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Athens vs. Jerusalem

Christians have many questions about different philosophies today, especially when it comes to morality. There is such a confluence of ideas in our western world and it is hard to sort out what is right and pleasing before God. There is an important foundation in which to match all ideas against, and that foundation is the Word of God. All of the various philosophies can be broken down into two areas: Athens and Jerusalem.

Many have probably never heard the famous question asked “what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” This was spoken by the early Christian Church Father Tertullian in the third century. In his “Against Heresies” section, he wrote about how there was an attack of pagan Grecian philosophy creeping into the church. We have to understand the time in which Tertullian lived, as he was living in the midst of the Roman Empire. The Romans highly respected Grecian philosophy, and its home in the city of Athens. This type of thought was pervasive throughout the empire, and Christians had to compare what they were taught from Scripture against the philosophy of Athens.

In summary of his writing, Tertullian makes the case that the pagan philosophy of Athens, has no place in the Christian realm. Almost two thousand years later, the western world is not that much different when it comes to the conflict if ideas. Pagan philosophies such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) has not only threatened to destroy the church, but America as well. There is truly nothing new under the sun as Solomon says (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and once again we see Athens vs. Jerusalem.

It is not only CRT that is a representation of pagan thought, but those who claim Christians need to deconstruct their faith. It does not take a deep study into a particular ideology to know which of the two sides it falls upon, either Athens, or Jerusalem. It really is that distinct, and Christians are only going to know the difference if they know the Word of God in context.

Just as in the Apostle Paul’s day when he penned the words to the Book of 2 Timothy, Tertullian also made the reference in his day around 120 years later about pagan influence in the church. Paul’s epistle warns in 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” There truly is no new thing under the sun, and instead of Athenian thought, we must choose Jerusalem to be our guide.

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