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Sharing The Gospel

Areopostica & Mars Hill
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Penna Dexternever miss viewpoints

New data from the Gallup organization finds just under half of U.S. adults describing themselves as religious. In the same survey, 33% say they are spiritual, but not religious, and 18% are neither.

It’s increasingly apparent that we live in a post-Christian society.

Evangelist Sam Chan explains: “This is why evangelism is so scary and awkward….What worked in the age of Christendom seems ineffective in our post-Christian age.”

In his book, How to Talk About Jesus (without being THAT guy), Dr. Chan suggests listening closely to people to “hear where they’re coming from — culturally, emotionally, and existentially” and then appropriating their language to “show them that Jesus is the one they’re looking for.”

The apostle Paul did that. Acts 17:22-31 recounts his speech to the Areopagus. These were Athenian philosophers, who would gather at a hilltop called the Areopagus, or Mars Hill. This place for discussion was the marketplace of society where men traded in ideas. Like Paul, we should think about evangelism as beginning where people are, physically, and also intellectually and spiritually.

Our guide through Greece, David Sparks, emphasized that our message should be captivating, relevant to the times and to each person’s needs and mindset. Paul told the Areopagus he could see that they were “very religious.” He mentioned their altar bearing the inscription: “To the unknown god.” He proceeded to explain who this god is, that he is our creator and that “he is actually not far from each one of us.”

Pastor Sparks said Paul “used an old and frequent pattern in the Greek language”, when he proclaimed: ”In him we live and move and have our being.”

Paul’s love for people fueled his concern that they were trapped in the idolatries of the day. Today, our idols are different. We must be sensitive as we point them out.

We can follow Paul’s pattern for evangelism in a pagan society. penna's vp small

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