PREACHING THE GOSPEL IN PAGAN CULTURE—AGAIN!

(The Significance of Jesus and the Resurrection)

 

Scriptures:  Acts 17.16ff; Romans 1.16ff; I Corinthians 1.18ff

 

It is not known how long Paul was in Athens; he was in Corinth 18 months (Acts 18.11); he stayed in Ephesus for two years (Acts 19.10; I Corinthians 16.9).

 

Missions/Evangelism Challenges:

 

Inclusivism – God’s grace is as wide as human need.

                        Exclusivism – In His name only.

                        Syncretism   -   Checks against syncretism.

                        Subversion

                        Oppression

                        Persecution

                        Normativity of Scripture

 

Knowledge of God – Nature of man – Need for Salvation – the Way to Salvation

 

Audience Analysis – Stoics

 

Resurgent Paganism in our Post Modern Culture.  Four lessons learned from Acts 17. (Life Pillars)

 

                        The Inevitability of  Progress

                        The Perfectibility of Man

                        The Animality of  Man

                        Nature is Ultimate Reality

 

                        Humanism:  the Loss of God

                        Secularism:  the Loss of Shame

                        Pluralism:     the Loss of True Truth

                        Narcissism:  the Loss of Meaning

 

The Transcendent God vs. Stoic Pantheism.  It is not an unknown God but He is a risen Christ with whom we have to do.

 

The Process of Devaluating the Gospel to make it acceptable to audiences (I Cor 1.18; 15.17) i.e., “marketing” Jesus

 

Gnosticism (the first to fourth centuries):  Salvation to fit oriental dualism (resurgent New Age Pantheism and Myth).

 

4th Century:  Arianism aspired to remodel Christology via Greek Philosophy (Jesus is not divine).

 

18th Century:  Deists wished to remodel providence.  The universe was a self contained machine; therefore we have an absentee landlord—God.

 

19th Century:  Liberals’ use of Evolution remodeled the doctrine of Man – Sin – and Grace.  The Church is moving to inevitable perfection; nothing supernatural, no miracles.

 

20th Century:  Resurgent Paganism, Agnosticism, Pantheism.

 

Evangelistic Style for our Post Modern Culture:  Witnessing in our pagan culture:

 

I.    Be Observant

II.   Be Concerned

III.  Be Prepared

IV.  Be Tactful

V.    Call for a Verdict

 

Men must be committed and prepared

The Method—invite people to Church or meet them in the market place

The Message – The Risen Christ – True Truth – Relevance

 

                        Idolatry is the starting point

 

                                                “no other gods” – Old Testament

                                                “no other name” – New Testament

                                                 God’s providence

                                                 We must still face Christ and His Resurrection

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                James Strauss

                                                                                                                                                                                                Lincoln, Illinois 62656