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Preaching Daily - September 28

  • 2019 Sep 28
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Today's Reading...

When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Today's Devotional Insight...

The Cross and Apologetics

Mark D. Allen and Josh D. Chatraw

True to the cross of Jesus, Christian persuasion has to be cross-shaped in its manner just as it is cross-centered in its message.

OsGuinness, Fool’s Talk

1 CORINTHIANS 2:1–5: The Cross and Apologetics

We saw in the introduction that if ever there was a proof-text for apologetics, it is 1 Peter 3:15. On the other hand, if ever there has been a proof-text against apologetics,it is surely 1 Corinthians 2:1–5:

When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Some critics take these verses to mean that Paul made a mistake in Acts, realized his error, and is now vowing to preach only the cross. “Apologetics!” these critics scoff. “Paul swore off all that apologetics nonsense and decided to preach the gospel alone.” Once this passage is read in context, however, it becomes clear that far from serving as an anti-apologetic proof-text, it actually has important implications for how apologetics should be done.

Throughout the book of Acts, Paul’s ministry is upheld as a model, and there is no indication that the many instances of persuading and reasoning with nonbelievers are an exception to that model. Paul demonstrates both in his own ministry and in his instructions to others that he values various forms of persuasion. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others” (2 Cor 5:11). It’s not persuasion that Paul shuns in 1 Corinthians 2, but rather a certain type of manipulative persuasion.

In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul alludes to a movement of his day known as sophism. Sophists were rhetoricians who maintained public careers based on their ability to speak and follow oratorical conventions. It is difficult in our day to grasp what an idol oratory had become in the Mediterranean world. Rhetorical skills were valued to such an extent that “public speakers who either could not meet [the sophists’] standards, or who for any reason chose not to, were viewed as seriously inferior.”

(Read the full article here.)

Today’s Pastoral Resource...

Playback Media

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