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Effective Preaching

In Joshua 24, Joshua calls the people to choose whether they will serve the true and living God or the idols of the nations. To accomplish this, he recounts the history of God’s dealing with their ancestors.

When we consider the work of preaching or evangelization today, we tend to think that what people need are persuasive presentations of Christian doctrine, but this is not what we find in sacred history. We find that history’s wisest and best men–and God himself–preach the history of God’s dealings with men and this is the most effective aid to conversion.

How many times do we find holy men in Sacred Scripture and Church history preaching this sacred history? I can think of many examples. Even the idea of “catechesis” in the early Church mean teaching this history.

One example is in the testimony of St. Stephen in Acts 7 before he is martyred.

Another example is found in St. Augustine’s letter “On the Catechising of the Uninstructed”. In this work, he responds to a request for guidance on how to catechize and he answers in this very way. He says that the sacred history must be narrated. He says,

The narration is full when each person is catechised in the first instance from what is written in the text, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, on to the present times of the Church.

St. Augustine

Let us then study that we may preach this sacred history.

WCM

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