At our Tournament of Roses Parade excursion last Friday, 30 evangelists handed out nearly 40,000 gospel tracts and preached to thousands, yes thousands! In fact, “Righteous Richard” Chavarria was booed by those very same thousands who were sitting in the stands as he preached.
You have to realize that the preaching took place before the parade even began, and each message was no longer than five minutes each. Still, when he announced that all would be held accountable to God’s Moral Law on the Day of Judgment horns were blown. When he explained that no liar, thief, blasphemer or adulterer would enter Heaven, catcalls fell upon him. One finger salutes were abundant as he warned that all who ignored this message would end up in Hell.
When Richard preached the good news that Jesus Christ died for their sins and that they could be forgiven by repenting and trusting in Him, an irate lady stood by his side and hollared in his ear.
Is this a normal reaction to preaching in the open air? Was it wrong for “Righteous Richard” to continue preaching when so many wanted him to stop? Should he have quit when the going got tough?
Read this short account from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon (1834 – 1892), on what happened to others in the past who preached in the open air:
“Once recommenced, the fruitful agency of field-preaching was not allowed to cease. Amid jeering crowds and showers of rotten eggs and filth, the immediate followers of the two great [preachers] continued to storm village after village and town after town. Very varied were their adventures, but their success was generally great. One smiles often when reading incidents in their labors. A string of pack horses is so driven as to break up a congregation, and a fire engine is brought out and played over the throng to achieve the same purpose. Hand-bells, old kettles, marrowbones and cleavers, trumpets, drums, and entire bands of music were engaged to drown the preachers’ voices.
“In one case the parish bull was let loose, and in others dogs were set to fight. The preachers needed to have faces set like flints, and so indeed they had. John Furz says: “As soon as I began to preach, a man came straight forward, and presented a gun at my face; swearing that he would blow my brains out, if I spake another word. However, I continued speaking, and he continued swearing, sometimes putting the muzzle of the gun to my mouth, sometimes against my ear. While we were singing the last hymn, he got behind me, fired the gun, and burned off part of my hair.
“After this, my brethren, we ought never to speak of petty interruptions or annoyances.” —From OPEN-AIR PREACHING – A SKETCH OF ITS HISTORY AND REMARKS THEREON, by Charles Spurgeon (Look for the video of our Rose Parade preaching next week.)