Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

(Acts 18:1-8; John 16:16-20)

Although Christians comprise a small fraction of the Pakistani population, in raw numbers they are more than two million people.  Missionaries in that land in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries did not convert many Muslims or Hindus but found the animist peoples open to the word of God.  Evidently, all-encompassing religions like Islam have arguments to counter another religion’s claims but traditions without established theological traditions offer much less resistance to new religious preaching.  This idea will explain Paul’s frustration in preaching Christ to the Jews.

In Corinth as in other major population centers of the Mediterranean world in Paul’s days there is a synagogue.  Paul finds it the natural place to speak about Christ.  As a matter of fact members of the synagogue in the town of Berea give Paul a friendly ear, but those of the synagogue in Corinth as in Thessalonica are much less amenable.  Still Paul makes progress in Corinth perhaps because Aquila and Priscilla have already did some spade work in planting the seed of Christ.

Even though we are not willing to give up our commitment to Christ for anything, we still might dialogue with people of other faiths.  Learning their traditions not only broadens our knowledge but likely will deepen our appreciation of Christianity. We believe that Christ died to save all people.  Deliberately refusing to share our knowledge of him by neglecting opportunities to dialogue would mean a loss on all sides.