Putting Words in St. Francis of Assisi’s Mouth

I’ve heard the following quote (attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi) used by many Christians,

Preach the Gospel at all times. Where necessary, use words.

It sounds very profound and seems to make a whole lot of sense. It seems to convey the message, “Don’t shove the Bible down people’s throats”. A message all too readily accepted by the modern and definitely the postmodern mind.

Evangelist Ray Comfort wrote the following article, “Saint Francis . . . A Sissy?”, in which he suggests that words are very important in evangelism and that St. Francis didn’t say what it attributed to him.

A sample,

The next time I heard of [St. Francis] was when I heard that he said “Preach the Gospel at all times. Where necessary, use words.” That statement upset me beyond words, because it was a philosophy that I knew sounded deeply spiritual . . . to those who were spiritually shallow. It made as much sense as “Feed starving children. Where necessary, use food.”

(H/T: Tony)