Why did the Apostle Paul contrast being filled with wine with being filled with the Spirit in speaking in spiritual songs (Eph. 5:18-20)? How did the Apostles’ teaching on leadership in the home and in the Church contrast to the pagan world? What impression does God the Father and Jesus Christ have on this society? Did the Apostles speak to a cruel male-dominated world of pagan religion or rather a carnal female-dominated worship? How much were fleshly desires and greed a part of the mystical worship of false gods? There is no doubt that the Apostles were directly engaging the pagan influences of their day when writing scriptures in the midst of that wicked generation.
Our world resembles more and more the 1st century pagan world. I have been blessed to read one of the best, if not the best book, that I have read in the last 7 years. Bruce Morton addressed the above questions in his book, Deceiving Winds. Morton’s diligent study presents the pagan world of the 1st c. that opposed the Church of Christ, which present an apparent similarity to influences against Christ’s Church today. This book has reshaped my diligence and steadfast stance for fatherly leadership in the Church. Morton has encouraged me to be a more Christ-like father and truly a loving Christian man. His work has helped me to change my life even more into the image of Jesus Christ. May God bless him for this and all such teachers. Even more than these thought provoking chapters, I enjoyed the insightful appendixes addressing feminism, paganism, and the emerging church movement. In noting Morton’s sources, I have found a few more books to consider reading.
The worship of the “gods” Dionysus and Artemis (Diana) form a dark shadow of a corrupt society behind the radiant words of Jesus Christ from His Apostles and prophets (Eph. 3:3-5). These were the gods of Ephesus, Corinth, and throughout the Greco-Roman world. One cannot help seeing the pagan influences of the 1st century, and then noting the evil is opposition to Christ’s revelation in the epistle to the Ephesians. Ephesians is not the only book, but this insightful book aids a renewed mind to see so much more in 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 and 2 Peter, Revelation, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Corinthians “with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:2). For instance in Revelation 2, Jesus spoke to the church in Thyatira concerning the seducing prophetess “Jezebel”, who taught fornication and idolatry among Christians is better understood knowing the full corruption of these cults. I urge you to read Bruce Morton’s book, Deceiving Winds.