Martin Luther on Acts 17:16-21
Here Luke describes what happened to Paul in Athens, in order to indicate how the wisdom of God and human reason fit together. Athens was the most famous city, and the Athenians believed that the wisdom of God and human reason were not compatible—nor is this even possible. Now according to human reason there were no people more intelligent than these; Plato could not indicate a place which had more wise men than Athens. Thus, he is able to use Athens as a type for all wise men. Divine wisdom comes here and considers how it fits together with human reason. Divine wisdom shows that human reason is foolishness; likewise, human reason believes that divine wisdom is foolishness. Just as even today people wish to teach the gospel in peace; at other times discord happened which is necessitated by a council. Such people want to remove and put to rest the discord that divine wisdom has with human reason, but no one is able to put this discord to rest except God himself. Indeed such harmony can be granted by a council, but falsely. It is necessary for this struggle always to remain. True, but it does this: it hurls Christians into danger, because it entrusts us with preaching. If we preach, we are said to be foolish, and then we are commanded again to rebuke those [who assert this]. Who will unite us? No one, except God alone. A Christian who has the Word must live in the cross; without discord you will not live. The world has been led away and besieged by the devil. Therefore, when the Lord has mercy on the world and gives light to it, it is necessary that you be a minister of this light. The devil is not able to endure this but sets the whole world in motion against you. Wherever this struggle is not in the world it is a certain sign that the gospel is not there.