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Why discernment is the most controversial portion of a christinas engagement with the world

Acts 17 on Discernment and Apologetics for Christians Today Kato Mivule November 17 2011 One of the most instructive chapters, in my opinion, on christian discernment and apologetics is Acts 17. The chapter provides a Christian discernment and apologetics framework for both inside and outside the Church.

Paul encounters the religious Jews, believers, and would be secular philosophers of his day. Paul the apostle did not dismiss or deny a response to any of the members in each of these groups but rather responded with truth, reason, indisputable logic, and most importantly the message of Jesus Christ.

If you may, this can be categorized in two ways, apologetics and discernment inside the Church and outside the church.

  • Engaging with faith-based groups, movements, and like-minded communities can also assist young people in their discernment;
  • This culture of openness is extremely healthy for us.

Paul Reasons with the Jews out of scriptures. The key words here is, 'reasons with them out of scriptures'. Reason was not cast aside by Paul but rather, through reason, implying logical reason, Paul was able to show to the Jews that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Therefore, 'reason' is not ungodly as some 'over-spiritual Christians' seem to suggest but actually a gift from God. Scriptures and faith in Christ are not illogical; rather than contradict, scriptures in the Bible will compliment each other.

Yes, through 'reason' we can aptly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Apologetics and discernment inside the Church, Paul meets the Bereans.

Paul met another group of believers from Berea who searched the scriptures daily, to check if what Paul taught was so. We could say this was discernment and apologetics inside the church.

Rather than take Paul's message at face value, the Bereans did their own reading and research, to check if what Paul taught lined up with the scriptures. Many Christians today lack this type of approach to their faith and as a result, some have been taken advantage of by opportunists who manipulate the scriptures for personal gain.

The key issue is that Christians must get to that point in which they apply their God given reason, research, and check facts for themselves in the scriptures.

The question that a believer must to ask is, does what the preacher teach line up with the whole counsel in God's word or does it contradict? One thing that false teachers do very well, is to always quote the Bible out of context, they love to defend their doctrines usually by one verse or a group of contradictory verses.

Therefore, a believer must learn to read the Bible in context and cross check to see if what they hear that preacher teach is really from the Bible. Paul goes to Athens, disputes with the Jews. Interestingly when Paul went to Athens, rather than approach the Greek Philosophers first, he chooses to go to the religious Jews, the folks who should know about what he was preaching.

XV ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS (From 3th to 28 October)

Paul gets into a discourse and dispute with the Jews concerning Jesus Christ being the Messiah. Rather than confront the idols in Athens, Paul confronts those who should know The Lord better, those who have a prior knowledge of The Lord.

What purpose does it serve to go to a city and preach to unbelievers while the believers in that same city cannot read their own bibles or are living contrary to the faith they profess?

The priority would be to minister to the believers first. Apologetics outside the Church Paul meets with the Greek Philosophers. And some said, What will this babbler say? Paul observed and examined the Greek Culture and lifestyle.

Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. One of the things that Paul did was to study carefully with observation and examination of the Greek peoples and culture. This included studying their poets, philosophers, their religious belief systems, and way of life.

  1. This is an area where the Church needs to model, and provide space for, healing for our families, responding to these issues by showing that there is room for everyone. Relationship with Technology When referring to technology, one must understand the duality of its application.
  2. This can happen when we seek to promote the dignity of women, both in the Church and in wider society.
  3. The conversation on technology is not limited to the internet.

Of course, if Christians are going to effectively engage this present culture and preach the gospel, then a study of other social groups and their lifestyles is important. Simply ignoring learning about other cultures hinders our ability to effectively reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Secondly, it also shows not just ignorance but arrogance and a lack of care, people from other cultures and ethnicity welcome those who take the time to learn about their cultures.

Some Christians ignore study and knowledge, claiming that they only read the Bible. However, we see that Paul did venture out and did some rigorous study of the Greek peoples by observation and careful examination.

Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment

Effective apologetics and evangelism outside the Church today requires ministers who are knowledgeable, well studied, and have done their homework before they engage other people groups.

Yes, we do have the Holy Spirit but The Holy Spirit gives wisdom and knowledge too and in Paul's case, he had to study, observe, and carefully examine the Greek culture before he engaged it.

Paul had to apply critical thought, reason and logic, God given tools that we seem to neglect these days as Christians. Paul speaks to the Greeks about God as creator of heaven and earth and that God cannot dwell in temples made by human hands. Basically using logic, if we live, move, and have our being in him, and if we are his offspring, then that God cannot be a stone but alive and well. By contraposition logic and reasoning, an offspring of a stone is a stone, therefore since we are his offspring, God CANNOT be a stone but he is alive and well bigger than Humans since we live, move and have our being in him.

The point to be made here is that Paul had done a careful study of the poets Epimenides and Aratus and pointed out the two issues they raised in their poetry, that in him we live, move and have our being, and that we are his offspring. We notice that Paul also employs logic and rational as he reasons with the Greek philosophers. Therefore for effective apologetics, evangelism and reaching out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, such skills need to be employed, especially in this information age in which we live.

Ignorance and intellectual laziness about other cultures is no longer an excuse. While Paul depended on the power of the Holy Spirit in preaching the gospel, he did not ignore knowledge, careful study, reason and logic.

Actually a combination of both helped him be more effective in preaching and defending the gospel he preached. Paul preaches to the Greek Why discernment is the most controversial portion of a christinas engagement with the world, rebukes their ignorance. After proving to the Greek Philosophers that God is alive and not a stone or an idol, Paul proceeds to preach repentance to them.

Interestingly in this part of the discourse, Paul rebukes the ignorance of these supposedly knowledgeable Greek Philosophers by telling them that these times of ignorance God winked at but God know commands all men to repent. In all their reasoning, the Greek philosophers had never come to a conclusion that if your an offspring of God, then God cannot be a dead stone but alive just as the offspring is alive.

Greek philosophers reject the resurrection message. The point was to preach the gospel effectively and Paul did just that. A few men believed and others made fun of Paul once they heard about the resurrection. Even to this day, the message of Jesus Christ rising from the dead is still very hard for many thinkers and philosophers to take. So, the whole point of this study of Acts 17 was to show that Paul not only engaged in apologetic discourse inside the Church but outside the Church too, among none believers but in all cases, Paul employed the tool of study, careful examination, observation, logic, reason, even while being led and powered by The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not a Spirit of foolishness and ignorance but Power, Wisdom and Knowledge, and we do well to know that the fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

  1. The key issue is that Christians must get to that point in which they apply their God given reason, research, and check facts for themselves in the scriptures. They want to act as Catholics in the public sphere for the betterment of society as a whole.
  2. Throughout the world, the relationship to the sacred is complicated.
  3. Scriptures and faith in Christ are not illogical; rather than contradict, scriptures in the Bible will compliment each other. Paul met another group of believers from Berea who searched the scriptures daily, to check if what Paul taught was so.
  4. Young people understand the general sense of bringing meaning to life and being alive for a purpose, but many do not know how to connect that to vocation as a gift and call from God. Some fruitful initiatives are.
  5. Paul observed and examined the Greek Culture and lifestyle... The young have many questions about the faith, but desire answers which are not watered-down, or which utilize pre-fabricated formulations.