Not Foolish Anymore?21 Jun 2011
We are heading into a sermon series on 1 Corinthians. As I prepare for these sermons, I am struck by the clash of the gospel with culture. In 1 Corinthians 1:18–2:16, Paul describes the gospel as “foolishness” to those in his culture. The Greek word for foolish is mōria; we derive the word moron from this word. Why is the gospel no longer foolish to our world?
It could be that our world has changed. Perhaps the world has developed God’s way of thinking. Perhaps we have morphed into a Christian society that values what God values. Those ancient Corinthians lived in a savage world that was far from God. Maybe now we are all enlightened followers of God . . . Yeah right!
The other option is that we have diluted the gospel so that it is not quite as disruptive as it once was. In many ways, we in the modern church have worked really hard to make the gospel acceptable to culture. We speak of being “relevant” to a dying world. While I understand the heart of this approach, I am afraid we have missed an important facet in communicating the gospel. We want the gospel to be digestible to the world; Paul clearly portrayed the culture of his day disregarding the gospel. Paul’s solution was not to change the message; Paul’s solution was to lean into God’s power. He writes,
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power (1 Cor 2:4–5 NIV)
I wonder if we are proclaiming a gospel that is in our own ingenuity? It seems that we spend more time seeking the next innovation, less time considering God’s movement in our world. We talk more about “wise and persuasive words” and less about the “Spirit’s power.”
Paul describes this incredible truth; we now have access to God’s mind. Because of Jesus’ life and the Spirit’s work in us, we are able to discern the mind of God. May our ministries learn to seek the mind of Christ. May we rely less on cultural creativity, more on God’s potency.