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Confrontational-Dialogue in Acts 17

September 9, 2008

I discovered this morning an apparent juxtaposition in Acts 17:1-15. In this story (the evangelisation of Thessalonica and Berea) Paul utilises both “reasoning” and “proclaiming” in his gospel presentation.

Sometimes Paul is open, interactive, considerate; at other times he is closed, mono-directional, confrontational. The apostle dialogues and demands. He converses and contends.

As usual, John Stott provides some helpful commentary:

“Although there is an important place for ‘dialogue’ with men of other faiths…there is also need for ‘encounter’ with them, and even for ‘confrontation’, in which we seek to both disclose the inadequacies and falsities of non-religion and to demonstrate the adequacy and truth of, absoluteness and finality of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Paul believed in doctrine (his message had theological content) but not in indoctrination (tyrannical instruction demanding uncritical acceptance.)”

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