Street evangelism is messy at times. Street evangelism can lead to confrontations with lost people. When engaging strangers in conversation, you never know what will happen. Some people are very friendly and receptive. Some people are aloof and cautious. Others are rude and angry. Some laugh at your questions and mock your faith. Some will become enraged when you suggest they are not good people, according to God’s standards. Others will weep as the truth brings them to a knowledge of their sin and their need for the Savior. The only way to avoid the possibility of negative encounters with unsaved people who are also strangers to you is to never engage strangers in gospel conversations.
What verse supports the idea of withholding the gospel from people you do not know?
Some Christians believe if a Christian expresses himself with a strong tone of voice and command presence in a conversation with an unbeliever that it is evidence of an unloving and/or prideful attitude. While that can be the case (no Christian walking this earth does so in a state of completed sanctification), it is fallacious to assert that a speaking with strong tone of voice and asserting command presence when engaging a God-hater (Romans 1:32) in conversation is always sinful.
I decided to post the below clip, one that I know will raise the ire of some, in order to address a criticism I sometimes face. The criticism, usually levied by pastors who do not like open-air preaching and what they would call “confrontational evangelism,” is that I am too aggressive and that I bring a reproach upon Christ by following after people and trying to keep them in conversations, after they become upset.
For those who think I’m too provocative, I want to acknowledge there is no doubt a fine line between appropriate and sinful provocation–a line I know I have crossed at times. In fact, I made a mistake in the first few moments of the video you are about to watch. Instead of telling the God-hater that what he said was untrue, I called him a “liar.”
Sye Ten Bruggencate preached a sermon (Be About the Cure) earlier this year that the Lord is still using in my life. As soon as I called the man a liar instead of telling him what he said was not true, I thought of Sye’s admonition. Sye’s sermon is one that I believe every open-air preacher should hear.
With the above in mind, and while I certainly do not want to sin when communicating biblical truths to lost people, how can I simply let God-haters walk away toward hell without doing/saying whatever I can to snatch them from the fire (Jude 1:22-23)?
What some see (or want to see) as nothing more than an attempt to argue and debate is, in my not-yet-fully-sanctified heart, a desire to verbally grab them by the arm, as it were, and tell them in no uncertain terms that they are bound for hell. I stayed with the man in the video because I DON’T want him to perish, not because I mean him any ill-will, not because I am angry with him, and not because I hate him the way he hates God and me.
With that, here’s a recent encounter I had with one of many of the God-haters in the world today. I engaged him and I stayed with him as long as I could because I love him and I don’t want him to go to hell.