the weblog of Alan Knox

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Posted by on Jan 16, 2008 in discipleship, synchroblog | 47 comments

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Once upon a time, God used a donkey. How foolish! Not today. Today, God has other means of transportation available to him. He uses nice cars – Cadillacs, BMWs, Mercedes, even limos. God even uses jet planes. Why would God want to use something as foolish as a donkey when he has planes available to him?

Once upon a time, God used pagan prophets and philosophers. How foolish! Not today. Nothing good can come from culture. Today, God wants his people to read Christian books, watch Christian movies, and listen to Christian music. If God has something to say, he would never be so foolish as to speak through a pagan.

Once upon a time, God ate with prostitutes, drunks, thieves, and other malcontents. How foolish! Not today. God has enough good people now that he doesn’t need to hang out with that sort anymore. It would be foolish for God to be found among the dregs of society today.

Once upon a time, God gathered people in fields, and on a mountain, and in a valley, and in homes, and in a school. How foolish! Not today. If people want to meet with God today, they can come to his house – a church building. Wouldn’t it be foolish for people to think that God would come to them when he has beautiful buildings now?

Once upon a time, God spoke through untrained people. How foolish! Not today. There are plenty of college- and university- and seminary-trained people for God to speak through today. He doesn’t need to speak through the unlearned. What if they said something wrong? How foolish to think that God would still speak through uneducated people today.

Once upon a time, God called the foolish, weak, and unknown – the nobodies – of society. How foolish! Not today. Now God calls the smart, the powerful, and the celebrities to speak on the lecture circuit, write books, and hold conferences. How foolish to think that we could make it without our Christian celebrities!

Once upon a time, God asked people to drop everything and follow him. How foolish! Not today. God realizes that today we need a steady job with a good salary, a home, two cars, health and life insurance, a good dental plan, excellent schools, vacation, and a retirement plan. Do you foolishly think that God would ask us to follow him without these necessities?

Once upon a time, God expected his people to encourage one another when they met together. How foolish! Not today. Now God has provided us with professionals to handle all the dirty work, to study, to teach, to sing, to deal with problems. How foolish to think that God would expect us to do these things today.

Once upon a time, God wanted his people to trust him completely without relying on their own ability to understand. How foolish! Not today. God knows that people today need to think logically about things, to make reasonable decisions. God knows that we need all the details of his plans, especially the outcome. Do you foolishly think that God still expects us to trust him completely?

Once upon a time, God created and enforced covenants. How foolish! Not today. God now expects us to write our own covenants and to hold people accountable to them. If we don’t hold people accountable, then who will? How foolish it would be to think that God is still capable of taking care of his covenants and his children.

Yes, once upon a time, God used a donkey. But we can all see how foolish that would be now. We won’t get fooled again.


This post is part of a synchroblog on the topic “God’s Call to the Fools”. Click below to read additional posts on the same topic.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 1-16-2008

    Alan, that is honestly one of your best posts ever. It made me really wonder.

  2. 1-16-2008

    Once upon a time God said we should lay down our lives in order to gain them. How foolish when we can develop big kingdoms now to effectively do the work on earth…

    I’m joining the synchroblog late with my post My Foolish Calling…

  3. 1-16-2008

    wow!! I think is exactly right. One of your best.

    My head is still reeling with the implications of what you have written here. Thank you for challenging me today.

  4. 1-16-2008

    Brilliant! I need to read over it and contemplate it for a while.

  5. 1-16-2008

    Excellent post brother.
    After reading all of your posts I do think this is one of my favorite posts.

  6. 1-16-2008

    Fabulous. My favorite so far. Hits right between the eyes…

  7. 1-16-2008

    Preach it, brother. Preach it!


  8. 1-16-2008


    This post should give us all cause for self-examination. Hold on just a sec., I have to pull the LOG out of my own eye.

  9. 1-16-2008

    Wow… thank you for the response. It was completely unexpected. I’d love to hear which part challenged you the most, and why.


  10. 1-16-2008

    There’s only one word to say in response to that …


  11. 1-16-2008


    Stone the crows and starve the lizards; 500 sermons in one post!

    Good on you mate!

  12. 1-16-2008

    Simply A++ Definitely a keeper post!

  13. 1-16-2008

    Great post. It really gets us (American Christians) thinking about how we “do” church (American Christianity). I think that your post reminds us that for all our learnedness (look! I just made up a word!) that we feel makes us superior to others, we’re far more foolish than we realize.

    I do have one question though:
    “God used pagan prophets and philosophers” –> all the other ones I was able to, off the top of my head, realize what you were referencing, but this one, I’m not so sure. Could you give the context?

  14. 1-16-2008


    Good question. When I wrote this post, I intended to add Scripture reference to all of the “once upon a time” items, but I never added them. When I said that God used “pagan prophets and philosophers”, I was thinking of Balaam in Numbers 22-24 and the Greek poets that Paul quotes in Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12. There may be other instances where God used a pagan prophet or philosopher, but these were the ones that I had in mind.


  15. 1-16-2008

    excellent thoughts here. I’m still thinking about the last “once upon a time”. I’m guessing it’s about man made governments and laws and I think I get the point but I was wondering if you could explain a little further?

  16. 1-16-2008

    Once upon a time I thought that the Church would never change but now I really believe that God will carry carry the good work he intends for his People to completion.

    Great post Alan, It really strikes a chord

  17. 1-16-2008


    Primarily, I’m thinking of the proliferation of “church covenants”, where church leaders and members take it upon themselves to decide how other believers should live and believe. Compare that to God’s covenant with Abraham or David, etc. God was the one who created the covenant and maintained the covenant. I think we still are living under covenant with God and, because of that covenant, we live in covenant with one another – all believers, not just certain ones. I think God is still able to create and maintain that covenant.


  18. 1-16-2008

    Wow, Alan, that really is fantastic and thought provoking. Wow.

  19. 1-17-2008

    Holy Roman Empire, man, this is good. Please submit it somewhere for print. And, thank you.

  20. 1-17-2008

    thank you.

  21. 1-17-2008

    Once upon a time, man put God in a box…but God refuses to stay there.
    There’s enough fuel in this post to keep me thinking for a long time. Excellent!

  22. 1-17-2008

    Gees this was good. I’m going to have to print it out and keep it on my desk at work, or maybe in my Bible. Thanks!

  23. 1-17-2008

    Hey everyone. I appreciate the very positive comments on this post. I am honestly surprised and overwhelmed at the response. Perhaps you can help me. Why do you think people found this post so helpful/convicting/thought-provoking/etc? I’ve talked to a couple of friends about this, but I would love to hear some of your responses to this question. Thanks!


  24. 1-17-2008

    This post resonates deeply with me because I see that there is a growing number of people who see how far the modern church has gone astray, and I believe that we are on the verge or even in the midst of a movement to make those “once upon a times” in “once agains”

  25. 1-17-2008

    I think this post makes such an impact because it drives home the fact that man just cannot let well enough alone. We seem to need to “improve” our God and to re-make Him in our image. Didn’t work before, won’t work now.
    What fools we be.
    Thanks again for a great post!

  26. 1-17-2008

    Alan, your post has moved me to post one of my own that builds on the thoughts you presented here

  27. 1-18-2008

    I think that this post was so thought provoking for me because you reminded me of who God is and how He does things while clearly and cleverly pointing out how far off-track we as believers have gotten. But the main key was that you did this with a tone which was challenging, not angry or condemning.

  28. 1-18-2008

    Not just a donkey instead of a limo — he was anointed on his feet instead of his head, and when James and John asked for places on his left and right when he came to his kingdom they were told that those places were already reserved — for two thieves!

    Thisd is the kind of king and kingdom we represent!

  29. 1-31-2008


    I have never copied and pasted a blog before onto my blog. However, may I do that with this post ?

    I missed it initially. I will obviously tell people it is yours and link to your sight.

    As I am doing some prep for Lent, I want this to be out there for me and for the handful of people who read my blog.

    I will wait for you to answer before I do so.


  30. 1-31-2008


    You are always welcomed to copy my blog posts.


  31. 1-31-2008

    Thanks, I will be putting it up in about 30 mins.

  32. 2-3-2008


    I’m a newer reader of your blog, and it’s taken me a little while to check out this post, but wow! It strikes a chord with me because I am a church planting missionary in southern Mexico and we see all the time how the things you describe hinder the multiplication of disciples and churches. I linked to your post on my blog. Great job!

    Chris L

  33. 2-3-2008


    Thank you for the kind words, and for linking to this post.


  34. 2-11-2008

    This was an excellent very thought provoking post.

  35. 4-14-2011

    First off, I want to say that I appreciate your post, and I think that it is a very important point that needs to be heard.

    My only point of contention is this:

    “Once upon a time, God spoke through untrained people. How foolish! Not today. There are plenty of college- and university- and seminary-trained people for God to speak through today. He doesn’t need to speak through the unlearned. What if they said something wrong? How foolish to think that God would still speak through uneducated people today.”

    I agree that God can, and will, speak through anyone that he wants to speak through. I think that the mindset behind this point is dangerous, in that it invalidates the importance of education, and particularly theological education.

    God picks his prophets from whomever he wants, but he puts his rabbis through years of training!

  36. 4-14-2011


    Where is the danger in “invalidat[ing] the importance of education, and particularly theological education” ?

  37. 4-14-2011

    Won’t get fooled again by a talking donkey? I thought this was a political post!

  38. 4-14-2011

    Great post Alan.

    I really treasure this verse:

    Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. -Acts 4:13

    Being with Jesus.

  39. 4-14-2011


    Thanks for the comment. The point behind that section is that God can and does use all people, not just those who are educated. However, in the church today, we tend to marginalize any who are not educated (with a specific kind of education).


    I’ve learned alot from a brother who is a helicopter mechanic.


    Not that kind of donkey, and there are no elephants in this post.


    I think that’s most important. Has the person spent time with Jesus or not?


  40. 10-14-2011

    can’t believe I missed this one over the years! wow Alan, very bold & clear. Thank you. and ouch.

  41. 2-1-2012

    Great post. How foolish we can be to think we have things better figured out and more under controll than God.

  42. 6-19-2012

    Alaqn a thought provoking post, and Jesus even said to the leaders of his day on earth that God can turn these stones into Jews
    Thanks and may I copy it and post this on my blogger with yuor sight on it

  43. 6-19-2012

    The pastor of my new church said the very same things about the church covenant. It’s just a piece of paper, scripture is our “rule book” but not even that. What is God saying to me at any given moment?

  44. 7-20-2012

    Once upon a time, God breathed scripture that was profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work; and so each can do their best to present themselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

    Now, we have countless volumes of commentary about the bible, about the Christian life, and about God, etc. That’s like hiring the resume instead of the applicant!

  45. 7-20-2012


    That’s a great addition. Thank you!


  46. 11-12-2012

    Once upon a time, may just get a replay…what if we really took this following Jesus serious enough to trust the Holy Spirit…Hummmmmm

  47. 11-12-2012


    Please, use this (and my other posts) any way that you want to. And, you’ve asked a very good question!