Verbal and Nonverbal Witness

18. Evangelism is not only verbal proclamation.

In his first epistle, the apostle Peter presents two aspects of our Christian witness- verbal and nonverbal:

…Tell out the virtues of Him who has called you… –1 Pet. 2:9

…They will be gained without the word through the manner of life… –1 Pet. 3:1

Bosch has a great quote here on the necessity of maintaining both:

Even so, evangelism does have an inescapable verbal dimension. In a society marked by relativism and agnosticism it is necessary to name the Name of the One in whom we believe. Christians are challenged to give an account of the hope that is in them; their lives are not sufficiently transparent for others to be able to recognize whence that hope comes. There is no single way to witness to Christ, however. The word may therefore never be divorced from the deed, the example, the “Christian presence”, the witness of life. It is the “Word made flesh” that is the gospel. The deed without the word is dumb; the word without the deed is empty. Words interpret deeds and deeds validate words, which does not mean that every deed must have a word attached to it, nor every word a deed.

Transforming Mission, p. 420

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