What do you think of open-air preachers?

“Brother Jed” (Jed Smock) has been preaching on university campuses across the United States for approximately 40 years, using a preaching style known as “confrontational evangelism.”

If you are the object of this kind of “evangelism,” you might find yourself being called a whore, a slut, a hussy,  a masturbator, etc… all done, in Brother Jed’s opinion, for the glory of God.

Some of Smock’s more memorable sayings are:

“A masturbator today is a homosexual tomorrow.”

“I don’t know how the whorehouses in this town stay open with you sorority girls giving it away for free!”

But perhaps what Brother Jed has become infamous for is his singing of the “Gay Song.”  Here is a Youtube link:

I must confess to something:  I know that I should not laugh at this song, but I can’t help not to each time I watch Jed singing it.  When something is so over the top and as offensive as this is, you can’t help yourself.

When someone thinks of the stereotypical street preacher, Brother Jed is doubtless the caricature that comes to mind.  This is unfortunate, for what few people realize is that Jesus was an open-air preacher, as were virtually all of His twelve apostles and early followers.  Street, or “open-air” preaching, was how the Gospel was propagated throughout the known world in the early centuries after His resurrection.

Certainly, one cannot conceive of Jesus singing the “Gay Song” or speaking in the carnal, sexually  explicit manner that has become the trademark of Smock’s ministry.  Not surprisingly, Jed remains a lighting rod of controversy when he arrives on campuses and has his fair share of detractors, and curiously, has ardent supporters.

Sadly, those who pattern their preaching ministries after Jed’s are undermining the effectiveness of this powerful medium of proclaiming the “Good News.”

Not only this, they are bringing shame on the Name of Jesus, causing many who are offended by their unloving speech and antics to paint all Christians with the same broad brush.  This is the great tradgedy.

Jesus gave this pattern for anyone engaged in the “ministry of the soul”:

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Matthew 9:13 (NIV)

We would all do well to go and do likewise.




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