Engaging a Secular Culture (Without Being a Jerk)

This Sunday we’ll be continuing our short series which considers practical ways in which we can fulfill what the angel told the women at the empty tomb; “Go and tell” this good news. We’re going to look at another example from the book of Acts, one I’ve taught on before, but which bears repeating. We’ll be reading Acts 17:16-29.

In this famous teaching, Paul is summoned to the Areopagus, or Mars Hill, where the city council would meet. In this setting, Paul related the gospel to a completely uninitiated people. His approach to their culture gives us a fascinating insight as to how far Paul would go with his ideology of being all things to all people (1 Cor 9:22).

Read through Paul’s address. How would you characterize his words? Was he scolding? It says he was grieved by the idolatry he saw – but how did he start his address and what did he point to in his message to use as a platform for the gospel?

In v28 Paul quotes a line from a hymn of praise to Zeus, by the pagan poet Epimenides. He didn’t do that to validate a worship of Zeus, but as a support for his claim about the One, Creator God. How might we learn to do that sort of thing in the culture where we find ourselves?

How can we learn from Paul’s interaction with culture to engage our world without condemning it? Hopefully our consideration of this on Sunday will foster some new ideas for us as we follow Jesus who’s loose in the world! Hope to see you then!


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