Sunday, January 15, 2012
Was the Apostle Paul a “Seeker Sensitive” Preacher?
Was Paul a "seeker sensitive" preacher? You decide. In Iconium, Paul went to the Jewish synagogue "...and preached with such power that at great number of both Jews and Gentiles became believers. Some of the Jews, however, spurned God's message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them...Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycoania...And there they preached the Good News." (Acts 14:1-7 NLT)
Note Paul and Barnabas’ strategy: they entered the synagogue, not always friendly to the gospel, but Paul’s custom (see Acts 17:1-7), evidently not concerned about preaching to a “seeker sensitive" audience. After all Paul “was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16) and was convinced that gospel was “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). Their ministry was fruitful and divisive - a pattern you find in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles.
Note the results: many were converted but their ministry incited great opposition - in other words their proclamation of the Gospel "divided" the audience. Evidently no concern for popularity, acceptance or prestige on their part. Even though there was organized opposition to their ministry, they “stayed there a long time,” boldly preaching a message of grace and God’s power confirmed their message. They did not leave Iconium until they learned of a death threat against them. If you think things got better for Paul, read Acts 14:19 where in Lystra, his next destination, Paul was stoned and left for dead by those offended by his message.
Where is the similarity with today’s “seeker sensitive” movement?