After given several good examples from scripture and how the scenario can be used to indulge or oppose folk religion, Giertz finishes.
"...The real evil can only be cured through faith in Jesus. The condition for that to happen is in the text: Jesus met him in the temple. There the Unknown became the Known. That which one thought at one time and was at one time thankful to, He shows Himself not be the indispensable helper, He whom one always has reason to thank.
When Paul had preached in Athens, some people made fun of him, but others said, "We will hear you again about this." So then Paul took leave from the gathering. There were some who kept listening to him and came to faith.
And this is what even we pastors have to count on. No matter how skillfully we connect to that which is right in folk religion, many will scoff at us when we preach the Gospel. The offense and stumbling block that God made when He offered His own Son as an atonement for our sins cannot be spirited away by an older congenial understanding of contemporary life and its people.
There is no surer method of distorting the Gospel than to demand that it shall be preached so "That a modern man can understand it "if only really means by "understanding" the same as "accept." However, it is really that he shall be able understand it in the meaning that he understands what the issue is, even with the risk that he will be indignant, embittered, and aggressively opposed, even if before he was perhaps indifferent. If some react in this manner, so there is always the other side, just as in Athens, that a few come to faith. And it was for their sake we are sent out with the message from the Unknown." (p. 208)
The down side of being one who confronts is that some will become embittered or even aggressively opposed. Surely, there is always evidence for that kind of turn of events. Giertz knew this, too. In more than one way he also put his own weight against the secularizing of the Swedish church or the weakening of the scriptural texts. He did it in a way that tried to magnify God rather than just attack people. He let the text be incisive, not weakening it to please itching ears, yet called people to faith in Christ in a fatherly manner, not deterred by those who disagreed.
Happy birthday, Joseph!
9 hours ago