Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mocking and Listening

 Acts 17:32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, "We will hear you again about this."

32 Ἀκούσαντες δὲ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν οἱ μὲν ἐχλεύαζον, οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· ἀκουσόμεθά σου περὶ τούτου καὶ πάλιν.

This is the final result of the sermon Paul preached at Mars Hill in Athens.  Of course, much is made about this sermon these days.  Some like to emphasize Paul's use of contextualization.  He noted something about their culture and used it to share the gospel.  There are two particularly famous Mars Hill churches in America, one emergent and one definitely not.  Both are interested in reaching the culture, though I would maintain that the latter does it much more faithfully to Scripture.

I don't really want to discuss that though.  I want to discuss this verse at the end.  It's vital for us to understand this.  Here we see how the people reacted to a sermon preached by Paul.  This is the Paul that wrote half of the New Testament.  He was a pretty good preacher, despite being the self-proclaimed "chief of sinners."  And yet at the end his message was mocked by some and accepted by others.  Literally this would be "on the one hand, there were mockers, but on the other hand some said..."

This greatly encourages me as I preach and teach.  It may be through a formal preaching ministry or it may just be through this blog and conversations I have with people.  Either way, I understand that I will be mocked.  However, I must remember that it is the message that they mock, not me.  It is my job to share the gospel faithfully.  In other words, I must scatter seed.  I cannot determine if it will grow.  This is certainly liberating.  This is what I take Mark Driscoll to mean when he exhorts faithful evangelism and then you should "sleep like a Calvinist."


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I looked at the two links you provided for Mars Hill churches, one "emergent" and the other "definitely not", and it makes me ask the question, why is one emergent, and the other definitely not, and which in your experience and opinion is the better of the two?

Remember, I am an Orthodox Greek and the church I adhere to has an unbroken history from the early Christians, and a worship environment from the days of the late Roman Empire. Words like "emergent" don't mean anything to me.

Jason said...

The "emergent" church tries to deal with the Bible in a postmodern context. The Mars Hill in Seattle sees the Bible in the traditional sense. Meanwhile, the pastor of the Mars Hill in Michigan wrote in one of his books that "even without the virgin birth you don't really lose anything." It is much better not to be emergent. The goal of reaching young postmodern folks is admirable, but not at the expense of propositional truth.

This is one of the major flaws of Protestantism and it is something that makes Orthodox and Roman Catholics shake their heads with just cause. However, I don't buy the apostolic claims of the Roman church.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Thanks for the explanation.
Orthodox Christians believe in the Bible as it is, without adapting the literal meaning to modern (or post-modern, whatever that means) tastes or sensibilities. If the Bible says that Jesus was born of a Virgin, so He was. Does it matter to our salvation to believe this? Yes, not in itself, but because belief in the total truthfulness of God's Word is essential to salvation. Once you start picking it apart, you have already abandoned the Sovereignty of God and the Resurrection of His Only Begotten Son. You're treading dangerous waters.

I don't buy the apostolic claims of Rome either. The apostolic faith was gradually replaced in Rome over the course of the centuries, till by around 1000 AD it was already so out of touch with evangelical truth, that the other Orthodox churches (a commonwealth, not a monolithic monarchy) had already given it up for lost. The modern attempts to reunite Orthodoxy and Rome are doomed to failure, because the Orthodox people guard the Christian Orthodox faith, not the church leaders, and we will never surrender. And if any of our leaders cave in to Rome, we simply jettison them. Read the history books and see what I mean.

Grace and peace.

Jason said...

Postmodern is the idea that truth is always relative. What is true for you may not be true for me. It is an untenable way to live because it cannot hold water. By definition, nothing is absolutely right or wrong. Absurd, isn't it?

I know that many folks have left the evangelical world for the Orthodox one. Overall, I think that Luther, Calvin, and some of the other Reformers got things basically right.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

It is my privilege to testify that Orthodoxy is the faith of Jesus Christ and the apostles, and it is not limited to the confines of the Orthodox Church. My hope is that honesty and generosity will prevail, and that the ancient Church will come to see that Orthodoxy is the common heritage of all followers of Jesus who confess the biblical faith, regardless of their local traditions or liturgies, and that one needn't become a Greek or a Russian to confess the same faith.