Session 10, Steven Lawson — 2012 National Conference
The tenth main message of the 2012 Ligonier Ministries National Conference was from Dr. Steven Lawson and titled, “Foolishness to the Greeks.”
Dr. Lawson reminded us that anti-intellectualism is not the only danger Christians face. Those who seek to reclaim the Christian mind face the opposite danger — allowing a desire to please God to mutate into pride and a vain desire for worldly respect. In this message, Dr. Steven Lawson explained how we must walk a fine line and never accommodate the gospel in an attempt to please the cultured despisers of Christianity.
Dr. Lawson opened today’s lecture with a reading of 1 Corinthians 1:18–25.
Dr. Lawson began by reminding us that from the dawn of history, man has tried to discover what life is all about – the ultimate questions.
- The Greeks addressed these questions and sought to answer them through philosophy. They offered man’s answers to man’s problems, and there were as many philosophies as there philosophers.
- When Paul arrived on the scene, he preached the Gospel in the marketplace of ideas, and it was in direct conflict with the philosophies of the day.
- Paul taught that all the answers to these questions are found in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The Gospel is absolute foolishness to the unbeliever. In our efforts to avoid anti-intellectualism, the heart of our message is absolute insanity to the world.
- The day our message stops being foolish is the day that our message has lost its purity
Dr. Lawson explained the threefold foolishness to the Greeks.
- We have a foolish message in the eyes of the world – the word of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
- We are not only dogmatic about the word of the cross, we are “bull-dogmatic” about the word of the cross.
- The Jews want miracles, and the Greeks want worldly wisdom, but Paul doesn’t give them what they want. He gives them the truth – Christ crucified.
- We are never to attempt making the foolish message appear wise to the Greeks.
- In the eyes of the world, we have foolish messengers (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
- Generally, God calls those whom the world considers foolish.
- He has intentionally reached to the bottom of the barrel.
- God does this so that no man may boast before God.
- Finally we have what the world sees as a foolish method – simple expository preaching (1 Corinthians 2:1–5).
- Paul did not come with superiority of speech.
- Paul was determined to know nothing among the Corinthians except Christ and Him crucified.