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article • A to Z of Apologetics

Kerygma

The preaching that must take place for the world to convert to Christ

The term kerygma is used frequently in the New Testament to denote the “preaching” or “proclamation” of Christ and his followers. It was the word Jesus used when reading the Isaiah’s scroll to announce his fulfilment of the messianic prophecy (Luke 4:18-19). Paul used the word to describe the preaching that must take place for the world to convert to Christ (Rom. 10:14).

To the Christian, though, it is more than a mode or style of communication: it is the content of the proclamation. Pope St. Paul VI refers to this proclamation in his 1975 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi as a three-part message: the announcement of the kingdom of God, the salvation offered freely to all by Christ’s death on the cross, and the promises associated with a life in Christ (the sacraments, graces, etc.).

The fullness of the kerygma, urged this way by the late pontiff, should be the central focus of every Christian, especially missionaries and those who work in evangelization.

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