The Book of Luke Acts and the Early Church Essay

  • Length: 2 pages
  • Sources: 1
  • Subject: Religion (general)
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #30384911

Excerpt from Essay :

Johnson (1992) lists four theological themes present in the book of Acts: the Holy Spirit, the life of the church, the discernment of god’s activity, and universality. The same four themes are present in the life and ministry of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. Moreover, these are the four main themes that would become the bedrock of the early church itself. According to Johnson (1992), being able to recognize these themes not only enrich the reader’s understanding of the gospel, but also reveals the “consistent religious preoccupations that might not be obvious on the surface of his storytelling,” (p. 14). These consistent religious preoccupations remain the cornerstones of Christianity.

The first theme is the Holy Spirit. So crucial is this theme Johnson claims that the book of Acts can even be considered the “Book of the Holy Spirit,” (p. 14). Luke refers to the “dramatic outpouring” of God, of course in Jesus but also in the particularity of Jesus’s fulfillment of prophesy (Johnson, 1992, p. 14). Through his focus on the Holy Spirit, Luke shows how Jesus signals the radical transformation of humanity itself. Jesus works in and through individual people via the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Luke’s narrative style essentially personifies the Holy Spirit. God is transcendent, but is wholly immanent as well. The Holy Spirit then becomes the life that illuminates the church, what Johnson calls the “life-principle,” (p. 14).

The second theme Luke elucidates in Acts is related to the life of the church. Luke formulates the first vision for a church, both in spiritual terms and in pragmatic ones. The church serves a social function of people who are gathered in His name, but the Holy Spirit also moves through the members of the church congregation. Thus, the Church becomes an almost necessary instrument, part of God’s plan for humanity. Luke also describes the qualities of the early Christian church, thereby distinguishing the community of believers from the Jewish community from which it sprung. These are communalists, with an idealized vision of the world that paralleled Jesus’s own idealism and communitarian values. It is also important to recognize the importance of church leadership. Strong Christian leadership helps to promulgate and stabilize the church and its values.

The third theme in Acts is the discernment of God’s activity. As churches and Christian communities are comprised by human beings with faults…

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