We are preparing to speak at Emmaus Bible College’s “Christian MInistry Seminars” on February 6-7. Our theme, “Anti-Intellectualism Isn’t Spirituality,” will take on a number of topics. One of those topics is Paul’s use of his mind in Acts 17 to reach a diverse audience with the gospel. Acts 17:19-34 shows us that Paul was “greatly distressed” to see the city “full of idols.” Paul used reasoning to debate with those five groups.
Has it dawned on us in our post-Christian culture that the “old-time gospel” will be understood by many as something new and strange? Our message will be critiqued as a “new teaching” and as “some strange ideas.” The days of Christianity being the majority opinion are long gone! And we need to be ready not to be offended but to go on the offense and present the Good News of the Gospel!
Please notice that Paul was “preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection” (v. 18). This is critical in light of some who say Paul is out of line here in Acts 17 in using philosophy and pagan literature in his Mars Hill speech.
The follower of Jesus can be accused of being “anachronistic” or of being “modern.” The anachronistic charge may mean that, in the minds of many, the gospel is out-dated and useless. The modern charge is that the truths about Jesus have been lost and are “new” to this present generation. Either way, the Christian has the responsibility to speak into his or her immediate circumstances the truth about “Jesus and the resurrection.”
The Areopagus (called “Mars Hill” in the King James Bible) was the seat of the supreme court of Athens. Sessions were held by night for rendering judgment for crimes (murder, immorality, idleness) and for virtuous behavior. Paul was brought here, after discoursing day by day in the market place, so that he could give a fuller and more quiet exposition of his doctrine.
Been dragged into court recently to defend the gospel? Why not?