Do not hide the (supposed) foolishness of the gospel when you preach it

Previously in our study of I Corinthians we have seen how “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,” (I Corinthians 1:27) “that no flesh should glory in his (God’s) presence” (I Corinthians 1:29). This means that God has chosen to give true wisdom to naturally foolish people who could not figure anything out for themselves. Actually, all people are naturally foolish, the problem is that those from the higher strata of life simply don’t recognize it.

Therefore, if you are a Christian, you need to recognize your own foolishness, and rely on God’s wisdom and not your own strength. This is what the Apostle Paul did when he came preaching the Gospel to the Corinthians.

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. (I Corinthians 2:1 NIV)

What Paul is saying here is that when he came preaching the gospel he did not rely on on slick rhetorical methods to win over an audience, he just very simply and openly proclaimed the truth of the gospel. He proclaimed “the testimony about God,” which God had revealed to Him and the other apostles. He did not try to dress it up. He was not ashamed of the gospel, even though he knew that it appeared foolish to many who were hearing him preach (I Corinthians 1:18 NIV).

The problem I have noticed with many churches today by reading their websites is that they try to improve evangelism by taking the emphasis off the gospel. They don’t want to publish the facts of Christ’s bloody, violent death on the cross on the front of their website, because that would scare people away. So instead they “dress up” the gospel to make it more palatable to their audience.

But I disagree with this approach to evangelism. I think that the gospel needs to be preached simply with all of it’s supposed sillyness exposed. The Gospel is not silly-but to a perishing world of arrogant, self-righteous humans, it seems silly. The solution is not to change the gospel to make it something that the arrogant self-righteous humans can stomach, because if you do that you are creating a new gospel that has no power to change them. Rather you need to keep preaching the gospel clearly and simply so that the self-righteous, arrogant humans will be forced to face up to their sins, and some of them might repent. You are doing them no favors by hiding the truth from them. The only way they can be saved and humbled is by admitting that they are wrong, and the gospel message is the only message that will show them this on a scale that matches the spiritual reality of their great wickedness. Our hope is that they repent so that their great wickedness can be replaced with God’s Holiness by His own power.

 

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