26 June 2013


by Frank Turk

Back on May 7, Tony Miano posted this essay entitled "Ten Practical Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Support Open-Air Preaching," and he was kind enough to ask me to review/link to it.  I think I linked to it via Twitter without even reading it because I'm that big a fan of Tony.  However, even as a fan, I have some brief comments about the essay which, I think, will improve both me and Tony -- and if we are blessed, you the readers also.

It's a great essay.  It speaks to the multifaceted ways actual, real-life ministry results in actual, real-life discipleship.  It is entirely worth your time to read it rather than read my book report of it.

I have one brief objection -- in fact, I have only one thing to say about one word in the whole essay which, I think, we should ponder: the word "should."

courtesy of m-w.com

As you can see, "should" means that it's part of the expected package -- it's like Sunday worship, or administering baptism.  It doesn't quite mean "must," but it indicates obligation.

Personally, I don't think that Tony meant to say that it's every pastor's obligation to support open-air preaching.  I think he actually meant that if a pastor is looking for a biblical, sound, spiritually-fruitful avenue of ministry to lead his church in, one good option is open-air preaching.  Perhaps the title should read, "Ten Practical Reasons Why Every Pastor Can Support Open-Air Preaching," and we could all nod in a manly way to each other and move on.

I agree with everything else Tony says in that essay -- I agree with all the benefits he lists, and I'm especially pleased that he listed "Missional" as one of them.  I think if there were more Biblical, Missional, Long-Suffering, Loving open-air preaching ministries directly associated with Loving, Discipling, Unified, Prepared local churches, we'd be living in a different sort of world.

Think about it.  Discuss in the comments.  See you next week.


Nash Equilibrium said...

A point well-taken. Even better: "may"

FX Turk said...


Michael Coughlin said...

I would agree that Tony didn't mean to say it is every pastor's obligation, necessarily.

But I still don't disagree with the use of the word should.

It is like a mother telling a child (or a husband in my case), "you should eat your vegetables," or doctor saying to the patient, "you should stop smoking."

There is an implied - if you want to reach or attain certain objectives then you should ... do the following.

So I don't read it in the sense of biblical obligation or command like, "you should go to church," or "you should not steal," but rather, "pastor's who actually have a desire to see their church grow and function according to the way the Bible proscribes for us ought support {good} open air preaching."

Now what I wouldn't say is that every local church should or must have an open air preacher regardless of qualification or desire. But I think local churches can and ought to be open to that idea, rather than closed to it a priori.

Mark said...

I think I need a few clarifications, Frank, before I'm ready to bite.

1. If the statement were rephrased, "Ten Practical Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Support Heralding" or even better "Ten Practical Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Support Gospel Heralding," would you still have the same objections?

2. I *think* what I'm reading between the lines (and having followed some links on Tony's sites) is that the statement you're actually taking issue with is "Ten Practical Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Support Gospel Proclamation in Public Places (Besides Church) Using Either Natural or Artificial Voice Amplification."

3. I'm assuming all of Tony's biblical defenses that he links to in his original article are fair game for assistance?


Nash Equilibrium said...

We do love him, but it's kinda like the fundie-love this guy is giving out:

Anonymous said...

"I think if there were more Biblical, Missional, Long-Suffering, Loving open-air preaching ministries directly associated with Loving, Discipling, Unified, Prepared local churches, we'd be living in a different sort of world."

I nominate this for the Impactful-Church-Quote-Of-The-Year.

FX Turk said...

Mark --

To #1: Yes.

To #2: No.

To #3: I'm not against open-air preaching. I'm against making it a sacrament -- a necessary obligation of every church and every church member. I think it's the gift of some, and to those men and women I say, "may God be with you." I'm against inserting the word "should" where the word "can" or "might" serves everyone must better.

FX Turk said...

Michael --

Tony is overseas preaching at Wimbleton. When he returns I am certain he'll respond.

I am looking forward to it.

Kerry James Allen said...

SHOULD be WimbleDon.


Michael Coughlin said...

Not only are you allowed and permitted to look forward to his response...you should. :-)

Especially since your latest comment opened up the other can of worms.

and to those men and women I say...

FX Turk said...

I am boycotting the letter "D" today in honor of DOMA.

Mark said...

Frank, I'm going to keep walking down this path, because I'm certain I can't be in actual disagreement with you. I'm a long-time lurker, fivestarlover!

In light of 1,2, and 3 above, what do you call what the pastor does behind the pulpit every Sunday? Is there no moral "oughtness" or "shouldness" to that?


Scot said...

I love that all of Tony's 10 benefits are grounded in the confidence in Scripture's power. so encouraging open air preaching encourages his own church members that the Word of God can save. Gimmicks aren't necessary to draw people to Jesus

FX Turk said...

Mark --

I see a significant difference between preaching to God's people as the central act of worship for the local church and open-air preaching. There is something -sacramental- to what the local church -ought- to do every week (gather and worship through God's word proclaimed) and one mode of evangelism which is not necessary for the local church to exist.

I'll say it: if the local church doesn't do any open-air preaching, it may participate in another mode of evangelism and be fine.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Let's face it: Most churches don't do any open air preaching, and the country is doing just fine!
Oh, wait...

Anonymous said...

..and if a church doesn't attempt to do open-air preaching in the way you advocated above, Frank, I wonder if it might be best not to do it at all.

Mark said...

Whew. I figured as such. I think you're saying what I tried to say in 2 above:
You do hold that pastors should advocate Sunday "heraldry," i.e., preaching the Gospel publicly before the people of God. (Preaching)

First, one practical question would be: how can a pastor cultivate "preaching" in his church for himself and others besides on Sundays (because usually that spot is occupied)? *Should* he be providing alternative "preaching" opportunities? What would you call those events?

Second, I'm guessing Tony would argue that both OT and NT speakers did it, so he has Biblical precedent. Does that not provide any sort of "oughtness"?

Third, I'm intrigued by your distinction between Sunday Heraldry and Evangelistic Heraldry. How would you argue that Scripturally? Does not the command run from "Preach the Word in Season and Out of Season" to "Do the work of the evangelist" (2 Tim 4:1,5)?


Unknown said...

Should always brings to my mind a sense of moral ought.

As a result, I cringe every time I see a new 9 things I should know post...

FX Turk said...

Mark --

I would argue first you have invented a non-scriptural category. "Heraldry" is a systematic term at best, and it attempts to conflate things which are much better off disambiguated.

Second, I would argue that the Bible makes a clear distinction between what happens, for example, in Acts 17 in Athens and what Paul exhorts to be done in Corinth in 1Cor 12-14 (or what the writer of Hebrews requires of the local church in Heb 10 and 12). If you don't see that, I suggest you try re-reading those passages, asking yourself, "Self: what's the difference between Paul addressing the Athenians and what Paul requires of the Corinthians?"

Third, every good thing is not a moral imperative. One is able, for example, to eat a sandwich. That doesn't mean one "should" eat a sandwich -- it means one can. I have already said, repeatedly, that any pastor -can- endorse and facilitate and even oversee an pen-air preaching ministry. Nothing wrong with it -- it's a good thing. That doesn't mean he -must- do it. He could, for example, create a ministry to orphans or foster children who need competent Christian families to care for them as if they were part of their own family -- which undoubted means they will be given the Gospel and its necessary consequences. Both reach the lost, and cause non-professional disciples to disciple others directly. Both are good; neither are mandatory.

Last, Elijah called down fire from Heaven; Moses produced stone tables; King Saul revelled and prophecied; Samson smote enemies with a jawbone of an ass; Paul told an annoying little girl (demon-possessed) to shut up. That doesn't mean we must do all of these. It doesn't even mean we can. What it means is that we have to know the difference between description and prescription.

I think that answers your question thoroughly. Dig down deep and let it answer you. You certainly don't have to be convinced I am right, but at least be convinced that, in the least, there's another perspective here which exists outside of the circle of gifted open-air preachers.

bassicallymike said...

When taking classes on the National Electric Code,we were asked the question, "When is the Code advisory and when was it to be considered mandatory?". The correct answer was whether the words should or shall were used.

I consider Tony's "should" to be advisory!

On another note Frank, everytime you or Dan give ol OSHer any acknowledgement whatsoever, I have in mind the white dog you posted the video of earlier.

You guys are topshelf, quit giving some guy sitting in his mommas basement a plug. You are validating him everytime you

FX Turk said...


OSH is a fan -- she just doesn;t want to admit that she can't stay away, and she can't stop reading and she can't stop calling other people's attention to this blog through negative publicity (such as it is).

I relish OSH's contributions because she's probably the most faithful reader we have.

bassicallymike said...

Ohhhhhhhh, :"> , boy was I off, shoulda known! Carry on. LOL