“Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess.” (Acts 19:36–37, ESV)
In the previous devotion dealing with clashing worldviews, one concluding thought was that we need to witness graciously. The world’s way is to force opinions upon people with the cunning of words, elevated voices, and often deceptive speech. Once, I received a phone call from a person that came from a group that denies the Trinity of God, though I did not know this at the beginning of the call.
He began deceptively by not telling me of his religious background. He began with what seemed to be a sincere request, “I would like to understand more about the doctrine of the Trinity.” So, I attempted to dig into the subject. He quickly escalated his game by asking, “Show me one verse in the Bible that states there is a Trinity.” Of course, he already knew that there is no verse that uses the word, “Trinity,” in the Bible. This understanding of God is revealed in the context of many passages of Scripture.
As I attempted to go through the passages of Scripture that demonstrated the Trinitarian doctrine, he interrupted and began to argue with me. He did not take a breath and when he did, I stated, “You are not really interested in hearing what I have to say.” He denied this and continued with his forceful monologue. Ultimately, after a half-hour or so, I indicated that I had to go and we ended the call. This man’s approach was not filled with grace. It was patterned after the system of the world.
In Ephesus, Paul preached the truth of God’s word and came to a place of clashing worldviews. The majority of the residents were involved with the worship of Artemis. The clash was motivated primarily by money as Demetrius and the craftsmen who made silver shrines were fearful of losing clientele to Christianity. This led to a very vocal protest and the beginning stages of a riot. The town clerk stepped in and presented something regarding Paul and his group that shows how we should conduct ourselves with grace when confronting those with an opposing world view.
The clerk stated that Paul and the others did not go on the attack in their presentation of Christ. He stated that they were not “sacrilegious nor blasphemers” of Artemis. The impression we get is that they were exalting Christ and His work rather than tearing down the opposing worldview. It is a pattern that works. When we lift up Jesus so others will see His glory, people will be drawn to Him. Peter wrote of this approach, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, AV).
Paul followed this approach in his preaching.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom . . . “and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1, 4–5, ESV)
The Scriptures attest to the success of this approach. So, remember to “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6, ESV)