"Fool-Bearers" and "Fool-Makers"

by Amanda Phifer

“If we intend to change our culture, we must, like Christ, become fool-bearers and fool-makers in our world,” Os Guinness told students at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary last fall.

“Jesus was the ultimate fool-bearer,” who bore “the shame and the guilt and the ridicule of the cross. We must be willing to be fool-bearers like Christ,” said Guinness, a leading Christian apologist. He is vice chairman and senior fellow of the Trinity Forum.

But Jesus also was a fool-maker, employing the perfect means of persuasion to help his hearers understand the “foolishness” of God’s wisdom, Guinness said.

“In a crazy world, God’s wisdom has to subvert [in] that way,” he said. “Jesus helped people see the true folly of their thinking, and He often did it in the same way that a court jester makes his points, or in the way that the great humanist Erasmus did in his ‘Praise of Folly.’” The Bible cited three kinds of fools, Guinness said.

“First, there is the fool proper—the person who, despite all the relativity of folly and heroism in the world, is truly a fool because God says so,” Guinness said, adding, “We should never be this type of fool.”

Second is the fool-bearer, Guinness said. “The prophets were often ridiculed as fools. Paul was a fool-bearer for the sake of the gospel. And Jesus was of course the ultimate example of one who became a ‘fool,’ at least in the eyes of the world.

“The third kind of fool we find in Scripture is the one who is a fool-maker. When Nathan confronted David with his sins of adultery and murder, he showed David to have been a fool. Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal showed them to be fools. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead showed the establishment to be fools.

“My friends, we need to be that kind of fool-bearer and fool-maker in our world if we want to see our culture transformed,” Guinness said.

Baptist Press

Guinness is the author of The American Hour, The Call, Time for Truth and Long Journey Home. His work with the Washington-area Trinity Forum is focused on bridging the gap between academic knowledge and popular knowledge, particularly in matters of public policy.

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