[282] St. Francis
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[282] St. Francis

“Preach the gospel at all times.  If necessary, use words,” so St. Francis of Assisi, allegedly said about 8 centuries ago.  Two problems here: St. Francis never said it and it is bad theology.

I am more concerned about the second problem, as I doubt St. Francis cares much about attributions for statements he allegedly made 800 years ago. The suggestion that the gospel is preached through actions is preposterous.  No one comes to Christ by watching someone. They come to the faith by hearing a message and receiving it.  “ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” says the writer of Roman (10:17).

We are talking about words here.

The supposed utterance of St. Francis is popular largely because it is much easier to be a quiet example of what a Christian is than to risk the rejection that often comes with presenting the gospel verbally.  I know that all too well.

Ideally our example is aligned with our words.  But we need words for that alignment to take place.  DC

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