A friend of mine has a podcast. Apparently, he talked about the issue of women preaching in the open-air, on his program. He received the following email from a listener:
I just got finished listening to your podcast, and I had a couple of questions, so Paul said to give a call. I had a question about abortion ministry for women. I totally understand what you were saying about women not doing open their preaching. I have no problem with that. but I have seen women doing what amounts to open their preaching out of work and clinics, and it is very effective way, so although it would be great to have a brother there for claiming the word so that’s not always available. It’s not always an option and I just wondered what you say to that, and that’s my question if you could talk more about that. Okay? Thanks. Bye.”
My friend is as sharp as they come. He’s preached the gospel in the open-air longer than I have. And he is an astute theologian and apologist. Knowing I had written a book, “Should She Preach: Biblical Evangelism for Women,” he contacted me and asked how I would answer the question. My friend is more than capable of answering the question, but he was curious as to how I would handle it.
Here’s what I sent to my friend:
I (meaning me) would answer her this way:
That’s a great question.
A woman calling out to abortive parents or abortuary personnel, even citing Scripture as she does it, is not open-air preaching. Open-air preaching is the public proclamation of the gospel, with a loud voice. Open-air preaching is teaching the Word of God, with a view of the gospel, in public. Open-air preaching is the public call to sinners to repent and believe the gospel.
“Please don’t murder your baby! We’re here to help you! Please come and talk to us!God sees abortion as murder! You will always be the mother of this baby! You will simply be the mother of a dead baby–one who died at your hands!”
This is NOT open-air preaching. This is pleading with people not to murder their children. However, even in doing what I described above, the Christian woman MUST NOT behave in such a way as to violate God’s mandate for her to have a gentle and quiet spirit. Even if she is speaking the truth, she can still bring a reproach upon Christ by her demeanor.
Now, if a woman is standing outside an abortuary, with open Bible, and preaching the Word to those inside the abortuary, she IS open-air preaching and should be lovingly counseled to stop. It is not her role.
As to effectiveness……..
Let’s say I have a problem at the end of my otherwise quiet street with people running the stop sign. I’ve called the police more than once, but they simply do not have the manpower to have an officer monitor the intersection throughout the day.
Since the police can’t/won’t do anything to solve the problem, I decide to take matters into my own hands.
I decide to take a week off work so I can stand at the corner. Each day I stand there and wait for cars to approach the intersection. And each time it looks like a car is going to run the stop sign, I rush out into the middle of the street, raise my hand, blow a whistle, and yell stop.
This proves to be “effective.” I almost get hit several times, but people stop at the stop sign.
Have I done a good thing?
I assumed authority I did not have. And I actually violated the law myself by stepping into the middle of the roadway and impeding traffic. My tactic might have been effective, but the ends did not justify the means.
Like you, I passionately want abortion to end…….TODAY. But in our efforts to end abortion, or right any wrong, we must first submit to the authority of Christ and the Word of God. Scripture gives us no right to violate biblical principles in order to achieve an honorable goal.
I hope this helps.
For a full, theological treatment of this subject, I humbly recommend my book, “Should She Preach: Biblical Evangelism for Women.”
There are many ways Christian women can engage in biblical evangelism without engaging in open-air preaching. One way is by engaging people in conversation.
My new book, “Cross Encounters: A Decade of Gospel Conversations,” provides not only examples, but instruction for engaging strangers, friends, and family in gospel conversations.