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Trajectories in the Book of Acts

Three of the contributors represented the Reformed Church in America, the Roman Catholic Church, the National Baptist. Two were identified as Non-Denominational. One of the latter, Janet Meyer Everts, teamed with Rachel Schutte Baird (Reformed Church in America), in examining Acts 2:17-18, and its influence on women in ministry. They began with the impact of Phoebe Palmer upon Pentecostal woman ministers and inductively connected them with the women mentioned not only in Luke’s gospel but also in Acts 2:17-18 and Paul’s letters, thus legitimizing the role of women in evangelism and teaching. Craig Keener, a National Baptist, concentrated on Acts 19:9 and Paul’s “academic” (P.56), ministry which attracted Greek listeners along with Jewish ones, after being rejected in the synagogue in Corinth. “Paul’s ‘Christ-centered academic ministry in Acts 19:9 impacted the local culture, showing that the gospel message can succeed wherever open and intelligent dialogue is available” (p.56).

Robert G. Reid, one of the editors of the book, an associate pastor of the non-denominational Rock-Point Church in Flower Mound, Texas, did “An Imperial-Critical Reading of Acts 2” in which he focused upon the statements of Christ being Lord, Savior, and Son of God, in Peter’s sermon at Pentecost as presenting an “alternative empire”―the “empire of God” (p.23), thus subverting “Rome and its most powerful instrument of subjugation—crucifixion” (p.23). He follows this trajectory of study on through by examining Paul’s preaching and teaching as recorded throughout Acts.

Probably the most interesting to this reviewer was the contribution made by James B. Shelton, a Roman Catholic and Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at Oral Roberts University. He focused upon a rhetorical “oddity” which lent itself to an intertextual study of Paul’s and Luke’s writings. The oddity was that of the frequent use of the parresia word-group in Acts and in Paul’s writings. Often accompanied by “meta”, it refers to boldness of speech or address. “Boldness in the Holy Spirit is the source of the essential attributes of Luke’s church” (p.311).

Each of the foregoing five were as familiar with the pioneering work of John Wyckoff as any of Wyckoff’s fellow Assemblies of God scholars. They praised his pioneering work in biblical hermeneutics and biblical theology.

This reviewer did leave some out in this review, such as Paul Alexander, Jeff C. Magruder, Roger D. Cotton, James D. Hernando, Byron Klaus, Robert Menzies, and Jordan May. The purpose was not to neglect them but to highlight a select few so as to “tease” the prospective reader to get into this very well-done work of 373 pages. Scholarly, but generally easy to follow, the book includes brief statements of who the contributors are, lists of the abbreviations used, an index of literary references, and an author index. There was one contribution in Trajectories in the Book of Acts that interfaced Acts 13:47 with Isaiah 49:6. Dr. May’s discussion on the use of the Old Testament within the New, particularly Luke-Acts, was not the easiest to follow until close to the end of the essay. It was, nevertheless, invaluable for its insights on how prophecy has impact upon the Gospel of Christ Jesus. The book is well-worth reading for both student and for the man on the field, particularly the preacher and evangelist.

Reviewed by Woodrow E. Walton

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 2012

About the Author: Woodrow E. Walton, D.Min. (Oral Roberts University School of Theology and Missions), B.A. (Texas Christian University), B.D. [M.Div.] (Duke Divinity School), M.A. (University of Oklahoma), is a retired Seminary Dean and Professor of biblical, theological and historical studies. An ordained Assemblies of God minister, he and his wife live in Fort Worth, Texas. Walton retains membership with the Evangelical Theological Society, American Association of Christian Counselors, American Society of Church History, American Academy of Political Science, and The International Society of Frontier Missiology.

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