Street Preaching According to Pipa and Venema
In a recent edition of Christian Renewal (date: December 11, 2013), Ruth Vandyken, in her article, "Preaching Outside the Box and onto the Public Soapbox," interviewed Dr. Joseph Pipa--faculty at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary--and Dr. Cornel Venema--of Mid-America Reformed Seminary--requesting their thoughts on proclaiming the gospel openly on the
Joseph Pipa said,
"We encourage it. Dr. (Anthony) Curto did his D. Min on street preaching and I think deals with it in evangelism class. We have some students going out on Friday nights in downtown Greenville."
Cornel Venema responded more at length.
"I imagine there may be some difference of opinion within our faculty on the question, depending upon how such street preaching is conducted. We should encourage our students to seize every opportunity to present the gospel, including the use of public fora where suitable to communicate the gospel and its call to faith and repentance. The work of the minister of the Word is a work of gospelizing, ordinarily (but not exclusively) in the context of the gathering of the people of the Lord (and others who may visit or come at the invitation of members) on the Lord's Day. We would not advise our students to present the gospel in street preaching, if the forum was unsuitable and likely to cause needless offense or be unduly aggressive in manner. Such preaching, when properly conducted, should be performed with gentleness and humility, focus upon the good news of salvation through faith in Christ, and honor the general encouragement of the Lord to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves" in the conduct of our ministries. Our general exhortation to our students is that they seize every legitimate opportunity to present the gospel to all, in a variety of settings and circumstances. That might even include presenting the gospel, if no limits are placed upon the Word, in gatherings or groups whose practices we might not endorse as fully obedient to Scriptural standards (e.g. in an unfaithful church)."
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