I’ve had the same conversation with Christians over and over and over. Each time I’ve had this conversation, I’m more convinced that these people would rather make friends with the world than stand for the truth; but, James 4:4 says friendship with the world is hatred toward God. These Christians say that we shouldn’t:
- Open air preach
- Use the law in evangelism
- Our evangelism shouldn’t involve actually speaking to anyone
Whether someone as an individual Christian should open air preach is between them and God. If you don’t feel the burning desire to preach the Gospel, that’s fine. But to say that someone else shouldn’t open air preach is the height of presumption. Some who have open air preached include: Moses, Elijah, Sampson, Samuel, Ezra, Nehamiah, John the Baptist, Charles Spurgeon, William Tyndale, John Knox, Paul, Peter, and Jesus. Of course the objection there is that these guys lived in a time when they couldn’t go on T.V. and our modern society is so different than it was then. But the Bible says that “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Don’t you want your unsaved loved ones to be confronted with the living and active word of God as often as possible? Does it say that it’s only as sharp as a sword when it’s delivered in a certain format? The power of the message isn’t in the preacher, but in the Gospel and the word of God.
The second objection is that we shouldn’t use the law in evangelism, because it’s confrontational and makes us sound like big meanies. I’m sure Jesus would have benefited greatly from your course in friendship evangelism. He repeatedly used the law to convict people of their sin (John 4:16-18, Luke 18:19-20, Matthew 5:17-32, Matthew 15:1-9), as did Peter, Paul and the others. Jesus’ methods produced terrible results—He was crucified. If only He had been obedient to the Pharisees, He could have avoided that torturous death. The results were similar for the apostles, and much of the early church. Supposedly, the apostle John is the only one who died of old age. Why do we expect different results from our evangelism? Did Jesus ever say that living a life of obedience would make you popular?
A third objection I’ve heard repeatedly is the old adage about always preaching the gospel, and when necessary, using words. Of course we all know what verse that is: Madeup 4:7. The Bible actually says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14). How can anyone understand the Gospel by observing our actions? Preaching is necessary, and really is accomplished through words.
Most people are friendly and open to talking about eternity and what the Bible says. Of course it can be scary to witness to someone. Paul was scared at times as well (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). All men have fear at some point; the question is how do you react? Do you overcome your fear through Christ who strengthens you? Or do you make excuses, and give in to sin and cowardice? Remember that all cowards will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). Are you a Christian or a sissy? You can’t be both. If you’re a sissy, I would ask that you please don’t try to drag the real Christians down with you through constant criticism and second guessing.