Acts 5:13 - Attraction and Repulsion

I was reading Acts 5 and I was interested to note that as the new movement (at that time it was called, "Followers of The Way") was starting and still meeting in the Temple courts, that this phrase appears:"But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem." Acts 5:13. Hmmm. Nobody wanted to be around them, but everybody respected them. That's both odd and interesting.

That got me thinking about what I'd heard from Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York. Keller talks about how every culture has elements that both affirm and rejects Christian values. Our culture, for example, stands up and applauds our compassion, charity, and social activism to all members of our society. But our culture hates the fact that we say sexual activity needs to be restricted. In the Muslim culture, they affirm our sexual 'ethics,' but think we are plain wrong-headed to be indiscriminately charitable.

In both of those cases, Christianity speaks out against the culture. One of our tasks to to realize that we have to be faithful to Bible and affirm how the culture we find ourselves in is in alignment with Bible and speak prophetically when our culture is not in alignment.

I think it's obvious: that is one reason we study the Bible - to know the difference between God's perspective and our society's perspective. But here's the other thing: we shouldn't be surprised when the world both esteems us and hates us. I think that might be a bit of what was happening in Acts 5:13.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I think it may be more fear than disagreement with their standards. Just prior to this you have Ananias and Sapphira dropping dead for lying. That might shake some people up!