“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
The reason Paul started with the person and work of Christ is that this is the heart of the gospel, whereby one becomes a Christian. He would later give them other doctrines on salvation and the Christian life.
Paul placed his trust in the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross to save. He did not clutter his message with philosophy. A simple gospel presentation is a foolish approach in the eyes of the world and the eyes of some evangelicals as well!
1 Co 1:17-18, For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Paul set up a policy for himself. This was a policy not to get sidetracked by philosophy in presenting the simple gospel message. Paul did not address the philosophy of Pythagoras, Epicureanism, Stoicism, or any other philosophy. He presented the gospel of the person of Christ and Him crucified.
Focused believers set policy for themselves in making gospel presentations.
Any approach that belittles the simple gospel message obscures the gospel. Since the gospel constitutes absolute truth, it cannot be refuted by philosophy or human methods. A popular method today is to take a dialectical approach to truth. First, there is a thesis then an antithesis that is set over against the thesis. Then again, a new synthesis forms out of the prior thesis and antithesis, which again forms a new thesis. On and on it goes with no end or conclusion. This process never comes to a conclusion about truth. This is a losing proposition for presenting the gospel message because it is against the very idea of the gospel that it is the absolute truth that is to be proclaimed.
The biblical principle is to declare the message and let the Holy Spirit work on the heart (2:4). We do not have to know everything about a Muslim to witness to a Muslim; we do not have to know philosophy to witness to a philosopher; we do not have to be a scientist to witness to a scientist.
The salvation of souls rests on the power of the cross, not on our speaking ability. The issue is and has always been that Christ paid the penalty for our sin, and we need to believe that to go to heaven. The power is in the gospel, not the speaker.
Ro 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.