Pagan Prophets

I love the account of Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). I think it really stretches some of our rigid ideas of Christianity.

Paul begins his time in this very cosmopolitan city by speaking to Jews. He teaches about Jesus in a very Jewish way. Then Paul is asked to the Areopagus. This is a place where the thinkers of the day would gather to discuss new ideas. Culture was shaped at the Areopagus. As Paul addresses this audience, he changes his style of communication. He understood that these were intellectual, Greek listeners, so he used a style they understood.

Then Paul does something that we do not completely grasp at first glance. Paul takes the line “in him we live and move and have our being” and applies it to his God. You see, this passage does not originate with Paul. It was written by the poet Epimenides 600 years earlier. The interesting thing is that this was a praise song to Zeus. “We are his offspring” is another line from a Greek poet (Aratus), and again, is a hymn to the Zeus.

Not only do we find out that Paul is well versed in worldly culture, but we see Paul using pagan praise songs to a false god as a tool to communicate the truth of the Gospel.

So . . . does that mean we can use some Family Guy, American Idol, and even Harry Potter to speak about Truth?

Hmmmm . . .

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