“For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.” Acts 17:28
Greetings fellow sojourners. You are precious in the eyes of the Lord!
Not long ago my kids participated in speech and debate tournaments and one of the categories was Mars Hill Impromptu. Its intent was to train students to connect the current culture and Christianity in order to point people towards Christ. They were required to identify the universal themes contained in various classic and popular artistic genres (books, movies, songs, etc.) and discuss the relationship of those themes to the Biblical truths of Christianity and God’s work in the world. The name of this event was taken from the Apostle Paul’s speech in Athens (recorded in Acts 17) when he used Greek cultural ideas to find common ground in order to make a connection for them to Christ (Acts 17:16-34).
Mars Hill was the meeting place for the Areopagus Court (see Acts 17:22-34), the highest court in Greece for civil, criminal, and religious matters. Even under Roman rule, Mars Hill was an important meeting place where philosophy, religion, and the law was discussed. (The picture below shows the plaque tribune at Mars Hill commemorating Paul’s efforts in apologetics.)
During this time, the Greeks had constructed an altar to an ‘unknown god’ (Acts 17:23). Paul used this altar and the Greek’s religious idolatry as a launching point (Mars Hill Impromptu example) to proclaim to them the truth about the one true God and how they could be reconciled to Him.
I remember learning that possibly the best way to speak the Gospel message to an unbeliever would not be by proclaiming the authority of Scripture because it absolutely held no jurisdiction for an unbeliever and would, therefore, be meaningless. The Gospel becomes the authority to someone only after accepting the Lordship of Christ Jesus in their own personal life. Until then, possibly the best ways to bring someone into a conversation about Christ is to relate their current circumstances to Biblical truths as in the Mars Hill example. In other words, meet people where they are in their life and communicate to them how the answers to life’s universal themes can be solved by Biblical truths. This then leads to a defense of the Christian faith; or apologetics.
Can you think of a few current cultural issues in your sphere of influence which you could speak to someone in a Mars Hill fashion? For instance, which moral hot topics can you speak about while reinforcing your responses with the truth of Scripture? (God’s love should always be the foundation.) Maybe such topics as doctor-assisted suicide, gay and lesbian relations, abortion, and divorce are a few topics for you to consider. I sincerely hope this leads you to God’s word as you think through and investigate future conversations you might have as the Lord opens doors for you to share His grace with others.
In His love and grace,