One Gospel, Multiple Contexts

Oct 2, 2022 • Mike Hubbard • Series: To Be Continued…

At the time of the New Testament, Athens remained the seat of philosophy and culture in the ancient world. While it had lost some of its luster to the Roman Empire, the lore of the great philosophers still hovered in the city. When Paul arrived to this city in hopes of proclaiming Jesus, the first thing that happened to him as he observed the culture was his angst about the incredible numbers of idols to the Greek gods in the city. His preaching brought him into contact with the two major schools of philosophical thought from the First Century, and the outcome is that Paul is given the opportunity to preach Jesus on Mars Hill. Yet this sermon is also a sort of trial, and had the potential to end badly if his message was rejected. It is into this context that Paul preaches Jesus carefully and in a way that is absolutely directed at the educated and intelligent audience on Mars Hill. Paul reminds us of two basic truths we must maintain as we seek to take Jesus to the world. First, there is only one Gospel, and we must proclaim Jesus without changing the truth of the message. Yet, there are an infinite number of cultural and social locations where the Gospel can be proclaimed and it is our task to know the culture and make Christ known in each place. So, the way we proclaim the timeless truth of the Gospel might look different as we seek to contextualize the Gospel to differing cultures.

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