweet, another blogger, Joel Taylor who challenged Miano in this article. (In all of these screenshots, you can click on “Source” at the bottom of the tweet to read the conversation.)
People pay hard-earned money for this guy to go to a foreign country and spread this kind of Gospel. Don’t you find it interesting that Miano gets arrested, released, and then uses his time while in Scotland to get behind his computer and spews hate like this? I hope his donors are taking note. Also, please notice, Mr. Miano thinks he gets to judge the spiritual condition of Taylor. Who gave him this responsibility?
I think Miano is talking about me in this next tweet, “Julie Smith.” This man, Miano, has never met me, yet allowed the words from his Persecuted Street Preacher buddy, O’Neal, to sway his opinion about me last summer. What a class act. This is not the behavior we expect from Christians. And then without knowing me, he says that truth and integrity aren’t important to me. Well, that’s what this blog is about – – exposing truth and demanding integrity from those who claim to shepherd their flocks. But really, this is also blogger, Joel Taylor. Mr. Taylor, if you are like me, and are saddened by what you are seeing displayed by street preachers who focus more on self than Christ, then I am honored to be in your company.
My former pastor is apparently a wannabe in this Persecuted Street Preacher club. Keep in mind, Chuck O’Neal was also in the news media last summer for civil disturbance outside an abortion clinic and is currently under investigation for possible violation of civil codes. O’Neal’s plight with the City of Porland, Oregon occured just after Miano was arrested in Wimbledon. Does it seem like there’s a competition between the Persecuted Street Preacher club to see who can get arrested next and in the media spotlight? Here are O’Neal’s words of “grace”- the kind I sat under for 2 years:
Now we’re going to do a surprising switcheroo. A few days ago, I had an unexpected conversation with Pastor Josh Williamson on Twitter. I have compiled it on Storify here so you can see for yourself. Briefly, I challenged him about using the volatile topic sexual immorality/homosexuality in sharing the Gospel message. I also challenged him to quit using social media to draw attention to himself if he got arrested. He thanked me and said he would pray about it.
And then, yesterday, a reader notified me of a new article written by Williamson which I think is important and perhaps even pivotal. I could not find it on Facebook, but here it is in its entirety. In the long tweet article, Williamson defends Robertson’s right to criticize open air preachers, including himself. Good for Williamson. Any Believer should be open to criticism. When you are not open to criticism, you are saying you know all. That is pride and arrogance.
Now this part is very interesting. As you recall, in the above-mentioned article which Williamson removed, he had accused Robertson of slander, but now he does something very rare. He rebukes those who publicly attacked David Robertson, the pastor who earlier criticized him. Pastor Williamson continues:
However, what I have seen online is slander and vile attacks against Rev. Robertson from those who disagree with him. Some of the attacks I have been saddened to see include referring to him as an apostate, an enemy of Christ, a non-Christian, and a wolf (all these names stemmed from the fact that he was critical of two open-air preachers). Many also operate under the impression that Rev. Robertson is not interested in evangelism.
He then defends Pastor Robertson further by saying Robertson does in fact evangelize and share the Gospel:
The fact is Rev. Robertson is very evangelistic, and does engage in regular Gospel witness. Just because he disagrees with methods and approaches does not give anyone the right to call into question his salvation. By declaring he isn’t saved due to two of his critical blogs is a form of legalism and adds an acceptance of open-air preaching and the approval of open-air preachers as a requirement for salvation. Such nonsense needs to stop and be repented of.
While Rev. Robertson and I would disagree on numerous theological and practical areas, I have no issue affirming him as a brother in Christ. We would do well to learn to ‘love one another’ and not constantly be on the attack. I have failed many times in this area, and have seen time and time again the pain and hurt that comes from not being loving. We as Christians should rejoice in the fact that the Gospel is being preached, and we should be prepared to overlook the failings of our brothers and sisters in Christ. ‘Love bears no record of wrong’, so let us walk in love towards the family of Christ.
I don’t know what’s going on here. But after my cordial conversation with Williamson on Twitter and now this current article in which he rebukes those who spoke out against Robertson, it seems we have a kinder and gentler Pastor Josh Williamson.
Has he publicly rebuked Miano and O’Neal (and perhaps others)? Is he separating himself from this group of attention-seeking street preachers? Did the words of Robertson or my challenging him play any part of this? I have no way of knowing, but regardless, I like what I am seeing and if he is separating from the kind of self-promotion and instead will focus on spreading the Gospel quietly and in humility, then Praise God for that.
I pray that God has opened Williamson’s eyes to what many of us have seen and that he chooses to continue his ministry in humility and grace, and that he will not participate in the Persecuted Street Preacher club which makes a practice of judging genuine Believers as enemies of the Gospel. Enough is enough.
And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;