Spurgeon on “The Crazies”

Did you know the crazy people on the sidewalk have been acting that way for a long time?  Surely you know who I am talking about!!  Every time you go a sporting event or parade you see someone standing on a box or a hill preaching law and gospel in a loud voice to the crowds.  Usually there are other people (only slightly less-crazy) in the crowds handing out Gospel tracts.  Many professing Christians look at these people as though they are some crazy and unstable element of their Christian culture, hesitating to even identify themselves as Christian when near “the crazies” for fear of being associated with them.  They feel as though street preaching and tracts are only for uncultured fanatics who do not understand modern culture enough to avoid embarrassing themselves.  Perhaps before we write off “the crazies”, we should allow a respected preacher to weigh in on the subject, and who is more respectable than the “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon?  A resident of London, and a veteran preacher, Spurgeon understood all the arguments against these forms of evangelism.  Let us read some advice he gave to young ministers-in-training regarding these things…

“In raising new interest (in the Gospel), and in carrying out evangelism, out-of-door preaching is a primary tool.  Get the people to listen outside that they may come to worship inside.  You need no pulpit, a chair will do, or even the curb.  The less formality the better, and if you begin by talking to two or three people around you and do not try to deliver a formal-sounding sermon, you will do well.  More good will be done in a conversation with one than in a rhetorical address to fifty.  Do not interfere with busy walkways, but if a crowd should gather, do not run away in fright, a policeman will move you along soon enough!”

It would appear as though the most respected of preachers in modern times was a big believer in evangelism and street preaching in crowded public venues.  And why?  Because that is where the lost are!!  He took seriously the command of His Lord to go forth and preach the Gospel.  The next time you see “the crazies” please realize that they are being obedient to their Lord, they are unashamed of the one who died for them, and they are being honored by their Master when He uses their message to bring forth lost men unto Himself in repentance in faith!  When you look at them, are you filled with exasperation?  Do you look down on them as uncultured, even though they are participating in an ancient duty that Christ, Paul, Peter and Spurgeon all practiced?  Let me submit, timid and “cultured” Christian…it is you who are the crazy one for fearing man more than God and clinging to civility with greater devotion than you cling to your Lord!!

Please note:   In the post above, I am referring to sound Christians who preach the Law of our Lord to bring conviction and, with equal enthusiasm, the good news that Christ has provided atonement for our sins to those who believe unto repentance.  I am not in any way condoning the folks screaming only about Hell or the masses of good intentioned folks handing out tracts with a repeat-after-me, no law, no repentance, “just ask Him in” message.  Both of these approaches are devoid of the true Gospel and should in no way be encouraged.

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One Comment on “Spurgeon on “The Crazies””

  1. Erick Reinstedt Says:

    Thanks for this post. I found myself, during all the mocking of the 5/21 crowd, asking myself a very quiet, but disconcerting question, “What, Erick, do you believe in that you would be willing to sell everything for to warn others about?” It wasn’t about their right or wrong, but about my conviction to what I believe is right or wrong. I, personally, admire and envy those who can get on a street and share the gospel. It challenges me, who gets afraid to share with a neighbor for fear of their reactions . . . and that is a scary place for a pastor to be in.


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