Is it time for another Jonah? - Christian faces court over spreading leaflets against homosexuality

Christian faces court over 'offensive' gay festival leaflets.

I don't know if I approve of his methods, but it has started me to think. Is there room for the soapbox prophets in our modern society?

We have been taught "reltionship evangelism" from day one of our faith. We need to build relationships with people in order for them to have a reason to listen to the Gospel from us. Is that true?

The story of Jonah in the Bible seems to imply that it isn't. He was told to go be a soapbox prophet to the people of Nineveh and he, like I'm sure I would, didn't like the idea. He didn't even like those people. He just went to town and preached his message without building the relationships "necessary" for effective evangelism.

I don't know it there is a group of people I don't like. I've been raised in a culture of tolerance, so it really isn't an achievement. But I do know that I wouldn't be able to go and be a soapbox prophet - probably as a result of that same upbringing. I really have no desire to. I like "relationship evangelism". I'm comfortable evangelizing only those I encounter through my every day actions.

But I do think there is room in Christianity for those who take a more aggessive approach to evangelism. That is what this story changed in my thinking.

I'm not saying that I approve of his approach. All I am going by is the article, but it seemed like he was more focused on the sin of homosexuality than he was on God. But then Jonah's one sentence sermon to Nineveh also seems to be even less detailed about what is the right course of action and one's proper relationship to God.

Jonah 3:1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2 "Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you." 3 So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days' walk across. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"

5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. 6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8 Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish." 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

4:1 But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry.

Watch out for the potholes.