Monday, May 4, 2009

The Foolishness of Preaching

I received the following comment by email concerning my article, "A Review of The Shack."

I have read your review on The Shack and although I refuse to read that book, many of my Christian friends have and they all rave about the book and say that it has taught them about forgiveness and to understand forgiveness a lot better. I told them that to understand the things of God they need to go to the Bible. So, I have sent them your review and hopefully they will accept it and see all the unbiblical things in The Shack for what they are.

There is just one thing that I want to clarify. You have quoted 1 Cor 1:21 from the NKJV and although I am a KJB fan, I don't mind other versions, but I want to ask you what you think.

The KJB says: it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The NKJV says: it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

I just want to say that the NKJV is wrong here, because the message of the Bible is not foolishness, but preaching is. God could have used movies, etc. but He chose to use preaching.

I am not criticizing, but merely stating my opinion.

Following is my response:

There are three versions of Scripture that I use at various times: the King James Version, the New King James Version, and the New American Standard Bible. This is not to say there are not other good translations, but three are enough for me at this point. These three are my choices because they are literal translations rather than dynamic equivalent translations or paraphrases. I teach Sunday school from the King James Version, when I teach classes in the Christian school I use the New King James Version because the school has adopted that translation, but I believe the evidence says that the most accurate of all English translations is the New American Standard Bible. Nevertheless, I do not rely on just one translation but consult all three as I study. It is not a wise choice to hold up one English version as the standard, as many do with the King James Version, and determine that any wording that differs from it is wrong. A wording cannot be determined to be wrong simply because it differs from the King James.

When I run into something that cannot be accurately determined by comparing version to version, I consult study helps, such as the Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W.E. Vine. Such books are extremely valuable to someone like me, since I do not have a knowledge of biblical languages, but I want to be as accurate as possible in my teaching.

In I Corinthians 1:21, the Greek word translated “preaching” in the King James, and “the message preached” in the New King James and New American Standard, is literally rendered, according to Vine, “a proclamation by a herald, a message, a preaching (the substance of what is preached as distinct from the act of preaching)…” This would tend to lend credibility to the translation as rendered in the NKJV and NASB as opposed to the KJV.

I Corinthians 1 does not teach that either “preaching” or the “message preached” are actually defined as “foolishness.” We see clearly in the passage that the preaching of (or the “word of” or the “message of”) the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but “the power of God” to the saved. Unbelievers see the Gospel message as nonsense. If a believer gives out the Gospel and an unbeliever says, “Your preaching is stupid,” or “What your are saying is stupid,” the believer could rightly turn the unbelievers words back on him and reply, “But God has used that ‘stupidity’ to bring sinners to Himself.” Paul was not teaching that either “preaching” or “the message preached” are foolishness – rather that unbelievers see it that way.

(Note: I plan to address in a later post the subject of “forgiveness” as presented in The Shack as opposed to how it is presented in the Bible.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments. However, since this is a blog rather than an open forum, I will determine what is and what is not posted. All comments, especially anonymous comments, will be scrutinized carefully. I will not post comments that contain profanity or are negative toward the Scriptures, God, Christianity in general, Christian schools, or the United States of America. I also will not post comments that are nothing more than generally uninformed or absurd opinions. In addition, I will not post comments that are totally irrelevant to the subject being discussed. Finally, I will not post comments that are commercial advertisements or advertisements for religious organizations which are in conflict with my biblical convictions.