“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” (Acts 17:16, NIV)
“His spirit was troubled and yet just a few verses later he walks into the Areopagus and proclaims the Gospel using the culture from which he came into and from which he was troubled. I think we need to have a troubled relationship with culture. It doesn’t mean – that because cultural relevance matters – that we just adapt culture without forethought or discernment. I think culture should disturb us. And the problem is that for many of us is that we are only disturbed by other people’s culture. I think there is part of our culture that should disturb us. There are sins and idols and hindrances and strongholds in our culture that ought to deeply concern us. So Paul’s spirit was troubled within him when he saw the city was full of idols … [But] context matters. The how of ministry is frequently determined by the who, and the when, and the where of ministry … If you are going to get the culture then part of the culture needs to trouble you. I’m concerned that for many right now in some emerging church circles that they are more troubled by the Gospel than they are by their culture. Brothers and sisters, I think we need to get troubled by the culture and rely on the Gospel.”
– Ed Stetzer, from the third session of The Resurgence conference titled Breaking the Missional Code.