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A church father on proclaiming Christ

A church father on proclaiming Christ

We are at a time in our culture when it is becoming increasingly unpopular for Christians to speak about their faith.  Saint John Cassian’s words about boldly proclaiming the gospel, in spite of opposition, are worth our consideration.  

The apostle Paul writes to the Church in Corinth: “The Jews seek signs, and the Greeks ask for wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Gentiles foolishness; but to them that are saved, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 

...[Paul] thought it not enough to speak of Christ as God without adding that he was crucified. He spoke this way for the sake of the open and solid teaching of the faith that the Christ, whom he called “the crucified,” is the wisdom of God. … Nor did he blush at the mention of the cross of Christ when he preached the gospel of the Lord. 

And though it was a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles to hear of God as born, as God in bodily form, as God suffering, as God crucified, yet he did not weaken the force of his pious utterance because of the wickedness of the offense of the Jews. Nor did he lessen the vigor of his faith because of the unbelief and foolishness of others. 

Rather, he openly, persistently, and boldly proclaimed that he—whom a mother had borne, whom men had slain, the spear had pierced, the cross had stretched—was “the power and wisdom of God,” “to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles foolishness.” But still that, which was to some a stumbling-block and foolishness, was to others the power and wisdom of God.

All need to hear the Scriptures' message of mercy.  So we boldly proclaim it.  Even–perhaps we should say, especially–in the face of opposition.  Our sharing the gospel is driven, not by how many people embrace it, but by the grace of our crucified God that has embraced us.  “For Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Saint John Cassian (ca. 360 – 435) was a Christian theologian. He is known both as one of the "Scythian monks" and as one of the "Desert Fathers."