Skip to content

Day: April 1, 2010

Paul’s Evangelistic Methods, Part 2

"Saint Paul Writing His Epistles" by either Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier (Wikipedia)
"Saint Paul Writing His Epistles"

As stated in the first post of this series, the apostles employed a wide variety of approaches as they proclaimed the gospel, and these approaches were both deeply personal and deeply informed.  In this post, I want to address Paul’s gospel message in Acts 17:16-34.  In doing so, I’m going to recommend a practice that John Piper generally recommends against.

Before continuing further, I want to state my respect for John Piper and for his clear desire for God’s glory to spread across the world.  Desiring God transformed the way I approach the Father, and Don’t Waste Your Life is one of the forces God used in pushing us towards service abroad.  At the same time, I disagree with Pastor Piper on his choice to avoid contemporary art forms (particularly film and television) in proclaiming God’s good news.  For instance, in a recent posting, John Piper wrote:

I think relevance in preaching hangs very little on watching movies, and I think that much exposure to sensuality, banality, and God-absent entertainment does more to deaden our capacities for joy in Jesus than it does to make us spiritually powerful in the lives of the living dead. (“Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies”)

I want to say that I completely agree with him on the first point–relevance in preaching indeed hangs very little on watching movies.  In fact, it hangs much more on studying movies.  Unfortunately, Piper presents a popular false dilemma and a more popular straw man.  I hope to show that Paul’s evangelism in Acts 17:16-34 proves these to be incorrect.