For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

There is, potentially, a way of presenting the gospel that is far too clever and philosophical and ‘show-offy’. Although it may impress people, it fails to fully proclaim the Cross and does not carry the power of God with it.

But was Paul calling for an unintelligent presentation of the gospel? I think not. Two of the greatest Anglican preachers/evangelists of the 20th century, Michael Green and John Stott, were men of great intellect. They were highly educated and respected scholars. But they preached (and wrote) in a way that simply exposed the inner logic of the gospel. By humbly sticking to the truth of the Bible they allowed it to speak for itself. So their ministries were powerful and their God-given fruit speaks for itself.

I was greatly affects by Timothy Dudley Smith’s two volume biography of John Stott. One story that stays with me is of John preparing his sermons on his knees, because he wanted to be under the Bible’s authority and not sitting over it in judgment. That is breathtaking humility. No wonder God used him so greatly. He knew the power was in the Word.