Question of the Week: What Does it Take to Preach the Gospel?

So this question might seem like a no-brainer. As long as we can agree on the basic tenants of the gospel (Which is not as easy as it sounds!), then it seems that preaching the gospel would be the act of public declaring those basic tenants. And maybe it is that simple.

But before we settle on the obvious, here are two questions?

1. Is it still preaching the gospel if it is done from a position of corruption?

On the one hand, the gospel message is true and powerful regardless of who is saying it. As Paul in Phil 1:18 says, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed!” Some people may be speaking it from a stance of corruption, but at least the gospel is being preached. On the other hand, there is no doubt damage is done to a message if the messenger lacks credibility. If we are preaching a gospel that saves sinners from sin but we are still neck deep in sinful slavery, is that really preaching the gospel? If we are preaching a gospel that extends justice to the poor and exploited yet are supporting and enabling laws that exploit poor people, is that really preaching the gospel? If we preach the gospel with words but undermine it with our lives, is it really preaching the gospel?

2. Does preaching the gospel only involve words?

Preaching obviously is done with words, but I’ve been married long enough to know that vocalized words are not the only means of effective communication. I can tell Lauren I love her, but if I say it monotonously and without passion, or if I say it while I am betraying her, she doesn’t get that message. So is preaching the gospel any different? Does effectively communicating the gospel only take words?

This is what I mean by this question. In order to preach the gospel, do we only need to say the right words, or does it take more? What role does social justice have? What about corporate and personal integrity? Does it take a previous relationship, one that can continue into discipleship, for it to be true gospel preaching?

This is something I’ve been wrestling through, and I would love to know what you guys think.

3 thoughts on “Question of the Week: What Does it Take to Preach the Gospel?

  1. To your first question, on the surface I would say that if you speak the gospel, that is, you speak His words, then it is still the Gospel. If I say an apple is red, it is whether I truly believe it is red or not. So speaking the truth even if I see it as a lie, is still truth. (I am avoiding the temptation of being a hardcore Calvinist here:-) Having said all of that, from my own personal experience I wonder what impact the gospel has when it comes from a place of self deception. I spent alot of time telling others about Christ with out ever really speaking from any personal experience. I can remember vividly the glazed over look from those poor folks. All I had was Gods Words, I had no realtionship, no experience of change as a result . I was relating a theory based on no real study. Maybe the words I spoke in those days made a difference (again avoiding the debate of pre-election:-) I do not know. I do know that haveing experienced Christ, the gospel, I can speak the Christ into others lives with out ever cracking the book and when that happens you are more likely to get a wow than a whatever.

  2. There is definitely a balance in thinking about this question. Of course, truth is truth regardless of who says it. However, there is serious risk of injuring the truth if we aren’t credible. Thanks for weighing in!

  3. Pingback: A 3-Pronged, 2-Tiered Foundation for Effective Evangelism | Shouts From the Wilderness

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