Thursday, September 29, 2016
Feast of Michael & All Angels Meditation
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.”
—Acts 17:16-23 (ESV) Quotation
If those who say that we must preach the same message as Paul and the other apostles mean that we should also exhibit the same adaptability and sensitivity to the background culture, then they are right... If, however, they mean that we should expect results merely by repeating the actual phrases found in the New Testament, then they are mistaken. They are making, in fact, one of the basic mistakes in verbal communication, which is to confuse words with what they describe. The gospel is something God has done, not a series of phrases describing it.
Saying this does not undermine the Christian’s belief in the inspiration of the Bible, for the important thing about the Bible is what it talks about, rather than the way it does the talking. If we considered that there was the same degree of essential inspiration in the way it does the talking, then we would have to insist that every Christian learn Hebrew and Greek. The mere fact that we in the Western world read translations
of the scriptures is a clear admission that times and cultures have changed.
... Gavin Reid
(b. 1934), The Gagging of God
, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969, p. 65 (see the book
See also Acts 17:16-23; Isa. 28:9-12; Acts 2:7-11; 1 Cor. 14:21 Quiet time reflection
Lord, You speak to all people in their own language. Show me what I must do to carry the Gospel to those You have chosen. CQOD Blog email RSS
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