I think the name “Mars Hill” is a pretty good name for a church in the 21st century. In the book of Acts Mars Hill was a place that the Apostle Paul came upon when he was journeying through Athens, recorded in Acts 17. Most translations render the term in Acts 17:22 “the Areopagus,” which was both the name of the hill in Athens, as well as the term for the council of philosophers and teachers that met there. The old King James Version is the only major English translation that says “Mars Hill.”
Nevertheless, “Mars Hill” is a great way to identify our culture today. As we engage culture with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are doing exactly what Paul did in the midst of the Areopagus on Mars Hill. This is how Paul began his message to this group of wisdom seekers:
“Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”
Almost 2000 years later, these words ring true for every person seeking to engage culture with the gospel. Driving through Portland last night with my wife, getting errands done through Vancouver this morning, no matter where I go in the region that I live in (I’m sure it’s the same for you) I run into religious people. They may not worship the God of Scripture, but everybody worships something. For most, the inscription on their lives reads like that altar Paul observed in first-century Athens, “to the unknown god.”
We live in a culture that says “God who?”
While there are those, I believe a very small but vocal minority in our culture, who say “God who?!” with contempt, I think for the majority of people that is a sincere question. We live our lives hungry for the transcendent, and in our sleepless hours we pine for eternity. Most people strive for purpose, truth, and goodness, but so often the search is perpetuated by sacrifices on the altar to the unknown god.
Over the next 7 weeks at LifePoint, we are going to say the same phrase our culture is saying, but we’re going to change the punctuation. As we look into the Scriptures, we don’t find this phrase as a question, but as a statement. While culture says, “God who?” the Bible says, the God who…
We’re going to journey from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 in 7 weeks as we look Between the Trees to discover “the God Who…”