Category Archives: Count Zinzendorf

Preach the Gospel, Die, and Be Forgotten?

(by Joe Thorn 9/12/2012 at

There’s another slogan that’s making the rounds again. I see it in blog posts, on Twitter, and as signatures at the end of emails. “Preach the gospel, die, be forgotten.” I think there is a way to appreciate the sentiment behind the words, but I also want to us to think about it carefully.

These are words attributed to Count Zinzendorf (1700-1760) a bishop of the Moravian Church. He said words like this to his missionaries, encouraging them to follow God’s call and enter the mission field with no thought of obtaining honor for themselves. They must be satisfied with preaching Christ, dying, and being forgotten. Obviously, this is sound counsel. It reminds me of John the Baptist who said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV)

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