Misquoting Historians

One of the biggest misquotes and misunderstandings I heard often in college and even out of college was the quote:

Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.

This was supposedly penned by St. Francis of Assisi who lived in the 1100s AD. A long time ago. While that statement is helpful for telling believers that, as James says, faith without works is dead, it paints an incomplete picture of the Gospel but was also never said by St. Francis. The Gospel can’t be painted simply by actions, believe it or not there are some unbelievers I’ve met who are far nicer than some believers I’ve met. I also am hard pressed to think of some places besides the church where there is more animosity toward those who are supposed to be your family. Yet it is still Christ’s imperfect bride. Romans 10:14 gets to the very heart of this issue, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? ANd how are they to hear without someone preaching?” So we should preach the Gospel at all times using both words and actions. The fact that this is so often quoted shows just how biblically illiterate our culture is. No one wants to actually spend time searching the Scripture for the answers, they want cute little tweetable phrases that they can throw out at random times. Spend time reading and wrestling through the text and then apply it to your life.

The Gospel Coalition has begun a series called FactChecker that has some helpful information on this topic.

I’d also encourage you to check out this article by Duane Litfin.

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