“Kerygma” (pronounced “kay-ROOG-mah” or “kah-REEG-mah”) is a Greek word that means “proclamation.”  I’m not quite sure when I first encountered this word, but I remember being caught up with the idea that it is the Gospel message boiled down to its essence.  I wanted to read a sample kerygma so I would know how to proclaim the Good News in a way that would take root in my listeners.  Kerygma is contrasted with didache, which means extended teaching or instruction.  RCIA would be a good example of a didache.

I created a couple of kerygmatic sequences just to try the idea out.  My first kerygma is an attempt to sum up the whole Bible in just twelve sentences.  My second attempt I created for use on Twitter.  After reading a couple posts by Monsignor Charles Pope on the characteristics of a good kerygma, I realized that I need to go back to the drawing board.

A good kerygma should include an event, like a miracle.  This miracle could be a healing, like the conversion of a wounded soul.  Then, there needs to be an explanation that is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ.  The event could not be explained in any other way except by a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.  Lastly, there needs to be an exhortation, a call to action.  Specifically, a good kerygma should end by asking the audience to repent and also seek out Jesus.

Praise be to God, I think the Holy Spirit has given me the ingredients for a good kerygma, but I still need to mix them together, cook it and serve it to my guests.  To be continued…

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  1. Msgr. Charles Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington does a wonderful job of defining “kerygma.” The word, by the way, is pronounced either as “kay-ROOG-mah” or “kah-REEG-mah.”

    Kerygma, according to Msgr. Pope, is the initial proclamation of Christ that was simple and to the point. It doesn’t get into the deeper aspects of our faith. The deeper mysteries (i.e. liturgy, ecclesiology, extended moral treatises, Trinitarian theology, etc.) are saved for after Baptism.

    Original article here:

  2. Msgr. Charles Pope identifies the eight kerygmatic speeches in the Acts of the Apostles and defines the characteristics that make them “kerygmatic,” namely (1) an effect, like a miracle; (2) an explanation that is rooted in Jesus; (3) exhortation to convert.

    In essence, kerygmatic preaching requires a truly converted disciple. That’s the miracle: a sinner who is now living in joy and holiness because of a personal relationship with Jesus.

    This is a great line from his post:

    One of the great dangers of today is that too many Christians who would witness to Christ, seem little better little more reformed than an average pagan. Too many Christians who say they know Christ do not live lives that really show that. Many come across as self-righteous, arrogant, persnickety with details, yet missing the larger points of love, generosity, charity, holiness and joy.

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