The theology of Acts

Prior to the 1950s, Luke–Acts was seen as a historical work, written to defend Christianity before the Romans or Paul against his detractors.  Since then, however, the tendency has been to see the work as primarily theological.  Luke’s theology was expressed primarily through his overarching plot, the way scenes, themes and characters combine to construct his specific worldview.  His “salvation history” stretches from the creation to the present time of his readers, in three ages.  First, there was the time of the Law and the Prophets, beginning with Genesis and ending with the appearance of John the Baptist.  The second stage was the epoch of Jesus, in which the Kingdom of God was preached.  Finally, there is the current period of the Church, that began when the risen Christ was taken into heaven, and would end with his second coming.  We are living in the age of the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind the spread of the Christian message, with more emphasis on the Holy Spirit than any of the other evangelists.  The Spirit was poured out at the first Jewish Pentecost, then on the first Samaritan and gentile believers, as well as on the disciples who had been baptized only by John the Baptist.  Each time this was a sign of God’s approval.  The Holy Spirit represented God’s power. The war is still going on, but the crucial battle has been won with Jesus Christ.  We are in the period of deja, mais pas encore.  There is still more to come.

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