February 12, 2009

The God Who Is There

D.A. Carson is giving a seminar next week at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Here is an excerpt from his invitation:

The apostle Paul faced these challenges in the first century. When he was preaching in a synagogue (for instance, in Pisidian Antioch, Acts 13), he was dealing with people who believed there is one God, that this God is creator of everything in heaven and earth, that he is sovereign and holy, that the problem with human beings is their rejection of their Maker, that salvation must first and foremost reconcile us to this God, that history is teleological (that is, that it is heading to a telos, an end, a climax), that there is a final judgment to be faced, that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, that God alone prescribes how people are saved, and so forth. Paul did not have to establish any of these points: He and his hearers held them in common. In such contexts, Paul focused most of his attention on who the promised Messiah must be: He must be not only the long-awaited Davidic king, but he must suffer and die, and rise again. That was the most disputed point between unconverted synagogue attendees and Christians.

But when Paul finds himself preaching to pagans in Athens (Acts 17:16-31), not one of the propositions I’ve listed above is shared by Paul and his hearers. As a result, he takes time to establish all these points, and a few others, before introducing Jesus. Otherwise the Jesus he wants to proclaim will be misunderstood, because Jesus will be placed by Paul’s hearers in the wrong context.

Learning to evangelize men and women who know nothing about the Bible and who are bringing their own “baggage” or “context” with them does not require a super intellect or a Ph.D. in biblical theology. What it requires is learning to get across a lot of things that we Christians simply presuppose

Read the whole thing here

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Do you know when this conference starts? Is it going to be available through DesiringGod.org?