While many have contacted me to say they have been encouraged by my current blog series on the qualifications of an open-air preacher, there has been no shortage of detractors.
Most of the detractors have been open-air preachers. I have people disagree with me all the time. That’s okay. Some of my very best friends, brothers for whom I would take a bullet, disagree with me on theological issues like eschatology and spiritual gifts. However, the level of disagreement over the issue of qualifications for open-air preachers rises far above (or should I say descends far below) a mere difference of opinion or a casual “let’s agree to disagree.”
The level of vitriol, anger, even hatred expressed by some has been rather disturbing–not because people are “picking on me.” Rather, it’s disturbing because the men doing it not only scoff at the idea of qualifications for open-air preachers; they believe they are qualified to preach. Some of them have no attachment to a local church. Others show through their vitriol, ad hominems, and emotionalism either an inability or unwillingness to reason through the issue. Yet others show an inability to teach the Word of God by their gross mishandling of Scripture regarding the issue at hand.
The more I write, and the more I receive negative responses, the more I believe the present open-air preaching sub-culture needs to die a quick and painful death. Open-air preaching needs a reboot, and that reboot needs to take place in the individual lives of preachers, from inside their local churches.
I now believe that anything short of a complete dismantling of the open-air preaching subculture, and a “start from scratch” rebuild from within the context and confines of legitimate local churches (not fellowships led by disgruntled open-air preachers who have called themselves to shepherd flocks after their own kind), will fail to correct a decade’s worth of mistakes, bad habits, and unbiblical orthopraxy.
It’s time to pluck out the eye and cut off the hand of open-air preaching as we know it.
More on this to come.
Tony has preached in many churches across the United States and in Canada.He has served as the keynote speaker at several different conferences. Tony is serving the Lord as an itinerant preacher and open-air evangelist.
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