Open-air preachers display many different “styles” while preaching on the box. Some preachers prepare sermons beforehand to use; some use an assortment of games on a tripod, similar to what Ray Comfort uses. Personally, I prefer to read straight out of God's Word. Nothing convicts the way that God's Word does, and I know that there's nothing that I create comes close to it! Typically, I will read and exposit Romans 1, Romans 2, & John 3, and then preach the law and the Gospel.
On the Saturday night of the conference, we went to Union Square in Manhattan. Pretty quickly, a crowd of around 50 people formed around the chalk-line to listen, about 10 feet from the box. People from the crowd were allowed to enter the “circle” if they had a question, but one could ask the question only if he stood in the chalk-line “square” just inside the circle. While several people walked into and out of the crowd, I noticed that there was a guy dressed in a green costume that was hanging out towards the back with his arms folded. After about 30 minutes of others taking turns on the box, I was up next.
After reading the passages that I normally read, I had my first person step into the “square.” I answered the question, and then walked him through the law and preached the Gospel. As soon as he walked away, someone else stepped in with the same result. I then started to read a Chapel Library Gospel Tract, “Repent or Perish,” by A.W. Pink, when someone else stepped up into the square – the man dressed in all green.
In a very stern voice, he stated that he had a question. I asked him, “Before you ask, I have to know what you are dressed as. Are you supposed to be the Green Lantern?” (For two days, I had seen many different people in costumes throughout the parks in NYC- they want you to take a picture with them for a tip. Hello Kitty, Spider-man, Batman – all kinds of characters and superheroes.) Without saying a word, he threw his arms up in anger. I immediately apologized and explained what I had experienced for the last few days. I then asked him to tell me what his costume was, as I could not decipher it. He again threw his arms up in anger without saying a word. His friend next to him, dressed in street clothes, said that it wasn't a costume - it was a uniform. The man dressed in green now spoke up, “I am Mr. Kick***! I protect people on the streets!” All of a sudden, I realized that I had encountered something/someone that I had only read about – a person who actually thinks that he is a real-life superhero, and walks the streets as such.
Again, in a stern voice, he now asked his question: “Will God send me to hell if I tell lies on the streets to help people in trouble?”
I proceeded to start going through the law with him when he interrupted, saying, “I have already heard this several times tonight. So, will God send me to hell if I tell lies on the streets to help people in trouble?” I asked him to think about telling lies and lusting while “out-of-uniform.” He angrily informed me that he was always “in uniform.”
I then said, “Sir, I think that you already know the answer to the question.” You need to cry out to God for Him to grant repentance and put your trust in Christ alone. All of a sudden, he started to approach me by walking slowly towards the box.
It all happened in a flash- Jake and Cliff, who were stationed on either side of me, stepped in front of me for protection. I didn't know what to expect, as he was now only 2 feet in front of me. He raised his hand – and then wiped tears from his eye.
I softly gave him the good news of the Gospel and told him to cry out to God for repentance again. He acknowledged it and walked away with his friend.
While there are so many stories that could be shared from this conference (by me or any of the CCN missionaries present), I share it because exemplified the power of God's word. We watched a young man who seemed to be so hardened, hiding behind a uniform, and living a fantasy while operating in the real world. God’s Word penetrated all of that. To God goes all the glory!
So many people, from young kids to adults, have a number of Bible questions that go unanswered. Our kids are being indoctrinated by the world (school, television, commercials, magazines, etc.) in everything against the Bible.
Current research conducted by Britt Beemer (Already Gone / Already Compromised books) shows that 67% of all kids who grow up in Christian homes will leave the church by the time they reach college-age. The research shows that the reason is unanswered questions.
We as Christians are given the charge in 1 Peter 3:15 to “…always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” Unfortunately, the church is failing at this. Sunday school is mostly ineffective, and parents and pastors simply aren’t trained in apologetics.
If your church, youth group, Bible study, etc., could benefit from Presuppositional apologetics and/or Biblical (Young-earth) Creation apologetics training, please contact us at the email above. Our ministry provides this training for free - we just ask to take a love offering to help defray travel costs (If any.)
Dr. Anthony R. Silvestro, Jr.