Week 2, Day 5
Addressing Questions of the Culture
By Brendan Shearer
Reading through this experience that Paul had with the Athenians a few thousand years ago, you wouldn’t necessarily think that we would find commonalities with our culture today. Although, that is not the truth the sin that all humanity participates in, and our need for Christ remains unchanged. In Seattle we are surrounded by a community with the most divergent religious communities in America. Compounded by the fact that in our “Post-Truth” society, that every viewpoint is relative to each individual in our community. How do we address truth to those who do not believe?
“To an unknown God”, Paul recaptures the narrative from the polytheistic culture around him in his sermon. He refocuses the message on Christ, pointing to the unknown God who can become known (Acts 17: 29-31). As in our own experiences there will be those who mock him, but others who want to know more. Paul responded to the Holy Spirit to preach to these people Acts 17:32-34). He put to rest his fear that he would not be accepted by the culture, and addressed them contextually in a way they could understand and more importantly respond.
This passage challenges me, and my passivity and fear to proclaim Christ. We live in a time and a place where the Jesus are looked at as antiquated, out of touch, and intolerant by society. While living in a culture that prides itself on being “accepting and tolerant”. There are parallels between our situation and Paul’s in Athens:
“While the Athenians said they were open to new viewpoints they were very closed on matters of religion, so much so that they put Socrates to death for merely swearing strange oaths and receiving communications from a spirit. Every day Paul took the risk and spoke in the marketplace for he knew that belief in God was the only cure for the eternal death the Athenians were facing!” (Geldart, 2017)
We live in a place similar to Paul’s preaching in Athens. Here in Seattle, what are we doing to evangelize fearlessly without fear of rejection like Paul? He faced not only scoffing, but also death! Let us go boldly with Christ, with understanding of where we are and how to reach those around us without fear.