Gospel paradoxes

In his commentary on 2 Corinthians, Frank J Matera has the following to say about the paradoxes of the gospel.

The Corinthians did not appreciate Paul’s new covenant ministry and their status as a people of the new covenant, in large measure because they did not grasp the paradoxical nature of the gospel Paul preached to them. In their view, Paul’s afflictions and sufferings were signs of weakness that were unworthy of an apostle of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, when other preachers arrived at Corinth who appeared more powerful and eloquent many of the Corinthians sided with them and criticized Paul. Although the conflict between Paul and the Corinthians was undoubtedly multifaceted, it was ultimately rooted in the inability or the refusal of the Corinthians to embrace the paradoxical nature of the gospel that Paul had already discussed in 1 Cor 1–4. In 2 Corinthians Paul develops this paradox in relation to his apostolic sufferings and weaknesses. (page 14)

I have been wondering whether Christians today rely on the “powerful and eloquent” preachers/teachers too much. We like to listen to them because they are such effective communicators and their lives and ministries seem to be (so-called) “incredibly amazing”. I think this is problematic. The apostle Paul, on the other hand, boasts about his weakness, through which God’s power manifests. It is not about his success and power, but God’s resurrection power working through the apostle’s suffering and death.

Something for us to ponder…

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