Summary: An exhortation to seek true wisdom from God’s Word.
Are You Wisely Foolish or Foolishly Wise?
1 Cor 1:17-21
A very wise man came up with a concept of taking the wild, wonderful world of computers and breaking down the esoteric terminology and protocols into common language. He is very rich now, I am sure. All because of books like "DOS for Dummies." Others have copied him and come up with similar books for other complex subjects and people rave about them and cannot wait to get them into their homes.
I submit to you that the idea for taking complex subjects and putting them in such common language did originate with that man or in this century. Indeed, the concept is very old! It was conceived in the mind of God at least six thousand years ago. He did not call what He was doing "Deity for Dummies" or "Divinity for the Degenerate." He called it His Word or the Law and the Prophets. In recent times, He made it even simpler by summarizing the whole of the Law and the Prophets and called it the Gospel or "Salvation made Simple" or if you are more of a theologian "Soteriology made Simple."
The amazing thing is that while man is clamoring for books making complex things simple they reject the Gospel as being too simple. They want to make it hard, esoteric, and mystical to the nth degree. They care not that it is logical or even bordering on lunacy just as long as it is not simple. If even a genius cannot understand it, then it must be theologically correct. Make them sweat! Beat them! Berate them! Sacrament them! Place impossible and heavy burdens on them and they are thrilled and assured that they are on the right path!
Admittedly, God has not chosen to tell us everything. He is also very complex, but He has chosen to reveal deep and secret things to us. (Dan 2:19-23, Psalm 36:6, Job 12:22, Psalm 92:5, I Cor 2:10-12) In fact, He has to make it simple for us to be able to comprehend. We are far more cerebrally challenged than we like to admit. Because of that fact and because His thoughts are not our thoughts we have a simple Gospel. (Isa. 55:8,9)
I was listening earlier to a radio personality using various things to prove the resurrection. Some of it was very detailed and he quoted many learned men like Simon Greenleaf. Mr. Greenleaf is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest authority on legal evidence. There is a school of law in California named after him and he taught at Harvard back when Harvard might still be called an institution of higher learning. At any rate, Mr. Greenleaf believed that the resurrection could stand up in any court of law better than most contemporary cases based on its evidence. In his mind, the evidences were beyond reasonable doubt. Criminals have been convicted on less evidence. Now, he lived awhile back before the current judicial system that turns criminals back out on the streets in spite of overwhelming evidence because a legal tittle was omitted or the arresting officer zigged when he should of have zagged.
I am glad that there are all of those intellectual things out there for the sincere skeptic to analyze, but the bottom line is that you must simply believe Jesus. Paul was a highly intellectual man and very analytical. In our day, he would have had multiple doctorates. He knew his Hebrew juris prudence. He was well versed in the philosophies of his day, both Jewish and Gentile. He was the supreme apologist and polemicist. When Paul took you on theologically, you lost. He tore away all fantasies and philosophies from their shadows and exposed them as the lies they were in the glorious light of Gospel truth. His influence ranged from the poorest of folks unto Caesar’s household.
His great success in witnessing did not lay in all his vast learning or debating ability. It lay in his focus and simplicity of his message. You must simply believe Jesus because the Gospel is simple. The Cross is simple!
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Paul was focused on one thing and that was to preach the Gospel. I find it interesting here that baptism is shown separate from the Gospel. While baptism is required as a step of obedience and identification with Christ, it is not part of the Gospel. There is no salvation in it. If there were, Paul would have been a baptizing wild man. He was a man who finished the job! If he witnessed to a person, he was going to bring them to the point where they either accepted or rejected Christ. He allowed no neutral zone. That is why people become saved or become angry. They must choose. The Gospel forces the issue. Believe or not, but know the results of your decision either way.