Road Warrior Basics Four: Be Persuasive (Scripture reading: Acts 17.24-28)
In his book Allah: A Christian Response, theologian Miroslav Volf offers five points of agreement between Christians and Muslims that explain how massive Muslim evangelization is being accomplished today by beginning with creation. “1. There is only one God, the one and only divine being. 2. God created everything that is not God. 3. God is radically different from everything that is not God. 4. God is good” (the fifth appears below). As Paul demonstrated, creation is the most effective common ground for evangelizing everyone, everywhere including on the road in America.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live” (Acts 17.24-26).
Surrounded by the ancient equivalent of nuclear physicists, brain surgeons, and college professors, Paul swept his hands across the vista of the Parthenon to the Heavens and essentially said, “You don’t make a home for God; God has made a home for you.” The implication is that his hearers intuitively knew what a mighty and powerful Creator God is.
1. Persuade people by beginning with facts they intuitively know are true.
“’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring’”(Acts 17.28).
Greek poets had already intuitively acknowledged that God is not a creation in our image. We are a creation in His. People on your road already know this too!
2. Persuade people to reach out to the God they intuitively know exist.
Miroslav Volf’s last point of contact between Muslim and Christian theology: “5. God commands that we love God with our whole being.” This is a natural response to all human’s awareness of their need for God.
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself” (Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII, 425).
And so Paul persuades people to reach out to the God they know intuitively exists. “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Act 17.27).