By Tommy Glendol McClure
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:21: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Paul did not mean that preaching was a foolish act, but, by the simplicity of preaching God’s word, salvation is possible. Many today and in Paul’s day looked upon preaching as a foolish act. Most certainly, much of the preaching done today is foolishness!
Preaching is Foolishness
When the gospel message is perverted! The apostle Paul wrote: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8, 9). Paul marveled that the Galatians had been persuaded to believe “another gospel: which is not another.” Many preachers today pervert the pure and simple gospel of Christ by teaching such doctrines as, justification or salvation by faith only, the impossibility of apostasy, Holy Spirit baptism, etc. These doctrines are distortions of the truth and are foolish preaching!
When all the counsel of God is not proclaimed! To omit teaching the truth on a subject because the subject is controversial, is wrong! Paul wrote to the Galatians saying: “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal.1:10). Preachers must “preach the word; be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:2). Paul taught all the counsel of God (Acts 20:26). Can we preach anything less and be pleasing to God? To preach so that the message is pleasing to men, results in a compromise of the truth and this is condemned by the inspired apostle.
When a preacher spends more time telling jokes and stories than he does preaching! Some “preachers” would do well to be comedians instead of preachers. I have heard some “preachers” who spent more time telling jokes and talking about current events than they did preaching a Scripture based sermon. Some seek popularity and will tickle the ears of the hearers with trivial talk, which will not save one soul! Only the gospel has the power to save and it must be preached for souls to be saved (Rom. 1:16, 17). See also 1 Peter 4:11; Titus 2:6-8.
When application to God’s truths are not made! Preaching must involve making proper application to the truths taught. For example, some preachers talk long and loud about believing God, but never get around to preaching on what belief involves or making application by using Bible examples and principles of truth. Paul made application in his preaching! He dealt with sin and error and got to the point! In 1 Corinthians 5, he specifically dealt with the problem of the church in Corinth accepting a brother who was guilty of fornication. Paul didn’t hold back when sin was in the camp. Likewise, gospel preachers need to make application as Paul did.
When a woman is preaching! Some denominations have women “preachers” in their so-called “clergies.” Where in all of the New Testament do you find an example of this practice? In fact, this is condemned by the Scriptures! When Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning the proper use of spiritual gifts he said: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Cor. 14:34, 35). Women are to learn in silence and not usurp authority over the man (1 Tim. 2:11-15). In Titus 2:3-5 Paul wrote: ” The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Women can and should teach in their proper place, but they must keep silence in the church.
Yes, there are many ways to preach foolishly. But, souls are saved by the “foolishness of preaching.” What kind of preaching do you desire to hear?
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 18, p. 5
September 19, 1996