Today we begin Chapter Two of the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World by Paul Copan and Kenneth D. Litwak. (Hear the introductory interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Two, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact on the Christian Apologetics Alliance Facebook page here.
Chapter Two: Was Paul’s Speech at Athens a Mistake?
Chapter 2 looks at why some theologians have suggested that Paul’s approach at Athens was unsuccessful for various reasons. The authors disagree with this claim and answer with five points arguing that Paul’s approach was successful and is actual a model for cross-cultural communication.
Paul’s Areopagus speech truly reflects the heart of Paul’s Christ-centered strategy. This approach has important implications for the believers engaging in crosscultural missions. Not only that; it gives key insights into “cross-worldview communication”—the phrase one Christian philosopher uses for apologetics , which attempts to defend the Christian faith in the marketplace of ideas. (Kindle 231-235)
From start to finish, Luke makes clear, Paul’s proclamation in Athens is quite in line with the good news announced by Jesus himself. (Kindle 320-321).
Paul’s experience and speech at Athens were no theological or evangelistic aberration. Rather, they serve as a model for imitation in communicating the gospel crossculturally. (Kindle 347-348)
- What are the reasons that some scholars thought Paul’s approach was mistaken?
- What arguments do you find most persuasive in favor of Paul’s approach being a model for cross-cultural communication?
- In what ways do you think Christians should emulate Paul’s ability to adapt to his audiences?