Evangelism or Entertainment?

December 13, 2005

I have received another message from campus "preacher" Jed Smock. For background on this, check out For God's Sake Shut Up!: Campus Epidemic and For God's Sake Shut Up!: Mr. Smock Responds. Or, check out his website: www.brojed.org.

Here is his new email:


Mr. Kaylor,

I am back in Columbia now. Are you interested in further discussion over a cup of coffee? Or did my response satisfy your concerns?.

I may not have addressed your ethical questions.
Don't you think that there are different ethics for different forums from the sermon, lecture, after dinner speech to comedy routine, etc.?

I see that Richard Pryor is being hailed on my AOL Headline News as "More than just a dirty mouth; he made comedy more human." Was was Pryor 's routine "merely entertainment," or did he convey significant ideas to his generation?

I see "Speaker's Circle" as more on the lines of Hyde Park, where heckling of speakers is acceptable. Different rules apply in such venues, than venues you might study in the classroom. Heckling and even acts of violence have become a problem to conservative speakers on college campuses across the country, who are speaking by invitation. How does a speaker ethically respond to hecklers?

What about the ethics of the TV talk show venue? I have been a guest on a number of national TV formats over the years where I have been told by the producers not to be polite, and instructed to be aggressive in interrupting others on the program. Has television degraded ethical communication?

Aren't there different rules applicable as we communicate friendship evangelism, than when we preach publicly in the open-air to the masses as Jesus and the Apostles did?

Jed Smock

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