Public Preaching Coming Under Increasing Resistance

CAPTION: Hans Schmidt with his family in the hospital recoving from a gunshot wound.

On November the 15th last year, Hans Schmidt was at his customary street-preaching post at the intersection of 51st St. and Peoria in Glendale, Arizona. Police have not yet determined where it came from but a gunshot from somewhere in the crowded intersection sent a bullet into his temple, tearing into his brain.

Still conscious, but not clear what had happened, he managed to gather his sound gear and drive home before collapsing. After weeks in the hospital he is making a miraculous recovery.

Surveillance cameras in the area were little help in locating the source of the shot. No one has come forth to help police identify whether it was intentional or random.

Unfortunately, this graphically typifies a pervasive attitude against this kind of ministry. Few churches today encourage this time-honored way of laying out the gospel in front of the general public. Any discussion of the subject in Christian circles usually concludes that the street preacher is doing more damage than good to the gospel.

The emphasis today is on the Matthew 28 version of the Great Commission which the King James properly tells us to “teach all nations,” but which some of the new Bibles translate as only to “make disciples.” Ignored is the Mark 16 version of the Great Commission that includes preaching the word. One wonders if it is because, in the newer Bibles, there’s a footnote with that section of the book of Mark that says it is not in the better manuscripts, leaving the reader to decide whether it’s God’s words or not.

But preaching the word is different from making disciples. Preaching involves what Hans Schmidt was doing: taking the word of God and laying it out in public for everybody to hear. Making disciples happens after someone responds to the preaching message.

Satan has mounted a negative PR campaign against preaching, convincing everyone that it should only happen inside the church. But little fruit comes of that, unless there is public preaching to draw people into the church.

America is almost unique in the constitutional protection for street preaching. In Muslim and Hindu countries such open proclamation could cost you more than a bullet in the head. Even in England the controversy has become sharpened to the point where street preachers are jailed when their message causes discomfort in someone listening.

One Christian organization in the United Kingdom, The Christian Institute, is attempting to design a new charter to foster better understanding between police and street preachers. They are trying to bring clarity to both the rights and “restrictions” for street preaching. They are hoping to negotiate with the police so that everybody agrees on some guidelines.

But there is a trend in the world where anyone can claim to be upset or “triggered” by some statement or display. They are encouraged to register a complaint with the police and some laws are drawn to permit prosecution. All of this is part of Satan’s campaign to put a lid on preaching the gospel.

Historically, there were several ways of “preaching” the gospel. The Protestant churches began to protest against Catholicism’s unbiblical rituals. Persecution drove them underground but could not stop the printing press from flooding the country with powerful gospel tracts.

Today, we face the same scenario. Public preaching has been largely driven out of the public arena. As a result, most churches are only baptizing a handful of people every year.

Satan has also convinced the churches that gospel tracts don’t work. But the brave people who do still use gospel tracts have gotten results that have reported thousands of testimonies back to Chick Publications.


"I was saved after reading some of your tracts. Your tracts are some of the best I have ever seen. Keep up the good work."


"In 1978 I read 'This Was Your Life' and the prayer in the back, and I’ve been a born again Christian for 43 years. And I’ve been giving the same tract out, too, for 43 years."


"I’m so thankful for Chick Tracts. I have the 'bug' and hand out tracts whenever I can. I volunteer at our local hospital and I place tracts on cars coming in and out of my shift, plus use any opportunity to share with the patients and family members. What a great way to get the gospel out these last days. Thank you for your ministry."


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