“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29).
Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887) was a controversial Congregationalist preacher who, from his pulpit, thundered against the liquor and gambling interests in his city, naming names. One evening, as he walked in the city center, a hooligan — sent by the corrupt interests Beecher had rebuked — stepped out of the shadows with a gun pointed at the preacher. “Retract what you’ve said, or there’s a bullet in this gun for you,” he threatened. “Fire away,” replied Beecher as he continued on his evening stroll. “I don’t believe you can hit the mark as well as I have.” The hoodlum slunk away in the darkness.
Of course, godly boldness is not the same as worldly brazenness. We need to join Paul in his request: “praying always…for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Eph 6:18-19).