Have a question or objection about street preaching? Need a trustworthy resource for Bible study? Interesting on learning how to defend your faith? Whatever your question, you may find the answer here. Feel free to contact us if you don’t find your answer here.
I. Open air preaching is protected by the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
II. We have the right to pass out literature, preach, and display signs on public areas (Coates v. Cincinnati 402 U.S. 611 / Edwards v. S. Carolina, 372 U.S. 299 / Furr v. Town of Swansea, F. Supp. 1543).
III. We have the right to exercise our religion and speak in all quintessential public forums (Frisby vs. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474 / U.S. v. Grace, 461 U.S. 171, 176).
IV. We have a “guaranteed access” to streets, parks, and other ‘traditional public forum” and mere inconvenience to the government will not outweigh our free speech interests (Hague v. C.I.O. 307 U.S. 496).
V. Our freedom of speech may not be prohibited merely because it offends some listeners (Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 / Simon & Shuster v. New York State Crime Victims Bd, 502 U.S. 105 / N.Y. Ties v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254).
VI. A city may not consider the listener’s reaction when permitting free speech activity (Forsyth County v. The Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123).
VII. Hecklers do not have veto power over a speaker’s right of free speech but Police must control a crowd rather than arrest the speaker in order to maintain order (Cox. v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536).
VIII. We have the right to be loud enough to be heard (Saia v. New York, 334 U.S. 1943).
IX. We have the right to be protected by law enforcement if the crowd is offended by what we are preaching and becomes hostile (Hedges v. W.C.U.S.D. No. 118, et al. 9F.3d 1295).
X. Permits are not allowed to be used to restrict a speaker’s right of free expression and permits may not be used as a prior restraint on free speech (Kunz v. New York, 340 U.S. 290).
XI. A free speech lawsuit is a Federal case and allows us to sue Policemen and guards in their official capacity and as individuals (Freedom Restoration Act, Title 42, Section 2000aa.).
XII. A freedom of speech lawsuit will subject them to pay our damages and all our attorney fees (42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988).
In John 15:18-19, Christ clearly warns us that people will naturally hate us for proclamation of the Gospel. He says, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” So it’s expected that street preaching would not be something met with open arms by unbelievers.
Additionally, as what is heinous sin today becomes the norm for tomorrow, those who proclaim this Gospel message will only be hated more and more.
Those who pose this question affirm they do not have a Biblical understanding of evangelism or God’s sovereignty. The apostle Paul reminds us that our labor of proclaiming the Good News is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). And we can be confident that God’s word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11).
When considering “effectiveness” we must remember that the most pride-killing part of salvation is the most freeing part for the Christian. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9)! And it is the Lord who opens the heart (Acts 16:14). So as long as we are faithful to boldly and lovingly proclaim the only message that saves, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we know that it has the power to bring those who believe to salvation (Romans 1:16).
So how effective is it? 100% effective! Every, single person who hears the Gospel message is brought before Christ and there are only one of two possible outcomes. They either turn to Christ and live or continue living as a God-hater (Romans 1:30) denying the One who has eternal life. We cannot force someone to believe the Good News. We’re commanded as Christians to simply share the message.
Not to answer a question with other questions, but… Was Jesus (or anyone else who preached the Gospel) ever specifically invited to do so? How about when Paul was preaching the Gospel in the market places and public venues, was he invited?
In Acts 17, whether at the synagogue or in the marketplace, the apostle Paul was not invited, nor were his hearers there to be confronted with the Gospel. Rather, he showed up and boldly proclaimed the only message by which anyone may be saved. One organization that AppalachiaCry works with is Sports Fan Outreach International (SFOI). Founder and Evangelist Bill Adams took note of the apostle Paul’s actions and that led to starting SFOI. Just as Paul knew the people’s attention and spirit would be vibrant and active in Athens around the games, so can we find the same at local games and events. To try and invalidate street preaching because Christ’s servant is not invited is a weak position.
Granted, there are a lot of folks out there who do not present a Biblical, loving example of street preaching. Many do it with pride, self-righteousness, and hatred. And those are nothing more than a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1). In fact, they do not preach the Gospel because the Gospel is the Good News and they miss it completely. We strive to preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23) boldly and in love for our fellow man.
Many times, the open-air preacher is heckled, mocked, or condemned. On the surface what may look bad is actually a confirmation of God’s word. When the Gospel is rightly preached, man is confronted by it and his God-given conscience is pricked. That internal, spiritual reality is expressed by either repentance and faith (Mark 1:15) or rejection (Psalm 14:1, 1 Corinthians 1:18). Should we disobey the commandment of evangelism because the world doesn’t think well of it?
What is truly sad is that many times it is professing Christians who are against open-air preaching. This is sad, because as long as the Gospel is being properly proclaimed, a true Christian will never tire of hearing it.
Many men throughout Scripture preached in the open air. We can point to such Old Testament men as Noah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, and Amos. In the New Testament, we find examples of open-air preaching such as John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus Christ preached in the open air as well like in the Sermon on the Mount, for example. In fact, open-air or street preaching is how the Gospel spread as we see with Paul, Peter, James, and Stephen to only name some.
This is one of the most common charges brought against us who preach in the open-air is that we are judgmental. And on the surface, this objection seems plausible. Yet it is contradictory as the objection itself is a judgment!
Friend, calling sin “sin” is not judging, rather stating a fact. The most loving thing a Christian can do is to warn those who are headed for eternal tragedy that they are in danger. True love warns!
Most often the one objecting to open-air preaching cites Matthew 7:1. In fact, you can find a person who has never read the Bible and start out Matthew 7:1 and they will finish it. Friend, this was Christ rebuking the Pharisees. Yet we see Jesus instruct us to judge in His own words!
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24
Our goal is not to pronounce judgment on anyone as if we are “Holy Ghost, Jr.” And we don’t have to. God’s word says that if you don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, you’re condemned already! (John 3:18)
For a full explanation, please see our ‘Accountability’ page.
Sermons, blogs, videos, and more from the teaching ministry of Pastor John MacArthur.
Take advantage and get you some seminary training in apologetics and evangelism ***FREE***. No sign-up or registration needed. Simply click the button below and watch!
A careful biblical and theological development of a consistent apologetic. The course provides a basis for the evaluation of various empirical systems as well as a working knowledge of presuppositionalism for use in all aspects of practical ministry. Evangelism is then studied within this framework to present the student with a consistent gospel presentation for biblical evangelism.
The preaching and teaching ministry of Dr. Steven J. Lawson.
Sermons, blogs, videos, and more from the teaching ministry of Pastor Alistair Begg.
How ludicrous it would be to say to the creator of the universe: “Prove to me that you exist, then I will bow down to worship you.” Or, in other words: “You must bow to my standards before I will bow to yours.” Some people want to BE God before they will submit to Him.
Nobody needs arguments for the existence of God. Nobody needs proof that God exists. The Bible teaches that those who claim that God does not exist are merely suppressing what they already know to be true.
Presuppositional apologist Sye Ten Brugencate shows you how to Biblically defend your faith with remarkably simple techniques backed by Scripture.
CARM is a 501(c)3, non-profit, Christian ministry dedicated to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and the promotion and defense of the Christian Gospel, doctrine, and theology. To do this, CARM analyzes religious and non-religious movements and compares them to the Bible. We examine abortion, atheism, evolution, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, relativism, Roman Catholicism, Wicca, universalism, (and more), along with Christian preachers and teachers. In all our analyses we use the Bible as the final standard of truth in order to defend and promote Christianity.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.