Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Bereans and Christian Apologetics

"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus, Whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.' And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women."
- Acts 17:1-4

In our Wednesday evening service tonight at church, we started a video series by R. C. Sproul on apologetics. The elder who was leading started us with reading a couple of relevant Bible texts, including I Peter 3:15 and Acts 17, part of which I have quoted above.

That portion reminded me of the book pictured here, which I received recently from Amazon. Note that I haven't read it, yet, so I'm not necessarily endorsing it. I merely note its relevance to the matter at hand.

I also thought of Isaiah 55:11, "[S]o shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

I notice in the Mars Hill (or Areopagus, depending on version) story (Acts 17:16-34), Paul didn't preach on justifying what Scripture teaches. Rather, he taught the Scriptures as authoritative and sufficient in themselves. A former pastor of mine advised the congregation to point out what Scripture says on a matter, then to stop, and let the Holy Spirit work. Afterall, the Scriptures are His word, and He will sustain and apply them, as Isaiah promised. He doesn't require us to protect Him from opposition. When Paul followed that advice, though he was an apostle with the authority that office carries, Jews and Greeks were converted!

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