Christ-less Christianity

Christ-less Christianity
Robert Wurtz II

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1–2 NKJV) 

Our passage was written to the Corinthians who were suffering from gross carnality. They were lining up behind their favorite preachers and behaving in some cases worse than unbelievers (1 Cor. 5:1). Yet Paul reminds them of how he “came to them.” Notice that he did not come “with excellence of speech or wisdom…” Here excellence is from a Greek word that means elevated, authoritative, or superior. In other words, “Not in excellence of rhetorical display or of philosophical subtlety” (Lightfoot). He was not trying to impress the Corinthians with either his orations or his wisdom.

It was said of Paul that his bodily presence was weak, and his speech was contemptible. In other words, he wasn’t anything special to look at or to listen to. The power was not in his presence or personality, but in his proclamation. He did not want peoples’ faith to stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. Moreover, he preached a topic that had no power to exalt him among the people: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. To be crucified was the most hideous of all executions. What is there to glory in among men? At Athens, he was practically laughed out of court when He spoke of Christ. When he added the Cross to the sermon, it was to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. Nevertheless, Paul kept the main message coming at Corinth — Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

One of the great evidences of carnality is a de-emphasis of Jesus Christ. Most Christians consider their faith to be Christocentric (Christ-centered), but a close examination reveals an emphasis on all kinds of subjects. In fact, there are a dizzying number of topics and sub-topics that Christians can study or over-emphasize rather than Christ Himself. It could be very easy to preach apologetics, prophecy, prosperity, healing, deliverance, theology (a million sub-topics), the prophetic, the family, and a host of other subjects and completely lose Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

As a child I recall reading the old family Bible on the living room table. I didn’t know much about Christianity except what I learned a few years in Sunday School and in church services. However, when I picked that Bible up and began to read the New Testament I was brought face to face with Jesus Christ. If a person only read their Bible and never listened to radio, television, or other sermons they would have a thorough education in the Christocentric nature of the New Testament. It’s all about turning to Jesus, following Jesus, and emulating Jesus. Through the Gospel, we are brought back into a right relationship with Him; not to spin-off on some tangent topic like politics, conservatism, patriotism, or any other Christ supplanting subject.

This is how Christians become Corinthians. They leave off of the central theme of the New Testament; Jesus Christ. He is the main subject. We are being discipled under Him. To use an old cliché, “it’s all about Jesus.” No matter what our pursuit, if we have left off our focus on Christ, we are in gross error. He needs to be the topic of conversation more than anything else. We have enough books on Christian finances, Godly families, Your Best Life, Prosperity, Prophecy, the Anointing, Healing, Politics, Theology, Worship, Ministry Presentation, and a host of other things. What we need is to get focused completely on Jesus Christ. We need sermons about Jesus; teachings about Jesus; songs about Jesus; and ministries that preach Jesus. We need messages that deal with our covenant with Jesus and what He expects of us. In this carnal crisis hour, we desperately need to get our priorities right once again so we can say with Paul:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1–2 NKJV) 

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