Why does God choose the ‘foolish’ over the ‘wise’? John Piper weighs in

John Piper
John Piper | Passion Conference

Noted theologian and author John Piper recently addressed the question of why, according to the Bible, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.”

In an episode of “Ask Pastor John” posted to the Desiring God website on Monday, a listener from the Philippines named Euclid explained his desire to be an evangelist and asked: 

“In 1 Corinthians 1:27, it says that ‘God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.’ Here’s my question: Why didn’t God save all the worldly-wise to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world? Wouldn’t that have made a faster and greater impact in world evangelization than simply choosing a bunch of foolish people to do his work?”

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Piper responded by saying that while “the impact of all those wise people” might have had a “greater impact” and “faster,” “it wouldn’t have been Christianity.”

“If the Son of God had come into the world as a warrior or a philosopher to impact the world with His power and His intelligence, the impact would have been quicker and more outwardly impressive, but it wouldn’t have been Christianity,” Piper said.

Piper explained that relying on “human eloquence” and “human intellect” as the ancient Corinthians did “would, in fact, be a denial of Christ and an emptying of the cross, because the cross of Christ means the end of boasting in human achievements.”

Piper quoted 1 Corinthians 2:5, noting that eloquence and intellect were not prioritized “so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

The theologian said that God chooses “what is foolish in the world” so “no human might boast in the presence of God” and “so that those who boast would boast only in the Lord.”

“God’s aim in world evangelization is to put an end to human pride and to make Jesus the focus of all human praise. His ways are not our ways. We just need to settle it. His ways are not our ways,” Piper reiterated. “Christ crucified defines everything.”

William Wolfe, a conservative theological commentator and a former Trump administration official, discussed the 1st Corinthians passage in an op-ed piece published by The Christian Post last October.

“Be warned: The wisdom of the world will be appealing. It will tempt you. It can be sneaky. We can so easily just drift into running on the wrong operating system,” wrote Wolfe at the time.

“The world’s wisdom infiltrates our lives like carbon monoxide: a colorless, odorless gas. By the time you realize you have been poisoned by it, it can be too late. So, embrace being called a fool by this world if it means being called faithful by God.”

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