The following video was posted by my good friend Tony Miano. He has been maintaining a video log of his participation in the evangelism outreach going on at the Wimbledon games in the UK. The reason I am sharing this is I am asking our readers to be aware of what is currently going in Europe, for you can be sure that one day it will be happening here. The question is Christians, are you ready for this? When the time comes, and it is coming, are you prepared to be persecuted for your faith?
UPDATE: The video of Tony’ s open air sermon is now available to view.
SECOND UPDATE: The transcripts of Tony’ s interrogation have been available. It can be read at the Cross Encounters blog at the following link:
At this very moment we are preparing to move. As you can see by my post, we are experiencing persecution right here in Canada. They stole our bunny, beheaded her and gave her back. Now they are threatening our dog (who we got for security reasons). They are pushing us out of this neighbourhood, so we must go to protect our children. Yes we are prepared, doesn’t feel good to know we are being watched, but we are in it for the long run…Jesus deserves reward for His suffering.
It is very scary….you can’t speak out on anything! I trust in God’s Will, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this all frightens me!
I think this will only get worse. I don’t trust our government anymore and I really think that anything is possible in terms of what they may try to do to Christians. I think I would have been scared if I were in Tony’s position…but I know God strengthened him. We were promised persecution, but also blessings that will follow.
Have to admit, the arrest and the questioning are clearly uncalled for and blown out of proportion. Can’t imagine being questioned like that for speaking the truth of the bible. But i gotta ask: i get that we need to call people to repentance and call sin sin when and where we see it, even in our own lives. But do you really believe a street preacher – with no relationship with his audience or rapport whatsoever, preaching about the sexual sin (particularly the sin of homosexuality) is the message he ought to have brought at that time? In my mind, the gospel – which is what God has done for sinful humanity in Christ – is what he should be preaching day after day. The universal nature of sin (total inability) makes it simple to call sinners to repent of their sin and trust Christ w/o poking a finger at their specific sin. In my mind, doing that is just asking for trouble and missing the opportunity of the few moments people are actually listening to him. If you knew that people would only listen to 20 seconds of what you preached on a street corner, what would you tell them? How much God hates their sin (and He surely does) or how much He did to pay for their sin? Something to consider. I know i did not hear the message so i can;t say he didn;t say all that as well.
I think sometimes it’s easy, in our youtube driven culture, that everytime someone stands up on a box or does anything public, he/she is showing off. But imo, since Tony (and other SPers who have gotten arrested in the past like Shawn Holes and Dale Mcalpine) they should get the benefit of the doubt.
I know that we may agree or disagree with the method a preacher/evangelist/proclaimer of the Gospel uses when preaching and explaining the Gospel to the public, such as mentioning homsexuality. But if it’s in the Bible, doesn’t that make it okay to talk about? If God leads us to talk about a particular sin, does that make it wrong to discuss it in public?
What I fear, outin2thedeep, is that in the future coming real persecution of God’s saints in the West, that we will be biting and devouring each other, disecting whether or not methods or routes are valid and inserting our opinions instead of building each other up. I saw it after Shawn Holes got out of prison, this biting and devouring. I think that Christians (myself included) should encourage other believers. This situation is new, and albeit, still rare. Unfortunately, we may have to get used to this sort of thing. In the meantime, we’ve just got to build each other up.
*But imo, since Tony (and other SPers who have gotten arrested in the past like Shawn Holes and Dale Mcalpine) **are believers** they should get the benefit of the doubt.* Sorry, my editing was horrible 🙂
No doubt the criminalization of Christianity has been underway for many years now. Recent Supreme Court decisions will help support that effort here in he U.S. in regards to how one views and speaks about the sin of homosexuality. We have already seen problems with speaking out against Islam also, not to mention the attempts to establish Sharia law in some states. Even Obama has shown his disapproval and disdain of Christianity through his speech and certain provisions of his healthcare law. I see verbal abuse quite often, just for acknowledging I am born of God and have been delivered from death to life through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.
What I am curious about is what the local ordinance that Tony was charged with actually states, how it frames the crime. Does it really say, one cannot speak out against homosexuality and declare it is a sin? If it does, that is amazing and clearly shows we are nearing the end of the age. But from what I already see here in the U.S. (talking about the big picture) a night in jail won’t be the typical persecution we will be seeing before Christ returns. Death by beheading will be common place and most likely celebrated by the lost who have given themselves over to Satan for their own destruction. Read the Revelation.
Tony has said he was arrested under section 5 of the public order act. What he said is not illegal in itself. But the fact that it caused offense. It is the offense that is the offence. I know that is the odd way in which the UK is. Homosexuality has become a sacred cow no one may speak of it in terms likely to produce homophobic hatred. Or perceived as such Our system here is very worried about hate crime & radical preaching. To the point where there is a measure of fear in declaring truths. If that impinges on others choices.
If no one had complained Tony would not have been arrested. That in itself is a restriction on free speech.
I’m trying to remember the time, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, I was visiting my Church, Gospel Outreach, up in Birmingham England gathering together with well over 40,000 Christian souls to march from four different locations to the city center/town square? It was a Christian event carried live on British TV. It was a loud voice lifting up Christ and celebrating Christianity in England. This was a national event with other synchronized marches in all the major cities in Great Britian.
What an amazing event to realize such a rapid turn of the ” national soul ” of England after watching this video and realize the Church has been muted by this movement, the LGBT movement! The irony is the fact that Islam is gaining a foothold in England too. Think about that! Think about the vicious nature of these two movements coming to heads with each other?
Anyway, as Tony said you can get a sense just how this wickedness works and how quickly cultural norms are replaced with such ungodliness!
Maybe there is something to this with regard to that:
Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, “Lift your eyes and see what this is that is going out.” And I said, “What is it?” He said, “This is the basket that is going out.” And he said, “This is their iniquity in all the land.” And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket! And he said, “This is Wickedness.” And he thrust her back into the basket, and thrust down the leaden weight on its opening. Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women coming forward! The wind was in their wings. They had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they taking the basket?” He said to me, “To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it. And when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base.” (Zechariah 5:5-11 ESV)
i hope i did not communicate that Tony (or any of these other preacher you mentioned) was “showing off” in any way – i am certain they were not. What i am more pressing on is an issue of pastoral prudence. I am not suggesting that preaching anything from the bible is off limits or should not be taught, only that a pastor is (as the idiom goes in pastoral ministry) not only to exegete the text but the audience as well. Which means it is possible to be biblically faithful and at the same time pastorally imprudent. For example, one would not preach on the rape of Tamar to a group of sexually assaulted women. Yes, it’s in the bible, but … do you see my point?
And so my comment is not so much a critique but more an encouragement to steward well the 20 seconds Tony, or any other street preacher, gets.
Ok, I think I get you outin2. 🙂 Prudence-It’s something I often need to work on. 🙂
Right, I think what you’re talking about is _balance_. Different passages of Scripture can be applied to different situations. With your example, I think some sensitivity would definitely be involved in both the delivery and tone of the message (not in the sense that the Gospel is changed), but I think that would moreso apply in a one-on-one situation where the person expresses that they’ve gone through such a horrible incident. Depending on the situation, you also may know something about the individual up front.
So I guess the question is… knowing that people are struggling with different background incidences like you described or are struggling with sins (like homosexuality) for the sake of argument, in an open-air situation, should we adjust our message to include those people in a probable audience who may be going through those kind of issues?
Am I on track here?
Thanks for your reply. Prudence is often not my strong suit either.
As to your question i;d say two things:
1. I don’t know many (any) homosexuals outside of a church setting (open air for instance) who are struggling with the sin of their homosexuality.
2. That said, there would surely be many homosexuals in an open-air audience as well as those sexually addicted and perverse, adulterers, etc. The point is there would be sinners of all kinds. So, personally, i would tailor my message to include the reality that we are all sinners (even if a homosexual never acted on their same-sex desires they would still be a “child of wrath” b/c they were born with a sin nature in Adam). I would then focus the main part of my message on God’s gracious provision in Christ for sinners like us.
The gospel (good news) is not preaching about the wickedness of one sin or another – though calling people to repentance is a part of that. The gospel is what Christ has done for us on the cross; in living and dying and being raised on the third day. In that, He purchased sinners back for God.
That is where i would want to focus my message in such a broad setting – understanding that there are sinners of all types in my hearing.
” Does it really say, one cannot speak out against homosexuality and declare it is a sin? If it does, that is amazing and clearly shows we are nearing the end of the age.”
You think that’s bad, try speaking out against divorce and remarriage in the the evangelical church…
Things aren’t much better here on the homefront – http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=454_1372947131
Heard about this. Christians need to be ready. We no longer have the privileged station we once did.
“But imo, since Tony (and other SPers who have gotten arrested in the past like Shawn Holes and Dale Mcalpine) **are believers** they should get the benefit of the doubt.”
Becca, Dale is my friend and I trust him. But believers should expect to have their actions scrutinised.
Zazzy pretty much has it right, although the law as now amended says the offense has to be from “threatening or abusive” words or behaviour for it to be an offence. Tony’s words were certainly not threatening, and it would be a major stretch to call them “abusive,” which is probably why no charges were filed and he was released.
OutIn2thedeep, Tony’s message was not targeted at homosexuals, but at sexual immorality, which is even more rampant in Britain than in America, and many who are involved are torn by guilt. I don’t see any great problem with preaching on that. If I understand the end of Jude, sometimes a message of compassion is effective, sometimes a warning of judgment. I don’t really think we should use a passage (I Thess. 4) which is exhorting believers to purity as the basis of preaching to the lost, but Tony didn’t really do anything wrong here, and nothing which is illegal.
This is the second police involvement in the UK in two months, both times using the accusation of “homophobic speech”, which is not defined either in Scots law or English law. http://mindrenewers.com/2013/06/14/preacher-harassed-by-edinburgh-police/
I think Tony must have prayed beforehand and asked God to guide him regarding the what he would preach to that audience. If the Holy Spirit is leading, then He will take care of the consequences. If a seed of faith or conviction of sin was planted in even one heart, it was worth it.
I love the English police! Where else would you get such courtesy. It would be kinda interesting to see Tony say those things in downtown Moscow. How long before the police arrive there lol. God bless the English, so respectful of Tony.
Considering the fact that Russia just passed a law prohibiting the promoting of sexual immorality to children and a law which prohibits people from attacking religious liberties, I believe Tony’s speech would have had little problem being heard.
Strange that you turn to Russia for moral guidance. Their track record isn’t the longest in that respect, last time I looked.
My point, as you well know, is that Tony should try saying those things somewhere less tolerant than the UK and see how far he gets. He wasn’t handcuffed! Er, no, this is the UK, not Russia or the USA. Didn’t that tell him anything about how mature British society is?
I did not turn to Russia for moral guidance. I responded to your statement regarding his preaching that sermon in Russia. No one has alleged that the police were anything but civil. However, the fact remains Tony was arrested solely for his Christian faith. He committed no criminal offense. As civilized as the UK claims to be, they arrested a man simply for expressing his religious beliefs.
No, he was arrested for allegedly committing an offence under UK law. If he chooses to come to the UK and his extremist Christian beliefs put him the wrong side of British law, it’s British law that takes precedence, not what he personally believes is God’s law. Think about it. It couldn’t be any other way.
It’s time we Christians realised that we’ve been persecuting non-believers for about 1,750 years, give or take a century or two, while we held the upper hand. The boot is now on the other foot and we should accept it with humility. At least we know that atheists won’t burn us at the stake or blow us up.
Except that he wasn’t on the wrong side of British law. And it appears from this incident and the one in Edinburgh recently (where the police weren’t so restrained) that all it takes is an uncorroborated allegation of “homophobic speech” and the police will gladly shut down Gospel preaching.
Do you want to be subject to arrest anytime anyone accuses you of homophobic speech? We’re in “thought crime” territory here.
And you are right that the Russian police would be less civilised, but Chris is right that Tony probably wouldn’t have been arrested at all. If someone had phoned the Russian police and said, “Homophobic speech,” they probably would have said, “Good.”
And the police in this case surely should have said, “That is not a crime. What crime do you think he has committed?”
Wellwisher, it would appear that you have a poor understanding of the term persecution. Followers of biblical Christianity have persecuted no one throughout the existence of the church (and please do not reference the Inquisition or the Crusades, that was the Catholic Church which is NOT Christian). We preach Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins. We love unbelievers enough to tell them them uncomfortable truth that their sins will condemn them to Hell. Western culture has benefitted from the preaching of the gospel. However, Christ Himself taught that Christians would be hated for His sake. Tony’s arrest in London was based purely on the fact that one person hated what he was preaching, because it was Christian doctrine. He was questioned about his Christian faith. He was arrested for being obedient to Christ for preaching the gospel. That my friend is persecution. And yes, more persecution is coming. Christians need to be ready to be jailed for proclaiming the truth of God’s Word. And as the apostles did in the book of Acts, we need to be ready to preach the truth when those in authority will persecute us for it.
Chris, I think I need to disagree with you on one pint at least. I will later elaborate in another comment but for now may I ask how many churches were there beforfe the reformation? Is it not true that the pre-reformation church was the Acts church slowly evolving? Is it not true that with Constantine in about ad 300 Christianity became a recognised religion of Rome and therefore flooded by unbelievers? That this slowly corrupted the church until the very early pre-reformers started speaking out culminating in years later Luther’s famous nailing of his thesis to the Church door and only then did the one and only then existing church fragment into the Roman catholic Church and the various protestant churches.
But before that reformation the then (corrupted) Church was persecuting those within it’s ranks, much as some of the mega- churches of the USA are doing today (Think Mars Hill)
We need to be realistic and accept when the Church has gone off track
AP – Apparently you neglected to heed my admonition to not to attempt to use the acts of the false, heretical (not just corrupted) Catholic Church as examples of persecution. They are not the true bride of Christ, but are in fact in rebellion to Him. Yes, much persecution occurred under this false church, but it was not at the hands of Christians.
My dear Chris, I do think we might just possible be talking past each other.
The Bride of Christ was seen as (or in actuality was) the invisible members of the one and only then existing Church pre- 1400’s and earlier which we today refer to as the Roman Church.
As is the case even today in that church there must have been Christians who with zeal for His Church with great misunderstanding and lack of biblical knowledge took part in the that churches persecution of fellow Christians. I can refer you to incidents occurring today where undiscerning Christians are still doing it.
Such misguided Christians, both then and now, are not answerable to us but to their King seated on the Great White throne to whom they will bow their knee one day .
That is why I suggested we should be realistic and accept that we, as Christians can never claim to be perfect and accept the flaws and faults of our fellows – up to the point that Scripture allows
AP – I’m not talking past you. I’m making a clear statement. The true bride of Christ is not engaged, nor has it been engaged in widespread persecution of non-believers as has been suggested on this thread. Wellwisher’s claim has been that Christians persecute unbelievers, which simply is not true. We preach Christ and Him crucified. Do we as Christians sin and engage in behavior that is not Christ-like? Yes. And the mark of a Christian is that he or she repents before the Lord when that sin is revealed. There has not been any effort by the true Church to harm, imprison, force conversion through torture, etc. That has been the mark of many false churches, but not the true church.
Another pilgrim, I am afraid that history shows to the contrary of your statements about the only church pre-reformation was the Catholic Church. There have been a number of groups (both fully recognized and shadow groups) that existed before the RCC. The RCC has always been apostate and Constantine was no Christian. He was a syncretistic pagan at best. In fact, even RCC scholars have long complained that there were “baptists” long before 600AD and complained that those people were heretics outside the mother church.
On that note, true Christians are not involved (and true history proves this) in the spread of persecution. As stated, the Crusades were NOT Christian. There have been times during war that some who claimed the name of Christ took up arms and there have even been times when some who claim to be believers have committed murder. However, if there was true repentance from the sin and conviction by the Holy Spirit that would have been repented of. But, in my mind, from what I have read in history, those who did those things were never true believers to begin with.
True Christianity has always known it cannot gain converts at the point of a sword. I would be interested to know where some of these “Christians” are who you believe are trying to build the Church of the Lord Jesus through persecution and the point of a sword like Islam and in some places, the RCC still does today.
the true church stands full on against oppression & domination… it is exactly what Jesus came to do when he quoted from the book of Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed, Luke 4 v 18
he told us what his mission was.. the true church supports this 100% as we are HIS people..
the true church speaks HIS words with love & wisdom.. there is nothing in the bible whatsoever that is not fit for hearing… by any person it is ALL to the benefit of the hearer – even if they are not prepared to recognise that for themselves- that is up to them…
by default then is the UK saying that there are certain portions of scripture that are “off limits” because through misunderstanding they may cause offense & hurt.. where is this on our statute books??
when we see the “church” being the author & perpetuator of oppression, we can be very certain that this is error which leads us to the conclusion, (if there is lack of repentance & recognition of this as sin) that this is the FALSE church at work..
was Tony (& his team) the oppressor or the oppressed here.. did he respond in love or anger or defensiveness
what actual crime did he commit… other than be misunderstood that he was preaching a homophobic hate speech (which was not hateful anyway) when in actual fact each person that shouted out the F obscenity in a public place was guilty under section 5 public order offence… no one (including Tony, who could have as he had the video evidence) made a complaint about those individuals– why not – Tony & his team were within their rights to do so… that was pretty offensive behaviour… it offended me to hear that be directed at my Christian brother… funny how that gets overlooked…
Now, to add a few thoughts about the situation from Tony. I hold and maintain British and US citizenship by right of birth. I have pastored in England for 5 years and lived there about 14 years. This has been long in coming. Sadly, it is a coming persecution for all true believers. Had it been a Muslim group standing on the street accosting those passing by, the woman who called in the complaint wouldn’t have dared to call the police. In fact, she would probably have not even been concerned. Similarly, had a “Gay” pride march taken place, with all the debauchery that they flaunt in front of the world, not one policeman would have added to his arrest tally for the week of a homosexual unless they brutally attacked somebody and drew blood.
The same rules do not apply to everyone in the UK and it will only get worse. Tolerance is to be preached by all, but only practiced when believers are preaching the Bible.
To some degree, I would be in agreement that this may not have been the best choice of subject matters on an open street corner in Britain. Children were around and some were part of the entourage with Tony as seen when they were passing out tracts. I think that is putting them in a potentially dangerous situation and I personally would not have done that, nor would I encourage that if I was the pastor of a street preacher operating under the authority and leadership of our local church.
However, I am often reminded of the apostle Paul standing in front of Felix and Drusilla. He preached sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment! Bold words considering who Drusilla counted in her family lineage – all the Herods who sought to kill Jesus, killed John the Baptist, killed James, and put Peter in prison. Bold words from a little man who would eventually lose his head because of his faith.
In the end, Tony had to be responsible to the leadership of his own church. They had to have known the risks that were at stake and chose to continue. In that, I commend him for taking such a bold stand. I did not hear animosity in his voice and I believe he was more than gracious and cordial to the police.
By the way, the British police have long used this approach in dealing with people – for the most part. They are taught differently than police in others countries like the USA or Russia.
Wellwisher, just because Tony was not handcuffed does not make Britain a more mature society. That is laughable at best. I remember as a pastor speaking to a British policewoman we had to call to the church over an incident. She ended up asking me about life in the USA and if I knew any police officers. I replied I did and she said, “I could never carry a gun like they have to do.” I said, “Have you ever had to arrest anybody and use your handcuffs?” Her response, “Heavens no. In 15 years I have never used handcuffs. Too much paperwork involved if I were to do that!”
I just recently did speak out against divorce and remarriage on my Facebook page. And I know first hand if I speak directly to a divorced “Christian” about it, it will be met with scorn and rejection. I am no stranger to that. My speaking out against divorce and remarriage was in support of a post I made about how many Christians like to throw around the verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14 and claim that it is necessary for revival to happen in this country.
2 Chronicles 7:14
… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Without a doubt the verse in 2 Chronicles has been taken out of context and misused by the church for years. The verses I posted to show how far away the
body of Christ is from 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, and shows that the church in reality is no way near turning from its wicked ways.
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
I wonder if anyone has considered what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13 in consideration of Tony’s supposedly breaking the law in the U.K. If Tony broke the law in the U.S. in the course of delivering the gospel, would we not expect he might be arrested for it? But I would not consider that persecution, and nothing to glory in. Now if he were surrounded by Muslims in a place like Dearborn, MI and threatened with beheading if he did not deny Christ and did not deny Christ and was in fact beheaded. I would consider that persecution. Christians in other parts of the world suffer true persecution, spending a night in jail for supposedly breaking the law is notable as a pitfall of street preaching, but hardly what I think Paul was talking about in 2 Timothy 3:12.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is already regularly happening throughout America. Just months ago, my brother had a civil court case settled for wrongful arrest as he preached the gospel at one small town festival on a public street, A few weeks ago, my husband was thrown out of town by police for peacefully passing out gospel tracts at another small town public street festival (even after he was standing outside of the festival and stated he would not continue passing out tracts). Later the same day, my brother was arrested for preaching the gospel at the same festival, and the video camera I had been filming with was seized by police without any identifying information exchanged, or way to get the camera back. Wake up, America! Our liberties are already significantly eroded, and require long hard-fought court cases just to maintain on a city-by-city basis.
Was there an ordinance against literature distribution? I am just wondering because often times christians claim persecution when they are simple violating a law that is not discriminating against christians. Loss of liberties is not persecution unless it is specifically target at christians.
In Christ -Jim
No, there are no ordinances against literature distribution (my husband asked what law he was breaking, and they didn’t have any ordinances prohibiting literature distribution). Furthermore, the police continued to threaten arrest for trespassing on a public street after my husband stated he would not pass out literature, and was standing outside of the event. After we had walked down the street, a man in a wheelchair who had watched the encounter began proclaiming to the crowd that it was a shame that you could be arrested for passing out literature in America (he was not passing out any literature). He too was forced to leave the event. Later in the day, having heard of the police prohibition against literature distribution, my brother did not bring any tracts with him. He was arrested for preaching the gospel. Prior to that, the arrested officer had put money in the pocket of a young man with guitar (not part of the event) who stood near my brother and tried to sing over the preaching.
Thanks for responding, I only ask because I have seen a trend to call things persecution that aren’t lately. I have experienced many of the same things on the streets of Detroit. I have been told “If you say another word you are going to jail” by the police, escorted out of public spaces where I have full legal rights to pass out tracts, etc. To be fair though, for a while we were preaching outside a night club where gang members gathered and the head of the gang squad told his guys “don’t mess with the Christians, leave them alone” and many of the beat officers too got this word. We had free reign to preach anywhere in their jurisdiction for about a year before the scene changed.
Also, I have been escorted off the property for preaching outside of “acquire the fire” (a ‘christian’ event) once too. That is a good reminder that serious persecution will come from the harlot church system.
In Christ -Jim