When I was a teenager there was a group of ministers who traveled around for the sole purpose of convincing people that listening to rock music was very sinful and would probably send you to hell. I’m not even kidding. I remember, in particular, they had real issues with the group Kiss. I don’t know if it was the outrageous makeup, the wild outfits or Gene Simmons’ tongue, but they were definitely on the “Do Not Listen” list. There were even rumors their name was actually an acronym for “Knights in Satan’s Service”. While I agree that it probably isn’t great to listen to most of that kind of music, I don’t think I can go as far as to say that it is the unpardonable sin.
Somewhere along the way a well-meaning preacher decided, it seems, to redeem this acronym and move it far away from the devilish band by saying that it means “Keep it Simple Stupid”. The funny thing is that acronym was actually borrowed from the Navy who used it as a design principle in the 1960’s. Another more pious person along the way adapted it to “Keep it Simple Saint”. What’s the point of all of this, you might ask?
In 1 Corinthians 1 and 2, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth he established on his second missionary journey (See Acts 18). Paul, now on his 3rd trip, heard the church had been negatively affected by the culture around them and were engaged in immorality and intellectual arrogance. In other words, they thought they knew it all and so that meant they could make up their own rules about what was right and wrong. Sound familiar? Take a minute right now and pray for America. Seriously, please pray!
What was Paul’s prescription for the Corinthian church? Wait for it… Keep it Simple Saint! He reminds them that the gospel he preached to them from the very beginning wasn’t at all complicated. He didn’t use lofty speech or what the world would call exceptional wisdom. Tradition itself says that Paul probably wasn’t a great orator. He was reported to be 4’6” and probably didn’t have a thunderous “preacher’s” voice. If you’ll recall, one time, someone fell asleep in one of his meetings, fell out of the window, and died. Thankfully, God gave Paul the power to raise him from the dead and I can almost guarantee you that he never fell asleep again in one of Paul’s meetings. But what he may have lacked in presentation he more than made up for in inspiration.
Paul knew he hadn’t been called to make anything happen within people’s hearts. He wouldn’t be judged by God based on his tone or rhythm of speech. He wouldn’t be chastised for not having three points to his sermon that all start with the same letter. His responsibility and great privilege was to simply preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified! God’s part was to so empower Paul’s words by the Holy Spirit that people’s lives would be forever changed. You see, my friends, it is the gospel that is the power of God to salvation for those who believe. That has always been and will always be the means God uses to call, change, and keep those the Lord has chosen to be a part of his forever family!