Wisdom vs Wisdom [falsely so called]

After a recent conversation I had with a couple of friends, I was reminded of a very important subject that needs to be brought to the forefront of the Christian’s life and apologetic. This subject is the wisdom that is true, and wisdom that is falsely so called. The Scripture always sets wisdom and and false wisdom in diametrical opposition to one another. It is for this reason we point out that there are only two worldviews, Christian Theism and it’s denial. Similar to this, there are only two kinds of wisdom.

The scripture has much to say about the wisdom of the world. Paul asks the rhetorical question in 1 Corinthians 1:20

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”.

Then later confirms this in his teaching from Job 5:13 and Psalm 94:11:

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.” (1 Cor 3:19-20)

 

James even made this distinction in wisdom. There  is a wisdom that comes from above, which is

first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. (James 3:17-18)

This wisdom is contrasted with the wisdom of the world:

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. (James 3:13-15)

Many of us would cringe at the apostle’s description of wisdom. We are not used to hearing of it in “moral” terms. If we don’t recognize the fact that wisdom and knowledge are moral, and must be brought in subjection to the Word of God, then we will always be subject to demonic wisdom.

This should cause us all the more to stress a Christo-centric apologetic; an apologetic that starts with the Word of Christ, which produces faith. (Romans 10:17)

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

At this point, you may be asking, “what are these weapons?”. I think theologian John Gill gives us the answer to this question in his comments in verse 4.

He writes:

“The “weapons” with which this warfare is managed are the Scriptures of truth, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God; and which indeed are an armoury, out of which may be taken weapons of all sorts, both offensive and defensive; such as serve both to establish and secure the doctrines of the Gospel, and to refute the errors of the wicked” (1)

When we launch our arguments from the Scripture, we are uprooting these strongholds, which are rooted in the lie that man can achieve anything he would like, autonomously, without God. Like the foolish man who built his house in the sand (Matthew 7:26). He who is against Christ and His Word and are opposed to Him, are rendered foolish (1 Cor 1:20) and are scattered ( Matthew 12:30) just as the men in Genesis 11,  who thought they could be like god and glorify themselves by building the tower of Babel (v.4), and were scattered (v. 8), and God confused them in their languages (v.9).

The purpose of this post is to highlight Scripture’s teaching on two kinds of wisdom. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to give you an idea of why we are required to recognize the biblical way of doing apologetics.

 

1. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, http://www.freegrace.net/gill/

2 Comments

Chris Baird

I think that many Christians don’t even hold to the idea that there is a wisdom of this world. Rather, they would simply say we share the same wisdom and when the unbeliever is inconsistent they are simply being unwise. Though, this is not what the bible is arguing as you pointed out.

McFormtist

The more I study apologetics, and Christian thought in general, the more I encounter the absolute necessity of whipping our thoughts to fall in line with Scripture, and “bringing every thought into captivity” under an explicitly Christian mindset and worldview. Thus we can stand against rising opposition strongly and expose the lack of foundation for such opposition.


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