Clarification and Observations Regarding The Arrested Evangelists Post

Last week before leaving for Portland I posted about two British Evangelists being arrested for preaching Jesus. I have returned to learn that post has received an incredible amount of impassioned response. It has been shared over 10,000 times on facebook and has been viewed over 80,000 times on our blog site.

Here’s some context. Following by some important observations.

My sources for the post were and However, knowing there might be additional unreported information, I offered this disclaimer that there could be “other possible infractions” and that the incident might not be “correctly reported.”

It appears there is more to this story. At least, if other news accounts are accurate. Apparently the two street preachers, Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell, were rude, crude and abusive in their speech toward the assembled crowd and Muslims in particular. Some said their speech was offensive and disparaging, causing alarm to the extent that the crowd might be incited to violence.

During the trial the Judge granted their right to free speech and religious expression, but added “The comments were inflammatory and extremely offensive, but taken in the context they crossed to behaviour that was abusive and in most respects were disorderly.”

There may other unknown facts not reported but these are sufficient to draw some conclusions and make additional observations.

(1) The original post was not intended to defend Overd and Stockwell. I have no idea of their religious persuasion or their motives. Personally, I doubt that “street preaching” is the best way to reach people in the Western World.

(2) The comments of the prosecuting attorney disparaging the name of Jesus and the Bible have not been disputed. If the evangelists were guilty of violating British law, then why demean Jesus and God’s Word? ThePreachersWord stands by Jesus’ words from John 14:6 and our comments.

(3) We are seeing increasing backslash against Christianity and the name Jesus both in the USA and around the world. I have personally been chastised for praying in the name of Jesus when asked to lead prayer in public setting. The original post was focused on persecution and disrespect for preaching the name of Jesus.

(4) However, if Overd and Stockwell used some of the language that has been reported, they were wrong. Not just insensitive and rude, but wrong. The Bible commands that we “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15).

Furthermore, in our interactions with unbelievers we are instructed to speak and behave in a manner reflecting the love of Jesus. “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col 4:6).

While we disagree with the religious teaching of Muslims, our conduct, demeanor and speech should not be rude, crude or insulting. We can respectfully disagree without being personally demeaning to others. We will never win others to Jesus by insulting them with degrading and derogatory remarks.

I would further add that some of the comments of our readers have crossed the line of civil discourse.

(5) Publishing this post reminds us of the power of social media.  We all need to be careful what we post and what we report. ThePreachersWord pledges to do a better job in the future when reporting current events to make spiritual applications.

Hopefully, this post clarifies both the issue in the previous post and the stated intention of ThePreachersWord to speak the truth of God’s Word. And to speak it in love.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Preaching

27 responses to “Clarification and Observations Regarding The Arrested Evangelists Post

  1. Pingback: Two Evangelists Charged. Tried. Convicted. | ThePreachersWord


    • Well, David, that may be true. However, that is not the point of this post. We should be civil in our disagreements with others, and demonstrate the love of God, when preaching His Word. Were these 2 men unfairly targeted? Very possibly. Did they bring some of this on themselves by rude speech? It sounds as if they did.

  3. Michael

    Well done PreachersWorld for clarifying you position

  4. Colleen

    “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” . Matthew 15:7-8
    ” O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Matthew 16:3
    “18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” Matthew 22:18
    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them” Luke 11:44
    ” Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it”. John 8:44

    Did these preachers say anything more offensive than Christ said to the Pharisees as shown in the bible verses above?

    • Keith

      Its astounding that there is concern about issues that are explained in the Scriptures concerning standing up for the Truth in Christ. Not so much with unbelievers but those that confess to being Christians. Your comments I believe demonstrate that very point. Non believers are judged by the Lord. We are to love them (not necessarily agreeing with them) but to demonstrate just what the Lord has done for those that are lost by telling them who Jesus is. .

    • Mark

      Very Good Question, Bravo! In this age, Roman represents the Anti-Christ and Islam the False Prophet. Jesus is Lord of all and every knee shall bow to him.


  6. Peter Hodge

    Thanks for the clarification. I agree with your points. But have you ever tried to discuss with a Muslim? You won’t get a word in edgewise, and in a very short time they will be shouting and making false accusations at you. But you are right, using verbal abuse at anyone is not Christian.

    • I and Christian friends of mine have had many fruitful conversations with Muslims about Christ, the Scriptures, and the Gospel. I have never had a single one shout at me nor make false accusations at me. There is a tremendous hunger among many Muslims to learn about Jesus.

  7. Stephen Troup

    Satan wants street preaching to end. Satan wants the church to stay passive, indoors and lukewarm. But Jesus warns those who are lukewarm He will vomit out of His mouth!
    Revelation 3:15-16

  8. Mohan

    Here is a great video of this Black Preacher how he preached truth, love, humour to Muslims! He even told them that they are going to Hell. (Awesome)

  9. Rodger Pugh

    Did you see what happened to Ray Comfort? They were kicked out. They were not allowed to preach. And you cannot tell me that Ray Comfort does not preach the Word in truth in love in clarity, because that’s just exactly what he does. So in my estimation this is a smokescreen by the Muslim community, which has found its way into their laws of that country . This country is on its way out if they arrest preachers on the street proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ . The Muslim community wins again. Just asked the people in Dearborn, Michigan.

  10. Sandra Miller

    Thanks Ken, for the clarification. I agree with you. It was to the Jewish leaders Jesus was harsh but to the others he was gentle. Might be a good idea to take some lessons. I cringe when I hear abrasive speak spoken – turns me off, too.

  11. Tom in Oregon City

    Jesus was also rude and crude, by the report of the Pharisees: He offended them greatly with descriptions like vipers, blind guides, hypocrites, whited sepulchres and such. He received worse treatment, of course.

  12. wonkotsane

    Good on you for admitting you got it wrong.

    On the subject of being criticised for leading prayers in the name of Jesus, perhaps that’s because the USA is a constitutionally secular country one of whose founding principals was the separation of church and state. In fact, the only mention of religion in the constitution is where it is forbidden to establish a state religion or require a public office holder to adhere to a religion. Your point 3 says there is a backlash against Christianity in the US – moreso than the all the other religions that also have no legal status in the US? If you want to live in a Christian theocracy you should probably move out of the constitutionally secular country you currently live in and go to the Vatican which is the only Christian theocracy.

    In answer to points 2 and 4, you’ll note that only a few words are quoted and the rest is opinion and/or paraphrasing. You’ve already discovered that the websites you’ve cited have an agenda and were more than happy to mislead to further that agenda. The quoted bit is “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth”. He is correct that it cannot be a truth. There is no verifiable evidence of the existence of any god, let alone a verifiable method of accessing that god should it exist. You can’t submit your belief in a deity as evidence in a court. You will no doubt quote the bible as “evidence” but even if there weren’t literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of different bibles all claiming to be the one true version of the truth it is no more evidence of the existence of a god than the Mr Men books are evidence of the existence of Mr Tickle. Just because something was written down in a book nearly 2,000 years by goat herders, lost, found, translated into a myriad of different languages, embellished and rewritten more times than anyone could ever know so that it almost certainly only vaguely resembles the original work (which no longer exists) doesn’t mean it is the truth in a court of law.

    • Keith

      Taking your reply and examining the detail leaves one a little confused to say the least. My conclusion is that there is little understanding of what actually relates to evidence. I assume we all had grand parents mostly all long gone but if it were not for the archives we would all be wondering who we are…No sir, there is a truth however its up to the individual to conclude what is fantasy and what is real. You have decided that your name, birthdate and what you did will not be able to be verified as fact in the future in a court of law..

    • If one is to understand the story of the United States of America, it is important to have a proper appreciation for its Christian colonial roots. By almost any measure, colonists of European descent who settled in the New World were serious Christians whose constitutions, laws, and practices reflected the influence of Christianity. The Declaration of Independence, the most famous document produced by the Continental Congress during the War for Independence, proclaims: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” As well, this text references “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” and closes by “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world” and noting the signers’ “reliance on the protection of divine Providence.” The Founders’ use of Christian rhetoric and arguments becomes even more evident if one looks at other statements of colonial rights and concerns such as the Suffolk Resolves, the Declaration of Rights, and the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms—to say nothing of the dozen explicitly Christian calls for prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving issued by the Continental and Confederation Congresses.

      Even though Christianity is not mentioned in the Constitution or Bill or Rights, the Founders of the American republic were influenced by Christian ideas in significant ways. For example, their faith taught them that humans were sinful. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external or internal controls on government would be necessary.”

      • wonkotsane

        @Optimised Translations (fixed your spelling) you say that America was founded on Christian values yet most Americans don’t believe that women should be covered from head to toe, that there is a proper way to keep a slave, that it is ok to bet a woman as long as you don’t leave any visible marks or that it is just to execute people for such crimes as picking up sticks on a Saturday or being cheeky to their parents.

        What I think you mean is America was founded on the core values that are common to most – if not all – religions (and in particular the Abrahamic religions) rather than the at best immoral and at worst reprehensible and insane values that are littered throughout the bible that have been disavowed by large sections of the Christian faith because it’s just too crazy for them but nonetheless are part of this set of books that all represent the divine truth. There is a common theme running through all these religions because they are stories to formalise and teach a moral code that is itself a rationalisation of biological imperatives. Thou shalt not murder … because that weakens your species. Thou shalt not steal … because the pooling of resources with your tribe helps to assure its survival. Honour thy father and mother … because strong leadership means a strong tribe. Thou shalt not worship false idols … because this is the best set of rules for survival of the species.

        So I would argue that America was built on a codified version of the biological imperative that is not just present in humans as a species but in the most intelligent species of animals such as apes, dolphins and elephants who exhibit empathy, monogamy, grief (including inter-species), worship and memorials and have moral codes that are very similar to the fundamental morals of humans.

  13. wonkotsane

    @Keith there is empirical evidence of the existence of my grandparents. One of them is still alive, for example. There is empirical evidence of the existence of my several times grandparents in the form of reliable records that are corroborated by contemporary reports of events. The existence of my grandparents and several century’s worth of ancestors is evidenced by reliable records that were not – and here is the key thing – based on accounts of illiterate goat herders living in the desert some 50 years or more after the events took place in a long dead language that has been translated and retranslated many times and rewritten many times to add and remove bits of that history.

    However, this isn’t about the merits or otherwise of your religious beliefs but rather what is considered evidence in a court of law. The bible is not evidence. The testimony of several police officers, many members of the public and presumably mobile phone and/or personal camera footage of the provocative abuse and harassment is evidence.

    • Keith

      Lets just say that at the end whenever that is for each one in this world we will find out the truth. Its obvious that to discuss that which is spiritual is debatable as likewise no evidence exists in the “world” to disprove that of which is higher than the flesh. Every conclusion that is reached by Believers is that according to which Scripture points. From beginning to end of Scripture contains that which cannot be changed revealing the history of Israel as an example after all that’s where the Biblical facts come from. History plays a huge part whether it be Christian or Muslim. Have you noticed more resistance has been offered up against Christianity than any other forms of belief. By the way even ones birthdate relates to the Scriptures… AD or BC which is accepted as verifiable evidence.. That’s my final comment and no more needs replying to. I trust that you to would come to the conclusion that Jesus is Lord.

  14. Franz Buhlmann

    Ken, I was not there, so I did not hear what these two men said.

    However, to translate the charges against Jesus, one of the could easily be Hate Speech. Of course, we already know that inciting a riot was on top of the list that the Pharisees presented to the Pilot in order to get Jesus crucified.

    This follow up, I am sorry to say, is based on hearsay. Sure, these were charges that were levied against these two men.

    God does say in the Bible that the enemy come to Steal, Kill and Destroy! God also says that these so called gods are false.

    Just think for a moment, if you were alive during the time of the Apostles, when they and Jesus were arrested. You would most likely wrote about the charges against them and what the government said.

    In light of this, would your writing be a witness for or against these men of old and the accounts recorded in the Bible? Please do not be hasty in answering this, just let this sink in!

  15. Kingsley

    The word of God must be fulfilled. Many shall be arrested and persecuted because of me and then the end will come. There is nothing supprising about this. the “Cross of offence” must be preached without which sinners cannot get angry and repent.

  16. Richard Graham

    This is a disgrace and a blatant attack on Christians.However PC excuse makers dress this up to put the two street preachers in the wrong we know what is happening here.We Christians are being victimised and persucuted.Shameful.We will NOT be SILENCED…Richard Graham

  17. Betty Bersot Bradford

    Thank you for posting this article&the clarification. I try to read your posts everyday as they are true to the word. The article does show the attitude existing in the world today of so many who don’t respect God’s word. Thanks for all your articles.

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