“It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” [1 Corinthians 1:21]
An earnest young Christian prayed that the Lord would bless his pastor, for it pleased God by the “preaching of foolishness” to save sinners. [1 Corinthians 1:21]. That unconscious mistake, or spoonerism, is near the truth in many pulpits today.
It is the “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 of justification alone, or redemption by the shed blood is foolishness indeed.
But Paul speaks in our verse of the “foolishness of preaching” and in so doing he 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 snobbery of intellect that believes its superiority could not stoop to something so 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 that he is nothing and a nobody.
Yet that is exactly what the gospel does to the pride of man. This chapter tells us that not many mighty are called, but God has called the weak, the foolish, the base, and the despised into His kingdom.
Proud man wants to retain some of his glory, but the Bible shows us that he has nothing to glory in save the cross of Christ. And it is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” [Romans 1:16].