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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." -- St. Francis? Nope.

Speaking the Gospel | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction
"I've heard the quote once too often. It's time to set the record straight—about the quote, and about the gospel.

Francis of Assisi is said to have said, "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words."

This saying is carted out whenever someone wants to suggest that Christians talk about the gospel too much, and live the gospel too little. Fair enough—that can be a problem. Much of the rhetorical power of the quotation comes from the assumption that Francis not only said it but lived it.

The problem is that he did not say it. Nor did he live it. And those two contra-facts tell us something about the spirit of our age.Read the rest of the article ...

Comments on ""Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." -- St. Francis? Nope."


OpenID stbenedict said ... (11:06 PM, January 13, 2010) : 

Ah, but...! while this is not "literally" what Francis said, he DID say, in chapter 17 of his Rule, that his friars should not preach unless they had been granted permission to do so, but that all of the brothers should nevertheless "preach by their deeds." Which, I notice, our Xtianity Today article neglects to mention.

Galli's article is symptomatic of modernity; it is inconceivable for him to think of any way of seriously communicating without using words. Francis wasn't against using words of course (Galli's point), but in the 13th century, words, both spoken and written, were the privilege of the elite. Francis tacitly recognizes this by prohibiting preaching by any of his friars unless they are granted permission; but he democratizes the gospel with the second command to preach by our deeds.


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