Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 14, 1951

"The Wisdom Of The Wise"


If there is anything on earth man should fully realize, yet seems hopeless ever to accept, it is the weakness and the unreliability of human wisdom. The desperate and tragic plight of the political world right now serves to underline and emphasize this fact. Our bankrupt foreign policy (if we have one), the Truman-MacArthur controversy, the frantic race for re-armament, the chaotic morass of blind alleys into which every attempted peace move seems inevitably to head—all these things show how clearly and how sadly human wisdom is limited. Even with the very best of intentions, and with the highest of motives, political leaders of the nations demonstrate over and over again, the absolute undependability of "the wisdom of this world.'

Further underscoring of this fact is seen in the religious conditions of the nations of earth. One might suppose that in the 'enlightened twentieth century the nations had long since outgrown the stupid and debasing mythology of Greece and Rome, the bacchanalian debauchery and voluptuousness of the pagan festivals in honor of the "Moon God"—festivals in which lechery and indescribable obscenity hold sway under the guise of "worship." (See Overflow). But the race is slow to learn. Three thousand years this side of the pornographic Phoenicians, millions of misguided people are still following their bestial perversions.

Humanity's Downward Course

Far from humanity's course being inevitably "upward and onward' as the evolutionists so optimistically proclaimed a few decades back, the hard and stark reality of the situation is that man's course is always downward and backward. Without the restraining influence of the gospel—the leaven that "leaveneth the whole lump"— civilization might well perish from the earth. Paul's description of the heathen degradations (Romans 1) gives clear testimony as to what happens when God "gives up" any people to follow their own inclinations and to be guided solely by their "human wisdom."' Truly, the words of Jeremiah are undeniable, "I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.' (Jer. 10:23) Or, even more positive, the words of Solomon, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death.' (Prov. 14:12) In the face of such statements, and the undeniable and stubborn facts of both past and present, the evolutionists' philosophy of inevitable progress seems incredible naivet.

It was precisely for this reason that God gave us a. revelation. "For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe." (1 Cor. 1:21) Man could never come to "know' God by the unaided powers of his own reasoning and intelligence; he could never understand his duty toward God, nor realize the richness of God's love and God's promises toward him, without a revelation. Human wisdom, not even able to bring about a peaceful earth, could never pierce beyond the veil into that other world to know anything of it al all, or of the way into it. Hence, "the words of eternal life' fell from the lips of Christ, and by his inspired apostles have been written down and preserved for us.

In view of these facts, how foolish and stupid the action of men in ignoring the revelation, and setting out in their own zeal and wisdom to find the way into that heavenly city! Like the Jews of whom Paul wrote, "they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.' (Rom. 10:2,3)

It will be true, of course, that many times the "righteousness of God" seems blundering, inefficient, and capricious. Who in his right mind would not be inclined to laugh at the folly of trying to cure a snake bite by having the bitten person gaze on a "brazen serpent?' And where is the military leader who wouldn't hoot at Joshua's naive plan for taking Jericho simply by marching around it day after day? What man is there who would be so foolish as to recommend seven dips in a muddy river as a cure for leprosy?

God's Foolishness-

And, in the same line, what intelligent man could suppose that putting a man under water and then raising him up would have any virtue at all in changing the man's life, or in altering his status before God? Does not all the wisdom of all the ages declare that that were a foolish and needless rite?

Does not the "wisdom of this world' give us a dozen plans, each more efficient than the sketchy and impractical plan by which Paul worked for the evangelization of the world? After all, evangelization is what we all desire; and we know that is what God desires. Men are dying in sin for lack of the gospel. So why not use the very best methods our judgment can devise to bring them the gospel? Why limit ourselves to the crude, ineffectual, and out-model plans of two millenniums ago? Why not use the most efficient plans we can possibly produce? In Paul's day of limited transportation and communications facilities, his plan was no doubt the best and most practicable to be employed. But in our day a United Christian Missionary Society, with its vast powers to supervise, control, direct, and organize work on a world wide basis, is infinitely more efficient! What dunderheads we be not to use it!! Yes, that is the "wisdom of the wise" and the "discernment of the discerning.' But it is not the wisdom of God.

God has given a revelation. The man who loves God supremely will seek to follow it, no matter how crude, impracticable, or unnecessary its provisions may seem. He does not seek to interpose his own human wisdom into God's appointments. For he knows that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.' (1 Cor. 1:25)

— F. Y. T.