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Paradigm for Pentecostal Preaching

Oswald Chambers describes the attraction of ‘Christ and him crucified’:

“In the Cross [sic] we may see the dimensions of Divine love. The Cross [sic] is not the cross of a man, but the exhibition of the heart of God. At the back of the wall of the world stands God with His arms outstretched, and every man driven there is driven into the arms of God. The Cross [sic] of Jesus is the supreme evidence of the love of God.”26

Upon the cross, Paul sees the love of God revealed as Christ dies for his sins. And we, too, upon that old rugged cross, observe Christ dying for our iniquities and the transgressions of the whole world (cf. John 1:29; 1 John 2:2).

Principle 3: Methodology—A Christo-centric Methodology Informs Pentecostal Preaching (1 Cor. 2:3-5)

When he arrived in Corinth, Paul was afraid “primarily of God rather than of men. It was fear in light of the task committed to him,” according to Morris.27 He was not afraid of the Corinthians. The ‘fear and trembling’ referred to in 1 Cor. 2:3 “suggests that Paul’s weakness was in his delivery, not in his awareness of contemporary rhetorical style.”28

Some at Corinth were unimpressed with Paul’s appearance and oratorical skills (2 Cor. 10:10). Paul seems to admit in later correspondence that his delivery and unwillingness to charge for his services made him appear weak in light of the Corinthians’ expectations and their highly developed, personal rhetorical skills (2 Cor. 11:6-7).29 Because of Paul’s fear and trembling, Godet thinks the Lord encourages the apostle while in Corinth in a vision to “‘not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city’” (Acts 18:9-10).30 If this is indeed the case, Paul’s fear was not founded only on his consternation at the thought of God’s displeasure, but also by his fear of the reactions of the Corinthians to his message.

By way of application, if the apostle Paul never became overconfident in his preaching, neither should modern Pentecostal preachers. “The preacher who is really effective is the preacher whose heart beats faster while he waits to speak.”31 Another reason for Paul’s fear might also exist. If the preaching of Paul had relied upon human wisdom alone, the gospel would have run the risk of a more eloquent speaker coming along and explaining away the good news.32

As to Paul’s “message and … preaching,” Godet writes:

I rather think that λόγος [logos] applies to the matter, and κήρυγμα [kerygma] to the form; the λόγος is the gospel itself; the κήρυγμα is the testimony the apostle renders to it. Neither the one nor the other has been corrupted in his work by the infiltration of human elements or by self-seeking.”33

The genitive in the phrase ‘with’ or ‘in’ “demonstration of spirit and of power” may either be an objective genitive (i.e., a demonstration of spiritual power) or an epexegetical genitive (i.e., a demonstration consisting of spirit and power).34 Most likely, the phrase in Greek, “in demonstration of the spirit and of power,” serves as a hendiadys, where two words are used, but only one idea is intended.35 Thus, the NIV translates, “with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” While the Greek does not distinguish between small and capital letters, the context strongly suggests that the Spirit of God provides the source of power, not the human spirit. The Spirit incorporates human wisdom, but the latter is never the source of power. The preaching of the gospel rests on a ‘higher plane’ than human rationality.36 While the demonstration of the Spirit and power, undoubtedly, included some miraculous confirmations of gospel truth such as ‘signs and wonders’ and the anointing of the Spirit, it may well intend a more general usage. The power of God worked through the apostle to convince the Corinthians of sin, etc.37 The Spirit’s power exercised in the conversion of sinners into saints, according to Fee, ultimately manifests itself in the reception of the Spirit, evidenced by spiritual gifts like tongues.38

A strong contrast is made between the human wisdom divine power. The α̉λλα [“but”] clearly indicates this polarity. Paul emphatically wants his hearers to place their faith in the power of God, not in the wisdom of humans. Robertson writes:

The Judaizers at Corinth did not discuss the rhetorical niceties of these Letters. They felt the power of the ideas in them even when they resisted Paul’s authority. Paul used tropes [i.e., figures of speech], but he smote hearts with them and did not merely tickle the fancy of the lovers of sophistry.39

Craig S. Keener points out that though “Paul here disapproves of mere rhetoric, … his own writing, including 1 Corinthians, displays extensive knowledge and use of rhetorical forms.”40 This statement does seem to be an accurate appraisal of the situation.

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Category: Ministry, Pneuma Review, Spring 2010

About the Author: Steve D. Eutsler, D.Min. (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary), M.Div. (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary), M.A. Biblical Literature (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary), B.A. Bible (Central Bible College), is professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Global University in Springfield, Missouri. He has extensive experience as a pastor, evangelist, and educator and is the author of numerous articles and books. Email

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