The social justice winds are blowing through evangelicalism. Today, the culture is making demands upon the church of Jesus Christ and sadly, some leaders are willing to cave to such cultural pressures in order to appear successful. What’s even more troubling is such success is being equated with biblical fidelity. In an age where the culture is leveraging specific agendas like #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and “gay Christianity” against the church, certain leaders begin to use the controversies as an opportunity for success. Suddenly, pulpits are opened for women, “multiethnic” becomes a marketing tagline, and inclusive language is modeled within evangelical circles. What did Paul do when the Jews demanded signs and the Greeks sought wisdom? Did he cave to cultural pressures?
The cultural pressures that we experience today are nothing new. They have been pressed upon the church in various ages before—but although history repeats itself, those who live within such repetitions of history only have one opportunity to take the right turn and stand boldly upon the gospel. Paul was a man who faced immense pressures to compromise. When the Jews demanded signs, he could have given in and become a hero among the Jews. When the Greeks were seeking wisdom, he could have used his brilliant mind and eloquent tongue to satisfy their intellectual cravings. But, Paul did not bow to the massive cultural pressures. Instead, he preached the simple message of the cross which the Jews despised and the Greeks considered to be utter folly.
Paul wrote these words to the church at Corinth:
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Cor. 1:18-25).