“It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching” [I Corinthians 1:21]
An earnest young Christian prayed that the Lord would bless his pastor for “it pleased God through the preaching of foolishness to save.” That unconscious verbal mistake is near the truth in many pulpits today.
It is a “preaching of foolishness” that exalts a human, mutable philosophy and neglects the life-saving Word of God. Likewise, when the cardinal doctrines are omitted or buried under a mass of human tradition. It is foolish preaching where everything is a mist and a haze, and the unfortunate sinner has no idea from his preacher of the way to heaven. Preaching that never mentions the name of God, or the Holy Spirit’s essential regenerating work, or justification by faith, or redemption by the shed blood, is foolishness indeed.
But Paul speaks in this verse of the “foolishness of preaching” and in so doing gives the world’s view of the preaching of the cross. Why should it be seen as foolishness in the eyes of the world?
Perhaps because ordinary people receive it. There is a snobbery of intellect that believes its superiority could not stoop to something as simple as the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel does not come by human speculation, but by divine revelation. Proud man does not like to acknowledge that fact.
The world regards preaching as foolish because it punctures man’s pride. He does not like to be told he is nothing and a nobody. Not many mighty are called, but God has called the weak, the foolish, the base, and the despised into His kingdom. [I Corinthians 1:26ff].
Proud man wants to retain some of his glory, but the Bible shows us that man has nothing to glory in save the cross of Christ. That which is foolishness to the world is wisdom with God and is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” [Rom. 1:16]