How Do We Stand For Truth In An Age Of Hostility?

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How do we stand for truth in an age of hostility? And how do we communicate God’s love when what the world wants is affirmation of sin? This week on The Roys Report, Canadian Pastor David Lynn and Attorney David Gibbs will join Julie to discuss this extremely relevant issue. Recently, Pastor Lynn was assaulted by angry residents for simply sharing the message, “God Loves You” in a mostly gay neighborhood. And amazingly, when police arrived, they arrested Pastor Lynn—not those who beat him! How should Christians respond to this miscarriage of justice—and what should we learn from Lynn’s experience?  Join us for The Roys Report, this Saturday morning at 11 on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life, and on Sunday night at 7 on AM 560 The Answer!

This Weeks Guests
This Weeks Guests

Pastor Chris Brauns

Rev. Dr. Chris Brauns is a pastor, author, and ministry consultant. He has served for 14 years at Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley. Chris earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary studying under Dr. Haddon Robinson. Chris is the author of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep, When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: Biblical Principles and Practices to Guide Your Search andBound Together: How We are Tied to Others, in Good and Bad Choices.

Chris and his wife Jaime have four children.

Pastor Chris Brauns

Rev. Dr. Chris Brauns is a pastor, author, and ministry consultant. He has served for 14 years at Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley. Chris earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary studying under Dr. Haddon Robinson. Chris is the author of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep, When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: Biblical Principles and Practices to Guide Your Search andBound Together: How We are Tied to Others, in Good and Bad Choices.

Chris and his wife Jaime have four children.

Pastor Chris Brauns

Rev. Dr. Chris Brauns is a pastor, author, and ministry consultant. He has served for 14 years at Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley. Chris earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary studying under Dr. Haddon Robinson. Chris is the author of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep, When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: Biblical Principles and Practices to Guide Your Search andBound Together: How We are Tied to Others, in Good and Bad Choices.

Chris and his wife Jaime have four children.

David Lynn

David J Lynn

David J Lynn is a Canadian Church Planting, Pastoral, and Evangelistic figure who has been used to ignite the fire of Evangelism and Church planting amongst believers around the world.  He was born and raised in Toronto, ON, in Feb 1980 and is a 6th generation Canadian of both Irish and Jamaican lineage.  David came from a non-denominational Evangelical background and has been in Evangelistic and Pastoral Ministry for 23 years.  He studied theology and pastoral care at both the University of Toronto and Tyndale University and Seminary and has obtained a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies.  He also served as a Chaplain within a few of Toronto’s major Hospital’s for 10 years.  David is the founder of Christian Positive Space, the Dundas Square Church, Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries, and author of Avoiding and Escaping Relational Ruin and Christ’s Forgiveness Bible Studies Series.   For more information, call or email and someone will be glad to get back to you.

Office16crop

Dr. James Bedell

I have been a Christian counselor for over 40 years. I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the
state of Illinois. I see mostly Christians and counsel from the perspective that God should be at
the center of our lives and is a resource for coping with life’s struggles. I have been attending
Willow Creek Community Church for over 30 years, and have been involved with teaching in the
marriage ministry, the divorce recovery ministry, the men’s ministry, and in the Faithful and True ministry. I have been a small group leader and a coach in the men’s ministry.

David Gibbs III Portrait 04.02.12

David C. Gibbs III

David C. Gibbs III serves as president and general counsel of the National Center for Life and Liberty.
A graduate of Duke University School of Law, Mr. Gibbs speaks regularly at churches and conferences while also litigating cases as a trial attorney. He has authored five books, including Fighting for Dear Life and Understanding the Constitution.
Mr. Gibbs manages the Gibbs Law Firm and has argued before the United States Supreme Court.
He was the lead attorney in the Terri
Schiavo case, representing her parents as they fought to save their daughter’s life. Mr. Gibbs’s personal mantra is: “If it’s wrong, fight it.
If it’s right, fight for it.” His favorite verse is Matthew 25:40, where Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Show Transcript

Note: This transcript has been edited slightly for continuity.

Segment 1: 

ANNOUNCER: In the midst of all of today’s noise and confusion, we need a voice that cuts through the chaos to bring wisdom and clarity. Welcome to The Roys Report with Julie Roys, an hour-long show exploring critical issues related to faith and culture from a uniquely Christian perspective. Now, here’s your host, Julie Roys.

JULIE ROYS: How do we stand for truth in a culture that hates the truth? And how do we communicate God’s love when our very presence evokes hate? Welcome to The Roys Report brought to you in part by Judson University. I’m Julie Roys. And today I’m going to be speaking with a Canadian pastor who several months ago got arrested for simply preaching in a gay neighborhood in Toronto. The crime, according to police, was disturbing the peace. And there’s no doubt that Pastor David Lynn’s presence in that neighborhood created quite a stir. Yet I’ve seen the video of the entire incident. Lynn doesn’t say anything mean or hateful. He simply preaches about God’s love. But apparently that wasn’t allowed. I’m going to play you just a little clip from that. Take a listen.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Every person here is worthy of hope. Every person here is worthy of a chance of forgiveness. Every person here is worthy of a reconciled relationship with God because God loves you. God cares for you. And He loves you so much. He loves you so much that He wants to send people to remind you of that.

CROWD (Chanting):  We’re here! We’re queer! We’re here! We’re queer! We’re here! We’re queer!

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Deep inside every person’s heart is the reality . . .

CROWD (Chanting):  We’re here! We’re queer! We’re here! We’re queer!

PASTOR DAVID LYNN:  . . . is the reality that there is something wrong. That there is something wrong on the inside.

CROWD (Chanting):  We’re here! We’re queer! We’re here! We’re queer!

JULIE ROYS: Well, shortly after this clip, that crowd you’re hearing chanting, “we’re here we’re queer,” they continued chanting. They surrounded pastor Lynn. They became physically threatening at parts. And they began to restrict Lynn’s movement. Lynn challenged them saying, “Hey, I tolerate you. Why can’t you tolerate me?” But there was no tolerance of Christians in this crowd. Some Christians who came with Lynn also engaged the crowd. And the response was equally vitriolic.

PERSON IN CROWD: I believe in your Christian faith. I do not believe in people like you coming here when we asked you, we begged you, not to come into our space!

ASSOCIATE OF PASTOR DAVID LYNN: When we preach the gospel message, it makes you uncomfortable. It convicts you. And that’s what bothers you.

PERSON IN CROWD: We asked you not to spit on our pride parade. We asked you not to come here.

ASSOCIATE OF PASTOR DAVID LYNN: We have not spit on anyone.

PERSON IN CROWD: You are hurting us. You are not doing a thing. You should be ashamed of yourself. That’s the only thing I can say.

JULIE ROYS: Well, you can hear the emotion in that woman’s voice, so angry that Christians came into her neighborhood and preached the gospel. And again, even though pastor Lynn and those who came with him didn’t say anything violent, Pastor Lynn was the only one that got arrested that day. So, what do we make of these events? It’s a bit scary that a Christian could get arrested for simply exercising his freedom of speech. Of course, this happened in Canada where they don’t have a First Amendment like we do in the United States. But this could never happen in the United States. Right? I mean, never. Well, we’re going to talk about that today. Joining me is not just pastor Lynn, but also attorney David Gibbs, the president of the National Center for Life and Liberty. The National Center for Life and Liberty exists to protect and defend the right to life and to liberty. So, attorney Gibbs, welcome. It’s a pleasure to have you join us.

ATTY. DAVID GIBBS III: Julie, it’s an honor to be with you and discussing these important issues.

JULIE ROYS: Yeah, it’s so important. And we’re seeing this happen in our neighbors to the north. But I have a feeling it’s coming here. It has come here in America. I also have pastor Lynn joining us. And I understand you’re the founder of several ministries, including Christ’s Forgiveness ministries and Dundas Square Church in Toronto. I’m sure you’re quite busy doing all those things, but I’m so glad that you took some time to be with us. So welcome, Pastor Lynn.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Thank you. Thank you. It’s an honor to be here.

JULIE ROYS: And I should mention that also joining us today is Dr. John G. Stackhouse. He’s a Canadian scholar and writer. And Dr. Stackhouse supports the right to preach publicly and do those sorts of things. But what he really takes some exception to preaching publicly in an area that might evoke a lot of you know, strong emotions. May not be the most productive thing he says. So, there’s kind of two discussions going on today. One discussion in the first half hour, we’re going to be discussing sort of the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion and what’s going on with those issues and how that relates to what happened with Pastor Lynn. But we’re also going to be discussing, in the second half hour, evangelism methods. And what is the best way to do that. So, this is a fascinating discussion, I think, a very relevant discussion to events that’s happening not just in Canada, but here in the United States. But pastor Lynn, I’d like to start with you. First of all, what made you go to preach to this neighborhood that, I mean, admittedly, pretty hostile to Christianity. Why did you go there and preach?

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Well, first and foremost, we have many people in our ministry that come from the LGBT community that here are preaching downtown daily. I live in the downtown core. And it’s very diverse with people. But we had a Toronto tour, where we were going to every district of Toronto. That was actually our third day in our tour and that was our eighth stop. And we believe that every person is worthy of the gospel and should have the opportunity to hear the gospel regardless if they’re LGBT or a criminal or coming from a, you know, a bad neighborhood. We believe the gospel should be shared everywhere because the Bible says, “For God so loved the world.” And He also said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” So that was our eighth stop. And we weren’t expecting to have that kind of hostility. And we weren’t, I wasn’t expecting to get arrested, because I do this literally every day, and in the downtown core. And downtown is filled with a lot of rallies, demonstrations, and as far as I know, the law says we have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and it’s a public sidewalk. I wasn’t interrupting any service or any parade or anything like that. This was a broad daylight kind of thing. And in the downtown core this happens every day.

JULIE ROYS: Well, Attorney Gibbs help us understand the law here. I think the charge was pastor Lynn, it was disturbing the peace, correct?

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Right. When I first got arrested, there are allegations that I was making discriminatory remarks and hateful statements. And that’s originally why the police came and when you look at the original reports from the media, they were saying I made discriminatory remarks hateful remarks. Even the police officer said “Yeah, we’ve got to take you in because of that.” But when they actually investigated, they realized that nothing hateful was said. And so, they switched to disturbing the peace.

JULIE ROYS: Okay, so this is interesting too, because hate speech laws, attorney Gibbs, if I understand correctly, hate speech laws are something that our neighbors to the north have. Yet here would be covered by the First Amendment, correct?

ATTY. DAVID GIBBS III: Julie, you’re 100% correct. There is a major distinction in free speech in the United States under our First Amendment, which really doesn’t limit content at the same level that Canada does, where they, for example, some of the statements pastor was making, that somehow that he was making a discriminatory or hateful statement, that is actually a violation under their constitution. So, the Canadians have a way-more limited free speech right than we enjoy here in the United States. But pastor’s problem is not unique to Canada. I represent people across this nation that also find themselves arrested when out speaking and sharing their faith. And it shows that there is definitely a lot of government discretion. Law enforcement, police officers, city officials, judges. There is a lot of gray when it comes to protecting the free speech rights that were so important to our founders because they’re able to as he indicated, “Okay, we’re going to charge you with this one thing. Now we’re finding out that while that isn’t really accurate,” so they always have the catch-all of disturbing the peace or sometimes being disrespectful to a police officer or things like that. And it’s very, very unfortunate because people have faith and certainly pastor was trying to evangelize his city and do it in a way that was respectful and honoring, or finding increasingly that while the sexual minority communities are out of the closet, there’s a definite move to push the Christian voice and the gospel voice back in.

JULIE ROYS: Hmm, that’s definitely true. One question I have, though, in regards to this—and probably won’t have time to answer it on this side of the break because we have to go to a break real soon—but in the United States, we do have free speech. Although there’s been this idea that you can’t do something that might be some sort of imminent danger like for example, crying, “fire!” in a crowded movie theater. That could elicit some sort of stampede. And so, here’s Pastor David Lynn going into this neighborhood. And again, this isn’t the same law up in Canada. But could that be applied to that situation? Could that idea that here he is going into an LGBT community, one that has already said, “We don’t want Christians here,” and you heard it in that woman’s voice, “We don’t want you here.” Is that that same sort of thing as crying, “Fire!” in a theater? We just have a short amount of time. You think it is?

ATTY. DAVID GIBBS III: No, it’s different in the sense of in the US, we do that a lot what we call the hecklers veto—we’ll upset first to shut you down. And our law looks at reasonable time, place and manner as kind of the legal standard.

JULIE ROYS: Okay, we’ll talk about that more when we come back to break. Again, that’s attorney David Gibbs. I’m Julie Roys. Also with me Pastor David Lynn. We’ll be right back after a short break.

Segment 2:

ANNOUNCER: We now return to The Roys Report. Here’s your host, Julie Roys.

JULIE ROYS: Well, should Christians have the right to preach in a community where residents have said they’re not welcome and their speech is considered damaging and hurtful. Welcome back to The Roys Report. I’m Julie Roys. And today we’re discussing an incident that happened in Toronto, Canada where a street preacher went to a gay neighborhood. He preached about God’s love. But the preaching made people so angry they began chanting to drown out the pastor. They formed a circle around him, began closing in. Some became physically threatening. But then police arrived and arrested not the group that was threatening violence, but the preacher who was talking about God’s love. Again, joining me is that preacher Pastor David Lynn, founder of Christ’s Forgiveness ministries. Also joining me is attorney David Gibbs III, President of the National Center for Life and Liberty. And I’d like to encourage you if you want to join the conversation, you can do so online. To get to us on Facebook Just go to Facebook.com/ReachJulieRoys. And on Twitter our handle is @ReachJulieRoys. So,attorney Gibbs right before the break, I threw out to you, “Is this a situation where like, in America, we would say you can’t cry fire in a crowded theater even though you have first amendment rights to speak whatever you want?” That’s, you know, really the sort of thing that might produce an imminent danger to others around you. You’re saying, “that doesn’t apply in this situation where pastor Lynn was.” Correct?

ATTY. DAVID GIBBS III: No, because what we have here, first of all, you look at the motive of the speaker. Pastor Lynn is there. As a sincerely held belief, he’s wanting to share his faith. He’s doing it in a responsible, non-abusive manner. So, you have to look at the motive. If somebody yells, “Fire!” in a crowded theater just to scare people, you can have people get injured, and that speech wouldn’t be protected. But we also, Julie, have in our constitutional jurisprudence, the understanding that, the “hecklers veto” is what they call it. If one person shows up and doesn’t like what you’re saying and becomes angry or gets bombastic in response, that that should not shut down the free speech rights of the speaker. Because otherwise, you could just follow anybody around and literally eliminate their right by being a dissident or opposing all of their views. And so, when we counsel churches or pastors, what we say is, you know, you always want to look at, you know, reasonable time, place and manner. You know, he was there in broad daylight. You know, if you’re there 10, 11 at night, you could be perceived as disturbing the peace of a neighborhood. And you always want to look at your town, your spirit, your location. He mentioned he was on a public sidewalk, they kept a respectful town, they weren’t blocking anyone’s business. And so, when we look at reasonable time, place and manner, what he was doing in that neighborhood under properly applied first amendment American jurisprudence, he should have very much been protected under our constitution. I would also say that even under Canadian law, he should be protected. And it does seem like in this situation, the police and the government there is looking for a way to be, maybe politically or popularly correct by attacking him, as opposed to what you so duly noted, the people that actually created the problem where the residents there that were so fiercely upset with the gospel, that their behavior led to the riot.

JULIE ROYS: So, Pastor Lynn, tell me what’s the current status of the disturbing of the peace charge against you?

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: It seems as though the last pre-trial that the judge couldn’t really see anything that I did wrong. But the crown prosecutor that was representing the I guess, the members of the LGBT community, they were adamant that, not to make any deals with me and to pursue the charges. And they actually added another charge to my case, which is mischief. So now I have two charges. They said that not only was I disturbing the peace, but some guy said I was disturbing his dinner at five o’clock in a busy downtown intersection. And that constitutes for mischief now. So, it’s going to trial. It’s going to be a five-day trial, apparently. And, you know, this is what’s happening. It’s kind of interesting.

JULIE ROYS: And how are you paying for that? I mean, that’s, I just came out of a lawsuit. So, I get it. It’s expensive.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Yeah. It’s costing a lot of money. We did a bit of crowdfunding, which got me through the first kind of phase. And it looks like we might have to do more crowdfunding.

JULIE ROYS: Oh, my gosh. So, attorney Gibbs. Do you think the crown as they call I guess that’s the prosecutors there in Canada.

ATTY. DAVID GIBBS III: The government.

JULIE ROYS: Yeah, do they have a case?

ATTY. DAVID GIBBS III: Well, certainly, in my opinion, they are wrong on both the facts and the law from what I’m hearing. But I think this is pointing out Julie, the cultural shift that is occurring. And, you know, when people contact us on their free speech rights or what they’re doing, you know, you always look at, you know, probably three things. Okay. Number one, “Is it legal?” And I would certainly say what he did was legal. “Is it effective?” And obviously, he got his message through to them. But then there’s a third thing that’s occurring in our culture that is somewhat unfortunate, it’s influencing the courts and the policymakers, and it’s, “What are the optics?” And we are facing some people that are very powerful as Pastor has already indicated. They’re influencing the government, they’re influencing decision makers and they’re creating a very negative optic towards his message. You know, when you say, “sharing the gospel that Jesus died and loves you and cares for you and wants to save you,” is now somehow “criminal mischief.” I think that is really a sign of what the culture has shifted to do in creating an optic that this man—who by the way is doing exactly what preachers have done for hundreds of years, and Canada and the United States share the gospel with people that need to hear it—is now being deemed as somehow creating problems in the culture and doing things that warrant criminal prosecution. And it also shows the power of the what they call now, “the sexual minority community,” to create this type of uproar. I mean, these are really unfortunately, you know, low-level crimes. I mean, you know, you’re just talking about a little you know, a jaywalking type of offence. But for them to want to put a five-day trial on. They’re trying to make the point, “Hey Christians, it’s time for you to be quiet.”

JULIE ROYS: Well and speaking of the power of the sexual minority community reminds me of what happened just this week. In the democratic presidential debates, we had Beto O’Rourke get up and make a statement about taking away tax benefits, tax exemption for religious institutions. This took my breath away, take a listen.

CNN, DON LEMON: This is from your LGBTQ plan. And here’s what your write. It’s a quote, “Freedom of religion is a fundamental right, but it should not be used to discriminate.” Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage?

BETO O’ROURKE: Yes. (Applause from Crowd) There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us. And so, as President, we’re going to make that a priority. And we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.

JULIE ROYS: Wow. Again, that’s Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic Party, a candidate for president was speaking not at a debate. It was a Town Hall this week in the United States. But that shows just the environment that we’re living in. And Pastor Lynn, I’m guessing that sort of violent reaction that you experienced typifies all that. And it sounds like the politicians are on the side of prosecuting you. Is that correct?

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Yeah. You know, the interesting thing is about a month later from my arrest, the very same LGBT community and members from that community went in front of the first Chick Fil-A restaurant opened in Toronto. What they did, they came with bullhorns. They blocked all the sidewalks, they were loud. They even slept on the sidewalk in protest to Chick Fil-A because apparently the owner gave a donation to a traditional marriage ministry. And they made a huge noise. And we had somebody go to a police officer on video, and this is on our channel, make a public complaint, just like someone made a complaint about me, says that they’re disturbing the peace, this is not right. I can’t even walk on the sidewalk. You know what the police officer said? “If they’re exercising their freedom of speech, they’re allowed to do this.” Now, this was a month later from the very same police district. And so, we can clearly see that whatever powers that be are shifting and applying the law differently to different members of the community. And it’s totally unjust.

JULIE ROYS: Definitely a double standard there. We just have a minute but I’m going to let attorney Gibbs go. Before we go to the next break, because we’re going to be talking about just what is the evangelism method? Is this a good evangelism method? But real quickly, Attorney Gibbs, any final thoughts about Americans and facing this kind of pressure to not speak?

ATTY. DAVID GIBBS III: Well, we’re going to watch where there is going to be a cross attack, as Beto O’Rourke and his statement said. That is what is being voiced by many in Washington, that faith based organizations–and by the way, we can be talking Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Baptists, you pick the faith-based organization—that has a sincerely held religious belief against certain types of conduct are going to find themselves in the crosshairs.

JULIE ROYS: All right. Thank you so much. Attorney Gibbs. We’ll be right back after a short break.

Segment 3:

ANNOUNCER: Now, more of The Roys Report. Once again, here’s Julie Roys.

JULIE ROYS: Should Christians engage in street preaching in neighborhoods where they’re not clearly welcome? Welcome back to The Roys Report brought to you in part by Judson University. I’m Julie Roys. And today we’re discussing an incident that happened in Toronto, Canada, where a street preacher went to a gay neighborhood, he preached about God’s love, but his presence clearly made people upset residents surrounded him began chanting loudly became physically threatening and screamed at him to leave. Police then arrived. They arrested the preacher for disturbing the peace. And of course, there are a lot of freedom of religion and freedom of speech issues surrounding what happened with this pastor. And we talked about that in the first half of the show. And if you missed any part of that, or just want to listen to this show again or share with friends, I’ll be posting the full audio to my website later today. Just go to JulieRoys.com and click on the podcast tab. And during this next half-hour though we’re going to make a turn. We’re going to talk a little bit more about street preaching and evangelism methods. Again, joining me today is Pastor David Lynn, the pastor who was arrested in Toronto. But also joining me now is Dr. John G. Stackhouse Jr., a Canadian professor and scholar at Crandall University in New Brunswick, Canada. And Dr. Stackhouse is critical of pastor Lynn’s method. Though, I’m guessing that he would probably support, but let me ask you. Dr. Stackhouse, welcome.

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: Hello.

JULIE ROYS: Hi. So, let me ask you, do you support just the freedom of speech issues here and Pastor Lynn’s ability to just go in and preach on a street corner?

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: Well, the Canadian protection of free speech is pretty strong under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The protection is actually quite strong. But the question that’s going to be decided at trial that attorney Gibbs doesn’t know because he’s an American, but in the Canadian criminal Code Section 319 paragraph 1 has to do with an offense to communicate statements in public against an identifiable group where it’s likely to lead to a breach of the peace. And so, I think the interesting criminal question there is one that we as Christians have to think about as well, which is, are we engaging in behavior on behalf of the gospel that is likely to disturb the peace? Romans 12 and 18 tells calls us to live as far as we can at peace with our neighbors. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount tells us to make peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Now peace doesn’t just mean keep things quiet. It means to make Shalom. Right? It means to make things better. And so, I think the question I’d have for pastor Lynn, and for anybody else here is not just, “Are you exercising your freedom of speech?” As a Christian, I want to say, “What did you think was going to happen when you went into that neighborhood? And then you went back,” which he did and did it again. “What did you think was going to happen in an LGBTQ neighborhood, the heart of Toronto, gay neighborhood, what did you think would happen? How many people really came to the Lord? How many people joined your church?” And that question is not whether you in fact, have exercised you’re right. But we are not to hurl the gospel at the world like a stone.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Well that’s a good question.

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: We are to love our neighbors.

JULIE ROYS: Okay. Okay. Hang on.

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: And that’s a concern that I have as somebody who’s studied evangelical preaching, who’s engaged in it myself. And I want to say, I’ve looked at the video, and it’s not really clear to me what the agenda is. Because if the agenda here is to communicate love to these people, and they are weeping and yelling at you that they don’t feel loved, at some point, it seems to me you gotta clue in and say, “you know, maybe this isn’t working.” And that, it seems to me, is a Christian value. We are to be concerned about results, not just to exercise what we think is our duty.

JULIE ROYS: Okay. Let me throw that, Pastor Lynn, go ahead.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Well, I’m glad that you said that, because first and foremost, from that episode, the gospel got shared all over national television, which is why we’re even talking about this. My church has been packed. And many members of the LGBT community have visited since that video has surfaced and that incident surfaced and have been asking for help. I preach downtown every day. And I’m not sure if you’ve watched any of my other videos, but my method and thing that I do is within that district—and up to 100 people on a daily basis stand around my street-preaching and listening, being engaged. And we actually engage these people. And every time we do have hecklers. Every time we do have people that don’t agree, but every time people do take our tracts, get saved, get delivered, and get healed by the power of Jesus Christ. So, if you’re asking, you know, “What was my intention, my motive?” My intention is so that people would hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you just look on social media—because I actually read your article. And I was really disturbed by your article to be honest because what you said in your article, I noticed that even in the article you couldn’t, you didn’t really watch the video at the time when you made that comment. And you said that we have the printing press, television and internet for preaching and what would be the point of doing public preaching the way I do it? But that’s just like saying, “Why go to church when we can have church online?” Or, “Why go to a basketball game when we can watch it on television?” If you notice what’s going on in most cities, they’re making a lot of public squares. People are coming out into the open nowadays. Think about Toronto’s Young and Dundas. Or New York City Times Square, Piccadilly Circus. These are all examples of people coming into the open, watching street entertainers and it’s the perfect place to engage the community. Because if you were to look on YouTube and look at, say my videos. My videos average in the hundreds of thousands of views. And some of my videos are even well over 6 million. But if you put in, say, maybe some of your videos—and this is not to diminish, but the last I checked, you know—some of your social media presence is not getting that much presence amongst the urban community, which means that you, what you’re doing when it comes to evangelism is not as effective as what I’m doing on social media.

JULIE ROYS: Okay, let me ask a question, Pastor Lynn. One quick question though. Are you, I think the argument might be, you’re preaching to the choir, I mean, have people come and become believers as a result of that?

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Yes. Muslims constantly reach out to me and say, “I’ve accepted Christ.” Atheists, homosexuals, Hindus. Whatever we’re doing on the streets, and I know it’s highly criticized and people wonder, you know, just, you know, “I see a lot of tension sometimes. You shouldn’t do it. Maybe you should have gone somewhere else.” Well, if you’ve ever done street preaching, what you realize is that a lot of the times, you’re planting a lot of seeds. And people come to you a year later and say, “Thank you for preaching the gospel.” I’ve been doing this for many years on the street almost about 20 years. And I can tell you that in the beginning, it looked like nobody was listening. It looked like I was casting my pearls to swine or just wasting my time until about two years later, people started coming up to me and say, “thank you.” One guy came up to me recently and said, “You were preaching at the Taste of the Danforth event,” which is an event that we have in Toronto. “You gave me a Bible and because of you, I became a Christian.” So, we’re seeing constant, our entire church is actually from people from the streets. They’re non-churched people. We’re baptizing people every single week. And not many people can say that their ministry is doing that. I’m not trying to say my ministry is any better. I just don’t like it when people criticize what I’m doing and exalt what they’re doing. But when you actually look at the stats, people are watching what we’re doing and engaged with what we’re doing, and not engaged with the form or method of just writing books and sitting behind a pulpit in a church or behind an ivory . . .

JULIE ROYS: All right, Pastor. We need to go to break. But when we come back, Dr. Stackhouse, I’m gonna let you respond to that. You’re saying, Dr. Stackhouse, “These are outdated methods of street preaching.” Pastor Lynn saying, “Man, it’s more relevant than it’s ever been with social media.” We’ll be right back after a short break.

Segment 4:

ANNOUNCER: This is The Roys Report with Julie Roys.

JULIE ROYS: Scripture encourages Christians to be bold about their faith, but can boldness sometimes be a hindrance? Welcome back to The Roys Report. I’m Julie Roys. And today we’re discussing whether street preaching, especially in areas hostile to the gospel, is productive or counterproductive. Specifically, I’m speaking with Pastor David Lynn, who was arrested for preaching about Jesus in a gay neighborhood in Toronto. Pastor Lynn says he was just being obedient to proclaim the good news. But challenging his position is Dr. John G. Stackhouse, a Canadian scholar who believes street preaching no longer has a place in Western society, or at least in these neighborhoods that are so hostile like the gay neighborhood where Pastor Lynn was preaching. By the way, if you’re just joining us, I want you to know that we’re going to post the full audio to my website, JulieRoys.com and you just click on the podcast tab. Also, before we dive back into our conversation, I want to give you a personal invitation to our upcoming Restore Chicago Conference on November 2, at Judson University. This is a one of a kind event designed to restore faith in God and the church in the wake of recent scandals and abuse. Joining me will be Nancy Beach, a former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church and one of several women who bravely confounded abuse by former pastor Bill Hybels. There also be an expert on spiritual abuse, a former pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel. So, I know it’s just going to be a really powerful event. So, I really encourage you to check that out. Just go to RestoreChicagoConference.com. Well, again, joining me to talk about street preaching methods of evangelism, Dr. John G. Stackhouse, and also Pastor David Lynn. And Professor Stackhouse, I want to go to you and give you a chance to respond to David’s argument that street preaching is as relevant as it’s ever been. It’s the sort of thing you take videos of. You post it online. Gets lots of hits. Lots of views. And actually, brings people to the church who hear the gospel. How do you respond to that?

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: Well, first, you know, there are really serious issues here, Julie. And your playing of the Beto O’Rourke clip is truly chilling. That’s really, really serious. And seems to me shows a deep confusion in the politician’s mind between freedom of speech to disagree with something and used with the loaded phrase “denying the rights of gay people.” No one’s doing that when they’re preaching a Christian ethic. So, I think that is troubling and you’re right to be worried about that. I think pastor Lynn is also correct to be upset about the failure of the police to treat the protesters at the Chick Fil-A site the way they treated him. I think there are really important issues here. And it’s because I feel this way that I’m upset with Christians who hold public rallies as if they’re preaching the gospel and stir up controversy. Of course, there’s lots of hits and websites. The Kardashians get lots of hits too. That doesn’t mean that popularity has anything to do with whether you’re being effective. And the New Testament, it’s very clear to us that we’re to treat other people as we want to be treated ourselves. The Golden Rule is crucial here. I can’t imagine Christians listening to this, saying they would be happy with somebody with a megaphone on the sidewalk in front of their church, preaching Buddhist or Muslim or pro LGBTQ propaganda at a volume, while always claiming to love the people inside. But also interrupting their ability to go about their business. It seems to me that—and particularly in the LGBTQ question—evangelical Christians, we have a bad record on this. We haven’t stood up for the human rights of our neighbors in our concern for them spiritually and psychologically. And we criminalized homosexual behavior when we had control of the culture. So, unlike Christians standing up for women and standing up for the abolition of slavery, we have a very poor record here. So if there’s any community in which we want to tread softly, and be as gentle as possible—and as the apostle says, to “let your gentleness be known to everyone”—it should be here. And instead, pastor Lynn, Charles McVety, and these other folks on the far right of Canadian evangelical Christianity are inciting really negative opinion. It’s really hard to be an evangelical in Canada right now. And pastor Lynn and his company are not making it better.

JULIE ROYS: So, Pastor Lynn, yeah, respond to that.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: I want to say something to that. Because if you’re saying that, I already said to you that we are being effective. Kim Kardashian, they’re being effective in their own way, but not for the gospel. We are bringing people to Christ. And people do want to be engaged, which I don’t find to be honest—and no offense—that your method is even engaging the culture. What has anybody really been doing for the LGBT community? I don’t see anyone really reaching out in evangelism. In fact, people are apathetic today. If I was going to base my evangelism outreach and missionary work on whether or not there would be persecution or defense, then we wouldn’t have any of the missionary activities done in Africa, China over the last 2000 years. We wouldn’t have the Pentecostal revival. We wouldn’t have persecution in Iran. We wouldn’t have the 300-year persecution in the early church. If we were just tooling around the tulips. Just look in the book of Acts. You’re a professor of religion, and we know from the word of God that sometimes, like for instance, Acts 17, people interpreted the apostles that’s troubling the people causing an uproar, Acts chapter 21, in the city. What was it that they were doing? They were preaching.

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: Well do you know what they weren’t doing David? What they weren’t doing was going directly to people’s neighborhood . . .

JULIE ROYS: (Three People Talking Simultaneously) One second. David. David. David. David. Let professor Stackhouse

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: If you want to quote the book of Acts,

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Hold on. Hold on. Stephen could have . . .

JULIE ROYS: David. Let professor Stackhouse. Thank you.

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: If you want to quote the book of Acts, (inaudible) are always in synagogues and places of prayer. They are not doing what you’re doing. So, I commend to you a more careful reading of the book of Acts. And trying to, Paul and the apostles are always speaking where people are spiritually interested. They never go into somebody’s neighborhood, turn on a bullhorn and start yelling at them things that they know that they don’t want to hear. It’s completely different.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: So, are you telling me that there’s not people that are spiritually interested just because a few hecklers came by? If you actually watched the video, there was only about 8 to 10 people, maybe 15 at max that didn’t like my message. That doesn’t speak for everybody in the downtown core. And that’s the sad thing that I hear people with your opinion because you assume that you know everybody’s heart. And you don’t. I know for a fact, from experience . . .

JULIE ROYS: Okay, Pastor Lynn, let me ask you a question. Pastor Lynn, I’ve got a question here. I love the passion that both of you have for this. And so, I do appreciate that. But I do have a question. Because as I was trying to seek the Scriptures for this, I think you make a good point. I mean, clearly the apostles, they got arrested for preaching. The authorities came after them. But in that particular situation, it is the authorities who are trying to shut them down, but the people are hungry. And you’re saying, “well, there are people hungry, there’s just some hecklers.” So, I get all that. The one thing—I recently, and you mentioned Iran—I recently interviewed someone who is very active in Iran, which where the Christian church is actually exploding. But it’s doing so, you know, underground through a method of evangelism where people are going into, you know, bars, going into place where non-Christians are. And they begin to talk to them. And they’re taking as their model this, you know, like Jesus when He sent out the disciples and He said, “When you go to a town, if you find a person of peace, then you stay and you share the gospel with them, but otherwise you move on.” But they’re always and they say they’re always looking for that person of peace. So, they begin to share stories from the Bible with people. And if someone’s responsive, and they they’re like, “Oh, I’m interested about this,” then they actually say, “Okay, we’ll come back here, I’ll have another story for you.” And so, then they’ll work that way. And they also say, you know, “Read this and tell me what you think God wants you to do.” And when they come back, if they’re willing to do that thing, then they’ll say, “Okay, I’ll share more with you.” If they’re not willing to do that thing, then they’re really not interested in being a disciple. But again, they’re looking for that person of peace and share the gospel with them. So, I’m wondering how you would respond to that when you have a not a whole lot of peace necessarily responding, at least not publicly on these videos. Go ahead.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Right. There’s a lot of methods of evangelism that we see in Scripture. For instance, Isaiah 58, which is an Old Testament prophet, where we hear, “Cry aloud. Spare not. Lift up your voice like a trumpet.” Amos chapter 5:10. “He reproves at the gate.” We see in Acts chapter 2, the first preaching moment was a public open air declaration in many languages. And from that point going on, we see the different levels of persecution. Stephen could have easily stopped preaching the gospel and stopped continuing. I mean, if we were to use this as an example to stop everytime we see a moment of persecution, Stephen could have just saw the persecution and said, “You know what, I’m going to move on.” But he didn’t. Why? Because God called him to proclaim. In fact, we see many examples in scripture where God tells the prophets, “They’re not going to listen to you.” Ezekiel, Jeremiah, “But continue to tell them the word.” We can’t judge somebody’s effectiveness simply because of somebody’s retaliation. Because what I’ve learned, and what I’ve seen is sometimes the ones that are most combative are actually the ones that are listening the most. Otherwise they wouldn’t be so irritated. And I’ve seen this over and over and over, people being disturbed talking to me at the end of that conversation, they end up giving their lives to the Lord.

JULIE ROYS: All right, let me throw this to Dr. Stackhouse because we don’t have a lot of time. Respond to that and also tell me like where have you engaged in evangelism where you’ve seen it be effective, that might be a different method than David is using?

DR. JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR.: Well, I’m not an evangelist. I do evangelism. I’ve spoken at universities. I’ve spoken to hundreds of students at Stanford University, and the University of Virginia, at universities across Canada, where I’ve been invited by Christians to set up public shop. And I’ve been glad to speak to those who knew what they were getting into, and who came out to hear a Christian speaker. Often hundreds at a time. Sometimes more than that. And I engage in Canadian secular news media as well as Christian media to try to represent Christianity in a way that will help people come closer to Jesus rather than being repelled. So, I do that all the time as part of my work as a scholar and as a public speaker. But my concern here, if you listen to pastor Lynn, what psychologists call, “confirmation bias” is everywhere. Everything he thinks he sees, he thinks confirms him. Prophets that are sent by God to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, that’s not the same as a Christian going to non-Christians in contemporary Toronto. That’s just bad exegesis. Your point about Iran is very helpful. My concern is not whether pastor Lynn has the right to speak up in public. Of course, our concern as Christians is while we have the right, how are we going to use it? Are we in fact speaking the truth in love? Can we expect—and as communicators all three of us should be thinking not just, “what do I want to say?” But, “how am I going to be heard?” Effective communication is how it is received. For us to simply say, “Hey, I preach the gospel, I’m doing the right thing,” is about me. I want to be concerned about the people who are listening. And what I see in the videos, and what I hear from people who react to what Pastor Lynn’s been doing, I have some concerns. And that’s what I wanted to register today.

JULIE ROYS: Quickly, Pastor Lynn, we just have a little bit of time.

PASTOR DAVID LYNN: Because, I mean, you said you’re not an evangelist. And I’m not sure how much experience you have in evangelism. And that’s telling to me. Because you know, I don’t I’m not going to tell you how to be a scholar. I’m not going to tell you how to do your job. But if you’re not an evangelist and you don’t have practical experience doing that, it’s very difficult to really put yourself in an evangelistic shoes. You said did you help youth on the media, but you know when I look at your things on the media, the largest viewed video you have is about 4k in 6 years.

JULIE ROYS: All right, Pastor Lynn. I’m sorry. I just have to cut in because we don’t have hardly any more time and I want to do my best to at least land this plane a little bit. In Acts 28:1, the apostle Paul says that Christians should proclaim the kingdom of God with boldness. So, I really appreciate what you were saying, Pastor Lynn. We do need to be bold. But we also have in 1 Peter, we’re told to share the gospel with gentleness and respect. And I believe that’s what pastor or what Professor Stackhouse was telling us. And we have these two virtues in conflict. And I think we need to balance them. I think there’s a place for street preaching. Not sure if the best place is in some of these hostile communities. But I appreciate your heart, Pastor Lynn. And I appreciate that you’re having fruit. So, I think this is something we need to prayerfully consider as we move forward. Thanks so much. Pastor David Lynn, Professor Stackhouse, also Attorney David Gibbs, who joined us in the first segment. Thanks so much for listening today. Have a great weekend and God bless.

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5 thoughts on “How Do We Stand For Truth In An Age Of Hostility?”

  1. Susan Vonder Heide

    I am not familiar with this particular situation, but, just speaking generally, although street preaching in love can be good ministry, one needs to be very careful not to be counterproductive. When, for example, nearby residents are harassed in their homes with noise because of amplifiers, people can easily be turned off by the gospel rather than attracted to the gospel (and often many such people reside in places sometimes though of as “commercial”).

    1. Hi Susan. It’s my understanding (Pastor David Lynn, correct me if I’m incorrect) that this happened in a part of Toronto where pride parades are held. And I would imagine that at pride parades, amplified speech is permitted whether or not people in their homes want to hear the amplified voices.

      1. Susan Vonder Heide

        I don’t know about this particular situation and I am not saying that this was the case here, but I know that there are situations where people cannot open their windows or have any kind of normal life in their homes because some guy with an amplifier is purportedly preaching a “Christian” message. This disregard for people’s peace and quiet in their homes does not advance Christ’s kingdom (quite the contrary).

        1. The churches that follow Prof Stackhouse’s advice not to bring the gospel to sinners are the churches that will wither away. As a former gay man, I’m sure glad I was confronted with the gospel by a brother in Christ when I was clouded in unbelief. Those who cannot preach, criticize.

          1. Susan Vonder Heide

            Jesus Christ preached (without amplifiers) and He also criticized (“My house will be called a house of prayer but you are making it a den of thieves.”) Both are appropriate roles for a Christian but only when doing it in a way that helps rather than harms God’s kingdom.

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