1 Cor 1:17-25 NASB: 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.18 For the word of the cross is foolishness 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 CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
In this passage the Bible is clear that the cross is oft considered "foolishness" and a "stumbling block" to unbelievers. It is crystal clear that Paul, under inspiration, does not see these facts surrounding Jesus as necessarily helpful to provoke the lost to saving faith in Jesus.
In contrast, Redefined Free Grace would have us be appeased that they always present these facts in their presentations of "the saving message" because they are powerful and persuasive reasons for the lost to believe in Jesus. Though in some cases that may be true, the obvious problem with this thinly veiled attempt to appease is that it fails to address why Paul, or anyone else, would/should include these items when it is known that they are in fact obstacles to saving faith. To be consistent, the adherents of Redefined Free Grace would have to ultimately conclude that it is completely acceptable to entirely leave out any known stumbling block as part of "the saving message". It is inconsistent for Redefined Free Grace to claim that there is anything that needs to "always be said" in a presentation of "the saving message" save whatever is necessary to convince the lost to believe what they see as the only belief that ultimately matters -- that "Jesus guarantees Everlasting Life to all who simply believe in him for it."
If Redefined Free Grace sees us as guilty of obfuscating "the saving message" for insisting that the lost accept such facts as the deity or crosswork of Christ, then they are essentially guilty of the same thing by always bringing up those same facts in the first place and possibly turning the lost one away by even mentioning these intellectually offensive and controversial facts surrounding Jesus.
No, I'm convinced that Paul and the Holy Spirit at face value have got it right. The only consistent reason to always bring known stumbling blocks into the presentation is if they are necessary elements of contemporary saving faith in Jesus. In light of this, the attempts of Redefined Free Grace to appease it's naysayers by claiming they always present this information is revealed as nothing more than that -- an attempt to appease men and appear more orthodox than they really are. It is language to try to appear in harmony with Christianity when in fact they are ravaging it from the inside and destroying the very Free Grace message they claim to hold so dear. No, they don't see it this way, but that doesn't change the result.
As I said, when I was first exposed to, considered, and rejected The Crossless Gospel it was pretty much this passage alone that convinced me to stay the course. I've learned much since then and have added other reasons, but this passage stands at the core of my conviction that there is more to the biblically req'd content of contemporary saving faith than the minimum proposed by Redefined Free Grace.
What say you?
Last edited on 14 April 2008 @ 23:55 for typos and minor corrections.