1 Corinthians 1:17 (ESV) … “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
When Paul said Christ did not send me to baptize, he was not minimizing the importance of baptism. Instead, he was pointing out that his gift was preaching, and that Christ had sent him to preach the gospel (see Acts 9:15). His primary task was to proclaim the message.
Even the preaching of the gospel could be cause for division, however. In fact, this was already happening in Corinth, with the believers lining up behind different preachers for different reasons. Paul pointed out that neither he, nor the other apostles and preachers, spoke with words of human wisdom. In his presentation of the gospel message, Paul did not depend upon the rhetoric or philosophical arguments so admired by the Greeks. To do so would have emptied the message, the cross of Christ, of its power, and it would have drawn people to the preachers rather than to the message of salvation in Christ. No rite or service in the church should be tied to a certain person. To do so can lead to favoritism. The cross gives power to these elements, not the wisdom or personality of the pastor.
In Christ & Friends Always,