That famous quote from St. Francis? He never said it

“ ‘Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.’ … But here’s the fact: Our good Francis, who lived in the 13th century, never said such a thing.” 

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Lee's picture

I have always had problems with the sentiment expressed in the purported quote.  It was/is a cop out for the necessary confrontation that words bring about in regards to the Gospel.  So it hardly surprises me that the quote apparently never existed with its alleged source.


A quick perusal of the Christian upheaval recorded in Acts should demonstrate conclusively the fallacy of preaching without words.  Works many times provided a platform for the Gospel preaching, but not once replaced it in the whole Book of Acts which, by the testimony of the historian Luke, resulted in the world being turned "upside down."


Clearly works were not the Gospel, as evidenced with Cornelius (Acts 10-11), whose own works were enough to memorialize him to God (Acts 10:4) but not enough to communicate the message of the Gospel.  That required words--" for...Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved [Acts 11:14]."


I am glad this subject was addressed on this forum. The presumptive lunacy that works trumps words in the furthering of the Gospel has gone on long enough.