“Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”
It’s a quote popularly attributed to St Francis of Assisi and typically used to signify that speech is a less preferable communicative tool to the Christian than acting out one’s beliefs through deeds.
Except the quote is, in fact, misquoted.
In reality, St Francis encouraged friars not to preach anything contrary to the teachings of the Church and also to “preach by their deeds” – to make sure that their actions matched their speech. The instruction was not to remain silent; not to build a needless dichotomy between the two outward expressions of faith.
Of course, if Christians don’t live by their own words, hypocrisy sorely undermines the truth of their message. But the call to speak, and speak out, is central to Christian living. From cover to cover of the Bible, the direction is inescapable. The command “proclaim” is featured over thirty times in the gospels alone. The audience? “Every nation and tribe and language and people.” To practice the Christian faith is to be a Christian in public. No lights hidden under bushels.
Continue reading “Street preachers keep being arrested. More must be done to protect free speech” by Lois McLatchie (Premier Christianity).