I once had a parent bring their child to me after a sermon with this question: “Pastor, why did you use the word ‘stupid’ in your sermon?” I snickered inside as I recalled the many times my own parents banned the use of this terrible word! Still, I offered my disarming response to the child (and parent): “Because the Bible uses the word ‘stupid’. We aren’t supposed to go around calling our siblings stupid, but many times the Bible refers to those who deny God or his Word as stupid.” After a couple dramatic blinks of the eyelids, and a moment of silence the child seemed satisfied. I’m still not sure what his parent thought!
Without doubt, we live in a world filled with stupid people. Biblically, stupid people are those who hate reproof (Prov. 12:1), give stupid counsel (Is. 19:11), and practice idolatry (Jer. 10:8-10; 51:17). When God’s person or Word is denied, that makes a man stupid.
The doctrine of mankind’s stupidity branches off the Christian doctrine of the infinite wisdom and knowledge of God. As the eternal and sole Creator, there is no other ultimate source of truth apart from God. To deny the one from whom truth flows, or to replace his Word with our own words, thoughts, or conclusions is to become stupid. Conceptually, we see the same phenomenon playing itself out in Romans 1:18-32 where human unrighteousness (1:18) suppresses truth that has been plainly revealed, and the result is that the One who is clearly known (1:19) is replaced with a lie (1:25). Be convinced, the human mind is riddled with futile thoughts and foolish notions when God’s person or Word are denied.
As evangelicals we love to speak of the heart; it’s depravity, it’s need to be softened, and the need to love God with it. But what about the mind, and why do there seem to be so few sermons and lessons targeting the mind? It is also a toxic mess of convoluted thinking, excuses, rationalization, and befuddlement. In keeping with Romans 1 then, should it really surprise us that a created being can observe the complexity and innate design of the world around them and stupidly declare, “it all happened by chance.” Should it surprise us that beliefs about human sexuality are so twisted that one can clearly observe their own objective, biological sex and stupidly deny it? Should it shock us that even civilized, economically stable, and technologically advanced societies still envy, murder, gossip, slander and more? No, because each of these deviations from truth is a result of the denial of God and his Word. They reflect our godless stupidity. Romans 1 clearly predicts it.
As believers then we must pray for God to illuminate the minds of the stupid with truth and transform them from death to life, just as he has transformed our own stupidity. And as God’s redemptive agents, who are called to preach the truth of God’s Word into a mindless world, we must know the truth of God’s Word and deliver it without apology. We do so based upon the conviction that truth transforms, that God’s Word is capable of remedying our stupidity and making us wise for salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). Far be it from any of us then-as created beings-to apologize to one another for what the Creator has said! It is His Person and Word that alone can redeem the world from spiritual blindness, not the wisdom of men and women. So, my loved ones, draw near to God, study his Word, and deliver it without fear in order that the malady of stupidity may be replaced with the transformative truth of God.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Tim. 3:16-17