1915 Convention Report Supplement


"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore, let no man glory in men." (1 Cor. 3:18-21) He said:

Our topic for today is Wisdom, and our text points out the strong contrast between worldly wisdom and the wisdom that is from above. The Apostle draws a very sharp line indeed, and from the world's standpoint his words must seem like a very strange statement- "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. Let no man deceive himself. If any man seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise." There is a great deal of worldly wisdom among men on every subject. We can see that when Christians have yielded to the spirit of worldly wisdom they have very generally made a great mistake. The world has its own way of viewing every matter religion as well as other things. The world has taken what they consider a very practical view of things at the present time. They are saying, "We must keep things running on in the present way. The existing order must not be changed. If any one has received a different idea from the Bible, he is very foolish."

From the view point of the world the Church is merely to keep things from going from bad to worse, to keep society as moral as possible. You and I know that nearly all the preaching of today is along the lines of worldly wisdom. the preachers preach civil reform and morality of life. They are now leading men to war, contrary to the Word of God, which tells us not to war with carnal weapons; that we are to be followers of peace, lovers of peace, and are to be known as peace-makers. But worldly wisdom says, "You must approve yourself to the government; you must stand for what everybody else wants." Worldly wisdom is very different from Heavenly wisdom. We are to seek to learn God's wisdom.


The Apostle James tells us that "the wisdom that is from Above is first pure, then peaceable (mark that), gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits." That is the wisdom God's true children wish to have, that is the wisdom our text enjoins upon us. St. Paul declares that if we have the spirit of the world, and worldly wisdom, it is foolishness with God. What is worldly wisdom trying to do? Some centuries ago worldly wisdom among the leaders in the Church concluded that it was time to set up the Kingdom of God. There was knowledge enough at one time so that they might have known that the Kingdom would not be set up until the Lord Jesus Himself should come. But after the Church had studied and observed for two or three centuries and Christ did not appear to establish His Kingdom, they feared something was wrong with their hopes. They thought that they must take the matter into their own hands and appoint a representative of Christ and begin the Church's reign. So ever since they set up their pseudo-kingdom of Christ they have been claiming to reign and expecting to conquer the world.

The Church became prosperous by getting in with governors, kings and emperors. Their numbers began to greatly increase. Heathen tribes came pouring in.

The Emperor of Rome, Constantine, said "I will associate myself and my Empire with the Church, and that will help me and my people; it will strengthen the Empire." The Church had become so prosperous that the government could not get along without it. And the Church came to the conclusion that the government was dependent upon it. They thought, Surely this is the auspicious time for the Church to become the ruling power in the world. It was because they had neglected the Word of God and followed earthly wisdom that they sought to set up the Kingdom in the absence of Him who was to be its Lord. What neglect of the Master's words! In His parable of the Nobleman He had pointed out that the Kingdom of Heaven was "like unto a nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to come again." And he said, "My kingdom is not of this world arrangement, order, else would my servants fight." "If I go away, I will come again."

But neglecting the instructions of the Lord, they set up a kingdom. They said, "Christ, of course, is the real King, but He must have a representative." They established a reign of popes, and called the pope "Vicegerent of Christ." The word vice-gerent is derived from two Latin words gero, to carry on, and vice, instead of. They said, the Bishop of Rome, the highest official we have, shall be the Pope. They then separated and exalted a "clergy" class as the Church, and termed all the others "the laity." So in the Catholic Church to this day only the dignitaries the Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals and Popes are the Church; they are the Hierarchy. All the others are only children of the Church. They said. As a spiritual Kingdom we will delegate authority to earthly kings. We will permit them to reign over their respective countries if they will recognize the Pope of Rome as the supreme Pontiff over them all. That was worldly wisdom. They dictated terms to these earthly rulers, and all the kings recognized the Pope as a spiritual Emperor whom they must obey. [HGL669] They said, "Christ's Kingdom has come, His representative is at Rome, and all nations must be in subjection to this Kingdom." Worldly wisdom! It was far from the teaching of the Bible.

That worldly wisdom continued. If any earthly prince failed to keep in harmony with the Pope he was censured. If he did not repent, he was told that his kingdom would be taken from him and another prince appointed to take his place. So Germanic kings and others did penance when they had offended the representative of Christ in the world. Then came a split, in the time of King Henry VIII of Great Britain. He said, "See here! this Pope of Rome objects to my having a fourth wife, and I want a fourth wife. We will do without the Pope, and I will be the representative of Christ myself to the British people; I will be the heard of a new Church, and it shall be called the Church of England. Now all of you English Bishops must stand by me or it will go hard with you. I will reward you if you are loyal to me. You shall be members of Parliament, and you shall be called hereafter, Lord Bishops." So we have since had another Kingdom of God (?) in Great Britain.

Luther had gotten in with the Germans, who had come into line with the Reformation work, and they said, "We will appoint you as head. We will back you and your system." Later, the emperor became head of this Lutheran state church. So today we have the German Kaiser as the head of the Lutheran Church, supposedly representing God's Kingdom in that country. In Russia, we have the Czar representing God's Kingdom (?) in the Greek Catholic Church. The Pope of Rome declares that he is the only proper representative of Christ and that all these others are in rebellion. The Church of England claims to be the only true Church. And so with the others. We see the confusion they are all in. All are fighting, each thinking they are fighting for God's Kingdom. It is all because worldly wisdom got the control. The kingdoms of this world are not God's Kingdom, any of them, and never were.


The only way to become truly wise is to become foolish from the world's standpoint. The Apostle Paul tells us that we "are counted fools for Christ's sake," because we wish to follow the Lamb of God, because we wish to guide our faith and actions by the Word of God. Not only are we counted fools from the standpoint of the world at large, but also from the standpoint of the educated clergy. How so! Because nearly all of the educated have now repudiated the Bible. They have the spirit of the world. Believe the story of Adam and the fall? Nonsense! This is the worldly wisdom they have gotten from the colleges of our day. Every college, for the past thirty years, has been turning out Higher Critics and Evolutionists. They say that man has developed from a frog or a tadpole. They even go farther back, and say that he started from a microbe, and has evolved to his present state of development. You are not worldly-wise if you believe in the fall of Adam, and the redemption from the fall through Jesus Christ as our Ransom-price. And foolish people you are if you believe the story of the Deluge, and the story of Jonah and the great fish! It is no matter if Jesus did speak of Noah and the Flood and give it His endorsement. No matter if He did declare that Jonah's being in the belly of the fish for three days typified that Jesus should be three days in the bowels of the earth. No matter if He did speak of Adam and his race as being the "lost sheep," and declare that He "came to seek and to save that which was lost," that He came to "give Himself a Ransom for many." None of the great and wise believe these Scriptural stories and declarations! On, no! They are not so foolish!

You see the Apostle had the right gauge on the matter. How many of us are willing to be a fool for Christ's sake a fool in the eyes of the wise people? But the worldly-wise who are measuring these plain statements of the Bible according to their own ideas, according to their own foolish reasoning, are coming to naught. The Apostle Paul declared that the time would come "in the last days" when these wise (?) men should "proceed no further, for their folly should be made manifest unto all men."


This time is rapidly nearing, indeed we are now entering into these days. Look at the things being done today in those countries declaring themselves to be Christ's Kingdom. See how these so-called kingdoms of Christ are acting like devils, mad men! The Germans have the shibboleth, "On to victory! God is with us!" So also with the Austrians. So with the British, and the Russians, etc. Yet each is desiring commercial supremacy and control; and for their own selfish interests they are fighting each other to the death.

Ah, yes, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God! By the time this war is over, and the succeeding revolution and anarchy shall have utterly overthrown all these false kingdoms, the world will recognize how foolish they have been. What has the wisdom of this world amounted to? How vain have been all their hopes and ambitions and schemes! How their pride and ambition for power will soon be humbled into the dust! "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day." (Isa. 2:10-22; 28:21-22; 13:6-13.)

The world has its own conception of what constitutes a Christian. You will notice when worldly people speak of Christians, the matter of whether or not you go out slumming or promote social reforms, whether you seek to improve the conditions of labor, etc., weigh considerably. The majority think we should be out haranguing the lower element of society rather than spending time and effort upon those already church members. Many Christian people have that idea. They think the Christian is to preach Hell or do something to terrorize the people and get them into the Church. They have been doing that for centuries, and how many of the people have they truly led to Christ by such methods? Look at Europe today. Away in the past the emperors said, "We want the people to be subject to the governments. Can you Christians bring it about? If you can, you are the ones we are looking for. How will you do it?" "We will tell them that if they are not obedient they will be sent to a place of eternal torture," was the answer. "We will tell them that this is the Bible Hell. We will fix up a Purgatory, too. Don't fear, we will make these places hot enough for the people, and they will believe it all and be [HGL670] afraid to disobey." Thus by false doctrines suggested by heathen religions and enlarged upon, they drove the people into the churches. These very nations are now engaged in this most terrible war of all history.

You would never suspect that all these are saints, yet only saints are Christians, the Bible plainly declares. This driving of people by the millions into an outward profession and form of religion by telling them that they will go to Hell if they do not come into the Church, has had its legitimate effect. This is readily seen as we look across the water today.

You know they had the theory back in the days of St. Augustine that nobody who was not baptized with water was in the Church, and that anybody not in the Church would go straight to eternal torment. Hence the movement by him to "baptize" babes into the Church, through water sprinkling, which they called baptism. We are glad that we have a real God, One whom we can worship in spirit and in truth. Wrong teaching led these people to put all these little babes into their church organization and declare them church members, this expression being loosely used, for only the Hierarchy were really the Church, the "priesthood." All of this is contrary to the Bible and is the wisdom of this world, a deception of the great adversary. When we come to see the Plan of God, how different it is! We see that God has not commissioned the Church to convert the world. This wrong idea, as we have seen, crept in back there when the Church was exalted to a position of power. They said, We are now ruling, and we must bring the whole world into subjection, we must make them children of the Church. They quoted those Psalms prophetic of the Millennial Kingdom to prove their authority to thus rule. They set out to compel everybody to become a Christian, overlooking the fact that such is not God's Plan at all;

for a Christian is a follower of Christ, one who walks in His footsteps of sacrifice. Only the Gospel Age Church is called to do this. God's Call to any to be disciples of Jesus has been a still, small voice which only a few have heard and heeded.


Jesus said to His disciples, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." Of all the Jewish people the only ones that saw and heard what the Lord was telling them were about five hundred brethren, up to the time of His death. All the way down the Gospel Age the masses have not been able to hear. The time for the whole world to hear has not yet come. All will hear when the Millennial Kingdom is established and the knowledge of God covers the earth. All will then have an opportunity to come into harmony with the Kingdom of God. Now the Message is, "He that hath an ear to hear let him hear." If you find one who has a hearing ear, tell him the blessed story. If you meet those who do not have the hearing ear, do not worry about it. Their time is not yet. Go on to those who have the ear to hear.

Among what class may we expect to find the hearing ears? The Bible shows that the meek are the ones who now have the hearing ear. The average man and woman have not an ear for the Truth. Let me remind you of the words of Isa. 61:1, used by our Lord Jesus in His preaching. He preached in the right way. The verse reads: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek, He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted." The Bible does not tell us to go out and seek to reclaim thieves and murderers and criminals generally, but we are to present the Message to the meek, the contrite. You see the difference. And what shall we tell those who are teachable. We used to think that when we had told them that Jesus died and rose again for their salvation there was nothing more to tell them. When they had heard this they were to go out and tell some one else about Jesus how they were to escape eternal woe through Him.

The Bible Plan is very different. When we have heard of God's great Plan, and believe that Jesus died for us, our salvation is only begun. If we are properly exercised, this leads us to a consecration, to the giving up of our whole life to God. But the majority never think of consecrating their lives to the Lord. There are a great many very nice people who are not of God's family. The Message now is only for those who are meek enough to hear His word and act upon it, and this means sacrifice.

The Spirit of the Lord God that is upon Jesus' followers, as upon Him, has commissioned, or ordained, us to "bind up the broken-hearted." There are plenty of people going around with hammers to break others' hearts. We are to tell them of God's love. His mercy, His Plan. We are to tell them how He will give beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. That is our commission. In doing this we are developing along the lines that God designed. We are called to walk in the "narrow way." Not one is called merely to live a decent life. The Call is to be members of the Body of Christ.


Worldly wisdom would lead us to another course altogether, and we are, therefore, to fight against the spirit of the world. Some say, "Come, let us consecrate ourselves to working for temperance." Temperance is a good work, but did Jesus work for temperance? Not at all. Jesus was on the side of temperance, and so are we, but it is not our present mission to reform the world. It is worldly wisdom, the worldly mind, that wants to go slumming or to engage in civic reform. Did Jesus or the Apostles spend their time in trying to clean up society? Not a bit of it! What was their work? Their work, first of all, was to find those having ears to hear the Gospel Message calling out the "peculiar people" for a special future work, and second, after finding them, to instruct them and build them up in the most holy faith. If we are to be true followers of Jesus we are to note what He did, how He used His time, and then do likewise.

Prev   Next