Greg K has an interesting article on how evangelism was done. Read it!
I wrote to him:
I listened to your podcast where you discussed evangelism in Acts. I like the cut of your jib. In fact, it reminded me of the priority of repentance: turning away from a life turned away from God.
When people talk about the 'problem of evil' they are disinclined to acknowledge that they are part of the problem. And they can do something about it: reject the evil that infects all of us all the time and turn to God in repentance: God's way out of the 'problem of evil'.
But that's an aside.
As you were talking on the podcast about evangelistic episodes in Acts I was thinking that you were going to point to an important distinction: the distinction between incidents with Jews and others knowledgeable about Judaism and those with Gentiles. Paul's strategy with Gentiles was utterly different to those taken with Jews, yet today we often think we are talking to Jews. People who know of God, his commandments and his promises. But we aren't. We are talking to a bunch of Stoics and Epicureans, just as Paul was in Acts 17.
The interesting thing about this is Paul's start: he acknowledged their spiritual interest, as lame as it was, and he gave them the identity of God, the one who demonstrated by his presence in action and event that his domain overlapped with ours, with our 'life-world'. God as creator.
God refers in many places to his being creator as the basis for our worship of him. This is of fundamental significance to the fellowship place and means he made us for. This identity is bedded in Genesis 1-3: the complex account of creation and its disruption.
We tend to allow discussion of Genesis 1-3 to be limited to 1 and get distracted by 'days' and the events of those days as recounted in the passage, reducing them to a cute mechanism, without pondering what it teaches about who God is, his relation to us as his creatures-in-his-image in the world that came from his word.
So what does God teach in Genesis 1 particularly? His proximity, indeed his intimate involvement in our world, to the point of immersion in it, sleeves rolled up! God, working in the denominating factor of our lives: time, and that delimited into days, shows God here he is accessible and active in the place he creates for real engaged fellowship; fellowship with the one who shows his spiritual proximity, the nature of our reality, the ontological continuity between his word, its fruit and our experience of the creation. This is God in our world; not a pagan 'god' who has nothing to do with our world and is removed from the life of man by myth: all connection of time and place lost, evaporated, obscured, invisible and so a god remote, uninterested, disconnected and untouchable, so to speak a God to whom man is insignificant: the ludicrous Enuma elish the prize exemplar of pagan craziness.
God made the world as the place where his being and ours could come together and showed this in the creation 'method'. A method of embedded being where Logos is immediately primary and productive instantly into our Space-Time-Event-Material world. This turns both paganism and materialism on its head and defines reality as dependent upon Logos.
It is this whole conception of God that Paul reaches to in Acts 17. This is the God to whom we repent: one who is near in time and space and almost entangled with our life-course in the creating of (and thus sustaining of) the world made for us to worship him in.
A world that stands in a continuous ontology between God's Logos, its actions in the creation and our experience of that creation where logos is prior to techne and gives rise to episteme.
Today, we faint before the materialists and put this aside in real terms. We give in to the modern Stoics and Epicureans with their evolution abetted by immense passage of time and swallow their nonsense, bringing home Lyell's hope of detaching our view of the real world from its creator ( https://bit.ly/2HedffR ). So repentance becomes a meaningless trope of a vanished and ignorant age in the minds of those we abet in their paganism.