Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO AN UNKNOWN GODTherefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17: 22b-31)
Pastor Darren Young of the Langley Evangelical Free Church gives some excellent thoughts on this section of scripture as it may apply to today. The whole thing is fairly long, but the section I'm posting on runs from about 1:50 to about 12:50.
Basically, his point is that Paul's discussions in the Areopagus in Athens do not exactly translate into any attempt on our parts to engage people in the marketplace, the workplace or on the street today. Mars Hill, where Paul's dissertation took place, was the place to go for the exchange of ideas in philosophy and religion. The same kind of place does not exist, for the most part, in the public square today.
In other words, if you tried to stand up on a busy street corner today and give the same message, you might be ignored, you might be heckled, you might be assaulted, you might even be arrested for disturbing the peace. As Pastor Young says, if you stood up on your desk at work and announced you were going to tell your co-workers about Jesus, it probably would not go well for you. Even a less conspicouos attempt to discuss your faith with others is met with an air of indifference or opposition.
But what if there were a place that was open to discussing matters of faith freely? A place where discussion was welcomed; where no question was ridiculed; yet a place where Jesus could be proclaimed boldly to those interested in hearing? In fact, a place where people come specifically to hear?
There is such a place! It is called Alpha. And for a person anxious to see people come to a realization of the truth of The Christian faith, it is the best forum I have ever known for just that puropse.
Yes, I am biased, but my new position with Alpha Canada is merely a next and natural step in my relationship with this remarkable outreach tool. Lord willing, it will enable me to encourage Alpha's expanded presence in our Province and even our nation.