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Unkoolman
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Date Posted:14/03/2008 8:47 AMCopy HTML

Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

An exegetical and theological evaluation

Ian Thomason, MTheol


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"As man is, so is his God; And thus is God, oft strangely odd" - Goethe

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds." - Bob Marley
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:19/03/2008 1:39 AMCopy HTML

Unkoolman,

Well, now. I must state that the linked essay is one of the best pieces of exegetical writing that I've yet come across on the subject of Acts and Revivalist belief! Laughing

Blessings,

Ian
email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:19/03/2008 11:26 AMCopy HTML

Revivalist dogma and the book ofActs

An exegetical and theologicalevaluation

Ian Thomason, Mtheol

Introduction

The aim of this essay is toreview, grammatically and theologically, several blocks of text from the bookof Acts frequently cited by Revivalistsi in support of their belief thatsalvation and speaking in tongues go hand-in-handii. Consequently, the essay isan intentionally selective treatment of Acts.

The Revised Standard Version(RSV)iii forms the basis of the commentary. However, the “original” Greekreadings iv comprise the textual base when weighing the evidence underpinningall the exegetical decisions made. For this reason considerable reference toGreek constructions appears in the body of the paper when establishing crucialpoints of grammatical, syntactical and theological importance. Theologically,the direct work of the biblical authors should form the basis of doctrine, notinterpretations of the same as mediated through English translation.

The analytical method usedthroughout the essay is grammatical-historical exegesis. The application ofsuch a method minimizes the potential intrusion of personal subjectivity andbias, by providing established criteria and guidelines to support the closereading of the various Greek traditionsv of the book of Acts. Consequently wedeal transparently and responsibly with the grammar, the syntax and the rangeof contexts considered, noting the book’s intentionally historical andChristian perspective. The principle aim of grammatical-historical exegesis isto establish what the various biblical passages meant to the original audienceas intended by the author. Theological exegesis is subsequent to exegesis, andis undertaken to bridge the gulf between the first and twenty-first centuries,to translate meant into means, and sense into significance.

The body of the paper itselfconsists of a series of very closely argued conclusions drawn directly from thepassages of Acts as we have them, and from the theological inferences thatresult. They demonstrate decisively, that Revivalist assumptions concerningsalvation and the sign of “unknown” tongues have no basis in or support fromthe book of Acts itself. Put plainly, Lloyd Longfield’s doctrinal legacy owesmore to his thoroughly biased and tendentious “re-imagining” of Luke’s writingsthen to a strictly “literal” reading of the same: Longfield’s understanding ofActs is considerably different to how the original audience would haveperceived the book. Consequently the thesis of this paper is that the Revivalist“salvation message” is completely illegitimate vii.

Version 1.2 2008

2 Background data

Scholarship almost universallyattributes the book of Acts to the author of the Gospel of Luke. The receivedposition within the Christian Church is that the author was Lukeviii, a man whowas most likely a Gentile physicianix converted to the Christian faith, and whoaccompanied the apostle Paul on several of his missionary and pastoraljourneys. The recipientx of Acts is introduced in the prologue to the gospel ofLuke (1:3), and in Acts (1:1) as Theophilus, a common Greek name during thefirst century, one which had as its basic meaning, “loved by God (or thegods)”. Luke accords to him the honorific “most excellent” at the commencementof his Gospel, which translates the Greek κράτιστε, a title generally reservedfor Romans of Equestrian rankxi. The use of the title, the fact that Luke wrotein very polished Greek, and that he “published” a lengthy (and therefore costly)writing in Theophilus’ honour, indicates that Theophilus should be viewed assomeone noteworthy, as a person who was quite possibly serving (or Luke washoping that he would serve) as a “patron” for the beleaguered Christians inRome. That Luke writes in an outwardly deferential fashion—both the gospel andhis Acts demonstrating considerable respect towards Roman figures and Romanauthority in general—infers that Luke-Acts was intended to function as asophisticated apologetic for the Christian faith and its leaders, principallythe apostles Peter and Paul.

Whether Theophilus was himself a Christian is lesscertain, although it seems at the very least possible given that Luke-Acts waswritten, ...That you may know the truthconcerning the things of which you have been informed” (Luke 1:4). That τηχήθης (“to be instructed”) was the termchosen by Luke is interesting, as its basic meaning is a second-hand reportxii.In other words, a report intended to shed light on facts that would nototherwise have been known. Given that Luke-Acts gives every appearance ofhaving been written in the early 60’s,xiii that Paul was then imprisoned in Rome, and that thesituation under the Emperor Nero was moving against the best interests of theChristian community, is itself suggestive. The inference is that Luke publishedis narrative to defend the message of Jesus, and the ministers who proclaimedit, against those who would ordinarily view it as threatening to the PaxRomanaxiv. Our assessment is that Luke approached Theophilus as “client” to“patron” appealing to him to mediate between the Roman Christians and the Romanruling elite xv.

In summary, then, it seemsprobable that neither the gospel of Luke, nor the Acts of the Apostles were“published” either to, or for, a strictly Christian audience.xvi Both writingsdisplay deliberate rhetorical features indicating that they were intended foruse as sophisticated Christian apologetic to a non-Christian audience,specifically with respect to the life and teaching of Jesus as the Son of God,and subsequently of his ministers (principally the imprisoned Peter—by earlyChristian tradition—and Paul). Importantly, Luke-Acts goes to lengths toestablish that Christianity was not a threat to proper Roman social, legal orpolitical order. None of this would have been necessary were the writingintended for an “internal”, Christian audience.

The structure of Acts

Fundamental to gaining a properinsight into the purposes Luke had in mind when writing his Acts, is a solidunderstanding of the structure of the work itself. As we have already intimated,Acts forms the second part of a two-stage work: the first, the gospel, dealswith the earth-bound ministry of Jesus as the Christ of God. With Acts theresurrected Jesus is soon removed from earth to heaven (in chapter one);however, his ministry continues through the agency of the Holy Spirit as heworks through the lives of his chosen followers—the apostles (from chapter twoonwards). It is the ministry of the apostles, or more specifically of Peter(from chapter one through twelve) and then of Paul (chapters thirteen throughtwenty-eight), preaching the universal message of Christ, in the power of God’sSpirit, to the ever-expanding world (from chapter eight onwards), which standsas the book-ends to the Acts narrative.

The pivot around which thepremise of the entire narrative hinges is verse eight of chapter one. There weread of Jesus’ commission to his chosen representatives, the apostles, “but youshall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be mywitnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end ofthe earth.” Necessary to correctly understanding what Jesus intended; however,is the acknowledgement that the context of the commission is restricted inscope to the core group of ministers called apostles, more specifically, to thegroup that was widely known as the “Twelve”.xvii Theologically, in the OldTestament the nations were numbered at seventy (or seventy-two depending onwhich textual variant one takes as authoritative), as were the Elders ofIsrael. Similarly Jesus appointed seventy disciples of his own (or seventy-two,again depending on which textual variant one considers authoritative). And justas in the Old Testament God called to himself a core group of twelve tribes tofunction as his Israel before the nations, so too did Jesus call to himself acore group of twelve men to function as the representative new Israelx viii. Weconsider this theological motif later in the essay.

The essay will focus on four keyevents drawn from Acts, given that Revivalists believe them to presentirrefutable proof that “unknown tongues” always accompanies Christiansalvationxix. First to be addressed will be the outpouring of the Holy Spiritat Pentecost (Acts 1 and 2), which will receive the most substantial discussiongiven the crucial importance the text plays in establishing a correctunderstanding of the theology of Acts. Addressed second will be the conversionof the Samaritans (Acts 8), which stands apart from the other three accounts inbeing unique in its particulars. Third is the so-called “Gentile Pentecost”(Acts 10), which will be followed by the fourth and last account: theconversion of former disciples of John the Baptist at Ephesus (Acts 19). This selective reading ofActs is not meant to imply that it is unnecessary to undertake a close

reading of (and reflection upon)the entire Luke-Acts narrative. Far from it as such is crucial to properlygrasping the wide ranging themes that Luke crafted into his historyxx. Putanother way, Acts functions as much more than simply as a source forselectively mining “proof-texts” to support the Revivalist doctrine of“tongues”! An important structural feature of the book of Acts deservesimmediate mention: the “ring composition” rhetorical feature (also known aschiasmus) around which the four principle “Holy Spirit” sections arestructured. We note that chapter two parallels chapter ten, with chapter eight parallelingchapter nineteen. We can represent the relationship graphically:

Chapter two (Jewish Pentecost)with the sovereign impartation of the Holy Spirit

Chapter eight (Samaria) with the Holy Spirit being impartedby two apostles

Chapter ten (Gentile Pentecost)with the sovereign impartation of the Holy Spirit

Chapter nineteen (Ephesus) with the HolySpirit being imparted by an apostle

This intentional rhetoricalfeature indicates that Luke planned to demonstrate both comparison and contrastbetween the four “Holy Spirit” passages that he chose to record; further detailconcerning the significance of this feature occurs within the body of theessay, when reviewing the appropriate passages. Pentecost and the coming of theHoly Spirit (Acts 1 & 2)

In the first book, O Theophilus,I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when hewas taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to theapostles whom he had chosen.

To them he presented himselfalive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days,and speaking of the kingdom of God. 4 And whilestaying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of theFather, which, he said, “you heard from me, 5 for John baptized with water, butbefore many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” And so commencesthe Book of Acts. From the very outset it is important to note several featuresthat shape the events that follow. First, the setting is Jerusalem,the city of Christ'spassion and resurrection. Second, the immediate actors that we are introducedto are the resurrected Jesus and his apostles (το ς ποστόλοις is thegrammatical antecedentxxi in verse two to the ο ς, translated “them”, that isintroduced in verse three). Carefully note that Luke nowhere mentions Jesus teachingthe much broader group of his disciples after his resurrection! The first fiveverses of chapter one clearly demonstrates that he limited this sort ofinteraction to just his apostles. Importantly the twice mentioned “them” in theEnglish translation of verse four corresponds to the single occurrence of theGreek pronoun α το ς, which also has το ς ποστόλοις (“the apostles”) as itsreferent. So too the implied “you”xxii in the second person aorist verb κούσατέ(“you heard”); and the implied “you” in the second person future verbβαπτισθήσεσθε (“you shall be baptised”) that is introduced in verse five. Thesevery important promises, all of them forming the basis of the Revivalist’s“Pentecost experience” teaching, are clearly and explicitly limited to the apostlesalone!

By way of a brief summary thusfar: (1) Jesus gave a very specific command (“not to depart from Jerusalem”), to (2) avery specific group (“to the apostles whom he had chosen”), tempered as it wasby, (3) a very specific promise (that “you shall be baptised with the HolySpirit”). Consequently, nothing relating to either the commission or thepromise itself can be construed to be any more broadly intended. To thecontrary, Luke was intentionally and prescriptively specific in what he choseto pen. So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at thistime restore the kingdom to Israel?”7He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which theFather has fixed by his own authority. 8But you shall receive power when theHoly Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” 9Andwhen he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloudtook him out of their sight. Ο µ ν ο ν (“so they”) presents as something of afavorite formula in Actsxxiii; it frequently appears to open a new section ofnarrative, yet in such a way as to connect it with the preceding section orsections. The current connection is clear, as the grammatical antecedent to theplural (“they”) of verse six remains the το ς ποστόλοις (“the apostles”) ofverse two. At this juncture in the narrative, Jesus amplified the nature of hispromise concerning the baptism with the Spirit, which the apostles wouldreceive, by stating in verse eight (once again using an implied second personfuture verb) that, λήµψεσθε δύναµιν (“you shall receive power”) when the HolySpirit has come upon µ ς (“you”), and that σεσθέ (“you will be”) my witnessesin Jerusalem, and so forth.

In each and every case thepromise is restricted to the apostles: the grammatical antecedent remains theτο ς ποστόλοις (“the apostles”) of verse two. From a theological perspective itis necessary to note that Jesus said nothing about the apostles becoming savedas a result of being baptized in the Spirit. To the contrary, according to thetext the baptism was strictly for empowerment. We read in verses 13 and 14 thatthe apostles were residing in an “upper room”xxiv in Jerusalem with “the women, and Mary themother of Jesus, and with his brothersxxv”. The apostles are noted as being,“of one accord” with this small and select group, with whom they (that is theapostles) “devoted themselves to prayer”. This is the first instance in thebook of Acts where a group is in connection to the apostles; however, it is notuntil verse fifteen that the emphasis of the action shifts from strictly theapostolic group, to a much broader number of Jesus’ followers.

In those days Peter stood upamong the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred andtwenty), and said, 16 “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which theHoly Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who wasguide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us, and wasallotted his share in this ministry ... 20 For it is written in the book ofPsalms, ‘Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live init’; and ‘his office let another take.’ 21 So one of the men who haveaccompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongus, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken upfrom us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

In verse 15 Peter, for the veryfirst time, inclusively numbers the small apostolic group with the wider groupof disciples, to arrive at the approximate total of one hundred and twenty ofJesus’ followers remaining in the environs of Jerusalem. He refers to the group, whichincluded himself and his fellow apostles, as τ νδελφ ν (“the brethren”)xxvi.However, note that the text very clearly infers that the much larger number ofdisciples (that is, exclusive of the apostles, the women, and the family of theLord), were not staying in the previously mentioned “upper room”. By employingthe clause ν τα ςµέραις ταύταις (“in those days”) to introduce verse 15, Luke temporallydistinguishes what follows from what immediately preceded, thereby dislocatingthe focus of subsequent events from former. Consequently, the clause marks thebeginning of a new division in the narrative in the first half of Actsxxvii(grammatically it indicates a more definite break then the previously discussed[o ] µ ν ο ν doesxxviii). The result is such that there remain no groundsprovided within the text itself, for the widespread belief that the entire “onehundred and twenty” were in the habit of meeting in the “upper room”. Such mayhave been so, unlikely though it is, but there is no emphatic statement thatsuch was so xxix.

In the following verse Peterintroduces the requirement to replace the fallen Judas Iscariot, thereby restoringthe apostles to the theologically significant number of twelve. The context, asindicated by the grammar of the passage, suggests that Luke had by thenreverted to identifying the select group of apostles as the subject of thediscussion until verse 26. At verse 16 Peter specifically addressed the group: νδρεςδελφοί(“men, brothers”), which automatically excluded any women from considerationxxx.Further, verse 17 specifically identified by way of a causal clause, that Judaswas, τι κατηριθµηµένος ν ν µ ν (“numbered among us”), and further, that he wasλαχεν τ νκλ ρον τ ς διακονίας ταύτης (“allotted his share in this ministry”):the apostolic ministry. Equally important from the perspective of culturalcontext is that the term ποστόλος (“apostle”) was the first century Greekequivalent of the Hebrew jlv (“shaliach/shaluach”), which signifies “a sentone” in both languages. In contemporary Jewish custom, a person's jlv was fullyable to represent his master in all matters (note again, the implications of1:8). According to the Mishna, “A man's jlv is like himselfxxxi”. But for themoment we need to trace the flow of thought in verses 21 and 22(b): “So one ofthe men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went inand out among us ... one of these men must become with us a witness to hisresurrection.” The distinction is plain: νδρ ν (“the men”) is distinguishedfrom the first person pronoun µ ν (“us”) given in verse 21, and “these men”(the object is inferred from the context as it is redundant to repeat it inGreek) from σνµν (“with us”) of verse 22(b). Therefore it remains clear thatthe referent has once again reverted to being the smaller number of Jesus’disciples, those whom he specifically called and appointed to be apostles.

And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamedJustus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest thehearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen 25 to take theplace in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go tohis own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias;and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

Having clearly established thatthe discussion no longer centered on the “one hundred and twenty”, but just theapostles, we can approach the final periscope xxxii introduced before theevents of Pentecost took place. Perhaps the first significant point is that wehave established that it was the surviving apostles who put forward the twocandidates for the vacant apostolate, and not the “one hundred and twenty”. Theστησαν (“they put forward”) finds as its grammatical referent the σ νµ ν ofverse 22(b). So too does the προσευξάµενοι (“they prayed”) of verse 24, and theδωκαν κλήρους (“they cast lots”) of verse 26. By contrast, the referent forτούτων (“these”) in verse 24 is the ωσ φ τ ν καλούµενον Βαρσαββ ν and Μαθθίαν(“Joseph called Barsabbas” and “Matthias”) of verse 23. It was the apostles whodecided upon the elevation of Matthias to the apostolate having cast lots, andnot the broader fledgling Christian community! Having successfully traced indetail the “who-was-talking-about-whom-and-when” aspects of Acts chapter one,we find ourselves concluding the narrative to this point with τ ν νδεκαποστόλων (“the eleven apostles”).

A brief word on chapters and verses

It shouldbe obvious to all that the division of Scripture into chapters and verses,whilst extraordinarily helpful in locating particular biblical passages andevents, does not owe its origin to the biblical authors. Versification resultedfrom the need for printers to keep control of the location of the text, when print was setby hand rather than by computer. Consequently, by-and-large it dates fromshortly after the time of the invention of the printing pressxxxiii. And inspite of the help that the versification of Scripture provides, it equallypromotes the unfortunate process of fragmenting the text, and often with it,the reader’s ability to trace the flow of the narrative. This particularfailing is particularly obvious in (indeed it is compounded by) theRevivalist’s preferred translation, the King James Version, where each verseappears as a separate paragraph!xxxiv The reader is therefore left to struggleto determine logical “sense units” for him or herself. Naïve assumptionsconcerning what the text “means” then frequently occurs, for example, that theclosing of one chapter and the opening of another must automatically signal achange in the author’s thought or subject matter. Such is generally not thecase, and is certainly not so when considering the progression of Acts chapterone into chapter two.

(to be cont.)

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:17/10/2008 5:30 AMCopy HTML

The coming of the Spirit 

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. With the opening four verses of chapter two, Luke signals what was the beginning of the fulfillment of the promised commission entrusted by the resurrected Jesus to his small band of apostles (see vv. 1:4, 5 and 8). 

The timing, itself, was significant; the feast of Pentecost occurred on the fiftieth day from the holy day of Passover. The original Passover took place in Egypt when God covenanted with the descendants of Abraham, to spare their lives from his angel of death, and to release them from bondage under Pharaoh. For their part, “Israel” was to be God's special possession, a people of his own choosing and one of his own making. So fifty days after fleeing Egypt the Hebrews found themselves at the foot of Mount Sinai, awaiting Moses’ return from communing with God, and the confirmation of the covenant that took place with the delivery of the Ten Commandments. 

Philo Judaeus, a devout Jewish Elder living at Alexandria in North Africa, recounted the Jewish tradition that surrounded the giving of the Law in his treatise, De Decalogo (“On the Ten Commandments”). Written sometime around 25 ADxxxv, in it he had this to say: This, then, might be sufficient discussion on these subjects; but it is necessary now to connect these previous things with that I am about to say, namely, that it was the Father of the universe who delivered these ten maxims, or oracles, or laws and enactments ... to the whole assembled nation of men and women all together. Did he do so, by uttering himself with some kind of voice? Of course not! Do not let such a thought to even enter your mind; for God is not like a man, he has no need of a mouth, and a tongue, and a windpipe, but it seems to me he did, at that time, perform a striking and evidently holy miracle, by commanding an invisible sound to be formed in the air, one more marvelous than all the musical instruments that ever existed ... but it was a rational voice both clear and distinct, which fashioned the air and stretched it out and changed it into a sort of flaming fire, and what sounded forth was so articulate a voice as breath when passing through a trumpet, that even those who were at a great distance appeared to hear it equally as well as those who were much nearer it ... but the power of God, breathing forth vigorously, aroused and caused a completely new kind of miraculous voice, and spreading its sound in every direction, made the end of it even more striking than the beginning xxxvi. 

Whilst the above account is not contained within the biblical record, and as such is not binding upon the believer as is Scripture, it is noteworthy that we are immediately confronted with several striking parallels in the pre-Christian Jewish tradition to what we find recorded canonically in the second chapter of Acts! To begin with both events took place at what was to become the “Feast of Weeks”, called Pentecost. Second, both events drew their significance from a Passover experience, each one occurring 40 days previously: the slaying of the lambs and the sparing of the first-born in Egypt in the Old Testament; the slaying of the Lamb of God, which was the sacrifice of his first born, in Judea in the New Testament. Third, “all Israel” was represented as standing before God’s presence at both events, with the mediator of the former covenant (Moses) giving the law; the mediator of the latter covenant (Jesus) giving the “new” law. Fourth, it was God who announced the fulfillment of the covenant at both events, and he chose the same supernatural signs to do so: the forming of a miraculous sound in the air, which then transformed into a flaming fire, and which became a rational and articulate voice understood by all. It is clear that God expected his Israel of AD to sit up and take notice of what was happening, and to draw a logical conclusion concerning its significance, given their detailed understanding of their earlier Jewish tradition. 

Returning to the biblical text, the first order of business is to determine who the “they” corresponds to in verse one of chapter two, given that it was “they” who were “… all together in one place”. We previously established that according to the basic law of grammar known as the Rule of Concord, the antecedent/referent to a pronoun will be the last noun mentioned that shares the same case, person, gender and number as the pronoun itself. In this instance, however, the pronoun is implicit, as it is contained within a verb. Consequently, two factors come into play in properly establishing the referent: context and syntax. Contextually, the last plural noun mentioned was τ ν νδεκα ποστόλων (“the eleven apostles”), with whom was numbered Matthias. Syntactically, the clause ατ πάντες σε µο κατ ν ε κοσι (“about one hundred and twenty”) is separated from the clause σαν πτ α τό (“they, who were all together in one place”) by more than fifteen subsequent Greek clauses, and each and every one of these has the apostles as its referent! One simply cannot avoid the outcome: Luke very clearly referred to the recently re-formed “Twelve” as the focus around which the miraculous events of Pentecost occurred. It was they who were identified earlier as being constantly together, and it was they upon whom the baptism with the Holy Spirit was originally promised by Jesus (see again vv. 1:5 and 8). The “one hundred and twenty” of verse 15 is far too dislocated syntactically to be grammatically plausible xxxvii. 

The second order of business is to establish where the apostles gathered at this time, as it was at that location that the Pentecostal phenomena occurred. Verse two provides the referent τ ν ο κον (“the house”), but which house is implied? Only two logical options present from the text itself: the house in which the “upper room” was located (so chapter one, verses 13 and 14), or the figurative “house of God—the Temple” (so chapter two, verse 46). Sound arguments exist in support of both locations. With respect to the former, Luke himself tells us that the apostles, the women, and Jesus’ immediate family were in the habit of meeting together there, being of “one mind”, devoting themselves to prayer. Further, it is telling that Luke nowhere else uses the word ο κος (“house”) to refer to the Temple; instead we universally find τ ν ερoν (“the Temple”) in all the undisputed references. In favor of the Temple; however, we might note the following: Pentecost was a high feast day; consequently the expectation was that all devout male Jews gathered in the Temple precincts, worshipping God. Second, verse 15 has Peter mentioning to the crowd that it was the “third hour of the day”, or nine o'clock in the morning. This was one of the three prescribed hours of prayer for the Jewish faithful, with the apostles numbered among the wider Jewish assembly xxxviii. In short the combination of one of the most important days on the Jewish calendar, and the first of the three prescribed hours of prayer, remains telling. Given the tradition outlined by Philo earlier, a location where “all Israel” was gathered becomes necessary. Having reflected at length on the implications of the data, my own judgment favors the location as being somewhere within the general courts of the Jewish Temple, rather than at a private house. At this point it becomes necessary to consider the actual Pentecostal phenomena as recorded by Luke, and the theological implications of the same. 

To begin with we cannot escape the fact that Luke expressly identified three inter-linked and miraculous manifestations: a roaring sound, being similar to the hearing to that of a violent windstorm. The sound then “fell” and rushed into the place where the apostles were sitting, filling it with noise (so verse two). The very fact that Luke records the apostles as sitting is important. Jews prayed to and worshipped God in one of three primary postures: either standing with the hands outstretched, kneeling with the forehead on the floor and the hands outstretched, or lying fully prostrate on the floor, again with the hands outstretched. Sitting only took place in between the prayers and the singing of the psalms, that is, during the interludes. That God arrived as he did, when he did, indicates that the apostles were caught completely unawares: they were not, at the time, praying! xxxix 

The subsequent miraculous manifestation was the visible, hovering sheet-like flame, having an outward appearance of fire, which then parted to rest on each apostle individually (verse three). The manifestation α το ς (“appeared to them”), the referent to α το ς (“them”) being yet again τ ν φθησαννδεκαποστόλων (“the eleven apostles”) plus Matthias of 1:26. And finally we must consider πλήσθησαν πάντες πνεύµατος γίου (“they were filled with the Holy Spirit”) and ρξαντο λαλε ν τέραις γλώσσαις (“they began to speak in other languages”). The third person plural pronouns implicit in the verbs “they were filled” and “they began to speak” are grammatically dependant on τ ν νδεκα ποστόλων (“the eleven apostles”) plus Matthias of 1:26 functioning as the antecedent! There were three supernatural “signs” that concentrated around the recently reconstituted “Twelve” as a group: the sound of a violent windstorm; the visible manifestation of a hovering sheet of flame, which then divided and rested over each apostle individually; and the manifestation of unlearned (albeit recognizable) human languages, which began to be spoken by each apostle, individually. Should we reflect on the Old Testament witness, we would discover that it is replete with examples of God’s Spirit being likened to both fire and wind, which was sometimes accompanied by a voice.xl 

We note that what occurred at the Christian Pentecost bore a very striking resemblance to the events that Jewish tradition understood took place at the giving of the Law at Sinai: a miracle of hearing, followed by a miracle of seeing, followed by a miracle of speaking. But what parallels do we find when we compare all of this to what is claimed by Revivalists for themselves? The short answer is simple: none! To begin with, the purpose for the historical baptism with the Spirit was to focus attention on the baptizer: Jesus Christ as the “new” Law Giver, and on the baptized, the re-formed Twelve Apostles as representatives of the “new” Israel re-constituted by God through the Son. The “baptism” itself served to separate and distinguish the apostles as specially commissioned representatives of the ascended Messiah, “empowered” for service to perform his work. 

By contrast Revivalists believe the “personal Pentecost” to herald the entry point to salvation, a point completely at odds with the situation facing the apostles! The focus, therefore, has altogether shifted away from Jesus Christ, and towards the individual Revivalist. The focus has altogether shifted away from the special commission given to the apostles, and towards the general entry of a believer” into “Christian” service. And the three corporate audio-visual miracles of Pentecost are completely absent from the individual “Pentecost” of the Revivalist. There is no sound of a violent wind that “falls” and fills the Revivalist meeting place. There is no visible sheet-like flame that divides and rests on the Revivalist. And the miracle of unlearned, authenticated human languages is substituted for an incomprehensible, syllabified gibberish that is claimed, and then without a shred of proof, to comprise authentic languages.xli There is no miracle of hearing, there is no miracle of seeing, and there is no miracle of speaking. But perhaps most telling of all is that the Revivalist is usually “frantically” engaged in activities that were completely absent when the Spirit was given at the historic Pentecost: “prayer” and “seeking” (actually, the repetition of a very few words in the hope that the individual’s language changes. In other words the Revivalist’s is often a learned and practiced behavior, more than it is a strictly supernatural experience). In complete contrast to thesituation faced by the original apostles, modern Revivalists specifically seek after a sign xlii and they do so with considerable “muttering”. Put plainly, the Revivalist “experience” parts company at each and every point from the biblical record under review. 

The effect of the miracles 

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, tongues the mighty works of God.” Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

(cont.)

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:17/10/2008 6:58 AMCopy HTML

(Cont.)

The crowds that formed at the Jerusalem Temple and witnessed the events of that morning divided into two distinct and specific groups. First were the Judean Jews, those who were natives of Palestine; second were those from the Diasporaxliii (the forced ‘Dispersion’), men and women who had traveled from elsewhere in order to celebrate the feasts of Passover and Pentecost. The native Jews spoke Aramaic and Greek. The foreigners had Greek and the various languages of their respective homelands. Luke records the effect upon the Jewish visitors of them identifying the substance of the apostle’s inspired speech. That is, of it representing the range of languages and dialects spoken by Jews scattered throughout the known world. In effect God had representatively re-gathered the “Twelve Tribes” of Israel to Jerusalem, so that “all Israel” would witness the confirmation of the “new Law” under Jesus Christ. It is for this very reason that the language of Judeaxliv numbered among the “foreign tongues” miraculously spoken, a point very often overlooked by many when the passage is read. Theologically, God brought together Old Covenant Israel (the former “Twelve”) in the City of Promise, to bear witness to the forming of New Covenant Israel, representatively constituted under (the latter “Twelve”) Apostles of Christ.

Naturally, the events that had just occurred caused quite a stir! All present likely as not knew the tradition as recorded by Philo of the events that accompanied the giving of the Law by God to Moses to Israel at Sinai. But, in spite of this, certain of the locals saw fit to challenge the work of God by accusing the apostles of public drunkenness! xlv

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.
15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day;
16 but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. shall be saved.’


Peter stood up, Luke again emphasizing the “Twelve”, and began to reason with his fellow Jews. He did so by appealing to their Jewish Scriptures, and their Jewish Messianic expectations. And Luke in recording the events that took place, again very carefully reinforced the fact of the signs surrounding the apostles alone. Consider, first of all the Jews had identified that the men who were speaking the “tongues” were all Galileans (see 2:7). Given that Jesus’ wider number of believers included Judeans and other non-Galileans, clearly the reference cannot be to them. By contrast, all of the surviving apostles were Galilean. Second, the plural demonstrative pronoun ο τοι (translated, “these men” in verse 15), has as its antecedent το ς νδεκα (“the eleven” of verse 14): an explicit reference to the apostles!

But what are we to take of Peter’s very “loose” quotation from Joel? To begin with, it is important to realize that Peter was quoting from the Greek version (the so-called Septuagint) of the book rather than from the Hebrew. This was no doubt intentional, as it was the Greek Old Testament that served as the Scriptures for Jews of the Diaspora given they could no longer understand Hebrew. Second, Peter explained the phenomena as being the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32 as it appears in the Septuagint, which corresponds to 3:1-5 in the received Hebrew text. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) in the mid twentieth century brought to light a form of biblical interpretation common among Jews during the first century: pesher (from rvp, “to interpret”). Two aspects to pesher are important to grasp: first, that such attempted to explain the fulfillment of biblical passages in contemporary events, and second, that pesher placed emphasis on fulfillment without attempting to exegete the details of the biblical prophecy that it sought to “interpret”. In other words, we should think of pesher as being “big-picture” interpretation. And we know that Peter was engaging in pesher given that he used the standard pesheric formula, “this is that”, to preface what followed.

Peter’s quoting the prophet Joel seems, at first blush, to be a little odd. The context of the passage related to the closing of the age that would usher in the long-anticipated “Day of Yahweh”. The Jews believed that this apocalyptic event would see Israel vindicated before the nations, whilst the gentiles were to be cast-down and humbled. Importantly, the very same theme formed the basis for
Jesus’ message, as it related to the dawning of the apocalyptic “Kingdom of God” (or the corresponding “Kingdom of Heaven” of Matthew’s gospel). The two perspectives, however, were considerably different. To the Jews, the apocalypse was to be a time of foreboding, of gloom, darkness and judgment. But to Jesus it signified the extended grace and mercy of God towards humanity. To Jesus the time expressed yet a further opportunity for repentance prior to the eventual Consummation. And received Jewish prophesy had indicated that Israel, the nation, would play a significant role in this coming to pass.

The great prophet Moses had prayed that Covenant Israel would become a “nation of prophets”xlvi. God had destined Israel to be a “light to the Gentiles”xlvii. Joel simply developed this theme, and prophesied of the time when God’s Spirit would rest on all of the covenant people. Therefore, from a Jewish perspective Pentecost AD30 was the fulfillment of a long-standing covenant promise made
by God to his chosen people, Israel. And it was for this reason that representatives from all the tribes, both Judean and Dispersion, were present at the feast.

Peter’s proclamation


22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty
works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified
and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death,
because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.
27For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence.’
29 “Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried,
30 and his tomb is with us to this day.Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn
with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
31 he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see
corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted
at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has
poured out this which you see and hear. himself says,

‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, .’34 For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he
35 till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that
God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Having explained to the assembled crowd the prophetic significance of the various manifestations via reference to the well-known apocalyptic passage in the prophecy of Joel, Peter directed the attention of his audience squarely towards Jesus—God’s appointed Messiah, the one who was both the cause of, and agent for, the fulfillment of the promises that had unfolded before their eyes! Peter quoted Psalm 16:8-11 and 110:1 in the Greek Old Testament, to establish the superiority of Jesus, one who many had thought very poorly of, over King David, who was highly esteemed by all. Further, Peter asserted that David was simply a man, and as a man he died, he was buried, and yet he too awaits the eventual resurrection to life with all men. But Jesus, whilst being in every respect also a man, was at the same time so much more. As a man he lived, and died, but as God’s Messiah he was not destined for physical decay. As God’s Messiah he rose again to life, and what they had just witnessed was the external vindication of this claim!

The effect of Peter’s proclamation

To note that Peter’s audience was in a state of agitation and psychological turmoil would almost be redundant. Everyone had heard of Jesus of Nazareth, and many had no doubt witnessed both his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his debased execution on a Roman cross a week later. However most had considered him at the time to be, at best, a misguided fool; at worst, a demonized deceiver. The visiting Jews no doubt also knew of the various rumors that were circulating about his body not being in its tomb. But now these same men had become eyewitnesses to an event that bore too many striking parallels to the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai to be simple coincidence. And as eyewitnesses they were obligated under Jewish Law to render something of a verdict as to its cause. Suddenly they had received an explanation from their own Scriptures that made perfect sense in light of the events of the past seven weeks.

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

Acts chapter two verses 37 and 38 forms the theological and doctrinal fulcrum around which all Revivalist belief pivots. Revivalism claims that verse 38 provides sure and ample evidence that one must (a) repent, (b) be baptized […by full immersion in water], and (c) receive the Holy Spirit […with the Bible evidence of speaking in tongues] in order to be “saved”xlviii. Of course, in claiming this Revivalists are expanding upon what Acts 2:38 actually states, by including elements of interpretative commentary, commentary that then is credited with the authority of Scripture itself! However, a reading of the passage immediately demonstrates that nothing presents of baptism as mandated exclusively by “full immersion xlix”, or that “speaking in tongues” is the supposed “Bible evidence” of having received the Holy Spirit. On these issues the text itself is completely silent. The overall result, somewhat curiously, is that the entire matter becomes framed in such a way as to make it a “one-two-three step process”, one that is thoroughly dependant upon human effort to achieve what is clearly intended to be a spiritual outcome. In short, the Revivalist reading of Acts 2:38 inescapably leads to a theology of salvation by human works, rather than the biblical model of humans as the passive recipients of God’s active grace.

Given the importance of the above two verses to Revivalist dogma, it becomes necessary to consider in some detail what is presented both exegetically and theologically. To begin with, Peter’s proclamation concerning the person of Christ within the acts of God had been effective. His fellow Jews had begun to realize the enormity of the Passover-Pentecost chain of events, and what they signified—both for Israel nationally, and for them spiritually. And it is necessary at this point to understand that Jews believed themselves to be in a right relationship with God by virtue of them being born Jews, or by becoming Jewish through following the path of the proselyte and converting to Judaism with all that such entailedli. Consequently, and contrary to the Revivalist misunderstanding, Acts 2:37 was not the response of Jewish men desiring to “convert”. After all, they were already Jewish and, therefore, had no need to “convert”. What we witness recorded in verse thirty-seven is the cry of men who were in fear for their lives and for their nation. Spiritual salvation was the furthest thought from the minds of men who believed themselves already saved by virtue of their Jewish-ness. To the contrary, they were in mortal fear of God’s immediate judgment falling upon them and Israel. And such a fear was well-founded, their history being a testament to the overwhelming of the Jewish nation and State when it departed from God’s Lawlii. Although it is probably unnecessary at this point, we will again demonstrate from the text that the supernatural effects of Pentecost were limited to the “Twelve”. Verse 37 clearly distinguishes between the Jews who gathered for Pentecost, and the smaller apostolic group. In point of fact, the former group very clearly enquired of the latter as to what was necessary—there being no mention at all of a larger group of Jesus’ followers being present at the time. Consider, had the “signs” involved the entire 120 Christian disciples, in other words, had all of Jesus’ followers enjoyed the manifestations of Pentecost rather than simply the effects, then it is quite reasonable to infer that the question, “what shall we do” would have been posed to other members of the Christian band besides the “Twelve”. But as the passage clearly indicates, such was not the case (see verse 37). And what was Peter’s response? He no doubt paused for a moment to survey the frantic crowd, and pastorally his heart moved. Peter’s passionate and expressive command was simple: “repent!” The inflected Greek word mετανοήσατε invokes the concept of turning from something to something (in this instance, to someone); it speaks to the theological concept that we associate with the word “conversion”. Peter had commanded—he used an imperative—the assembled masses to convert from their national sin of racial pride and superiority, and from the stubbornness that resulted, to turn towards Jesus so as to embrace the One who was Israel’s anticipated Messiah, consequently their Lord, and their all-too willing Savior. Peter then spoke a further command: the imperative, “be baptized!” (βαπτισθήτω in Greek). The rhetorical effect of the subsequent command—baptism— would have been very keenly felt by his audience. In simple terms Peter was declaring that they, although being Jews, were as far from God as were the Gentiles; consequently, they needed to humble themselves after a similar fashion as the Gentile proselyte to Judaism in order to enter into God’s New Covenant promises. Being a Jew simply wasn’t enough!

Grammatically, the principle clauses in the construction that we find in verse 38 are two: “…and Peter said to them, ‘repent and be baptized!’”, and, “…and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Importantly, principle clauses serve to distinguish “main ideas” from “related or subordinate ideas”, which are then expressed via the device of subordinate clauses. The principle and subordinate clauses of verse 38, graphically represented, are thus: “and Peter said to them, ‘repent / and be baptised’” “every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” “for the forgiveness of your sins” “and you shall receive the gift, [of] the Holy Spirit liii”

The above distinction becomes more apparent when one considers the shift from second person plural to third person singular forms, then back to second person plural in the Greek text. The shift
serves to place emphasis on the fact that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is dependant only upon
repentance; but further, that repentance remains the sole trigger for baptism. The two are intimately
tied, but in a “cause-effect” relationship. That baptism extends to everyone who repents, undertaken
in the name of Jesus Christ, indicates that what is in view is the public transferal of “ownership”
from self to Jesusliv. One consequence of this transferal is the forgiveness of sins. Accordingly, it is
not the physical action of baptism that leads to the forgiveness of sins, so much as the transferal of
ownership that the action describes. In simple terms, the “main ideas” of verse 38 are: that upon
repenting (and submitting to baptism in consequence of repentance), the promised gift of the Holy
Spirit occurs. The “related ideas” involve the “who” and “why” statements. When we review the
Greek text according to the canons of that language’s grammar, we note a far greater level of clarity
is present than generally occurs when working in translation. As has already been identified, the
inflected form of the Greek word “repent” occurring in verse thirty-eight is mετανοήσατε. When we
conjugate this verb, we discover that it appears in the 2nd person, aorist aspect, active voice,
imperative mood, and plural number. The 2nd person simply relates to the fact of the audience
whom Peter addresses, and from his perspective. That the verb is aorist expresses that the action
(i.e. the repentance) occurs without further limitation or implication as to its completion. And
because “repent” is in the active voice, the subjects Peter addressed—the Jews—are in mind. Of
course, that the verb appears as a Greek imperative identifies it as a command rather than as simply
a request. The subsequent verb, “be baptized”, is βαπτισθήτω, which is the 3rd person, aorist,
passive and imperative singular inflection of the standard verb “to baptize”. The 3rd person element
again identifies that Peter is the speaker, again distinguishing him from the subjects of his address.
Peter was telling his audience that he didn’t require baptism; however, they did. And again we note
that the verb is aorist and again that the mood is imperative. The important difference, the crucial
distinction in this instance, is that the verb appears in the passive voice. This indicates two things.
First that the Jews are to submit to the action of being baptized by others. Jewish proselyte baptism,
by contrast, was an action that one undertook oneself. There was no “baptist”; the proselyte
functioned as both “baptizer” and “candidate”. Second, that Peter did not use the anticipated active
voice form: “baptize yourselves”, demonstrates that from his perspective baptism was not co-
ordinate with repentance as being fundamentally necessary in order to receive the gift of God’s
Holy Spirit. To Peter’s thinking, being baptized is and remains subordinate to repentance, and this
fact presents yet another dilemma to Revivalist doctrine and practice. According to Peter’s
teaching, one cannot submit to baptism unless one was already repentant, and therefore, had
already received the effectual ministry of God’s Spirit in the mystery of conversion! According to
Peter, baptism remains the prerogative of believers; it is not part of a “process” that somehow turns
one into a believerlv.

But what of the all-important gift of God’s Holy Spirit? The conjugation of the verb “you shall
receive”, or λήµψεσθε, appears in the 2nd person, future aspect, middle voice, and indicative mood.
The future aspect points to the action or state, in this case the actual receiving of God’s Holy Spirit,
as taking place at an undetermined point in the future from the perspective of Peter as he was
speaking to his audience. In other words, his hearers would receive the Spirit at some point after
Peter had explained the “ground-rules” to them. That the verb is in the middle voice identifies that the repentant Jews could act for their own benefit by receiving the Holy Spirit as God and Jesus
offers him. However they could not coerce or in any way pre-empt the giving of the Spirit. In other
words according to Luke’s record of Peter’s speech, there is absolutely no possibility that the Jews
could somehow “seek” for the Holy Spirit. Let us be clear on this point: the universal Revivalist
practice of “seeking” for the Holy Spirit is simply not biblical! And finally, the indicative mood
clinches the point, qualifying the future aspect of receiving the Holy Spirit by indicating that
receiving him is an actual fact when one repents (and is baptized), and not an un-realized condition,
a possibility or simply a wishlvi. The Jews that heard Peter preach and who acted appropriately
thorough repenting (and through being baptized) could be assured that they had received the
promised Holy Spirit, because they had repented, and they had submitted to being baptized!
In summary, the biblical relationship between repentance/belief, baptism and the Spirit might
appear at first glance to be a little more complex than the simplistic “one-two-three” of Revivalism.
We should expect this to be the case, given the complex of issues that combines to form Christian
salvation. However, what we can affirm very simply is this: a person who has repented, and has
been baptized, has received the gift that is God’s Holy Spirit. On this issue Peter is perfectly clear.
The localized results of Peter’s Pentecost sermon 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three 42 thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the 44 breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 46 And all who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of 47
food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. The immediate effect of Peter’s Pentecost sermon was impressive—approximately three thousand Jews responded positively to the message that Jesus was the Christ. In other words, they accepted (or “received”) Peter’s testimony concerning Christ: they “believed” in Jesuslvii. As a consequence of their believing, the three thousand then submitted to the outward rite of Christian identification— baptism—and so were numbered inclusively with Jesus Christ’s original followers. It is important to acknowledge that Luke provides no record of a replication of the previously described “Pentecostal” phenomena taking place. The much vaunted (and supposed) “Pentecostal experience” was completely lacking with respect to the 3000 Christian converts. Clearly the significance of the supposed “experience” differed between Luke and Revivalism lviii.

To conclude this, the first of the four “Holy Spirit” blocks within Acts, and in keeping with Luke’s
general theme regarding the centrality of the apostles within the Acts narrative, we note verse 42:
“…they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship.”
The position of representative authority, entrusted by Jesus to his small band of twelve apostles, remains clearly in focus.

Philip and Samaria (Acts 8)

Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6 And the multitudes
with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs
which he did. 7 For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.
For the first five years of the Christian Church’s existence, mission with the preaching of the gospel
had been limited only to those who were fully Jewish; those who shared in the covenant promises
made by God to Abraham. This, of course, was in keeping with the Jewish understanding of the
significance of Pentecost—it being the fulfillment of Jewish covenant promises made by God to
Jews. However, the martyrdom of Stephen at the hands of a religious mob set in train a chain of
events that catapulted both Christian and message outwards from Jerusalem. Acts chapters seven
and eight record these events, and in doing so they introduce us to one of the primary figures around
whom Luke crafted his narrative: Saul, later Paul, of Tarsus.
Philip, a Hellenic Jewish Christian introduced to us in chapter six as one of the original “proto-
Deacons” of the Jerusalem church, was among those who left Jerusalem after the death of
Stephenlix. For reasons known only to him and God, he chose to visit a city in Samarialx. Although
the city is not named in Luke’s account, Church tradition indicates that it was probably either
Sebaste or Gittal xi.
Verse five makes clear that the content of Philip’s preaching centered solely on the person and
ministry of Jesus Christ. In this respect, it was no different to the content of Peter’s preaching to the
Jewish faithful at Pentecost; albeit that Philip’s audience consisted of racially and religiously
suspect “half-Jews”. And, as was the case with Peter five years earlier, Philip’s proclamation that
Jesus was the much anticipated Christ struck a chord with his audience. Luke advises us that the
Samaritans paid heed to Philip’s message about Christ, as it was being confirmed by the σηµε α
(“signs”) that they βλέπειν (“saw”) Philip perform. These two Greek words are quite suggestive.
First, σηµε α, the standard Greek term used to describe portents of “miraculous” significance,
appears 13 times in Acts. Eleven of these occurrences appear up to 8:13lxii. Second, the present
tense infinitive, βλέπειν, clearly marks out the “signs” as perceived by strictly visual means. They
were clearly and concretely observable. The question that begs asking is this: what was the nature
of the “signs” that Philip performed to validate his preaching of Jesus as the Christ? According to
Luke, they were (1) the casting of demons out of many, and (2) the healing of the paralyzed and
lame. With respect to the former, Revivalists as a rule do not brook much faith in the existence of
malevolent, supernatural, spiritual beings called demonslxiii. Consequently, they dismiss out-of-hand
a subject about which considerable mention occurs in the New Testament witness, including
testimony from the very lips of Jesus Christ himself. Interestingly, the Greek πνεύµατα κάθαρτα
(“unclean spirits”) occurs 23 times in the Christian New Testament, six times more than does
λαλε ν γλώσσαις (“speaking in tongues”)!lxiv But in addition to him casting out demons (really and
truly), Philip healed many who were either paralyzed or lame. So we note in Philip’s actions at
Samaria, the outworking of Jesus’ original commission to the “Twelve”l xv. What was the end result?
Considerable joy!
9
But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the
10
nation of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.
They all gave heed to him, from
12
the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that power of God which is called Great.” 11 And they
gave heed to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.

But when they
believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,
they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized
he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
Almost immediately, Luke introduces us to Simon—a Jewish man whom he describes as being
formerly a practitioner of the magic arts—and by virtue of which, Simon had successfully deceived
the population of the city. The Greek προϋπ ρχεν µαγεύων, (“had been practicing magic”) clearly
identifies that Simon was, previous to coming into contact with Philip, something of a well-known
sorcerer. That Philip so influenced such a local “celebrity” as Simon must surely have added to his
reputation, throughout Samaria, of being a powerful Christian preacher.
Verse 12 is fundamental to Luke’s purposes in Acts. There we read, “…but when they believed
Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were
baptized, both men and women.” The message about Jesus as the Christ, the “good news” as Luke
records it, is ε αγγελιζw in Greek, and means to make known God’s message of salvation with
authority and power. It is something of a rare expression in the Greek New Testament; Luke used it
only once, elsewherelxvi. Importantly, ε αγγελιζw is also a cognate to the Greek word from which
we derive the English term “gospel”, which adds to its theological significance in our present
24
context. In any respect, Luke then calls this message about Jesus as the Christ the message about the
Kingdom of God itself, thereby identifying the relationship between the two ideas. Previously, some
Jews had largely viewed Jesus as the “messenger”; now Luke presents him as being, effectively and
fundamentally, part and parcel of the very substance of the “message” itself! Of note, the
expression, “believing in the name of Jesus”, given the context already exposed via the underlying
Greek idiom, refers to responding appropriately to his power and authority, and occurs as such
several times in the book of Actslxvii. And that Philip was successful in his efforts at preaching the
gospel—the message about Jesus as the Christ, ushering in the irrupting Kingdom of God—had
tangible results. A large number of people placed their faith in Jesus, consequently, they submitted
to baptism, including Simonlxviii. It seems clear that Luke intended for his readers to note the
obvious parallel to the results of Peter’s preaching in Acts 2: Christian preaching leading to
repentance and baptism, leading to conversion and salvation.
Towards the beginning of this essay the statement was made, “This rhetorical feature indicates that
Luke intended to demonstrate both comparison and contrast between the four ‘Holy Spirit’
passages…” We have considered a comparison between the accounts of Acts 2 and Acts 8; we must
now honestly tackle a significant contrast: the suspension by God in giving the Holy Spirit to the
Samaritans.
14
Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent
15
to them Peter and John,
who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy
Spirit; 16 for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the
Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18
Luke is very clear that although the Samaritans had believed the message about Jesus, although Philip had baptized them as a consequence of their believing, and although they had experienced
great joy, they had not yet received the Holy Spirit! This is, of itself quite remarkable, given that
Luke uses precisely the same language elsewhere in Acts to present very clear demonstrations of
salvation taking place! The situation with respect to Philip and the Samaritans simply does not seem
to fit the “normal” pattern, and this provides us with something of a hint concerning Luke’s
purposes.
In order to make sense of the exceptional circumstances that took place at Samaria, we must
seriously reflect upon Luke’s stated and implied purposes and emphases in writing Acts. We will
then remember that Luke recorded Christ’s commissioning of his apostles in 1:8, “…but you shall
receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in
Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Noting this, we will also
recall how clearly Luke’s unfolding history demonstrated these very same apostles discharging their
commission with unique power and authority. With chapter eight, the record has moved beyond the
racially and religiously “safe” confines of Jerusalem and Judea, to the very heart of Samaria itself.
Philip was in “questionable” territory, and due to his preaching, that is to say due to God calling him
to function along similar lines to the original apostles when commissioned by Jesus originally, it
became necessary for the apostles to demonstrate their unique power, to assert their unique
authority as the unique witnesses of Jesus Christ. But this should not prompt us to view the situation
in Samaria as being a rejection of the apostle’s authority, or as a challenge to them. To the contrary,
Philip realized that God had not given the Spirit (Luke does not tell us how Philip knew this);
consequently he sought the apostles’ help. For their part the apostolic group dispatched two of the
“pillar” apostles, Peter and John, their presence and response providing a concrete endorsement of
Philip’s work, confirming that he, too, was an instrument of God.
It was when Peter and John laid their hands on the Samaritan Christians that they, at last, received
the promised seal of God’s Holy Spirit. That God imparted his Spirit, and then via the hands of the
two apostles, is significant. In this instance something unique had occurred: the Lord graciously
extended his Word to a people who warmly received it, but who were a people that existed outside
of the immediate and recognized boundaries of ethnic Israel. In chapter two we read how the Holy
Spirit descended in power on the “Twelve” as eschatological representatives of the original tribes of
Israel. And that after this, a further 3000 members of the Jewish nation were converted. On that day
God gave the Holy Spirit in a wholly sovereign fashion, in accordance with his intended purposes.
In Samaria, however, Philip had delivered the Word of the Lord to “half-Jews”, to those who’s right
to enjoy the Jewish covenant promises was doubtful. Jesus Christ had formerly delegated the
authority to ratify the inclusion of diverse and distinct people groups into the New Covenant
community to his apostleslxix. Consequently, it required them to confirm the inclusion of the
Samaritans—God imparting the Holy Spirit to the Samaritans through the apostles—at such a
pivotal time in Church history. This done, no Jewish Christian could ever again reject or deny
Samaritan believers full and unfettered Christian fellowship.
That what took place at Samaria was unusual is clear. Consequently, we cannot approach chapter
eight as if it described the supposedly “normal” chain-of-events with respect to salvation. Consider,
from Luke’s perspective the Samaritans were “saved” prior to the arrival of Peter and John. Luke’s
chosen expressions and style makes this plain. However, the overall witness of Scripture assures us
that it is the reception of God’s promised Spirit which “guarantees” salvation as an eternal fact.

There remains a tension between these two paradoxical factors that cannot be reconciled, it is
simply another aspect of the overall “mystery” that is salvation.
18
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he
offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may
receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “Your silver perish with you, because you thought
you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your
heart is not right before God.
22
Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord
24
that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of
bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that
nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
Luke records that Simon Magus was a person who clamored after supernatural power. Prior to
meeting Philip, he had attempted to gain as much for himself through the practice of magic arts.
Later he had witnessed the evangelist casting out demons and healing people of physical afflictions.
Finally, he had seen two of Christ’s apostles impart something altogether marvelous, something that
not even the miracle-worker Philip had the authority to give. The obvious question is this: what did
Simon see?
The truth is that we really do not know given that Luke does not say. In many respects, the answer
itself is not that important. Luke purposefully structured his account specifically intending for his
readers to comprehend that: (1) Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. And, (2) that Jesus
commissioned, and empowered, his apostles to represent him post his ascension. Luke’s readers
could fully affirm that, (3) the apostles enjoyed a unique authority and role within the Church.
Similarly, his readers could take comfort in the knowledge that (4) what Jesus said would come to
pass did—the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, and the gospel spread in accordance with Jesus’
prophecy in chapter one, verse eight. If Luke had intended his readers to attribute a particular
“manifestation” with the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit, then it is probable he would have been more
forthcoming on the matter. Further, that he would have been more consistent in both his descriptions
and his choice of language between the various “power” accounts. Rather than consistently telling
his readers what took place, Luke opted to tell them why. In short, Luke’s emphases were not the
same as are the Revivalist’s emphases; consequently, the latter should not arrogantly superimpose
his pet views upon the former.
In summary, a question: did the Samaritans manifest the Revivalist’s much vaunted “unknown
tongues”? The clear response is that it doesn’t seem at all likely. First, of course, there remains the
fact that the Revivalist’s so-called “salvation-experience” departs at every point from Luke’s records
of both the original Christian Pentecost, and of the Samaritan mission. Second is the reality that
manifestations remarkably similar to the Revivalist’s (perhaps “Corinthianlxx”) “unknown tongue”
were well-known throughout the contemporary Greco-Roman worldlxxi. What set apart the
Corinthian Christians was not the fact of their “tongues” gift, rather, its origin and its purpose.
Given his background, Simon Magus was not likely to have been “amazedlxxii” or impressed by so

pedestrian a “sign”, and certainly not when one considers that he had previously witnessed the
casting out of demons and the healing of the crippled. We need to reflect that all this took place at a
time and in a culture that literally exploded with supernatural religious “signs”; something far more
provocative must have been in view than the Revivalist’s “unknown tongue”. The end of the matter
is this: whilst one might surmise at this, and another guess at that, the fact remains that Luke was
completely silent on the matter. One thing, though, is clear. According to Luke, Simon Magus’
principle error was a preoccupation with “signs” and with “power”. This preoccupation distracted
him from giving sufficient attention to what was most important, the Savior. With Revivalists one
might ask: what, then, has changed?

The so-called Gentile Pentecost (Acts 10)

1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian
Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people,
and prayed constantly to God. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel
of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror, and said, “What
is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before
God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and bring one Simon who is called Peter; 6 he is lodging with
Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had departed,
he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those that waited on him,
having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. and The Christian Church, a community established and populated through the supernatural guiding of the risen Jesus Christ, was in many respects, formed at Jerusalem during the Feast of Pentecost in
AD30
lxxiii
. For the first five years the Church’s mission was limited to those of fully Jewish identity.
The New Covenant was perceived in terms of the Old Covenant promises made to the descendants
of Abraham; consequently, the gospel message itself was understood, largely, in racial terms.
However, God ignited a spark through the preaching of Stephen. The result was that Hellenist
Jewish Christians endured an “exodus” from Jerusalem, and in the person of Philip, from Judea
altogether. In
AD35,
by God’s grace, the Christian gospel was communicated through Philip to a
racially and religiously suspect group—the Samaritans. The apostle Peter, the one whom Jesus had
previously called the “rock” around which he would build his Churchlxxiv, was instrumental along
with John, in confirming the inclusion of the Samaritan believers into the Christian community. To
this point, however, only Jews (albeit by the “broadest” definition) comprised Body of Christ.
The setting is Caesarea, the administrative capital of the Roman province of Judea; the year is
sometime around AD40. With Acts chapter 10 Luke introduces his readers to an important Roman citizen—a Gentile—an officer in the Roman army known as Cornelius. We discover immediately
that Cornelius was: (1) a Roman, (2) a Centurionlxxv, and surprisingly, (3) that he was ε σεβ ς κα
φοβούµενος τ ν θε ν (“a devoutly religious man, one who feared the Jewish God”). Cornelius
was something of a living contradiction: he was a battle-hardened soldier—a member of the
occupying Roman force—and as such he represented everything that Jews living in Palestine during
the first century despised and detested! But in spite of this, he was a man many Jews respected, as a
he was one who devoutly feared and worshipped their God. Luke presents Cornelius as a man of
integrity, as one who supported the Jewish community in very practical terms.
In verse three Luke tells us that, being devout, Cornelius kept the Jewish hours of prayer. And it
was while he was engaged in worship that God sent to him an angel with a messagelxxvi. Having
received the message, Cornelius immediately dispatches emissaries to seek our Simon Peter. God
spoke and Cornelius acted.

Verses nine through 17 shift events to Peter at Joppa, the interlude providing us with a description
of how God set about preparing him for the arrival of Cornelius’ servants. Via an angelic visitation
and vision of his own, the Lord spoke to Peter concerning the true status of spiritual purity,
contrasted as it was with the outward observances that were part of the so-called “boundary-
markers” of Judaism. Through the vision, Peter came to realize that purity was an inward, or
spiritual matter, rather than strictly an outward or religious one. Consequently, by the time
Cornelius’ Gentile servants approached where he was staying, Peter, impulsive as ever, was
prepared to do something rather unexpected.

19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking
for you. 20 Rise and go down, and accompany them without hesitation; for I have sent them.” 21 And
Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for
your coming?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is
well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to
his house, and to hear what you have to say.” 23 So he called them in to be his guests.
The Holy Spirit prompted Peter to hospitality; he immediately invited them to stay as his guests,
under his friend’s roof. Although Jewish tradition allowed for a degree of interaction with ritually
impure Gentiles, it expressly forbade them from co-habiting or sharing in mealslxxvii. In other words,
by inviting the men into his friend’s house, Peter rendered himself, his friend Simon, and Simon’s
house ritually unclean! Given that all Christians were also Jews, and given that they continued to
observe Jewish customs at this time, Peter’s actions were particularly remarkable. God spoke, Peter
acted. 23(b)
The next day he rose and went off with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa
24
accompanied him.
And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting
25
them and had called together his kinsmen and close friends.
27
When Peter entered, Cornelius met 28
him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too
am a man.”
And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered;
and he
said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one
of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 So
when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”
Accompanied by an undisclosed number of local Jewish-Christians, Peter journeyed from Joppa to
Caesarea to meet with Cornelius. Obviously Peter had managed to placate his traveling
companions, as they would have been horrified that Peter had rendered himself unclean, and
further, that he intended to visit with a Roman officer. It is probable that Peter shared with them the
substance of his vision, and his changing thinking on the matter: the traveling party, although
dubious, would have deferred to Peter due to his status as the “senior” apostle.
Cornelius, for his part, showed the Christians a considerable honor by gathering his family and
close friends to hear them. Given that he had not fully converted to Judaism—he was still a
Gentile—Cornelius’ close friends would have comprised other military men and members of the
City’s ruling and social elite. It is probable that many of them might possibly have shared his
respect towards the Jewish God, and by extension, the local Jewish institutions. For their part, the
local Jewish leaders would have been mortified at the prospect of Cornelius receiving
representatives of the Christian schism to meet with him. The very last thing that they would have
wanted was a shift in local (and powerful) favor away from “orthodox” Judaism to the
“unorthodox” Jesus sect. However, given the Jewish preoccupation with ritual purity, the local
Synagogue leaders would have absented themselves from any intermingling taking place in
Cornelius’ house.

Revivalists generally misunderstand the impact intended by verses 25 and 26, frequently applying
these verses as polemic against the sort of respect afforded to religious leaders including the Roman
Catholic popelxxviii. In actuality, Cornelius’ deferential actions were standard fare for the time and
culture. The term προσεκύνησεν can mean “to offer worship to”, but it can also mean “to pay
homage to someone of whom a favor is askedlxxix”. Luke used the term in a dual sense: Cornelius
intended to show great respect towards Peter; Peter, however, was mindful that his host not
consider him to be too “angelic” a messenger. However, the actions (and the reactions) of both men
were completely counter-cultural! A Roman Centurion debasing himself before a Jewish fisherman;
the latter stooping to raise the former back to his feet! And upon fully entering into Cornelius’
house, Peter placed his host and his host’s guests as ease by remarking, that although it was not the
“done” thing for a Jew to comport with Gentiles, no-one less than God had shown him that there
was no “purity” barrier between Jews and non-Jews that either party need be mindful of. Having
done as much, Peter then asked Cornelius why he had summoned him. Cornelius responded by
explaining the substance of his vision, ending with the statement, “…now therefore we are all here
present in the sight of God, to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord”.
Peter and his Jewish-Christian traveling companions faced a very significant dilemma. It was
obvious that God had brought about the events leading up to the meeting in Cornelius’ house. In
spite of this Cornelius was a Gentile. Peter, his companions, and indeed all who were part of the
Christian community traced their heritage back to a particular ethnic group—Jews—one that
understood the New Covenant to be the fulfillment of the Old Covenant promises. And the Old
Covenant promises were for Jews! But Cornelius had invited Peter to share his beliefs concerning
Jesus with him, a Roman! What else could Peter do? He shared the gospel:
34
And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,
36
35
but in
37
every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
You know the
word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),
the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism
which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power;
how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with
him.
39
And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and made
him manifest; 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and
drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to
testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead.
43
To him all the
prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his
name.”

The entire content of Peter’s message dwelled on Jesus. Jesus was the anticipated Christ. He was
the one whom God anointed with his eschatological Spirit to proclaim salvation to all people. And
he was the one crucified—and then by a Roman official—but who later rose from the dead. In
Cornelius’ house we find the gospel, the biblical “salvation-message” presented. And, in reviewing
Peter’s second recorded “gospel sermon”, the first being at Pentecost, we are struck by the fact that
the substance has not changed, nor has the emphasis during the course of the intervening ten years.
The audience had radically changed; the message had remained exactly the same. From a Revivalist
perspective, what Peter did not mention is equally as challenging as what he did. Consider, Peter
said nothing about repentance. Peter said nothing about baptism [… by full immersion in water].
And Peter said nothing about receiving the Holy Spirit [… with the “evidence” of speaking in
tongues]. Peter’s message did not touch at a single point, with what Revivalist’s dogmatically
proclaim as being necessary in order to secure salvation. And in spite of Peter not preaching a
“proper” gospel (from a revivalist perspective), the results were staggering.
44
While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.
46
45
And the
believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the
Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
and extolling God. Then Peter declared,
47
For they heard them speaking in tongues
“Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people
48
who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
the name of Jesus Christ.
And he commanded them to be baptized in
Verse 44 clearly describes that Peter was still “preaching” when something completely unexpected
took place. Peter’s audience was still listening to him preach when something completely
unexpected occurred. Not carefully: none of Peter’s audience was “seeking”. None of Peter’s
audience was praying. None of Peter’s audience was sitting in a “baptism” tank. But every one of
them was intently paying heed to the apostle when God poured out his Spirit upon a Gentile
audience. God was active, the Gentiles were passive recipients of the Spirit, and the Christians
stood around open-mouthed! In Cornelius’ household we see a repeat of what took place at
Pentecost a decade earlier. Then God was active, the “Twelve” apostles were passive recipients of
the Spirit, and it was the Jews who stood around open-mouthed!
The Jewish Christians who were present in Cornelius’ house recognized that Peter was preaching a
“gospel sermon”. However, in spite of this, the record specifically states that they were ξέστησαν
(“amazed”) that God had poured out his Spirit. There are several Greek terms that Luke might have
chosen to express the notion of “amazement” at this point. But he opted for a word that mingled the
concepts of “astonishment” and “fear”, one specifically used in religious language to denote the
outcome of miraculous eventslxxx. That the Jewish Christians anticipated that the Gentiles would be
“saved” is clear: why else would Peter be preaching Jesus to them? But it is equally clear that they
did not anticipate them being recipients of the eschatological Holy Spirit! “God ‘saves’
whomsoever he wills, but his Spirit remains with Israel!” was an historic creed defining the Chosen
People throughout their history. Luke’s record provides the reason that Peter’s associates knew that
God had given the Spirit: κουον γ ρ α τ ν λαλούντων γλώσσαις κα µεγαλυνόντων τ ν
θεόν (“for they heard them speaking in foreign languages and praising God!”). The two clauses are
co-ordinate in the Greek, and so comprise a single activity. The nominative feminine plural form of
the Greek word “language”, coupled with the standard form of the verb “to speak” (in the current
example it is a participle), occurs in Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4, 11; 10:46 and 19:6. This construction
describes the action of vocalizing in a structured, organized and authentic language, and it is
precisely this that links the four Acts accounts with Mark 16:17! In choosing this form of Greek
construction, Luke identified that what took place in Cornelius’ house with respect to the
miraculous omen of “spoken languages” was of the same substance as what transpired at Pentecost
with the “Twelve”. Peter, too, identified the connection. He confirmed: “these people … have
received the Holy Spirit just as we have”. Peter makes the clear association between “these” and
“we”, and links it to the reception of God’s Spirit in an outwardly and inescapably obvious
mannerlxxxi. That the “these” refers to Cornelius, his household and his guests, is clear from the
context. However, the identification of the “we” is not immediately clear, contextually.

Conjunction

The ς, linked with the first person plural pronoun µε ς, requires investigation in order to
identify the intended referent. This is necessary, because Peter had not linked himself inclusively
(grammatically) to his Jewish-Christian companions up to this point. In effect, the “we” is
“hanging”. In reality, however, there exist only two potential options. The first, the one accepted by
Revivalists, and that likely inferred by careless readers of the English translation, is that Peter was
linking himself to his immediate companions. However, the inference itself could take one of two
forms: generic or specific. If generic, then Peter considered himself to be something of an exemplar
for what occurred at Pentecost a decade earlier. If specific, then Peter intended his companions to be
included in what took place at Pentecost. The alternative position, the one that I believe has the
greater textual, grammatical and theological support, is that Peter was using a device referred to as
the “apostolic plural”. In effect, Peter’s use of the first person plural pronoun “we” encapsulates and
incorporates the experience of his eleven fellow apostles. We find this construction in use, for
example, by the author of First Johnlxxxii. That this form is what was intended by Peter is supported
by his earlier statement in verses 38 and 39, “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy
Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the
devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews
and in Jerusalem”: a direct reference to the subjects identified in chapter one, verse eight. We know
from what Luke wrote earlier, that it was the apostles, and they alone, who Jesus commissioned to
function as eyewitnesses to his ministry in Jerusalem and Judea. Further, Luke himself specifically
constructed his Acts narrative around a “theology of apostleship”. And further still, that Luke went
to pains to identify the “Twelve” as being the focus around which the Pentecostal phenomena
revolved. In short, grammar, context and theology are decisive in identifying precisely “who” Peter
had in mind.

Peter preached, God acted and the result was perfectly clear to the Jewish-Christians who found
themselves in the position of eyewitnesses to the divine event. However, up to this point, that is to
say, up to the point at which God saved a group of Gentiles; nothing whatsoever was mentioned
about the particular rite of initiation into the Christian community—baptism. It is only after the
event of Christian conversion that Peter commanded that this aspect of Christian discipleship be
undertaken. Interestingly, he did so in the form of a challenge to his associates: “‘can anyone forbid
water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he
commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for
some days.” Baptism functioned in a dual sense: first, as the outward expression of the inward
change that had taken place in the life of a believer. In other words, it served a theological function.
Second, and more importantly, however, was the social function. Baptism was the rite that extended
the benefits of full table fellowship with the Christian community. It served to identify the recipient
with his Lord and with his Lord’s “Body” as a member “in common”. In this respect it formed part
of Christian discipleship. Consequently, Peter’s challenging of his Jewish-Christian associates was
intentional: he was, representatively, daring them to prohibit full fellowship and association with
Gentiles, given that their God had acted decisively and openly in breaking down the walls of social
and racial separation. All of this significance is lost on Revivalists, given that their practice is to
mine Scripture with the intent of forcing the “part” to fit their “whole”.

In summary, a close reading of the events recorded by Luke, with respect to Cornelius and his
household, yet again conclusively demonstrates that Revivalist dogma and practice parts company
completely with what Scripture presents. In Acts 10 we do not find the Revivalist’s “one-two-three”
“gospel” presented. We do not find anyone “seeking” for God’s Holy Spirit. We do not find anyone
praying for God’s Holy Spirit. We do not, in fact, find any mention of the Holy Spirit being
available to anyone excepting for Jesus Christ; or of baptism being mentioned anywhere at all, prior
to the conversion of Peter’s audience! Quite plainly, Acts 10 is not the “this is that” of Revivalism.








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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:17/10/2008 9:05 AMCopy HTML

Paul and the Baptist’s disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19)

The final passage that we will consider in the essay is also the shortest of Luke’s four “Holy Spirit” accounts. It comprises a scant seven verses in the English Bible, and in contrast to the previous accounts, focuses on Paul rather than on Peter. To begin with it, it would be quite the understatement to suggest that Paul’s call to be an apostle, which Luke records for us in Acts chapter nine, was challenged by many within the Church for the greater part of Paul’s life. In fact, the apostle himself contrasts his appointment to that of the prior “Twelve”, by referring to his call in terms of a birth delivered “out of seasonlxxxiii”. And, although he may have thought of himself, in some respects at least, as being the “least of all apostles”, he was, in many respects, truly the greatest. In terms of missionary fervor, suffering, pastoral concern, and literary output, Paul had few close equals. And, of course, Luke was a personal attendant to Paul later in his life and ministry. An appreciation of this important feature goes a long way to properly discerning the meaning of several key passages in the book—not the least of which is our current chapter.

We learn in Acts 18:24-26, that Apollos, a converted Alexandrian Jew, someone well versed in the Jewish Scriptures and in Greek rhetoric, had ministered briefly in Ephesus prior to Paul’s arriving there. As verse 25 indicates, however, whilst Apollos’ message was certainly orthodox, his understanding was in some respects somewhat deficient. Most notably, this was so as concerned the doctrine of baptisms. 24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.

It was the result of Apollos’ teaching, and specifically his less than adequate understanding of baptism, which Paul encountered when he arrived in the City. This factor is necessary to properly grasping the context of Paul’s meeting with the “twelve” former disciples of John the Baptist.

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There 2 he found some disciples.
And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you 4 believed?” And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve of them in all.

Revivalists reckon this account to be an example that fully supports their positions on baptism and on speaking in tongues as the universal sign of having received the Spirit of God. Clearly the essay thus far has challenged such a misunderstanding, and as will become apparent shortly, the particulars of Acts 19 similarly neither reflect the Revivalist doctrine nor the Revivalist experience. Upon arriving at Ephesus Paul encountered a number of men who were styled as “disciples”. Luke generally uses the common Greek plural µαθητ ς (“disciples”) to describe followers of Jesus Christ. In this instance, however, the expression is somewhat ambiguous. Does it refer to followers of Jesus? Or does Luke have in mind former disciples of John the Baptist? That the author was being intentionally ambiguous is clear from the context: Paul himself was unsure, and so needed to ask key questions. To this end, Paul questioned them as to whether they had received the Holy Spirit when (not “since”) they believed. To Paul, possession of the eschatological Spirit was the clear determiner in salvation. However, when viewed from a Revivalist perspective, the way in which Paul framed his question was curious. Consider: the context makes plain that Paul believed the “disciples” may have been converted Christians. That they were previously followers of the Baptist indicates that they were Jewish, itself a good sign. That Apollos had visited Ephesus and preached there was also suggestive to the apostle, and was another positive. But in spite of these clear features, Paul did not ask them what “sign” or “signs” had accompanied them having received the Spirit, if such was indeed the case. If speaking in tongues were the universal, clear and irrefutable “sign” of having received God’s Spirit, then why did Paul not ask them to either assent to it, or to
demonstrate the same for him? In fact, had any “sign” been indicative to Paul, we could rightly assume that he would have couched his question in terms that would have made the same extraordinarily plain. But he didn’t. The response of the “disciples” is equally suggestive.

The clause, λλ ο δ ε πνε µα γιον στιν κούσαµεν, can be understood as implying that the men did not know that there was such a “thing” as the “Holy Spirit” in the first place, a position that I once personally subscribed to lxxxiv. However, further reflection has led me to the conclusion that all the contexts speak against this view. That the men were Jewish, and then former disciples of John the Baptist, would discount the possibility of them not knowing of the Holy Spirit in the first place. lxxxv That, and that the verb for “hear” appears in the indicative mood, and that it is an active voice aorist, would suggest to me that the men had not heard that, “the Holy Spirit had been given” as a preferable translation. Upon learning that these disciples were ignorant of the very fact that God had given the Holy Spirit, Paul, who himself understood there to be a close connection between the Spirit and baptism lxxxvi, asked the men “what” baptism they had experienced. He did this because the apostolic gospel had centered on the understanding that once a person had turned to Christ (that is, repented), which then led to such a one being baptized into Christ, the sealing of God’s Spirit was automatic lxxxvii.

Obviously then, to Paul, it was the baptism which the “disciples” had received which was somehow deficient. This was so because such indicated a deficient understanding of the Person and work of Jesus Christ—the very precursor and pre-condition to Christian baptism! As it transpired, this proved to be the precisely the case; Paul established that the twelve men had not received a
Christian baptism at all. Their understanding of the “who”, “what” and “why” of Jesus was not up to “par”; consequently they had not been baptized into him. They were, to this point, not his. They were, to put matters bluntly, unconverted.

Paul then explained to these men the significance of Christian baptism functioning as Christian discipleship lxxxviii. Having learned this, the men willingly transferred self-ownership to Jesus as the Christ, and they did this by consenting to baptism into his name: a Hebraism that indicates the power and authority that lies behind the name itself. It was then incumbent on Paul as an apostle, to
fulfill his obligation as an apostle, by performing the signs of an apostle lxxxix. Paul caused the Holy Spirit to be “poured” upon the twelve men through the laying on of his hands. And in this instance we read that they “…began to speak in languages and they began to prophesy”. The RSV is less than perfectly clear on this point, given that the Greek imperfect verbs “speaking” and “prophesying” are actually inceptive, which indicates an action that began and then continued. The important and singular feature of Acts 19, however, is that not only did the converts miraculously speak in true languages they had not learned (again, contra Revivalism), but that they also
evidenced prophesy as well. The context of the Greek passage is that both miraculous outgrowths of the Spirit’s presence occurred in equal measure, rather than simply one or the other.

In summary, it is clear that Acts 19 supports neither the common Revivalist doctrine nor the common Revivalist experience of “salvation” and/or speaking in tongues. The passage does, however, admirably affirm Luke’s principle aims in writing his Acts account. These include the continuing post-Resurrection ministry of Jesus the Christ; the unique authority of his apostles as his chosen and empowered representatives; and equally as important, that Paul’s apostolic ministry was in every respect equal to that of the “foundation” apostles.

Conclusion

I trust that the essay has demonstrated, and then conclusively from the passages reviewed, that the Revivalist dogma regarding salvation as universally accompanied by the “sign” of speaking in “unknown” tongues is false, and further, that it cannot be supported by an honest reading of any of the four principle Acts “Holy Spirit” passages frequently appealed to by them as “proof-texts”. I trust that the essay has demonstrated that Revivalists are prone to being remarkably selective in their reading of the various Acts accounts, and in their “picking-and-choosing” from them. We discover the actual points of contact between Revivalist teaching and experience, and the biblical witnesses that we have before us, to be completely absent! We do not find a Peter, a Philip or a Paul presenting anything remotely resembling the Revivalist’s “salvation message” at any point.

Furthermore, we fail to find even a single example of anyone “seeking” after, or praying for, God’s Holy Spirit. Baptism occurs biblically as a rite of social initiation that takes place only after conversion, never before; and every instance that “tongues” appears in Acts refers to authentic human languages, and then occurring within corporate settings, not individual ones. I might suggest that the Revivalist’s confidence in his or her “experience” is admirable. However, the place where the “experience” properly fits within the context of Scripture is poles removed from where the Revivalist assumes it fits.

It concerns me greatly that the average Revivalist experiences his or her “tongues” event in a contrived, “coached” setting—the so-called “seeker’s meeting”. This predisposes me towards the opinion that “normal” Revivalist “tongues” is simply a learned behavior rather than a supernaturally endowed ability. However, as there are those who came upon “tongues” in non- contrived ways, their experience is more representative of the simple “gift of tongues” that Paul discusses at length in his first letter to the church at Corinth. But the biblical gift of “tongues” known to Paul is not the same as the gift of the Holy Spirit discussed in Acts: the former is something the Spirit gives, the latter is the Spirit given as the gift itself. Again, Revivalists have completely failed to appreciate this very significant distinction, and the theological and practical consequences that result.

In conclusion let me reinforce that neither the Revivalist doctrine concerning “tongues” and the Holy Spirit, nor the experience that is subsequent to it, is biblical. The record left to posterity by Luke in his Acts of the Apostles conclusively proves that salvation remains a free gift offered by God, received and embraced by the willing, and which is not dependant upon any human effort, worth or work. One cannot “seek” for the gift that is God’s Spirit, one need only ask. Further, in the accounts that we have considered, baptism plays no part in making one more acceptable before God; it remains simply an act of post-conversion Christian initiation and discipleship. And finally, that in each and every occurrence of the Greek λαλε ν γλώσσαις (“speaking in tongues”) that we find in the Acts of the Apostles, is a direct reference to intelligible human languages miraculously spoken (albeit not understood) by groups of people. Not once in the whole of Acts do we encounter a single individual “speaking in tongues” after having “received” the Holy Spirit.

The Revivalist stands perilously close to the presumption of Simon Magus: an unhealthy (and unholy) preoccupation with “signs” and “power”. Scripture presents that salvation results from a relationship with a Savior; Revivalism presents that salvation results from a relationship with a sign. Only the Onexc saves, however.

Postscript

Author’s background

Given the nature of this paper, I believe it fair that I provide a brief summary of my qualifications to undertake research of this sort, on this subject. To begin with, I am a former member of the Revival Centres International (RCI) who fellowshipped in both the Brisbane and Toowoomba assemblies during the mid to late 1980s (February 1986 through July 1989). Consequently, I gained my formative exposure to the philosophies and teachings of L.R. Longfield first-hand. When I left the RCI it was through my choosing rather than as a result of assembly discipline: I simply ceased attending. Consequently, I am not encumbered by latent feelings of hostility that derive from perceived psychological or social injustices towards me. My decision to leave centered on several issues, both practical and doctrinal.

I am the holder of bachelor and research master degrees in biblical studies and theology; my undergraduate major was in New Testament Greek language and literature, and my postgraduate degree awarded on the strength of scholarship involving my handling of the Greek texts of Acts, Romans, Galatians and Hebrews. I am certainly qualified to comment on the meaning of the book of Acts in Greek. I am now, and have been for several years, a member of the faculty of a Protestant theological college; consequently my research and analytical skills sufficiently developed for this project. It has been an interest of mine to undertake sustained and critical research in the field of Revivalist doctrine for approaching ten years, with a special interest in the movement’s hermeneutics (philosophy and methods of Bible interpretation) and soteriology (doctrine of salvation). During the course of my studies, I have established cordial and lasting relationships with a number of former and current Revivalist pastors. Ongoing dialogue with them has kept me up-to-date on doctrinal issues, which has also provided me with valuable “insider’s perspectives” on a range of topical subjects.

Finally, above all else I am a committed Christian believer. I do not approach the subject matter of this essay from a disinterested, ambivalent or detached perspective. I believe the issues to be of eternal importance, having eternal consequences. My motivation, then, is pastoral and not simply polemical.


Endnotes

The term “Revivalist” describes a member of the Revival Centres International (RCI), the Revival Fellowship (TRF), the fellowship of assemblies under the lead of the Geelong Revival Centre (GRC), and the Christian Assemblies International (CAI). Whilst it is accepted that each group is a religious denomination in its own right, all stem from, and have their doctrinal basis in, the idiosyncratic teachings of Lloyd R. Longfield.

Ii The issue of what is intended by the term “tongues”, from both Revivalist and biblical perspectives, will be explored within the essay.

iii The RSV was selected as it is a better translation than the KJV (with a different manuscript base), but is one that stands squarely within the same tradition.

iv The text used is that of the Nestle Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition, which is the established scholarly and critical Greek text for the New Testament.

v The plural “texts” is intentional. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles circulated within the early church in two quite distinct forms: the Alexandrian and the Western. The two differ in both character and length. The Western text form is nearly one-tenth longer than the Alexandrian, and is generally more picturesque and circumstantial. The shorter text is generally more colorless, and in places, more obscure.

vi Theological exegesis is the tool used to provide the modern-day appropriation and “application” of the original author’s message. In this respect, it concludes the “hermeneutical circle”: spirituality-exegesis-exposition- application-spirituality.

Vii Although targeting Revivalism specifically, a small number of groups, notable among them being the United Pentecostal Church (UPC), preach a similar “salvation message”.

viii His Roman name was probably Lucianus, which was often shortened to Lucius. ix See Colossians 4:14.
xAlthough letters were addressed principally to individuals, the convention of the day was that they were “published” by the recipient among his or her friends, “clients” and so forth. Consequently, the contents of letters such as Luke’s could be guaranteed of a very wide audience.

xi In the Roman class system, the Equestrian rank was second only to the Senatorial class, from the latter was drawn the Emperor and Senators.

xii So J.H. Moulton and G. Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, s.v. kathcevw

xiiiScholarly consensus dates Luke-Acts two to three decades later; however, such is open to considerable challenge.
xiv The so-called “Peace of Rome”: the social, legal and political order established, and defended, by Roman military force.

xv Patronage, the relationship between “clients” and their “patrons”, was an established and significant fact of life  within Roman society at this time.
xvi This reality does some damage to the Revivalist assertion that the entire New Testament is strictly “Christian mail”, and therefore, is not to be appropriated by non-Christians, nor that it could properly be understood by non-Christians.

Xvii Less, obviously, Judas Iscariot.

Xviii The Old Testament is replete with references and allusions to the numbers “twelve” and “seventy” (see, e.g.Exodus 15:27).

Xix Drew Dixon has produced a summary essay on the various salvation accounts in Acts, which can be accessed at www.pleaseconsider.info

xx Which is clearly beyond the scope of this essay.

xxi According to the rules of both English and Greek grammar, a pronoun must refer to its antecedent (also “referent”), which will be the closest noun in proximity sharing the same case, person, gender and number.
xxii Being an inflected language, Greek does not always require an explicitly stated noun. Quite often the subject is subsumed within a verb, the suffix to which clearly identities the identity of the referent.

xxiii Cf. 1:18, 2:41, 5:41, 8:4 and 25, 9:31, 11:19, 12:5, 13:4, 15:3 and 30, and 16:5.

Xxiv Possibly the site of the Last Supper.

xxv Matthew 13:55 (Mark 6:3) names them as James, Joses (or Joseph), Simon and Judas. Very early Church tradition names his sisters Salome and Mary (so, for example, Epiphanius, Pan. 78.8.1; 78.9.6)

xxvi In other words, the group numbered about 109 less the surviving apostles.

xxvii Cf. 6:1 and 11:27 in the Greek.

xxviii E.g. in 1:6.

xxix There were very, very few dwellings in Jerusalem that could accommodate so large a number of people within a single room (the term 'upper room' describes the entire second level of the building in question). It is very unlikely, therefore, that we are to assume that the rag-tag followers of a recently vilified and crucified outcast would have either the means, or the opportunity, to rent such magnificent accommodations.

xxx νδρες is not an inclusive reference in Greek, but a specifically gendered one. It refers to males, alone.

xxxi Berakoth 5:5.

xxxii A pericope is a self-contained unit of biblical material.


xxxiii One popular legend has the “creator” of such things establishing the location of chapter and verse divisions whilst  on horseback, journeying to Canterbury on religious pilgrimage!

Xxxiv Another reason why the KJV is not a suitable translation for Bible study.

Xxxv Scholarship dates this writing to between AD 20 and AD 30. We know that he wrote De Decalogo before his visit to the Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula, which took place in AD 38, and that he “published” all of his works before his death in AD 50. In short, his recording of the “Pentecostal” phenomena that accompanied the giving of the Law took place, at best, 10 years before the events of the Christian Pentecost, and at the very latest, 10 years before Luke wrote Acts! Philo was not a Christian, nor was he sympathetic to the Christian cause; there is no reason to presume, therefore, that he would “borrow” a Christian tradition so as to “back-cast” it into a Jewish mould. What would be the purpose, other than to present the Jews of his time in a negative light? Further, there is no evidence whatsoever to presume that Philo’s description of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai was a later Christian interpolation, inserted to give credence to the NT description of the Christian Pentecost. Philo was a devout Jew, writing as a Jew, recording Jewish tradition. This fact is borne out by later references to the same tradition in the Talmud, a Jewish work including decidedly anti-Christian sentiments!

xxxvi Philo Judaeus, De Decalogo: 32-35. The English translation is my own, and is based on the standard critical Greek text in the Loeb Classical Library edition, published by Harvard University Press.

xxxvii Of the various commentaries which state (or infer) that the 120 were intended, not one that I consulted provides  any sort of grammatical evidence to support the contention. Of the commentaries that I consulted and which indicate that the “Twelve” were intended, all demonstrate very clearly that the referent derived directly from the syntax and grammar of the Greek text itself.

xxxviii Especially given that they were very keen to identify themselves with gathered Israel, and their Teacher as Israel's anticipated Messiah.

xxxix Contrast this with the universal Revivalist “practice” of seeking after, or praying for, the Holy Spirit. The apostles were “seeking” nothing, and they were not even praying at the time the promised baptism with the Spirit took place!
xl See, for example, Exodus 3:2.

xli Numerous controlled studies into “Pentecostalist” “tongues-speaking” have been undertaken by linguists during the past forty years. In spite of “popularist” claims to the contrary, not a single example of xenolalia (unlearned foreign speech) has yet been identified. Neither have the preconditions for “authentic” speech yet been observed: that is, recognizable syntactical patterning, substantial vocabulary, etc. In each and every case what has been evident was simply the repetition of vocables that correspond fully with the range expected in the “tongues”-speaker's normal language. This is not to suggest that the “modern” form of “tongues” is illegitimate, simply that it bears more in common with the gift described in 1 Corinthians than it does what we read of in Acts.

xlii Note Matthew 16:4 and 1 Corinthians 1:22.

Xliii The Diaspora was the result of the forced dispersion of Israel by the Assyrians and Babylonians. It is from this “dispersion” that Revivalists presume there to be the ten “Lost Tribes” of Israel, whom they mistakenly identify with the Anglo-Saxon peoples.

Xliv The language being post-Exilic Aramaic, and not pre-Exilic Hebrew.

Xlv The charge of public drunkenness in the Temple, on a high feast day no less, and then during a prescribed hour of prayer, ought not to be downplayed. The twelve apostles faced the very real prospect of being dragged outside the city walls and stoned had the charge been publicly supported!

Xlvi Numbers 11:29.

Xlvii Isaiah 49:6.

Xlviii “Salvation” in Revivalist dogma is a somewhat hazy and imprecise condition. It is rarely if ever defined, with the effects (and benefits) of “salvation” being grossly misunderstood. In effect, to Revivalists “salvation” equates to little more than the opportunity of potentially receiving eternal life.

Xlix Incidentally, there is nothing intrinsic to the words “baptism” or “baptize” which lexically requires an action of “immersion”, “dipping” or “plunging”. The only Greek word that so requires such an action is bapto, a word that is nowhere used to describe “baptism” in the entire New Testament! Revivalists, however, claim that both “baptism” and “baptize” derive, etymologically, from bapto, which is true enough. But the English word “pineapple” derives etymologically from the words “pine” and “apple”. However, I wonder if anyone would protest based on etymology, that a pineapple must be a kind of apple that grows on pine trees?! lSee Ephesians 2:8,9. liIn the first century, a non-Jew became a Jew by, first, associating with a Synagogue as a proselyte. He then received instruction in the obligations of the Law. Once such had taken place, a prospective convert was circumcised, offered sacrifice, and baptized himself once the circumcision wound had sufficiently healed. From that point forwards, he was considered to be completely Jewish.

Lii The Abrahamic Covenant was itself established on the provision by God of land, numerical growth and blessing. Each of the three pillars weakened through continued national disobedience, which led, eventually, to judgment.

Liii In Greek the construction is a genitive of apposition, also known as an epexegetical genitive: the “gift” is the Holy Spirit, himself.

Liv Baptism served precisely the same function as the religious manumission of slaves in Greco-Roman society during the 1st century: a slave was “freed” by the God through the payment of a price in a temple; consequently s/he no longer belonged to the former owner, but to the God (and by extension, the temple). Contrast this with the all too common (and biblically unsupportable) Revivalist practice of “baptizing” unbelievers.

Revivalists do not accept that a person is “saved” unless such a one can provide evidence for “tongues”, yet they very willingly will baptize people who clearly cannot do so. From a biblical position Revivalist baptism is without warrant and so is ineffectual.

Lvi The result of this construction is discussed at length in Dr D.B. Wallace’s excellent, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: an Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, pp. 369-371.

Lvii See Acts 16:30 and 31

lviii Which is, of course, the very point of this essay.

Lix It is likely that the Jewish persecution of the Jerusalem church was directed primarily against the Hellenist believers whom Stephen represented. Given that the apostles did not belong to this group, they remained. So Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 5.18.4

Lx The Samaritans, of course, were despised by the Jews for being both “half-caste” (a mix of Jewish and Canaanite heritages), and for establishing an alternative priesthood and Temple with which to worship the Jewish God. However, the Samaritans viewed themselves as being the “true” Israel.

Lxi If the article before the word “city” in one half of the manuscript tradition is authoritative, then it would indicate that “the” prominent city of Samaria was in view, and that would be Sebaste. However, if the absence of the article in the other half of the manuscript tradition is authoritative, then it is likely that Gitta was in view. A very prominent early Church Father and apologist, Justin Martyr, wrote that Gitta was Simon Magus’ home town.

Lxii Those being 14:3 and 15:12.

Lxiii The obvious exception being the CAI.

Lxiv Perhaps an indication of the relative importance between the two?!

Lxv See Matthew 10:1; Mark 6:7 and Luke 9:1, 2.

Lxvi That single occasion was Luke 1:19.

Lxvii See Acts 2:38; 3:6; 4:8-10; 8:12; 10:48; 16:18.

Lxviii An interesting aside with respect to the mode of baptism can be made at this point. We know from early, post- canonical Christian writings, and also from archaeological finds, that Christians did not use “fonts” of any sort to conduct baptisms during the first two centuries. This is significant. Archaeology has clearly demonstrated that neither Gitta nor Sebaste had any naturally occurring bodies of water available during the first three centuries that were capable of accommodating the immersing even one person, never-mind the large numbers inferred from Acts 8! The inference is plain, “immersion” was clearly not the mode practiced by Philip upon the Samaritans. More likely is the probability that Philip drew water from a well, and baptized by pouring.

Lxix See Matthew 16:13-19.

Lxx The modern “tongues” phenomena has close parallels to the “gift of tongues” that Paul describes at length in 1 Corinthians 12-14, including the misplaced spiritual pride that all too frequently occurs.

Lxxi For example, the various regional oracles, the Mythrian rites and similar.

Lxxii The indicative and imperfective verb, ξίστατο, describes the “wonderment”, an amazement mingled with fear, which Simon felt at seeing the miracles that Philip performed.

Lxxiii It can be offered that the Christian Church existed before Pentecost, given that Jesus formed a community of believers in him, and to whom he ministered for three years.

Lxxiv Contrary to the position adopted by Revivalists, Jesus clearly referred to Peter as the “rock”.

Lxxv A Centurion was a Roman officer who commanded one of the six, hundred-man units that comprised a cohort. This is the second occasion that Luke portrayed a Centurion favorably, the first being Luke 7:1-10.

Lxxvi The fact of the angelic visitation marks Cornelius for special favor. Scripture identifies that God is not in the general habit of dispatching angels to humans, “willy-nilly”. So when such a thing happens, the person to whom the angel appears invariably becomes the centre around a significant shift in the purposes of God (and humanity).

Lxxvii For example, Mishna, ’Ohol. 18.7, “The places where Gentiles dwell are unclean”, so too Jubilees 22.16, “Separate yourself from the nations, and eat not with them … and become not associated with them, for their works are unclean, and all their ways are a pollution and an abomination.”

Lxxviii So, “if Peter, the ‘first’ pope refused to be worshipped, then why should other popes?!”

Lxxix So Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 18:26, etc.

lxxx So Bauer, Danker, et al, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, s.v. existhmi 2.b.

lxxxi It is the outward and obvious manner that distinguishes the incorporation of people groups, as opposed to individuals, into the Christian community in Acts.

Lxxxii See, for example, 1 John 1:1-5.

Lxxxiii See 1 Corinthians 5:10.

Lxxxiv So, for example, my earlier article, Effusion in Ephesus, http://www.pleaseconsider.info

Lxxxv See Luke 3:15-16.

Lxxxvi Paul understood the physical rite of baptism to be the outward demonstration of the inward work of the Spirit upon the life of the believer at conversion. In other words, baptism functioned as an “object lesson” with respect to spiritual conversion.

lxxxvii As per the proper meaning of Acts 2:38 discussed earlier. Central to Christian discipleship is an understanding of the Person and work of Jesus—the one whom John the Baptist longed to see, and to whom he taught his own work as being preliminary.
Lxxxix See Acts 8:17.

Xc The One being Jesus Christ.





Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #6
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:18/10/2008 3:13 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Egypt.

Sorry Ian, I would love to be able to show some valid understanding and appreciation of your contribution and hard work.  Truth being it's way over my head, I better wait for a colour version to hold my interest or a picture book release. Sure. That particular essay was intended to be a semi-definitive rebuttal of the RCI nonsense concerning "salvation by tongues" (the definitive rebuttal will be my doctoral dissertation, when I get around to finishing it). Consequently, it was necessary to to bring a bit of technical Greek exegesis into the conversation, given that (a) Acts was written in Greek and not Elizabethan English; and (b) the Greek text is absolutely transparent with respect to what it means. I'm actually quite confident that if you take it slow, and re-read the arguments through a couple of times, the broad contours of my overall position will become a little plainer.

But just for you, here's the "Cliff's Notes" version:

1. Only the reconstituted 12 apostles manifested the "miracle of languages" on the day of Pentecost. Further, the Revivalist "unknown tongue" is nothing like what took place on that day.

2. Acts 2:38 doesn't teach that a person must repent, be baptised in water (whether by immersion or not), and receive the Holy Spirit with "... the evidence of speaking in tongues" in order to be saved. What it does teach; however, is should a person repent and turn to Christ, then s/he will immediately receive God's Spirit. There is no mention, hint or oblique reference to any sort of outward physical phenomena accompanying the reception of God's Spirit in the mystery of redemption. Further, as a consequence of the person being saved by faith, s/he will consent to being baptised as an act of contrition, Christian initiation and discipleship.

3. What took place at Samaria was nothing like what happens in any Revivalist group.

4. What took place with Cornelius and his household is nothing like what happens in any Revivalist group.

5. What took place at Ephesus is nothing like what happens in any Revivalist group.

In summary, there isn't a single account of anything in the book of Acts which matches, in any respect, Revivalist doctrine, practice or experience concerning "salvation".

There you have it, 42 odd pages summarised in less than one!

God bless,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:18/10/2008 8:56 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

There you have it, 42 odd pages summarised in less than one!

God bless,

Ian


Thanks Ian, I must admit the revised version is a much easier  read. 

My head was aching half way through the introduction of the original long play version  
However..... I do appreciate with the position of retrospect
without conducting your own search and discovery mission- being spoon fed, as you have so put it before, means you can be digesting whatever is put on the spoon and shoved down your throat.
Nutritional or not.
I will print it out (I find that easier to read than on screen) and re read a few times, not having had higher education and leading a fairly simple existence , your language is almost quite foreign to me. So I may have to sit with my dictionary as well!!!

I admit I have avoided getting to tin tacks over the whole Act 2:38 Tongues/ salvation and have been in a holding pattern for a long while. I thought I went into RCI with my eyes open, searching scripture looking for them to be wrong so I could walk away,  so I suppose I dont really hold a lot of faith in any of my own findings or thoughts.
 Add to that the deception of certain Pastors and the complications that has caused and Ive found the head in sand approach a great avoidance tactic. So less complicated. 
I think I'm actually afraid of confrontation even if it's with myself   

As I hear it, I'll repeat it, Its up to you if you believe it! Allegation big and small, soon revealed before us all. outa here- Outa Egypt!
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:18/10/2008 11:59 AMCopy HTML

When Jesus walked the earth the first time around he got himself into theological trouble with the teachers of the law. Basically they thought his theology was not up to scratch. It looks like things have not changed much.

2 Cor 1:12 KJV) For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

And:    (1 Cor 2:4-5 KJV) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing  words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

But I fear, lest by means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so you minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ ' 2 Cor 11:3

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:18/10/2008 12:39 PMCopy HTML

Good evening, Guest.

Alas, methinks you've altogether missed the point.

It's rather amusing, but Revival-types are forever accusing me of "corrupting" the "simplicity" of Scripture. But here's the issue: the only thing that I do when I present my exegeses is bridge the gulfs between the 1st century Eastern Christian world, and the 21st century Western post-Christian world; in order to  lay bare the meaning of the biblical text as it was understood by the original audience. You fellows have apparently altogether forgotten that the Bible was written by people from different cultures to ours, using different languages to ours, at different times to ours, in different lands to ours. Obviously, I don't work in translation either, but from the original languages.

Blessings,

Ian



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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:18/10/2008 12:47 PMCopy HTML

G'day, Egypt.

Indeed! Revivalists aren't a particularly discerning lot.

You may be interested to learn that I'm currently working on the next version of that essay, having considered in detail feedback received from people such as yourself. I've no idea when it will be released, given that I've currently more "projects" on the "back-burner" than I have hours to spare!

I'd like to encourage you to greater self-direction through one of my favourite aphorisms: "ignorance may be bliss, but it ain't eternal!"

God bless,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:19/10/2008 3:01 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

I'd like to encourage you to greater self-direction through one of my favourite aphorisms: "ignorance may be bliss, but it ain't eternal!"


Yeah, I hear ya!!!

OoE
As I hear it, I'll repeat it, Its up to you if you believe it! Allegation big and small, soon revealed before us all. outa here- Outa Egypt!
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:19/10/2008 5:12 AMCopy HTML

I admit I have avoided getting to tin tacks over the whole Act 2:38 Tongues/ salvation and have been in a holding pattern for a long while. I thought I went into RCI with my eyes open, searching scripture looking for them to be wrong so I could walk away,  so I suppose I dont really hold a lot of faith in any of my own findings or thoughts.
 Add to that the deception of certain Pastors and the complications that has caused and Ive found the head in sand approach a great avoidance tactic. So less complicated. I think I'm actually afraid of confrontation even if it's with myself  
    _____________________________________________________________________

Hi Egypt, thanks for sharing your thoughts in an honest and open way.

Sometimes when we (any of us) give voice to such thoughts/doubts, it can open the way for us to confront issues we subconsciously didn't really want to (or weren't ready to) previously. I reckon we're all a bit like that, huh? The old head in the sand approach only makes us eat dirt LOL. Life is one big journey and why not enjoy the ride rather than fear it (says me, who is the biggest scaredy cat EVER).

I'm finding that after leaving rf almost 2 years ago, that there are scriptures that I never understood at all and others that I just took for granted. I was terribly guilty for 24 years of being spoon-fed the RF version of everything but I find that now, I can't just accept other peoples opinions on the Word of God. This is forcing me to study more, to pray more, to look at several translations and to ask questions of those more qualified than me (which is just about everyone LOL)

I don't ever want to 'eat dirt' again - eternity is a very long time and I don't want to face God and have to explain why I didn't at least attempt to understand His ways and His purpose for my life. God bless you on your journey!

Love, Urch
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 5:11 AMCopy HTML

Hi a quick question may not be able to answer due to Forum Rules?

If the revival (centres,fellowship etc) have got there salvation doctrine wrong what is the right way?

Surley everyone believed the same thing origanally?(when they atteneded the said places).
Is there a united relevation or has everyone got there own ideas?
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 6:24 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Guest.

If the revival (centres, fellowship etc) have got there salvation doctrine wrong what is the right way? First, there is no 'if'. All of the Revivalist groups share a completely unbiblical, and prior to the middle of the 20th century, a completely unknown 'doctrine'. But the answer to your question is simple enough. The right way, of course, is the biblical way.

Surley everyone believed the same thing origanally? (when they atteneded the said places). Is there a united relevation or has everyone got there own ideas? They certainly did, and there certainly is. The message that's been at the heart of Christian witness from the 1st century through to the 21st century is simple: we are saved by God's grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, revealed by the Holy Spirit alone. After all, when you think about, do you reckon there's anything that you or I might do, that could add one jot to what God achieved through Christ on the cross?

Blessings,

Ian

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 6:29 AMCopy HTML

thanks for the reply.on question do you still have to get baptised?
saved through grace alone opens a lot scope

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 6:43 AMCopy HTML

Guest,

thanks for the reply ... You're welcome. ... one question do you still have to get baptised? saved through grace alone opens a lot scope. The NT uniformly paints the picture that baptism is an act of post-conversion discipleship. In other words, it isn't necessary in order to become saved. But with respect to your closing comment, the only 'scope' that faith opens to us, is 'scope' to be regenerated from death to life.

Blessings,

Ian

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 10:12 AMCopy HTML

if we do not need to be baptised why did Jesus do it? also why did Paul rebaptise the disciples of John and philip with the eunich and Peter with cornelius? or am i reading the wrong bible version?
also why did corneleuis recieve the holy spirit the same as the apostles?

do you believe in salvation or are we getting on with our life by living by grace and waiting to see?

not looking for an argument just wondering where we are headed.

Some say you must be baptised others say it is only symbolic
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 10:37 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Guest.

... if we do not need to be baptised why did Jesus do it? Two things. First, I didn't say that we didn't need to be baptised. You asked me whether baptism was necessary in order to be saved, and I responded that it isn't. Second, Jesus was baptised to identify with the sinful humanity that he came to save. That's not why Christians are baptised.

... also why did Paul rebaptise the disciples of John and philip with the eunich and Peter with cornelius? Paul: because the disciples of John the Baptist weren't Christians before Paul explained the gospel to them. Philip: he baptised the Ethiopian court official because he had become a Christian through hearing the Gospel preached. Baptism remains a post-conversion act of discipleship. Peter: the same as for Philip.

... or am i reading the wrong bible version? If you're reading the KJV, then 'yes', you are reading the wrong Bible version (but for a different set of reasons). The simple answer to your question, though, is that you've been reading the Bible through your Revivalist lens. Consequently, you've been reading into Scripture what you've been taught to believe, rather than reading out from Scripture what's actually there.

... also why did corneleuis recieve the holy spirit the same as the apostles? To demonstrate that God wasn't 'provincial' in his dealings with humanity ... do you believe in salvation or are we getting on with our life by living by grace and waiting to see? I'm 110% completely saved, and I have 110% complete assurance that I'm saved.

Some say you must be baptised others say it is only symbolic. Well, that would depend on what the 'must' points to. If you think it points to becoming 'saved', then you would be completely wrong.

God bless,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 11:36 AMCopy HTML

Ian you say revivalist indoctrination iam just asking questions which you seem to be giving fluffy answers.

can you make it simple for me?

if i came to you and asked you the way to Jesus what do I have to do?

I am asking objectivly.

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/10/2008 11:42 AMCopy HTML

O Nameless One,

I thought I was quite clear in what was required. But given that I apparently wasn't, to your satisfaction at least, I suppose Paul's answer to the Philippian gaoler's direct question, "...what must I do to be saved?" should suffice: "...believe in the Lord Jesus."

To put such belief into practice, one simply needs to accept, first, that one is a sinner to begin with. This addresses the issue of human pride, which probably is at the root of sinfulness and rebellion against God. Such acceptance should then cause one to fall before God, seeking his forgiveness
(figuratively please, I don't want to be sued for any injuries sustained as a consequence of literalism!). God promises to forgive, should the person trust in the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross for him or her personally. And at the point of trusting in Christ, the Holy Spirit then indwells the new believer. In summary, this describes the NT concept of repentance: a turning from human self-centredness and pride, to Jesus Christ as one's all-too-willing Saviour.

It really is this simple!

Saved by God's grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, revealed by the Holy Spirit alone. At it's core, salvation, then, is fully a trinitarian act.

God bless,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:27/02/2009 1:44 AMCopy HTML

Interesting to note that Laurie N and David K are both high school teachers and are quite influential within the assembly, particularly with the youth.

We'd been friends with both families for many years and (I'm not wanting to sound too critical here) they are both very good at 'knocking' people who have had theological training and they both have the very typical RF legalistic mindset (which is of course a prerequisite to being appointed as a pastor)

I would expect them to read through the essay, scoff quite vocally and very loudly and then 'warn' the assembly about the dangers of reading 'material not approved by the assembly' that has been written by 'backsliders'.
I wouldn't expect either Laurie or Dave to contact Ian at all.

Urch
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:03/03/2009 8:07 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Sea Urchin (26/02/2009 19:44:07)

Interesting to note that Laurie N and David K are both high school teachers and are quite influential within the assembly, particularly with the youth.

We'd been friends with both families for many years and (I'm not wanting to sound too critical here) they are both very good at 'knocking' people who have had theological training and they both have the very typical RF legalistic mindset (which is of course a prerequisite to being appointed as a pastor)

I would expect them to read through the essay, scoff quite vocally and very loudly and then 'warn' the assembly about the dangers of reading 'material not approved by the assembly' that has been written by 'backsliders'.
I wouldn't expect either Laurie or Dave to contact Ian at all.

Urch

After watching these forum discussions for many years now, I have learned that the best answer that any of the "revivalist" have EVER offered to the responsible challenges of our friend Ian, is little more than "subjective interpretation ".. - and nothing else. I myself was guilty of this serious offense.  But not anymore I hope.

Actually there is a very valid peace of text in 1 Peter 1:20 that warns us of this and the Greek is very black and white on this issue and basically the English says

" Knowing this first, that every prophecy of scripture is not of one's own interpretation."  

I need to dig a little deeper at the text because it says

 " idias epiluseos ou ginetai"

and I think that it is pointing to "personal interpretation" or if you like " subjective interpretation "..

blessings Guys and Gals I have to go

Eric




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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/09/2010 5:36 AMCopy HTML

 
Didn't know where to post
Have you noticed that almost EVERY movie has "Jesus" or "Jesus Christ" id used at least once as a swear.
It would make more sense to use it several time in a movie but it's just once in almost every movie.
Even as I type this this just happened.
One movie that was in India had the one of the main main characters just drop in JESUS CHRIST!  and it was way out of place.

Is there some law that screen writers must place this into the movie of they will not be funded?

welcome not preachy preachy please I love cats
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:20/09/2010 6:00 AMCopy HTML

Hi, LWM.

'Yep', the practice is unfortunate, but it also has nothing to do with my essay on Acts, which is the purpose of this thread.

Blessings,

Ian

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:29/12/2010 4:29 AMCopy HTML

Good afternoon, all.

Just a quick note to advise that the updated revision of my 'large' Acts essay will soon be ready for general consumption. I listened to people's concerns about how some found it a bit of a difficult read, so I've changed the tone and style to make it less 'academic' and more 'conversational'. I've added to the content, too; and I think the thing will be even more useful than the original version.

Anyone wanting a copy can drop me an email.

Blessings,

Ian
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:29/12/2010 5:39 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

Good afternoon, all.

Just a quick note to advise that the updated revision of my 'large' Acts essay will soon be ready for general consumption. I listened to people's concerns about how some found it a bit of a difficult read, so I've changed the tone and style to make it less 'academic' and more 'conversational'. I've added to the content, too; and I think the thing will be even more useful than the original version.

Anyone wanting a copy can drop me an email.

Blessings,

Ian

smiley20 as long as I don't miss out !!

Eric

ps with regards to the rev sects being in serious decline, the one major question that must haunt everyone's thinking and imaginations is the disposal concerns of the various centres properties that are held around Australia and what not. Some locally owned and some are not and so forth. Of course it is none of our business but our curiosity is not that easily quenched either... we shall have to wait and see in due course ..

blessings

..

.
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:29/12/2010 1:46 PMCopy HTML

Hi Ian,

At present I am about midway into slowly, studiously going through your first Acts essay again.  I try to accentuate certain features to use with people I'm associated with when the subject of Acts arises.  I'd been reluctant to pass on the whole essay as those I originally had in mind I think would definitely find it on the "academic" side.  I would welcome a copy so please include me when it is ready to be sent out.  A more "conversational" style would suit the purpose very nicely. 

Thanking you.  God Bless.

Epi

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:30/12/2010 10:18 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Epios

Hi Ian,

At present I am about midway into slowly, studiously going through your first Acts essay again.  I try to accentuate certain features to use with people I'm associated with when the subject of Acts arises.  I'd been reluctant to pass on the whole essay as those I originally had in mind I think would definitely find it on the "academic" side.  I would welcome a copy so please include me when it is ready to be sent out.  A more "conversational" style would suit the purpose very nicely. 

Thanking you.  God Bless.

Epi


I don't want to sound like a brag mouth but I found Ian's essay rather light and enjoyable. But that's me because I have been becoming rather acclimatised to heavy essays as of late.
 ... I suppose as a good comparison would be perhaps a .22 be be with a M16 Auto weapon smiley20

Happy New Year Ian.

Eric

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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:30/12/2010 11:58 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, Eric.

I don't want to sound like a brag mouth but I found Ian's essay rather light and enjoyable. Whether you wanted to or not, your comments sound a bit conceited, bro'.

Blessings,

Ian
email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Revivalist dogma and the book of Acts

Date Posted:31/12/2010 2:27 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Epios

I don't want to sound like a brag mouth but I found Ian's essay rather light and enjoyable. But that's me because I have been becoming rather acclimatised to heavy essays as of late.
 ... I suppose as a good comparison would be perhaps a .22 be be with a M16 Auto weapon smiley20

Happy New Year Ian.

Eric



Eric,

I have no doubt that the  majority of those who would benefit from a closer look at these scriptures would have come nowhere near your stage of acclimatisation to heavy reading.  So, the comfortably 'conversational' would be of more use here.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Epi

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