If necessary use Weirdos

kinnon —  May 27, 2009 — 16 Comments

Apparently there are a lot of people in the haunted hallways of blogdom who are pleased that St. Frank never said, “Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.” At least this is the opinion of someone who has written on St. Francis and had deduced that all the Kid Brothers of St. Frank have been wrong in misquoting said Saint. And perhaps he’s right.

But all you theologians in the house might want to help me here as Peter says this, (1 Peter 3:1-2)

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Or is this verse only for use by my complimentarian friends. And only applicable to those lacking dangly bits. I’m just asking.

UPDATED: I’ve added the link to the CT article that started this conversation. [HT: Brad Boydston whose Random posts are a must read.]

Note that (as I say in the comments in response to my very good friend, Dan MacDonald) this passage is a continuation/re-enforcement of what St Peter has been saying in the previous Chapter. And as Dan says in response, “…on the value of deeds to give life to words we are in complete agreement. Would that there be less talk and more walk…. from all of us.”



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

16 responses to If necessary use Weirdos

  1. I guess I’m confused why the assumption is that those pleased the quote is wrong believe deeds are optional/unnecessary. Our friend the iMonk had sarcasm turned to 11 on that regard.
    Kinda confused me, since I know there are people out there who are all talk no action, but nobody I was reading on this bit were saying “Yay! We don’t have to do works now!”

    I’m so sick of extremes and false dichotomies.

    The truth is that lots and lots of people used that quote to denigrate preaching, to elevate works over words, to cast words as dispensable.
    The truth is that that is dumb.

    And yeah, the truth is that some people are all talk no action.
    That is dumb too.

    How about let’s just all look to the whole counsel of Scripture and not be dumb?

  2. Oh, I didn’t answer your question about 1 Peter 3.
    It appears to me to be saying “If necessary, use deeds.” 🙂

  3. Jared:

    I’m sick of extremes too, and the position I was responding to at the BHT qualifies imo as an “either/or.”

    Please note that it wasn’t the neglect of the Gospel that was the opposite of articulating the Gospel. It was relating to kids, etc.

    I take this pretty personally because I am the one who articulates the Gospel to a couple of hundred unbelievers every school day/Sunday and I am one of 150 who work all week to build relationships, do acts of kindness, give some hugs, etc.

    The Gospel is adorned it says in Titus. But if you listen to some of the current discussion, anyone caught adorning the Gospel without constantly preaching is a liberal.

    As I said at the BHT, we have to know where to put the Gospel and where to put everything else because of that.

    It’s a constant case of who can shout louder, who can jump higher any more. It’s like Luther’s view of James is suddenly prevailing.



  4. It is in some circles.

    My apologies, but I was reading your perspective as saying that those happy about the finding happy because it meant they can preach preach preach without those pesky deeds. And I just wasn’t hearing anybody say that.

    I still say the passage Bill cites here actually puts the primacy on words. :-/

  5. Guys,
    I’m a both/and kinda guy. But let’s be honest, Nord Americano megachurchianity has been primarily about words these last 40 years or so. (OK, words and music – putting on the show, as it were.) The Peter passage and possible misstatement of St. Frank’s identify our need for real balance in living the Gospel – in word and in deed.

  6. I get ya.

    I call it the two-fisted gospel.

    Where I’m at, I get to witness a real weirdness. Lots of Christians down thisaway don’t talk much about Jesus’ gospel, but they do actually talk about deeds a lot . . . but they don’t actually do them. So they proclaim deeds, not Jesus, but don’t do them.

    What do we call churches in this weird third category?

  7. Dan MacDonald May 27, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I’m with Jared on the exegesis part of this thread. The context Peter imagines is pretty clearly an unbelieving spouse who has heard the gospel and remains resistant to it. So sorry, Uncle Bill, but this passage does not reiterate the mythical St Francis quote that he never said. If you can say that again, I’ll buy the next Chamblis.

  8. I have nothing meaningful to contribute to this comment thread (how’s that for honesty) but I would like to point out that “two-fisted gospel” would be an awesome euphemism for drinking from two open beer bottles at the same time.

  9. Dan,
    The Chamblis was rather nice, They should consider serving it at the Boars Head Tavern.

    Wander back with me a few verses to 2 Peter 2:13-17,
    Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

    “…by DOING GOOD you should silence the talk of foolish men.”

    In fact, go on to Peter’s advice to slaves who are believers. The theme is the same. Peter calls us to actions which display our faith, rather than preaching words which proclaim it.

    As I said above, I don’t view it as an either/or, but in cultures where Christianity is viewed with hostility – the culture Peter lived in and, to a lessor degree the culture you and I live in here in Canada, our actions often speak louder than our words. Our mutual friend, Dion Oxford, comes to mind and the media favour he has experienced as a result of the witness of his life.

  10. Dan MacDonald May 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

    On Dion we are joyfuly in sync, and on the value of deeds to give life to words we are in complete agreement. Would that there be less talk and more walk…. from all of us.

  11. I know this is missing the main point of the post, but I have a question. The sound of this and other posts suggest that there is some recent news that this St. Francis quote is not real. Can you point me towards it?

    The fact is that it is a LONG known fact that the quote is misattributed. However, it is inspired by other actual St. Francis quotes that are far more articulate, if not as good as sound bites.


  12. Jamie,
    I added the link to the post. And put the HT in to your fellow ECC’er, Brad Boydston.

  13. Now I wish I hadn’t read the article. I am formulating a response for my blog. St. Francis was NOT well represented in that piece, nor those who cite that quote. Thanks Bill!


  14. Jamie,
    Being that you are a charter member of the Kid Brothers of St. Frank (a reference to Rich Mullins’ description of those who love St. Francis of Assisi, for those of you who don’t get it), I look forward to your post. I’ll add the link to the bottom of this post when you put it up.

  15. Here it is, Bill. Let me know what you think:

    link to missional.ca


  16. By the way, does anyone else see the irony that the proclaimed Gospel of what Jesus did so that we might be saved is the verbal proclamation of ACTION? Just a thought.


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