Kaitiaki's picture

Basically this is just a "what do we learn about the Church from Acts?" thread. As we watch Paul and Barnabas and then Paul and Silas building the Church in Acts, what can we learn about their concept of the Church as a whole? Robert suggested my original plan was too cumbersome so asked me to create new threads.

Thread Moderator - Kaitiaki

As we study Acts is seems there is a clear difference between the way many Churches today preach the Gospel and the way it was done in Acts. Is this a reality we might ask or is it only an impression? Then too there is a difference in the content of Paul's sermon in Acts 17 when compared with Peter's in Acts 2. We look at the message preached in Acts and its implications for preaching today.

Does the preaching of Acts Chapter 2 (Peter's sermon at Pentecost) provide us with an example of the approach we should be taking with those who have a Judeo/Christian heritage (ie those who know and accept the Bible framework but who don't accept Jesus as the Messiah)? On this view, Acts 17 (Paul on Mars Hill) would provide us with an example of the approach to non-Christians who do not accept the Bible world-life view (and that includes the majority of today's society - those who accept the evolutionary view). What part, if any, do you think the Creation - Evolution debate has to play in Home missions work?

ccemanes's picture

Differences between the four Gospels

“The fact that there seems to be a difference in progression and emphasis between the 4 (5; incl Acts) Gospels and the letters ascribed to mainly Paul, Peter and John, does raise the question if what we are confronted with is a more or less intentional selection process, undertaken by the early catholic church coloured by their need at the time and even today to have a resource that supports a certain understanding of Church”

“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all in their various ways about God in public, about the kingdom of God coming on earth as in heaven through the public career and the death and resurrection of Jesus. The central message of all four canonical Gospels is that the Creator God, Israel's God, is at last reclaiming the whole world as his own, in and through Jesus of Nazareth.”
(http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=4862)

”It is in the entire Gospel narrative, rather than any of its possible fragmented parts, that we see that complete, many-sided kingdom work taking shape. And this narrative, read this way, resists deconstruction into power games precisely because of its insistence on the cross. The rulers of the world behave one way, declares Jesus, but you are to behave another way, because the Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many…the Gospels, like Paul's gospel, are to that extent folly to pagans, ancient and modern alike, and equally scandalous to Jews.” (http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=4862)

”The Gospels…demonstrate a close integration with the genuine early Christian hope, which is precisely not the hope for heaven in the sense of a blissful disembodied life after death in which creation is abandoned to its fate, but rather the hope, as in Ephesians 1, Romans 8 and Revelation 21, for the renewal and final coming together of heaven and earth, the consummation precisely of God's project to be savingly present in an ultimate public world. And the point of the Gospels is that with the public career of Jesus, and with his death and resurrection, this whole project was decisively inaugurated, never to be abandoned.” (http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=4862)

“The Gospels constitute a call to the rulers of the world to learn wisdom in service to the messianic Son of God, and thus they also provide the impetus for a freshly biblical understanding of the role of the "rulers of the world" and of the tasks of the church in relation to them. Call to the rulers of the world is part of a creational view of the world that God wants the world to be ordered, not chaotic, and that human power structures are the God-given means by which that end is to be accomplished… The New Testament does not encourage the idea of a complete disjunction between the political goods to be pursued by the church and the political goods to be pursued by the world outside the church, precisely for the reason that the church is to be seen as the body through whom God is addressing and reclaiming the world.” (http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=4862)

”The New Testament reaffirms the God-given place even of secular rulers, even of deeply flawed, sinful, self-serving, corrupt and idolatrous rulers like Pontius Pilate, Felix, Festus and Herod Agrippa. They get it wrong and they will be judged, but God wants them in place because order, even corrupt order, is better than chaos…From Matthew to John to Acts, from Colossians to Revelation, with a good deal else in between, Jesus is hailed as already the Lord of both heaven and earth, and in particular as the one through whom the Creator God will at last restore and unite all things in heaven and on earth. And this gives sharp focus to the present task of earthly rulers…God will one day right all wrongs through Jesus, and earthly rulers, whether or not they acknowledge this Jesus and this coming kingdom, are entrusted with the task of anticipating that final judgment and that final mercy” (http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=4862)

”This witness comes into sharp focus in John 16:8-11. The Spirit, declares Jesus, will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness and judgment—about judgment because the ruler of this world is judged. The church will do to the rulers of the world what Jesus did to Pilate in John 18 and 19, confronting him with the news of the kingdom and of truth…the church, even when faced with overtly pagan and hostile rulers, must continue to believe that Jesus is the Lord before whom they will bow and whose final sovereign judgment they are called to anticipate. Thus the church, in its biblical commitment to "doing God in public," is called to learn how to collaborate without compromise (hence the vital importance of common-good theory) and to critique without dualism…All this, of course, demands as well that the church itself be continually called to account, since we in our turn easily get it wrong and become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. That is why the church must be semper reformanda as it reads the Bible, especially the Gospels.” (http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=4862)


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