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  1. YOU SHALL BE WITNESSES Book of Acts – Paul in Athens Acts 17:16-21 Week 31

  2. We Have a Lot in Common with Athens Inter-Varsity Press The prevailing philosophies of the West's post-Christian era--secular humanism's scientific empiricism and the New Age pantheistic type of postmodernism--are remarkably similar to the Epicureanism and Stoicism Paul encountered at Athens. Paul's speech becomes a model for how to witness to the educated post-Christian mind, even as it spoke to Theophilus and his fellow seekers with their first-century pre-Christian minds. Proclaiming the Gospel with Integrity (17:16-21)

  3. We Have a Lot in Common with Athens Inter-Varsity Press The prevailing philosophies of the West's post-Christian era--secular humanism's scientific empiricism and the New Age pantheistic type of postmodernism--are remarkably similar to the Epicureanism and Stoicism Paul encountered at Athens. Paul's speech becomes a model for how to witness to the educated post-Christian mind, even as it spoke to Theophilus and his fellow seekers with their first-century pre-Christian minds. Proclaiming the Gospel with Integrity (17:16-21)

  4. What is Secular Humanism?

  5. Secular Humanism is a religious worldview christiananswers.net First, Secular Humanism is a worldview. That is, it is a set of beliefs through which one interprets all of reality—something like a pair of glasses. Second, Secular Humanism is a religious worldview.[2] Do not let the word “secular” mislead you. The Humanists themselves would agree that they adhere to a religious worldview. According to the Humanist Manifestos I & II: Humanism is "a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view."[3] http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/sum-r002.html

  6. Basic Beliefs of Secular Humanism • Theologically, Secular Humanists are atheists. • Philosophically, Secular Humanists are naturalists. • That is, they believe that nature is all that exists - the material world is all that exists. There is no God, no spiritual dimension, no afterlife. • Carl Sagan said it best in the introduction to his Cosmos series: "The universe is all that is or ever was or ever will be. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/sum-r002.html

  7. Basic Beliefs of Secular Humanism • Secular Humanist beliefs in the area of biology are closely tied to both their atheistic theology and their naturalist philosophy. • If there is no supernatural, then life, including human life, must be the result of a purely natural phenomenon. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/sum-r002.html

  8. Basic Beliefs of Secular Humanism • Atheism leads most Secular Humanists to adopt ethical relativism - the belief that no absolute moral code exists, and therefore man must adjust his ethical standards in each situation according to his own judgment.[10] If God does not exist, then He cannot establish an absolute moral code. Humanist Max Hocutt says that human beings "may, and do, make up their own rules... Morality is not discovered; it is made."[11] http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/sum-r002.html

  9. Basic Beliefs of Secular Humanism • Atheism leads most Secular Humanists to adopt ethical relativism - the belief that no absolute moral code exists, and therefore man must adjust his ethical standards in each situation according to his own judgment.[10] If God does not exist, then He cannot establish an absolute moral code. Humanist Max Hocutt says that human beings "may, and do, make up their own rules... Morality is not discovered; it is made."[11] http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/sum-r002.html

  10. What is Postmodernism? Inter-Varsity Press The prevailing philosophies of the West's post-Christian era--secular humanism's scientific empiricism and the New Age pantheistic type of postmodernism--are remarkably similar to the Epicureanism and Stoicism Paul encountered at Athens. Paul's speech becomes a model for how to witness to the educated post-Christian mind, even as it spoke to Theophilus and his fellow seekers with their first-century pre-Christian minds. Proclaiming the Gospel with Integrity (17:16-21)

  11. Postmodernism Beliefs • Postmodernism supporters deny long-held beliefs and conventions and maintain that all viewpoints are equally valid. • Postmodernism has evolved to relativism that what is right for one group may not be right for everyone • Christianity teaches that sex outside marriage is wrong. Postmodernism would claim that such a view might pertain to Christians but not to those who don't follow Jesus Christ; therefore, sexual morality has become much more permissive in our society in recent decades. http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Postmodernism.htm

  12. More on Postmodern Beliefs • Other examples that postmodernism has evolved to relativism (that what is right for one group may not be right for everyone) • Taken to extremes, postmodernism argues that what society says is illegal, such as drug use or stealing, is not necessarily wrong for the individual. • Postmodernism's rejection of absolute truth causes many people to reject the Bible. • postmodernists deny Christ's claim to be the truth, but they also dismiss his statement that he is the only way to heaven. http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Postmodernism.htm

  13. Paul's speech to the Athenians is a model for how to present the Gospel to anyone influenced by postmodern thought

  14. Paul Proclaims the Gospel at Athens Acts 17:16–21

  15. Acts 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. Athens was filled with examples of artistic beauty, particularly its statues of the Greek gods and the architectural magnificence of its temples. Paul, however, was deeply troubled by the idolatry that the art represented. ESV Study Bible

  16. Acts 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. “His spirit” does not mean the Holy Spirit but Paul’s human spirit (cf. Rom. 8:16). He was deeply troubled to see the entire city devoted to false gods represented by idols. ESV Study Bible

  17. Acts 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. Athens was also the religious center of Greece—virtually every deity known to man could be worshiped there. Paul viewed Athens as a city of lost humanity, all doomed to a Christ-less eternity because of rampant pagan idolatry. ESV Study Bible

  18. Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Witnessing for Christ was a matter of patient persuasion. Although Paul saw a few people come to faith here in Athens (v. 34), he had no helpers with him, there is no record of any miracles being done, and there is no record of a church being established. ESV Study Bible

  19. Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. the devout persons means God-fearing Gentiles ESV Study Bible

  20. Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. "The Athenian Agora [marketplace] was the center of the public and business life of the city, and people met there every day to learn the latest news and to discuss all manner of subjects. . ”http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Acts/Witness-Athens

  21. Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. “Temples and government buildings, shops and offices, and altars and statuary filled the Agora, and stoas and colonnades gave protection against the summer sun and the winter rain and cold" (Finegan 1981:128). http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Acts/Witness-Athens

  22. Acts 17:18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities.” MacArthur ESV Study Bible Epicurean philosophy taught that the chief end of man was the avoidance of pain. Epicureans were materialists—they did not deny the existence of God, but they believed he did not become involved with the affairs of men. When a person died, they believed his body and soul disintegrated.

  23. Acts 17:18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities.” Stoic philosophy taught self-mastery—that the goal in life was to reach a place of indifference to pleasure or pain. MacArthur ESV Study Bible

  24. Acts 17:18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities.” They called Paul a babbler (Gk. spermologos, lit., “one who picks up seeds,” derived from an older and less common meaning of legō, “pick up”). ESV Study Bible

  25. Acts 17:19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? The Areopagus is the “hill of Ares” (Ares being the Greek god of war). The Court of the Areopagus was a long-established body with extensive authority over the civil and religious life of Athens. In Paul’s day, it exercised jurisdiction especially in matters of religion and morality. ESV Study Bible

  26. Acts 17:22-34 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. Acts 17:22–34 Witness before the Areopagus. Paul’s Areopagus address is the prime example in Acts of preaching to Gentiles. Although rooted in OT ideas, it appealed to the Greek philosophers by interacting with their thought, even quoting their own writers in a well-informed, respectful way. Its main subject was the error of idolatry. ESV Study Bible

  27. Acts 17:22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. Religious(Gk. deisidaimōn) could be taken either positively (“pious”) or negatively (“superstitious”). ESV Study Bible

  28. Acts 17:23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. To the unknown god. The Athenians were supernaturalists—they believed in supernatural powers that intervened in the course of natural laws… Paul thus had the opportunity to introduce them to the Creator-God who could be known (Deut. 4:35; 1 Kings 8:43; 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 9:10; Jer. 9:24; 24:7; 31:34; John 17:3). ESV Study Bible

  29. Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, God who made the world. This teaching flatly contradicted both the Epicureans, who believed matter was eternal and therefore had no creator, and the Stoics, who as pantheists believed God was part of everything and could not have created himself. MacArthur ESV Study Bible

  30. Paul at the Aeropagus Acts 17:22-34

  31. Acts 17:11Examining the Scriptures ESV Study Bible • By commending this activity, Luke encourages this searching of the Scriptures as a pattern for all believers • and also gives support to the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture, • the idea that the Bible can be understood rightly, not only by scholars but also by ordinary people who read it eagerly and diligently, with conscious dependence on God for help.

  32. Closing Questions What have we learned in this passage about:

  33. Final Question What have we learned in this passage about: