Like I do a lot of times, I'm going to start this with a DISCLAIMER: the following events are totally true, unadulterated (besides not including names) and rather shocking to a degree. I don't mean to cause problems, but I do want to bring attention to a trend that is very dangerous and sly.
A street preacher and his family that our church supported stayed at our church for some time. They were in between meetings, and my pastors allowed them to set their travel trailer up in the church parking lot. I helped the brother set up his materials for the service that Wednesday evening (that's when they had arrived) and assisted him however I could in setting up his trailer.
The next day, Thursday, my wife showed me some videos on YouTube that were rather out of line. Two videos can be found here. In one of the videos, the street preacher that was staying at our church was railing on a lost woman because she didn't like the sign that the preacher was holding. The sign read "HILLARY SHOULD BE HOME DOING THE DISHES." Now, while I don't take offense at the message of the sign at all-in fact I heartily agree-what business does a preacher of Jesus Christ have using something like that, which is geared only to cause a reaction and make people mad?
After watching the video, I left a comment on the video in question, stating that I felt the actions displayed were unbiblical, which was quickly responded to with antagonizing statements and self-righteous judgements. Eventually the preacher discovered who I was and called my pastor to set up a meeting. Pastor called me and asked me what had been going on, and I explained to him about the video and the attitude that had been displayed toward me after I had expressed my disagreement with the video. He assured me that they had been having issues with this man over the same kinds of things, and not to worry about it, but that we would be having a meeting with this preacher within the next couple days.
That Saturday, my pastors, the street preacher and myself sat down in my pastor's office to discuss this issue. At that point the street preacher was very calm and cordial to me, which was glaringly different from how he had acted on the YouTube comments. He had called me a sissified Christian, a liberal, a wimp, accused me of letting my wife run the house and he had questioned my salvation. In the meeting, however, he was calm and explained how he had preached on the street for so many years and had all this experience and yada yada. I apologized for a couple things: I had called him a jerk and told him to get his head out of his tail, and I had also not gone to him and addressed the issue to his face. However, he didn't apologize for a single thing, saying later that he hadn't done anything wrong, and continued to attack me and my wife.
What I didn't know at this point, was that a couple of the men in the church were heavily involved with this preacher, and his self-righteous attitude was beginning to infect them as well. Sadly, the next day, these two men accompanied the street preacher to a church in another town where this man was going to preach, but didn't notify my church at all. These men both held positions in the church, and had responsibilities that required their presence at the church. That afternoon, my pastors called these men in and addressed the problem, but they refused to apologize for what they had done. In addition, the street preacher got involved and accused my pastors of lording over the flock because they expected church members to fulful their duties.
Well, to sum it up, the two men left the church, and the street preacher was told to leave the premises. Unfortunately nothing has changed about the attitudes of the individuals involved, though I pray that they get right and come back to the church where they belong.
What has happened since then is more subtle and even more dangerous, I fear; the younger of the two men that left the church has been talking to a young lady on the internet, and the same spirit of self-righteousness and legalism that was his downfall has now threatened to infect others that aren't aware of the situation.
The street preacher and his family are very legalistic, claiming that they're more spiritual than others because of how they dress, what they watch, what they do, and so on. The man tried to guage my spirituality on whether or not my wife wears pants, what music I listen to, and whether I watch Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Last time I checked, spirituality was guagued by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not because of how you stack up to a self-righteous preacher.
Beware the leaven of the Pharissees.