Prayer At Antioch
1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
Believers were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Have you wondered what set them apart from other believers to earn them such a reputation of being “Christ-like”? I did. Of course, absent any epistles to them, we can only guess.
My guesswork begins here in Acts 13. It was a church of spiritual powerhouses, due in part to Antioch’s strategic regional importance.
Antioch was known as “the Athens of the Near East”, located only 18 miles from sea trade routes. It had become the capital of Roman Syria (now Turkey) and had hosted dignitaries from Alexander the Great to emperors Julius Caesar and Constantine. Like many Greek cities of the period, In Antioch’s cosmopolitan society, both classical and Oriental religious cults were accepted and new ideas were encouraged. Antioch was an ideal base for Paul, Barnabas, Peter and other Christian disciples. Following Greek, then in the declining years of Roman rule, Christianity became the final and most important factor to shape the life and culture of the city. Antioch was finally destroyed in the 6th century following earthquakes, plagues, famine and constant invasions. The city lay buried for nearly 2,000 years, until an international team of scholars excavated its ruins in the 1930s. Continue reading
This week, we’re discussing the chapter “Secular Leaps of Faith” in Nancy Pearcey’s Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, which covers the third of five principles for evaluating worldviews: “Test the idol: Does it contradict what we know about the world?” (see links to the previous posts below).
First, a quick summary of the topic today:
We have worked through two principles in worldview analysis. First we identify its idol. Second we identify its reductionism. Now we will ask whether idol-centered worldviews fit the real world. (p. 147)
Just as scientists test a theory by taking it into the lab and mixing chemicals in a test tube to see if the results confirm the theory, so we test a worldview by taking it into the laboratory of ordinary life. Can it be lived out consistently in the real world, without doing violence to human nature? Does life function the way the worldview says it should? Does it fit reality? Does it match what we know about the world? (p. 143)
— J. Warner Wallace
There’s a reason why God calls us to worship Him with our minds, understand the value of evidence, examine our beliefs until we are convinced, and live as Christian “case makers”. While our faith and trust in Christ saves us, our ability to make the case for Christ protects us and transforms our world. “Case making” needs to be a part of our Christian identity, and all of us need to be ready to defend the Christian worldview. We can’t continue to delegate this responsibility to well-known apologists and Christian authors. We don’t need another “million dollar apologist”; we need a million “one dollar apologists”. All of us can be equipped to defend our faith; it doesn’t require a master’s degree in apologetics; it doesn’t require a library full of books, a radio show, or a podcast. It simply requires a personal commitment to learn the truth and defend it to others. Continue reading