Archaeological News And Notes -- By: Anonymous
BSP 4:1 (Winter 1991) p. 25
Archaeological News And Notes
Supreme Court Judge Converted To Christianity
The city of Athens, during the time of the Apostle Paul’s ministry, was a mecca of religious systems. It was so congested with different kinds of gods that Paul admonished the inhabitants in Acts 17:22–23 for their religious zeal: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and observed your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.”
The whole city was like a modern mall in which one could shop for whatever kind of a god he wanted. If you preferred a goddess rather than a god, you could find it in Athens.
The city of Athens was built around the famous Acropolis, on which was one of the wonders of the ancient world (the temple of Athena, or the Parthenon). Around the base of the Acropolis could be found hundreds of altars. On the base of one altar found in the ancient ruins was the following inscriptions “SACRED, WHETHER IT BE TO A GOD OR GODDESS.” (See picture to left.)
As a result of Paul’s preaching in Athens, Acts 17:34 tells us that “Dionysius believed” and began to follow Christ. Dionysius was a member of the Areopagus, which had jurisdiction over manners, morals and teaching in Athens. The members of this Supreme Court were elected for life. Dionysius was named after the god Dionysius and followed the religious practices of those who worshipped that particular god. Their beliefs included a hedonistic lifestyle of drinking bouts and orgies. The harvest festival was led by a parade of transvestites (cross-dressers) which celebrated the flowing of the new wine.
Dionysius’ conversion and transformation of life was so genuine that he became a leader in the first century Christian church. A marble slab has been found in Athens with the following inscription:
Historical records refer to Dionysius as. “The first Bishop of the Church of Athens” (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, III.4.11; IV.23.3).
BSP 4:1 (Winter 1991) p. 26
Dionysius preached the gospel in the shadow of the Acropolis, the city in which he was raised, and where he worshipped all his life. What a testimony to those who knew him.
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