A quick look at my little world.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Are you living Acts 2 or Acts 17

I read an interesting post by Mark Batterson about the difference between Acts 2 and Acts 17. His main point is that we live in an Acts 17 environment. People are spiritual, religious even. They are asking the right questions, just asking the wrong god. They are asking the "gods" of this world instead of the One True God.

Here is his post, enjoy (I put my comments to his post at the end). I'd love to hear what you think. You can also read his post from his site here.

A few weeks ago I heard James Emery White, former President of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, speak at the Q Conference. And he made a great distinction between two approaches to culture. He said we can't afford to approach culture as if we're living in an Acts 2 age where we're surrounded by God-fearing Jews. We need to approach culture like we're living in an Acts 17 age where we're surrounded by idolatry like Paul in Athens. I've always felt like Acts 17 is "the model" when it comes to decoding culture.

I would describe Athens as a culture of misdirected spirituality. There were altars all over the place including the altar to an unknown god. Seems to me that America is a nation of worshippers, but our worship is misdirected. We worship celebrities. We worship athletes. We worship wealth. We worship the body. We worship just about everything except God.

America is full of spirituality, but it is often in the form of idolatry. But we can't boycott the aeropagus. We've got to compete in the marketplace of ideas. We've got to find spiritual touchpoints. Paul started with what they worshipped--the altar to the unknown god--and used it to preach about Christ.

For what it's worth, it seems to me that songs and movies are really altars to an unknown God. They ask the right questions and raise the right issues. But they fall short because they don't have the answers! Part of decoding culture is doing what Paul did in Acts 17:23: Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

My response to him was: You are so right. I used the Acts 17 the last time I had an opportunity to preach in the sanctuary. Paul started where they were, complimented them ("I see you are a religious people") and then shifted to Jesus (the "unknown god"). What a GREAT model. AND, NO, we are NOT in an Acts 2 environment as the norm.thanks!

1 comment:

Calvin Wulf said...

And you are so right too! Christ ushered in a holiness that sends us into the culture so that the world will see him in us. People who are obediant to Jesus will let his light shine in love. We at Living for God are committed to the strategy of Christ in culture rather than at war with culture.

Thanks for your encouragement,

Calvin Wulf