1 Peter 3:15 - But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do so with gentleness and respect.
In the course of my parish ministry there were times when I gave a first-class, pulpit-pounding, turn-down-your-hearing-aid kind of sermon. I stopped doing so the Sunday after a little boy at the door asked, "Pastor, if you were so mad at us, was Jesus mad, too?"
Now I'm not saying the pulpit has no room for the deliverance of high-decibel messages, I'm just suggesting the length, frequency and volume of these hellfire deliveries need to be handled and evaluated mit Vertstand: "with understanding."
This is a message the city officials of Springfield, Missouri, are trying to get out.
You see, in Springfield there is a preacher by the name of Aaron Brummitt. Using hand-held amplifiers Brummitt has hit the streets of that sterling community and has, since before 2013, delivered some mighty powerful public proclamations. I know Pastor Brummitt was publicly preaching in 2013 because, already then, there were complaints made about him. Back then he promised he would tone things down.
Whether he did so or not, I can't tell you. I can share the complaints haven't stopped.
And that is why Springfield officials recently passed an ordinance that limits the volume at which street preachers can, well, the volume at which street preachers can preach. These city fathers are quick to point out the ordinance doesn't restrict freedom of speech or freedom of religion. It only sets boundaries on the volume at which the religious message can be proclaimed.
I suppose that's okay, as long as the other downtown noises which are just as loud -- or louder -- than Pastor Brummitt are also stopped. It's okay as long as the bar doesn't keep getting adjusted downward. If that's happens, we have to wonder if the municipal leaders are playing with smoke and mirrors.
To tell you the truth, I'm not all that worried about other cities following Springfield's example.
I'm not worried because most places don't have loud evangelists on their street corners. Goodness, most cities don't have quiet evangelists on their public places. If I were to ask the tens of thousands of Daily Devotioners to raise their hands if they regularly preach on any street corner, I bet the number wouldn't take too long to count.
And that's a shame; it's a shame because the Savior has asked us all to be Good News tellers.
Maybe standing on a street corner with a bull horn in hand isn't your style, but you should have some sort of style in telling others about the Good News of forgiveness and salvation the Savior has won. The hymnwriter said it better. How does it go?
Oh, yes, here it is: "If you cannot speak like angels, if you cannot preach like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus, you can say He died for all. If you cannot rouse the wicked with the judgment's dread alarms, you can lead the little children to the Savior's waiting arms."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus lived, died and rose for me. May I use the talents and style You have given me to witness to Him. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
The story upon which this Daily Devotion is based was written on January 11, 2017 for Christian Headlines.com by Veronica Neffinger. The website where the parent article can be found is: http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/missouri-street-preacher-arrested-for-violating-noise-ordinance.html
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries