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The Apostle Paul, King Charles III, and Sharing the Gospel

The Apostle Paul did something very strange when he was in Athens. While he was addressing his Athenian hearers, he suddenly quoted Greek poets: “…for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring’” (Acts 17:28).

Here’s the eye-opening context of that quote:

And all in all things need we help of Zeus,
For we too are his offspring. (Aratus, Phænom. 1–5)

It may shock some that the Apostle actually quoted a poem that referred to the Greek god “Zeus”—a false god. But it gets worse. According to an online source, “In much of ancient mythology, Zeus is married to Hera (although, in some instances, he is matched with Dione). Through a string of affairs with other goddesses and human women, he fathers Athena, Persephone, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hermes, the Muses, Dionysius, and many others. The Romans associated Zeus with their god Jupiter.”

It could be thought that Paul was not only giving credibility to a godless poet but was also encouraging the worship of a false god who delighted in adultery.

In reality, he was building a bridge to reach his hearers. Instead of beginning his gospel proclamation by telling the men of Athens that they had sinned against God and were therefore going to Hell, he began in the natural realm to keep their attention. No doubt the familiar poetic line added to his credibility, preparing the way for the gospel.

Charles Spurgeon had this to say about Paul’s situation here: “It was most adroit on his part to refer to that inscription upon the altar, and equally so to quote from one of their own poets. If he had been addressing Jews, he would neither have quoted from a Greek poet nor referred to a heathen altar: his intense love for his hearers taught him to merge his own peculiarities in order to secure their attention.”

Jesus did a similar thing when He spoke with the woman at the well. Even though she had violated the Seventh Commandment, He didn’t address her adultery immediately. Rather, He took a moment to build a bridge by using the subject of water:

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”…

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:7, 10)

Many times I have quoted secular writers, like Shakespeare or Mark Twain, or made reference to words spoken by sinful celebrities, etc., before transitioning to the gospel.

Recently, I announced that we were going to take advantage of the many religious aspects of the upcoming coronation of King Charles III on May 6, 2023, by going to London to give out millions of gospel tracts. I was amazed at the number of angry responses from Christians who assumed that we were somehow endorsing or promoting the king. The argument was that we should have nothing to do with Charles because he has committed adultery, was a globalist, and, according to some, may even be the Antichrist.

King Charles, like the rest of us, is a sinner, and it would seem (by the lack of biblical fruit) that he is not born again. But his admitted adultery shouldn’t stop us from using the coronation to reach out to the lost. Millions are heading for a very real Hell, and we have an unprecedented opportunity to reach them with the gospel.

Besides a seeming lack of concern for the lost, there was also something else in the angry comments. There was an evident hatred of King Charles—even though the Scriptures command us to honor all men, including kings: “Honor all people.…Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).

We should also pray for him: “[Pray] for kings and all who are in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2).

“King Charles, like the rest of us, is a sinner, and it would seem (by the lack of biblical fruit) that he is not born again. But his admitted adultery shouldn’t stop us from using the coronation to reach out to the lost.”

King Charles is not only in a place of authority, but he (like us) is also a sinner who desperately needs the Savior. After Scripture lists those who won’t enter Heaven—fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, the covetous, and drunkards—we are reminded of something none of us should ever forget: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11, emphasis added).

When we are tempted to throw stones at someone who has been caught in adultery, let’s not forget the multitude of sins we’ve also committed (see James 5:20).

Such thoughts remind us that we are never to point an accusing finger. Rather, we are to reach out with a compassionate hand to the unsaved: “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 22-23).

Despite the avalanche of anger, I so appreciated that many understood our motive. Within three days, over 1,000 people had committed to go to London to give out the gospel tracts. Plus, thousands around the world have ordered the free tracts (with no charge for shipping). For details on how you can get your tracts for your city or town, go to Livingwaters.com/London.

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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