1 Corinthians 1:17-18
“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.” vs. 17
Paul is bothered by the divisions in Corinth and has real insight about the causes. He implies in this verse that it’s the sheer eloquence and wisdom of some of the preachers who have wandered through the congregation. They are so good that they have developed followings…and people have become more devoted to them than to Jesus. It’s a problem that has continued to torment the Church of Christ, particularly in our individualistic and personality-driven culture. Some pastors are really entertaining preachers…they know how to capture a crowd with stories and illustrations. They can move a congregation to tears or have them rolling in the aisles with laughter. Soon the pews are packed and new sanctuaries are built to accommodate the crowds…the community prospers. But where has the power come from? Is it the cross of Christ or is it the preacher’s personality? Paul is thankful that he was not an eloquent preacher. And because he wasn’t, he was able to proclaim the gospel with power…he never got in the way of the message. Congregations that become personality cults will seldom be effective for long…they can’t be…their foundations are built on sand and not on Christ the rock.
Thought for the Day: Why is the cult of personality so damaging for the church?