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The Supreme Foolishness of the Message Preached

Roger Wagner, in his outstanding work Tongues Aflame: Learning to Preach Like the Apostles, explains the nature of the heightened opposition that ministers of the Gospel should expect, regardless of how many degrees they have. Wagner writes:

When you enter the ‘marketplace of ideas’ expect to be mocked. Even if you have spent thousands of dollars and years of your life accumulating a string of initials after your name (so much so that you impress all your Christian firends and colleagues), it will count for nothing to those who despise your message. No Ph.D degree will make acceptable to the world a message which they find supremely foolish. In fact, the more effective you are in making that message known, the more certain you can be that the unregenerate will mock and reject it. If your academic studies make you a substantially better exegete, theologian, and preacher–wonderful. But don’t get your feelings hurt when your degrees cannot buy you intellectual respectability. Like Paul, if you are faithful to the message of Christ you are nothing more than a ’seed-picker’ to the wise-men of this world. No matter. God is pleased, ‘through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.

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