For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:17
Paul's words are utterly simple and undeniably profound. This wise apostle was saying, "I don't care about polished style:' Please notice with me that Paul was not shrinking the importance of Christian baptism. What he was doing was elevating the cross of Jesus Christ. He was attempting to shock the Corinthians, and perhaps us, into seeing the folly of eloquent speech that is divorced from Jesus dying on the cross.
Apparently Paul's critics argued that he could be deep and dull. He gave their criticism little weight. What he most cared about was making the gospel crystal clear. Christ, according to Paul, was, is and forever shall be God's Logos. Logos is the Greek word for "rhetoric;' "speech;' "reason" or "word:' Paul took that term and attached it to Jesus Christ, who is the one supreme Word that matters. One verse later, he reminded his readers that there are only two kinds of people: those who are choosing to perish and those who are choosing to be saved. Paul was declaring, with incredible irony, that God uses his Word - not slick and polished words to save. When we trust eloquence rather than Christ, we empty the cross of its power.
My childhood was marked by the inability to say the letter “S” and complete a sentence. I never imagined that God would one day fashion me into a preacher. Preaching for more than 45 years. Perhaps you sense your own limitations today. You and I are not called to be eloquent, but to trust entirely the finished work of Jesus. We speak of Him. Praise God!
Dr. Paul Leavens Minister Christian Church in Lindsay, Ca.