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Welcome to Parresia! From Tricia Gunn, founder
If you're a grace lover, I believe will relate to what I’m sharing with you here.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2, NKJV)
Sometimes I just pause on that word “nothing.” Think about it! The only thing that Paul was determined to know was Jesus Christ and Him crucified! He went on to say that he came to them in timidity and trembling and that his message was very plain. He didn’t use clever and persuasive speeches because he didn’t want the hearers to trust in human wisdom. He wanted a true demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do you know where real power comes from? It comes from the Gospel.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17, NKJV)
Those were scandalous words back in Paul’s day. (And still are today if you know what it means!) The religious didn’t like it one bit! Paul was saying that righteousness - perfect right standing with God - cannot be achieved by performance. It must be received by faith in Jesus Christ. The more my eyes are opened to this truth, the more I realize how scandalous it is!
I hope I am getting you excited with this kind of talk!
If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. (2 Corinthians 5:13-15, NLT)
Can you relate to the “crazy” part? Sometimes the joy inside of me is so explosive, I feel a little crazy! The only way to calm myself down is to find a way to share the crazy Good News of the Gospel with someone.
Whenever I read the passage in 2 Corinthians about being ministers of reconciliation, I feel Paul’s passion and urgency and overflowing joy:
Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21, NKJV)
Do you see what this passage is saying? We have incredible news to share! God is not counting men’s sins against them! Can you believe it? It’s superabounding grace! And God is PLEADING through us to the world: “Be reconciled to Me! I sent My beloved Son for you because I love you with all My heart! Jesus became sin for you so that you might become righteous, holy, blameless, and pure! It’s not because of your performance! It’s because of His love! Jesus bore your sin and the curse so that you could become a new creation in Him. Believe it! Receive it!”
~ The name: Parresia [pär-rā-sē'-ä] ~
Definition: freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; openly, frankly, without concealment; free and fearless confidence; cheerful courage; boldness; assurance.
I have often taught on this Greek word “parresia” in the context of the confidence and boldness we have before God because our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, and we have been made righteous with Christ’s righteousness.
Here are a few of the scriptures that talk about the fearless confidence that we can have before God:
Let us therefore come boldly [parresia] to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV)
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence [parresia] toward God. (1 John 3:21, NKJV)
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness [parresia] in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:17-18, NKJV)
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. Now this is the confidence [parresia] that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:13-15, NKJV)
Do those passages make you want to shout for joy, dance in the streets, and scream hallelujah! Can you see what the blood of Jesus has accomplished for us?! It’s GOOD NEWS!!!
That’s one use of the word “parresia.” But there’s another that’s equally compelling.
“Parresia” is also our boldness as believers to speak the truth of the Gospel and share this scandalous grace with others. We have boldness in the face of strongholds and arguments and persecution and the mixture of grace and law. We have boldness in the face of the rulers and principalities of this present age who have blinded the minds of the unbelieving with the veil of condemnation. We have assurance that as we lift that veil of condemnation, others will see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Jesus and be set free!
Following is the definition and an explanation of how the Greek word parresia is used in this in context.
Parresia - freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; openly, frankly, without concealment; free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance (Strong’s concordance)
And from another Greek dictionary: “to tell the truth.”
~ The parresiastes ~
A parrhesiastes [pär-rā-sē'-ist] is one who uses parresia.
As I studied these words, I felt fire inside my heart. In so many ways, I am intimately acquainted with the parrhesiastes. Perhaps I am one :) Maybe you are, too!
From my research here’s a description of the parrhesiastes (I’m writing this in “she” because it makes me feel like Braveheart when I read it):
A parrhesiastes doesn’t hide anything, but opens her heart and mind completely to other people through her speaking. In parresia, the parrhesiastes gives a complete and exact account of what she has in mind so that the audience is able to comprehend exactly what the she thinks. The parrhesiastes always says what she knows to be true; there is always an exact correlation between belief and truth. If there is a kind of "proof" of the sincerity of the parrhesiastes, it is her courage. The fact that she says something dangerous — different from what the majority believes— is a strong indication that she is a parrhesiastes. The parrhesiastes is someone who takes a risk. Parresia, then, is linked to courage to speak the truth in the face of danger. And in its extreme form, telling the truth can cost the parrhesiastes her life. A parrhesiastes would risk death to tell the truth instead of settling in the security of a life where the truth goes unspoken. She prefers herself as a truth-teller rather than as a living being who is false to herself. No one forces her to speak; but she feels that it is her duty to do so. In parresia, the parrhesiastes uses her freedom and chooses frankness instead of persuasion, truth instead of falsehood or silence, the risk of death instead of life and security, criticism instead of flattery, and moral duty instead of self-interest and moral apathy.
Here are a few scriptures where this type of parresia is used:
[Peter before the High Priest, rulers, elders, and scribes after the preaching of the Gospel and the healing of the lame beggar] “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Now when they saw the boldness [parresia] of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. (Acts 4:12-14, NKJV)
[The believers praying for Peter and John] “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness [parresia] they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30, NKJV)
Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! [parresia] Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.(Philippians 1:19-21, The Message)
That’s the kind of boldness that will change the world! Aren’t you thankful for Paul and all the brave parrhesiastes’s throughout history?
~ Vision statement ~
So this ministry is called “Parresia.,” and the vision statement is the following:
Using every means available to encourage people to
- boldly receive from God everything accomplished in the finished work of Jesus and
- boldly share with others the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Here are the foundational scriptures of Parresia:
Boldness to receive ~
…then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness [parresia] to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,… (Hebrews 10:17-20, NKJV)
Boldness to share ~
…pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness [parresia] the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:19-20, NASB)
~ DREAMING BIG ~
Present ministries underway now:
- Parresia Gatherings held locally and in other cities for worship, teaching, and testimonies.
- Hosting and participating in conferences in 2017, including “Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up” in Birmingham; the Grace Life Conference in Atlanta; the Birmingham Grace Conference in Birmingham; and Women of Grace Conferences in Thailand; Birmingham; Chicago; Branson; and Tulsa.
- Developing the “I Am” video Bible study series for millennials which will focus on their identity in Christ as a new creation. (Pre-production stage.)
- Producing TV talk show program called "A Real View of the Grace Life" where a panel of women shares about the amazing grace of Jesus. (Launching stage.)
- Developing ministry school called “All Things Grace” to train leaders. (In process)
- Production of in-depth video teaching series, brief Beholding Jesus videos, Grace Encounter videos, and Grace Questions videos and making teachings available online. We are continually adding video and audio excerpts and full length teachings to our website. See "messages" on the navigation bar above for teachings.
- Production of publications and teaching materials for Bible studies.
- The Local Church Initiative which provides Unveiling Jesus books and DVD's for free to local churches and new church plants. This ministry designed support local churches with the foundational, thorough verse by verse teaching of the pure and amazing gospel of grace.
- Prison ministry using Unveiling Jesus and providing FREE books to inmates. We have also been able to provide free books to other ministries, such as addiction recovery and the rescued victims of human trafficking. About 1000 books have been given away to these ministries so far!
- Grace Nugget blog from a variety of grace authors.
- The Grace Upon Grace Scripture Card ministry. These personalized scripture cards encourage the recipients with the grace and love of Jesus Christ, their identity in Him as a new creation, and the wonder of His finished work on the cross. We've expanded this ministry to include personalized Healing Grace Scripture cards.
- Becoming a hub for “All Things Grace” from the broader grace community such as blogs, books, teachings, and music.
- Generously sowing into other grace-based ministries and churches.
…and this list will grow as the vision unfolds…
~ Opening the prison doors ~
I want to leave you with a remarkable story of the power of the Gospel...
My friend, TR Harper, in Jacksonville, AL, has a prison ministry and gives every inmate a copy of Unveiling Jesus. He has a vision to set the captives free of shame and condemnation so that when they are released from prison they will be truly free! Every night in the prison, the inmates have a Bible study that is taught from the book. Can you just picture that? Inmates in a prison taking the initiative to have a Bible study on their own because Grace has ambushed them and changed their lives! Several of these saints have written letters of appreciation for the book. Here is one of those letters from an inmate:
Dear Mr. TR,
I really thank you for this book. This is a must have and read for all - the unbeliever and the saved, the preacher and the pew warmer. I went to Trinity Christian Academy for 5 years. I went to Bible College for two years and have diplomas. I have taught Master-life and Cleansing Stream classes. I have taught Sunday School and filled in for my preacher at many churches. But nothing has changed my life like this book. I love page 73 about “trying.” [my note: page 73 is about trying to bear fruit instead of abiding and seeing the fruit come forth by the Spirit] I have had to let go and let God do it all!! I can’t wait to get out and share the message with my church and family now. Maybe getting locked up here was the answer to saving my life and many others.
We’ve been able to give away 800 books to prisons and other ministries!! And we hope to reach more and more with amazing grace!
...it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21, NKJV)
“Save” is the Greek word “sozo.” We are “sozo’d" ~ saved, healed, delivered, prospered, and matured ~ by something as simple as a person speaking the truth over us! The phrase “the message preached” is the Greek word “kerygma.” It’s a kind of announcement that when the announcement is made, it happens. It’s a proclamation that has the power for its own fulfillment.
The Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation!
Thanks for reading!
For a recent note sent to supporters of Parresia with an update on all the wonderful projects underway and open doors in the last few months: click here.
Note from Tricia: My heart explodes with gratefulness to others who have sown into my life and ministry through friendship, partnership, and teachings over the years:
- Mark, Martha Ellen, Ann Claire, Frances, Elizabeth, Neil - my precious family
- Von & Bill Jenkins - the best friends in the world
- Bill & Tammy Snell - confidants/ dear friends
- Mark & Jennifer Machen - brother & sister/ partners in spreading the Gospel, lifeoffaithchurch.org
- Rob and Glenda Rufus, Ryan Rufus - advisors/ dear friends/ teachers, ccihk.com
- Joseph Prince - teacher and mentor, josephprince.com
- Clark Whitten - my big brother/ dear friend, graceorlando.com
- Paul Ellis - teacher from afar, escapetoreality.org