Fact Check: Street Preacher Implores Concert Goers to Repent, Moments Before Shooting
Here’s what you’re going to see in this video: An open-air evangelist on a bullhorn is standing on a curb, emploring people supposedly waiting in line for the Las Vegas Jason Aldean concert mere minutes before the attack. As he preaches repentance and faith, person after person walks up to mock him. The crowd repeatedly jeers him, and cheers whoever is heckling him. At one point, he mentions the futility of a life full of “sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, and the crowd wildly applauds. Moments later – as the narrative goes – these people were shot at by a mad man firing from Mandalay Bay.
This video is making its rounds in social media as a touching moment speaking to the urgency of Gospel proclamation.
The problem is, the story is untrue.
The man in the neon yellow shirt with the words “turn or burn” is affiliated with SOAPA, the Southeastern Open Air Preachers Association. SOAPA is often associated with Ruben Israel and Jesse Morrell. As a side note, these men, along with prolific open-air evangelist, Jed Smock, are often accused of Pelagianism. Clearly the man in the video seems to preach repentance as the means of justification rather than faith, with repentance as its fruit (which is backward). This was not preached at Jason Aldean’s concert in Las Vegas on Sunday, but was preached earlier outside a concert in California.
For whatever reason – and hopefully it wasn’t intentional on behalf of SOAPA or another preaching ministry – millions have been sharing the link under the impression it was just prior to the Las Vegas shooting. One Facebook link, published by a “Rey Fabian” has over 4.2 million Facebook views.
But, nope. It was a different occasion in a different state at a different time. It took place at Concord, California, on Sept 28th. So, that’s actual fake news.
Here’s what’s not fake. Crowds of people, wherever they gather, desperately need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They desperately need to be called to repentance and faith in Jesus. They need tracts. They need guys on bullhorns. They need Gospel men doing Gospel work to love them enough to stand on curbs and shout. They need to be warned that life is short before some madman shoots them with a fully automatic rifle, or before they die in traffic, or before they overdose on drugs, or before they die of old age.
To learn more about doing open air preaching and doing it well, we recommend Jeremiah Cry Ministries. If you’re not called to preach in the open air, then spend a few dollars at OneMillionTracts and be well-armed to drop little Gospel-bombs wherever you go.