How Would Paul Engage Today’s Secularizing Society? An Exegetical Revisiting of Acts 17

Proponents across the spectrum of contextualization theory often appeal to Paul’s strategic evangelization through Macedonia into Athens in Acts 17 to either support or decry the theological presuppositions at the root of popular Christian dialogue theories. It is therefore opportune to exegetically revisit this locus classicus to understand the guiding parameters and practices of Paul, especially for missionaries who daily combat the overwhelming forces of secularism and religious pluralism. The exegetical analysis of Acts 17 provides crucial, unmistakable conclusions about Paul’s methods of interreligious dialogue and cultural engagement in the foreign context. The theological and practical constraints of Christian dialogue which emerge from the study should embolden the missionary in the task of propositional evangelism––that is, proclaiming the distinctly Christian gospel to a religiously ambivalent culture.