New International Version (NIV)
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship —and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
You may have seen posts and news stories that proclaim that “Christians were stoned” at an Arab International Festival in Michigan.
When I first read about this I saw a short version of the video they took. Yes, indeed things were being thrown at them, but I felt I did not understand what all the facts were so I did not “share” the story or the video with anyone. My initial impression was one of “they were looking for a fight.”
As time went on and I saw more an more people sharing this video I decided I better look into it further to either support the sharing of the incident OR express my disagreement with what actually happened.
When I was growing up I often irritate my big brother. I know that those of you who know me find this hard to believe, but it is true. 🙂 Anyway, he would eventually strike back at which point I would go crying to my mom telling her what awful thing he had done to me. My mother, God love her, would ask, “What did you do to him?” She was a very wise woman.
So, I wanted to know how this altercation started, what the signs that they were carrying said and why they were there in the first place.
My first move was to read an article from Front Page Magazine: “Stoned Dearborn Christian Speaks.” I’ve shared other articles from this source with which I agree so that is why I chose it.
The author shares this:
“We have seen this before, and I have written and spoken on the Arab Festival for the last three years. At the 2010 festival, four Christians from the Acts 17 Apologetics group were arrested and charged with “breach of the peace.” Their cameras were confiscated, all for attempting to hand out Christian literature.”
I have not read the article on that group, but if they followed the Apostle Paul’s example for discussing and sharing the message of Christ I would assume they were present at the event and handing out literature and answering questions. To my mind that is not a problem.
This year this group went to the Festival:
“Ruben Israel is one of the founders of Bible Believers and heads a group of Evangelical Christians known as the Official Street Preachers. He has been going to events with his group for over 30 years with his megaphone and signs preaching the gospel.”
The author goes on to say that there is absolutely nothing in the full one hour video that is not in the shortened video. I will let you decide on the veracity of that statement once you see the videos yourself.
As Christians we are to speak the truth in love when bringing Christ’s message to others who do not believe. The Apostle Paul “reasoned and debated.” I don’t think that’s what this group did.
They showed up at an Arab Festival with Tshirts that said: “He that believeth not shall be damned,” one sign that declares Mohammed a liar, a false prophet, a murderer, and a child molester, and a pig’s head.
“We were going to do some preaching and the preaching would provoke some good conversation and conversation is what’s good, and the crowd is gathered around us, and that’s the purpose for the large signs because they display exactly who we are and what we believe.”
I do not think the actions taken by his group had any hope of provoking good conversation. The actions appear to me geared to provoke…period.
This makes me very, very sad because there ARE some HARD truths we need to face about radical Islam. Actions like this will not help us find people who will listen. We will be shut down because they will equate what we are trying to do with actions like this.
Well, I am going on record here as condemning this kind of behavior. Watch the video below. The group, with the help of a microphone, wearing shirts and carrying signs as described above and carrying a pig’s head shouted a message that to me seems to have anything but conversation and debate as its goal.
You decide. And if you disagree with actions like this speak up.