Too Loud!

September 04, 2007

The San Francisco Chronicle has a story about some loud street preachers that are upsetting local business owners. Here are some excerpts:

Berkeley residents don't seem much interested in the message of eternal damnation for their "wicked" ways. Or having religious pamphlets shoved in their faces.

Crazies are a part of street life. But they're usually unamplified. These purveyors of the New Testament's "Good News" might want to try getting their message across in a genteel way, rather than through a bullhorn blast.

As a local florist said in an apt sign: "Why crucify me?"

That local florist is Gwynn Coffee. And she is fed up with it all; it's hurting business, Coffee said, and chewing up her work day.

"It's not only putting a damper on things," she said, "it's also taking up my time. Nobody really wants to walk on that side of the street when they're there."

So what does she think Jesus would do? "He'd look down and say, 'That's not what I meant,' " she said. " 'You're misrepresenting me.' "

Larry Rosenbaum of the ministries group doesn't see it that way. He said they're just there "to share the gospel of Jesus Christ."

But he does admit it's an amplified message.

Rosenbaum said he doesn't mean to drive away business, just preach Biblical teachings.

And he said it's in the way of Jesus. "I think Jesus, when he was on Earth, he did preach the gospel. He was very loud, because thousands of people could hear him at one time. So he must've been loud with his voice."

Yeah, maybe so, but Rosenbaum and his ilk ain't Jesus. They're not turning water into wine; they're not raising the dead; they're not casting demons into pigs. He and his colleague apostles are just annoying the hell out of everyone, particularly Coffee.
The attempt to say that Jesus must have yelled completely misses the fact that times have changed. Although the message should not change, the methods should. Jesus spoke loudly because that was the only way to deliver mass messages (and he usually did it on a mountain, not in the middle of town). Today we have papers, radio, TV, Internet, and more. It used to be that all important messages were shouted out by someone on the street corner. Now, however, that is not common and so whoever uses that method is immediately considered odd and loses credibility before people even listen.

At the point that they are driving people to being angry about them and God is the point that they have crossed the line. It is one thing if people get upset because of the message we deliver, but it is an entirely different thing if they get upset because of the way we say it. These street preachers are doing more harm than good and are driving people away from God. They are using out-dated methods and are not doing a good job of considering their audience. They are not being good ambassadors of Christ.


Thanks to Kevin Bussey for pointing out this story.

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