Monday, July 28, 2008

Acts: Athens (17:16-34)

Apparently, when Paul was diverted to Athens in Acts 17, he was dealing in part with the Stoics. Well, there really is nothing new under the sun. A lot of today’s culture and philosophy is very similar to that of Stoicism, especially here in Germany. How do people go about their daily lives in a culture where no one believes in God, an after-life or much purpose? Basically, life is an accident and yet German culture is so absorbed with duty and doing what is “right.” That is a simplistic way of looking at the Stoic philosophy. Concentrate on living reasonably so as to not focus on the meaninglessness.
Paul’s approach here was different from other instances in Acts, so it is spoken of a lot. All that really differed though was the background of his audience. Paul always adapted his delivery so that it would communicate to the people to whom he was speaking.
The same must be done today. Take the timeless message of the Gospel and find connections to the local culture by which it can be made intelligible. Writers, politicians, national heroes, movies, books, TV… they all occasionally hit on a truth that relates to the truth of truths. Use it as a door to bring Jesus into the conversation. That is all Paul did in Athens.

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