Alistair Begg
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
7:15 pm

Message Summary 

The “Foolishness” of God: 1 Corinthians 1:18 - 2:5, 1:25

Renowned preacher and teacher, Alistair Begg, spoke the Word, unaltered and undiluted in his brilliant look at the Gospel. Using the example provided by Paul in Corinthians and other apostles throughout the Scriptures, Begg examined what the Gospel message actually is and how this message differs from what is preached from Evangelical pulpits today.

Noting that the Gospel is “a historic fact” clear and pure, Begg showed that the Gospel could be reduced to a single statement: “Jesus came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because we owe a debt we can’t pay.” The city of Corinth, which Begg notes is not too unlike Chicago, largely rejected this Gospel taught by Paul. According to 1 Corinthians 1:25 the Gospel is apparently foolish in its simplicity and weak in its story of a beggarly man dying a humiliating death. Because of these seeming attributes, Begg said, it did not appeal to the Corinthians then, and it does not appeal to society today.

However, this is not merely an issue of appearances. Begg argued that the church has “relevatized [sic], privatized and therefore marginalized” truth in order to change Evangelical Christianity’s understanding of the Gospel. Begg warned that America is close to becoming like Western Europe, a region devoid of the Gospel, because America does not always preach the Gospel. Instead contemporary Evangelicals too often focus on the benefits and dangers associated with accepting or denying the Gospel. Despite this, Begg offered hope if Christians immerse themselves in apostolic preaching and cling to the cross.

Before closing, Begg shared that there is no intellectual road, emotional path or spiritual conduit to the true Gospel. Rather, “God comes and penetrates us with his truth.” Begg concluded by sharing that “We [Christians] have only one message: Christ crucified.”

Impressions

As is always the case with this gifted preacher, Begg’s words about the Gospel struck me with astounding relevance, power and grace. When Begg shared that “there is no intellectual high road to the God,” I realized that often I complicate the Gospel believing it to be an intellectual and philosophical colossus that I can master. However, Begg taught that the Gospel in its foolishness is entirely the work of God. My goal to intellectualize the Gospel was rubbish. Now, I can more fully and truly celebrate in the simplicity and wonder of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a gift of immeasurable grace given by God.

—Daniel Harting, Freshman, Communications/Print Media major