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No on Pragmatism: The End Doesn't Justify the Means

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

Maybe you’ve heard the statement, “The end justifies the means.” This sentence relates to methods of accomplishment. The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:21 wrote: “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” The “end” Paul addresses is “to save them that believe.” God wants to save people. He also wants them to believe. It pleased God to save people and for them to believe by using the method of preaching.

You might ask, “People don’t like preaching though. They hate it, so isn’t there a better method to use than preaching?” Paul explains the method that pleased God for saving people and for them to believe. He wants preaching as His method. True believers want to please God. God created man for His pleasure (Rev 4:11). Do you want to please God? Does our church want to please God? So what method should we use for church growth?

Today church leaders so much want their churches and bank accounts to grow in number that they’ll use almost any method for that to occur. Churches today know that people do not like preaching, so they choose instead popular means or methods. They attempt to build or assist the growth of their church using worldly or fleshly means.

The end justifies the means defines “pragmatism.” The last verses of 1 Corinthians 1 show other methods besides preaching glorify men. Men receive credit or praise for church growth by using those methods. God doesn’t receive glory from them, so Paul said he wouldn’t even use a method of clever speaking to achieve results, let alone more carnal methods (1 Cor 2:1).

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