Friday, June 17, 2011

More Folly

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

14 ψυχικὸς δὲ ἄνθρωπος οὐ δέχεται τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ θεοῦ· μωρία γὰρ αὐτῷ ἐστιν καὶ οὐ δύναται γνῶναι, ὅτι πνευματικῶς ἀνακρίνεται.

There is a thread that follows through this portion of 1 Corinthians with the contrast between the ways of the world and the ways of God. Once again we see Paul use the word  μωρία to describe how the world perceives the Gospel. Not only does the natural man (the unconverted man) see the gospel as folly, Paul writes that this man οὐ δύναται γνῶναι. Literally, this means that he does not have the ability to comprehend.

This underlies the doctrine of election. That is to say that some are called to salvation and others are not. That is the only way to make sense of this. There is nothing in the natural man that enables him to accept the gospel. To quote the great theologian Austin Millbarge, "We mock what we do not understand."

I find it interesting that election is resisted so strongly by so many in America. It is interesting because I think that it speaks to the heart of our contemporary culture. From a very early age we are told that we can be anything we want to be. We just have to work hard and put our minds to it. Of course, many can realize that is absurd with any examination. I was never going to be a professional basketball player no matter how hard I worked. Even if I was the smartest point guard in the world I am too short, my reflexes are too slow, and my muscles just do not twitch quickly. In contrast, Jason Kidd was never going to get a degree in Chemical Engineering from any accredited university, but he has been a fantastic basketball player. We all have different gifts.

The point is that, despite the absurdity just beneath the surface, we have been sold this bill of goods. Therefore, we chafe at the idea that some are never going to believe the gospel. We think that if we just package it the right way we will win some. We think that we just need to break down all their arguments and they will believe it. But that is not what this passage says.

Learn apologetics and use them. Refine your evangelistic techniques. Be wise in how you interact with people. But also realize that ultimately salvation is between a person and the Lord. All we can do is scatter seed and pray that God would make it grow.

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