In response to the June 26th article in the Christian Post by Ed Stetzer Preach the Gospel, and Since It’s Necessary, Use Words (adapted from Stetzer’s June Tabletalk)
Why does Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence (an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention) use the mystic Francis of Assisi founder of the Franciscan Order (Order of Friars) to bring a gospel message? Is it really a surprise for Stetzer who is one of the many endorsers of The Jesus Manifesto to go out of his way to defend the long since dead Assisi regarding words attributed to him,
“Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary”
Stetzer uses his defense of Assisi as a springboard for sort of gospel message as if Assisi was a gospel preacher! Stetzer omits to caution uneducated Christian readers that Assisi was a mystic should not be considered a trustworthy source for a Biblical message. For example:
1. Assisi allegedly saw Jesus looking at him through the eyes of a crucifix, telling him to repair a ruined church.
2. Assisi took vows of obedience, poverty and chastity – begging contrary to scriptures. Ps 37.25 and taught many others to do the same – hence the Order of Friars.
3. Assisi is known for his contemplative practices, visions, and etc.
4. Assisi allegedly received the “stigmata” – visible wounds of Jesus in his own body.
5. Assisi promoted the Roman Catholic practice of praising (venerating) Mary in violation of scriptures.
(Adapted from Francis of Assisi by Way of Life Literature linked here)
A right thinking Bible believing Christian leader would never use a mystic to bring a gospel message.
Stetzer, while making good points that we need more than lifestyle evangelism; we need words with action. However, our words and actions must be based on the pure unadulterated words of God from the Bible. The thrust of Stetzer’s article is that we need words with actions to reach the lost while at the same time promoting a man Francis of Assisi who was no Gospel preacher but just another mystic and false teacher! It is not only a type of hypocrisy but a con in my opinion as I see him using a type of classic “bait and switch” to gain readers by defending a man who is indefensible. Second, Assisi did I mention is quite dead likely died in his sins because he promoted a false gospel. – All in all a bit ironic!
I will caution my readers not only of Assisi but of Stetzer who is one of many endorsers of The Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola full of dangerous and heretical teachings:
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