The paradoxical nature of the above title is magnified when we consider the wonders of the universe. God is weak? Of course there are those who say that God did not create the universe. But I think of what Mark Twain once said about the Law of Moses. "If Moses didn't write it, some other fellow with the same name did." If God did not create the universe, then some other self-existent, omniscient and omnipotent Deity did.
In our text (I Cor. 1:25) Paul is simply saying that God uses means and methods which seem weak to man, but which accomplish what the combined strength and ingenuity of the world cannot accomplish. The rod which Moses east on the ground to become a serpent was a weak thing -- just a stick. But God was in that stick. The stone which David hurled at the giant was a weak thing, but God was in that stone.
Have you not wondered why God chose that the mother of his Son should be a poor, peasant girl? Is it not likely that human wisdom would have chosen a woman from the rich and famous?
Have you never asked yourself why Jesus chose his apostles from among the common people? Likely not one of them was known outside a small circle of friends. It would seem to us that more prominent men would have demanded more respect from the people.
Then, the conditions upon which God offers salvation from past sins are so utterly devoid of anything that would appeal to the sophisticated mind, that' the majority have rejected the gospel altogether, and those who claim to accept it, for the most part, want to dress it up in the garments of their own tailoring. One fellow told me that he simply could not believe that salvation could be given on those terms stated in the great commission. He thought it just too simple and easy.
The organization which God gave the church has never seemed adequate to men. The church was not 100 years old until they began to change it. It is clear that in the New Testament church the elders and bishops were the same men (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5, 7). In Brumback's History of The Church Through The Ages we read, "The first change in the government of the church was an easy one to make. When difficulties arose in the small congregations, the older congregations were called upon to assist in correcting such matters. Groups of elders would come together in solemn assembly to render a decision. One elder would be selected to preside over the meeting. He was called THE BISHOP" (P. 16). (For some time now groups of elders have been meeting from time to time to discuss matters affecting the churches L.B.)
Next came the distinction between country bishops and metropolitan bishops. This "improvement" was finalized in the 7th century when Boniface III was made "Universal Bishop." Thus began popery.
Many centuries went by before men finally rebelled against this religious tyranny and the "reformation movement" was born. Then many years later, out of THIS wilderness of religious error there came some men who led a movement back towards pure New Testament Christianity. Churches were once more organized and functioned after the New Testament order. That is, each church independent and functioning under its own elders (bishops). This has been referred to as the "restoration movement." This plea for pure New Testament Christianity met with astounding success and people were converted by the thousands. It was estimated that Barton W. Stone and others preached to as many as 10,000 in that historic meeting at Cane Ridge, Kentucky.
But this effort too was to suffer the blight of man's "improvement." Campbell convinced himself that the universal church must act in the field of evangelism. This meant organization larger than a local church. Campbell first opposed the missionary society, but later became its first President. Later instrumental music was added and the church divided. Those who insisted on scriptural authority for everything had to get out and start all over. Those must have been trying days. But they grew. The "non-progressives" outgrew the "progressives."
Following World War II came an unprecedented wave of prosperity. Churches had money, big money. With this money came, on the part of some, a dream of nation wide radio evangelism. "The Herald of Truth" was born. We are told that Herald of Truth is only a radio program.
It has 7 field representatives; under them are 110 coordinators; under which are 727 key men. In his noon broadcast, Dec. 6, 1966, Paul Harvey said: "The Herald of Truth has invited me to speak to 200 of Nashville's Christian leaders tonight." Whoever heard of a "radio program" inviting somebody to speak anywhere. And whoever heard of some elder in Texas inviting a man who is not a member of the church to speak to a group of church leaders in Nashville? This "radio program" begs over a million dollars a year from churches and individuals. Of that million they spend over $100,000 dollars begging for more money.
With little or no money the church that began on Pentecost spread throughout the Roman Empire in less than half a century, and Volney tells us that six million people had become Christians. The church has never been that large since. How about giving "the weakness of God" another chance?
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 12, pp. 4-5
January 29, 1970