This vision of the apostle Paul described comprehensively and in detail in a famous sermon in which he addressed to the Greek philosophers in Athens (Acts 17:22-31). Ancient Athens was the center of ethnic pluralism, cultural, and religious. Since the 5th century BC, Athens was a very important city-state in Greece, and when combined become part of the Roman empire, Athens became one of the most prominent metropolitan cities around the world.
In relation to religious life, is easy to listen to Paul’s comment that the population of Athens was “very religious”, because according to a satirist (a satiric), it is easier to see a god in Athens than a man. The city was filled with sacred temples, altars, symbols and statues of the gods.
Then how the apostle Paul’s attitude toward the situation multiracial, multicultural, and multireligious this?
The first, he proclaimed the unity of the human race, or God as the God of creation. God is the Creator and Lord of the earth and all its contents. He who gives to all human beings live and breath and everything they needed. From one man He made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, so they seek Him and find Him, though He is not far from our own. “For in Him we live, we move, we’re there and we are His offspring.” From the image of God as creator, maintainer, and the father of all mankind.
Although in terms of close personal relationships, God is the Father of those who was adopted as a member of his family solely on the basis of grace, but in a broader sense of God is the Father of all mankind, because all men are his descendants – that is, which exists because created by him – and all mankind is our brother, because both were created by him and a picture with him, in his view we are all equal in worth and dignity and therefore have the same rights to be respected and given fair treatment.
The second, Paul proclaimed the cultures of ethnic diversity, or God as the Lord of history. The living God not only made all peoples, from one person to inhabit the whole earth. but the seasons for them and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17:26). So the age and residence of the nations in God’s hands. Culture is a natural complement. The ‘natural’ it is everything that comes from God and we have inherited, they are ‘cultural’ is man-made and studied.
Culture is a mixture of beliefs, values, customs and institutions developed by each community and passed on to the next generation. Dubious human culture is the (dubious), humans are creatures of God, then in the culture there are a variety of beauty and goodness, but because he has fallen into sin, then everything in the culture tainted by sin.
The third, Paul proclaimed the finality of Jesus Christ, or God as the God of revelation. He ended his sermon with God’s call for universal repentance in connection with the coming of universal justice, or judge whose day has been ordained by God (Acts 17:30, 31). Paul refused to remain silent on religious pluralism of the people of Athens, worship of idols in the city was very sad heart (Acts 17:16) because it was a blasphemy against the God of life. So he cried out to the people of Athens had to repent and turn from their idols to Christ.
Our willingness to accept diversity respectful cultures do not automatically imply acceptance of the same to religious pluralism / diversity of religions. Special richness of each culture and its uniqueness, it must be appreciated but not including the worship of idols which may be hidden behind the skill as a culture we must accept.
For us there can never compete with Jesus Christ, because we believe that God has spoken in full and final settlement through Him and that He is the only Savior who died and rose again and someday will come to judge the world.
Fourthly, Paul proclaimed the glory of the church of Christ, or God as the God of salvation. Preaching that Jesus died and rose again to create new people and be reconciled to God is very clear, with the birth of the church then the flow of history has been played back. Old Testament is the story about the scattering of humans who, on the distribution of nations, of disputes with each other. But the New Testament is the story of the unification of nations into a single international community.
Acts 17:34, tells us that some people into believing them Dionysius the Areopagus council members (the oldest in the court of Athens, dating back to the legend), and a woman named Damaris and others along with them.
So this is where the core of the new society, where men and women of all ages, from all racial origins, cultural, and social, find their unity in Christ. Because God made all nations and determine the age and residence of each as well as He calls us to a new internationalism that is the call of Christian internationalism that does not mean our commitment to Him and His church will abolish our nationality, we will not lose our masculinity or feminine, while specificity of racial, national, social, and sexual us remains intact, it is no longer separated us, all the specificity that has been raised to the uniqueness of us as a family of God (Galatians 3:8). Through Him we have been called by God into a new unity and, more broadly.