On John 20:19-23 and Acts 2

One of my NT professors from AGTS, Ben Aker has written what I would say is a tremendous article on the Biblical distinction between Regeneration and Spirit Baptism in reference to John 20:19-23 and Acts 2. Trust me, its really good!

Dr. Aker writes:

There are two Biblical texts that scholars often discuss, frequently misinterpret, and thus confuse regarding regeneration and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They are John 20:19-23 and Acts 2. In the first of these references the word “breathed” occurs. This study then will focus on the meaning and use of the word in John 20:22. I propose that “breathed” refers to regeneration and concerns an actual, supernatural event in which Jesus imparts eternal life to the first disciples through the Spirit. This paper will discuss“ breathed” under two main headings: its lexical and conceptual meanings and uses and the contribution of John’s theology to its meaning and use.

Well, it blessed me and I hope it will bless you too!

Eckhard J. Schnabel’s Acts in the ZECNT set

is forthcoming!  I know there has been lots of excitement over Craig Keener’s new work on Acts – but I think there is an equally great complimentary work that has come out that will make doing exegesis and preaching in this Ah-ma-ZING book that much more enjoyable and enriching!

Schnabel, Eckhard, J.  Acts.  Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.  Zondervan, 2012.

That’s right!  The great scholar on Paul and Christian Mission has written a commentary on the Book of Acts!

Here is a description!  Well there isn’t really a super great description yet other than:

With attention to issues that continue to surface in today’s church, the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series offers pastors, students, and teachers a focused resource for reading, teaching, and preaching the Book of Acts. Acts highlights (1) the work of God through the exalted Jesus who grants the presence of the Holy Spirit; (2) the significance of Jesus who is Israel’s Messiah and the Savior of the world and who directs the expansion of the church; (3) the work of the Holy Spirit as transforming power present in the lives of the followers of Jesus and their communities; (4) the identity of the church as the community of God, comprised of Jews and Gentiles who are followers of Jesus; (5) the mission of the church whose leaders take the gospel to cities and regions of the Roman Empire in which Jesus has not yet been proclaimed as Messiah and Savior; (6) the historical events and the persons who played a role in the expansion of earliest Christianity.

1168 Pages
Published November 2012

You can be sure however, it will be in the same likeness as others in the set where each chapter has outlines and chapter summaries and comments, etc.  It’ll be a great complement to something as massive and scholarly as Keener.

Eugene Peterson on The Book of Acts

Acts is not a manual with blueprints and a set of instructions on how to be a church.  Acts is not a utopian fantasy on what a perfect church would look like.  Acts is a detailed story of the ways in which the first church became a church.  A story is not a script to be copied.  A story develops a narrative sense in us so that, alert to the story of Jesus., will be present and obedient and believing as we participate in the ways     that the Holy Spirit is forming the Jesus life in us.  The plot (Jesus) is the same.  But the actual places and circumstances and names will be different and form a narrative that is unique to our time and place, circumstances and people.

Churches are not franchises to be reproduced as exactly as possible wherever and whenever – in Rome, and Moscow, and London and Baltimore – the only thing changed being the translation of the menu.

But if we don’t acquire a narrative sense, a story sense, with the expectation that we are each one of us uniquely ourselves – participants in the unique place and time and weather of where we live and worship – we will always be looking somewhere else or to a different century for a model by which we can be an authentic and biblical church.  The usefulness of Acts as a story, and not a prescription or admonition, is that it keeps us faithful to the plot. Jesus, and at the same time free to respond out of our own circumstances and obedience.

Eugene Peterson – The Pastor: A Memoir (HarperOne, 2011).

good article on healing

from one of my professors from Seminary, Ben Aker is out in the AG’s Enrichment journal – a journal sent out to all licensed and ordained ministers in the US AoG. I think it is worth reading and considering on the issue of healing in relation to Pentecost and the New Covenant.

Here is a brief comment:

It is important to note that Acts 3:1 begins with such distinction of matters and people. Flowing from the summaries of chapter 2 about the beginning of the new age of the new covenant, chapter 3 serves as a distinct model for ministry in this new eschatological age of Jesus and the Spirit.  Luke slows down and blows up a picture of one of these wonderful incidents to begin to show how believers should go about doing ministry in this new time.  Because it is the first descriptive incident in the scheme of Acts following the epochal coming of the Spirit, it becomes typical;  that is, it provides a model indicating the nature of new covenant ministry — the age of Jesus and the Spirit.  From this account we learn what God deems important.

It’s an excellent piece!  Do let me know what you think.

On being a Great Commission Christian

Ajith Fernando in his NIVAC work on Acts writes in relation to being a Great Commission Christian:

ActsWhen we realize the important place that the Great Commission had in the early church, I think we can endorse the use of phrases like “Great Commission Christian” and “Great Commission Lifestyle.”  Some object to these phrases, thinking that they will detract people from other aspects of Christian mission, such as fulfilling the social mandate.  This can happen and has, alas, happened with Christians who have overemphasized the Great Commission.  But it should not happen.  The social mandate is clear in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament.  We must never be afraid to be fully biblical.  True, combining these two elements of mission is not easy, as we have found in our own ministry with the poor.  But when was biblical ministry easy?  Thank God that there is a noble history of evangelicals who put into practice this dual commitment to the social and evangelistic aspects of our mission. 

In view of the urgency of Jesus’ commission, we should all seek to be Great Commission Christians and endeavor to have all Christian organizations and churches to be Great Commission movements.  We should constantly live under the influence of our mission, so that we are willing to pay whatever price is necessary in order to reach the lost.  Mission, of course, includes involvement across the street and around the globe.  It is the responsibility of Christian leaders first to burn with passion themselves for mission and to pay the price of such commitment (see 10Cor 9); then, out of the credibility won from such passionate commitment, they must constantly keep the vision of mission before the people they lead. 

Ajith Fernando.  Acts, NIVAC.  Zondervan, 1998, 69. 

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Indeed and Amen!  This is what we try to do at least once a month when I or Debbie preach a sermon on missions – we try to keep the Great Commission before our congregation.  Why?  Because a passion for missions burns in our own hearts and we are paying the price.  We live here at the canyon and don’t get paid for this pastorate.  We work like everyone else does (the pay is quite low) but we also “work” as we seek to extend the kingdom of God in the Grand Canyon Village and in the lives of those who live and work here, which includes international students from all over the world, even those from unreached nations and people groups (Thailand, China, Vietnam, and other places)! 

Come, will you be a Great Commission Christian too?