Sunday, November 05, 2006

Borrowed Liability

Having just preached on Paul's determination to "know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (I Cor. 2:1-2), I find it striking that not only did Paul insist upon preaching the cross exclusively, he insisted on being consistent when he did so.

How can cross-focused, Christ-centered preaching be inconsistent with itself?

According to I Corinthians 1:17, when the gospel, which is a foolish message characterized by weakness, is presented in the garb of earthly power and worldly wisdom, "the cross is emptied of its power." In other words, when either the wrong message is preached, or the right one is preached in the wrong manner, the cross is eclipsed by whatever signs or wisdom the Jews and Greeks respectively desire.

Don't misunderstand me -- wisdom and power are good things that Scripture tells us to seek, but when we refuse to allow the cross to define those things for us (which it does in a way that is antithetical to the world's notion of them), then whatever you call it, it's not Christanity.

Moreover, when our definition of power or wisdom is borrowed directly from the dictionary of this age, then we subtly undermine with our methods what we proclaim in our message.

Yes, unbelievers enjoy plenty of what Van Til called "borrowed capital" from the Christian faith. But it's the borrowed liability that we saints receive on loan from the world that concerned Paul.