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The Rev. Hardy Kim

Young Leaders Series V: Proclaiming Christ in the New Areopagus

Acts 17:16-32

6th Sunday of Easter - Year A

May 29, 2011

The Rev. Hardy Kim (PCUSA)

I must make a confession.  I have never really liked Paul.  I say this realizing that I am about to preach about Paul and that I may be risking my credibility as a Protestant minister.

But when I think about Paul, I usually focus on his major epistles.  I know that his letters to the churches in places like Corinth, Galatia, and Rome are some of the most important Christian documents in existence.  They tell an amazing story of faithful persistence and outline key principles of faith that define our tradition to this day.  I know all of this.  Still, sometimes, I just can't get past the tone of Paul's speech.  I know I should get past this, but consider the introductions to Paul's letters in The HarperCollins Study Bible:  Pauline experts describe Paul as "ironic and argumentative" and "bitterly polemical."  First Corinthians is called "a letter of exhortation and pastoral counsel," yet the commentator states, "[Paul] reinforces his argument with reprimands, irony, threats, and (less frequently) praise."  Charming, yes?  I often wonder how this PAUL was able to spread the good news of Jesus Christ into the Roman world bringing so many to faith.

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