15 Reasons to Read Your Bible This Year!!

In 1997, my mom gave me a NLT One Year Bible. I was in the hospital with severe eczema all over my face and feet. She read to me Hosea 6:1-3 that says, 

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

continue reading

Preach the Gospel Always. When Necessary, Use Words: Part 2

A while back I wrote a blog post on the often cited quote, “Preach the Gospel always, when necessary use words,” which is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

The blog addressed a difficult and challenging relationship of Christian proclamation aka word vs demonstration aka deed.

One inquisitive reader raised the following questions:

1) Jesus seems to prioritize his teaching ministry over his “deed” ministry at various points (e.g. Mark 1:35-39, 3:7-19, 4:1-2 and the parallels in the other synoptic gospels).

2) Jesus seems to describe the ‘self-sacrificial’ life of following him to ‘adhering to his words,’ and doing so is for his sake (which is equated to the gospel’s sake) in Mark 8:31-38.

continue reading

Preach the Gospel Always: When Necessary, Use Words

When followers of Christ become socially conscious about global issues, one of the first things that becomes discussed is the role or necessity of a verbal proclamation of the gospel. There are typically two camps: One believes that the good deeds required to respond to social issues is more or less sufficient; the other emphasizes a verbal proclamation over any type of “physical” service.

These tensions have become highlighted with two recent publications. The first is an article by Mark Galli of Christianity Today entitled “Speak the Gospel Use deeds when necessary”.

The second is The Hole in Our Gospel a book by World Vision USA President Richard Stearns.

Galli is writing from a perspective that demonstrates concern that a verbal proclamation of the Gospel is undermined when deeds are emphasized. He points to the quote, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words” which is commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

Galli shows two important things:

1) There is a good chance that St. Francis never said this since it does not emerge until two centuries after his death. It is unlikely that his followers would not have cited such a pithy phrase.

2) St. Francis regularly preached or verbally proclaimed the gospel, thus demonstrating that he had a high view of such activity.

Before we return to Galli, let’s look at one of Stearns’ stories in his new book. Stearns tells the wonderful story of a collaborative project that World Vision did with Habitat for Humanity in rural India. During a ceremony dedicating the project to the community, a local World Vision worker overhears the local people speaking in their dialect asking each other questions about why Christians would come from so far away to help them. Stearns concludes, “We had not spoken a word in their local language, but the village elders had already ‘heard’ the gospel” (p. 23).

While one could not say that Stearns reflects an opposite viewpoint of Galli, he is emphasizing that the good deeds done either replace or are the functional equivalent of verbally speaking the gospel.

I have read Stearns and Galli on numerous occasions and they are both thought provoking, faithful followers of Christ and strong leaders. If I could be privileged enough to sit down with them, I think we would all come to very similar conclusions regarding the relationship of word and deeds to the Christian faith. However, both of their viewpoints in these recent publications fall short of articulating the fullness of word/deed ministry.

continue reading
Syndicate content

Bloggers in Word

Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.