Athens, meet Jesus

I’m all about Acts 17 right now. It’s Paul talking to the Athenians on Mars’ Hill. The application? A modernistic society that values pluralistic philosophical thinking, cultivates an interest in the outside world, maintains unreasonable superstitions, and has no concrete ideas about the nature of God. Sounds quite a bit like China today. In other cities, Paul talked to Jewish people about the Messiah they had rejected. But here, it’s like the wheels spin in a new way as Paul introduces the true God, Jesus Christ, to people who aren’t looking for him! How do you introduce God?

I like that first of all, Paul points to their obsessive religious behavior. He makes the point that, among humans, there are no atheists, only ignorant worshippers. Even in China, the modern, Communist country with no time for spiritual things, people know intrinsically that there is a God. Their relentless pursuit of finances, status, position, power, happiness, and success are all misguided acts of worship. It is an attempt to bring glory to something or someone. If they don’t know who God is, they’ll worship something else. I had an American tell me a while ago that we shouldn’t assume so much about the Chinese when we talk to them. Meaning, I shouldn’t assume that they know there is a God, and that we are all sinners. This is a pretty recurring theme in most teaching about witnessing to the Chinese. But when you speak to these students about the person of God and His testimony in Creation, about our failure to keep His law and our resulting guilt, heads bob up and down. We’re not convincing them… we’re introducing them.

Paul saw things a little differently than most people. He viewed Mars’ Hill as an opportunity to introduce a God that they were ignorantly worshipping. Later I’ll write more about what Paul says to introduce God. One of the new Chinese Christians prayed the other night and said, “God, thank you for letting me find out who you are.” What an awesome opportunity we have as Christians. To introduce God to a world that ignorantly worships Him!

One Comment on “Athens, meet Jesus”

  1. D.. July 26, 2007 at 12:46 pm #

    “Awesome” is right!!

    Learning a ton reading the blog!

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