How You Can Write Acts Of The Apostles Volume Two

A man who works in a Christian bookshop sobbed for three days over the plight of Ukrainians.  My book 'Brendan's Return Voyage: A New American Dream' also brought tears. His book shop agreed to stock it. For it tells how so-called Christian American settlers treated indigenous peoples as Putin's so-called Christian Russia treats the Ukrainians.  But the book does not end with disilllusionment with Christianity and  with super-power oppression - it tells how Jesus' Way resonates with what is true and spiritual in all people, and how indigenous, black, white and people of any nation can journey together in a fresh expression of The Way of Jesus. You can help write The Acts of the Apostles volume two.  Write an Amazon review. Ask your book shop to stock it.

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Last week I talked with Daniel McGinnis on Holy Island and purchased his latest book.  This is my review:

Missional Acts: Rhetorical Narrative in the Acts of the Apostles by Daniel McGinnis (Wipf & Stock).

Voyager Daniel McGinnis is Vice Principal of St. Hild’s College and the Founder of Leeds School of Theology. He has written an academic book which identifies four underlying purposes in the writings of Luke, which we may apply today to the benefit of Christ’s mission. These are the stimuli (Part 1), the structures (Part 2), the strategies (Part 3) and the sufferings (Part 4).

The stimuli include Christ’s commission, the empowering of the Spirit at Pentecost, and the vision of universal ethnicities being included in a universal offer of salvation.

Much evangelical Christianity today is hi-jacked for narrow nationalistic narratives -we have to restore the inclusivity and diversity of the early churches.

The structures are the natural hubs of New Testament times in the Roman Empire.  These include the household of poor people, the larger houses with courtyards of richer people, and the wider assembly, or ecclesia in a city, region or the world.  These structures all facilitated mission. So we, today, need to use the natural hubs of our world for mission.

Multiple strategies emerge in Luke’s account in Acts chapters 13-21. First, Paul visits existing connections.  He makes maximum impact through urban centres such as strategic ports.  He utilises receptive social networks such as synagogues and people with their own circles of influence. Encounters are blazoned into the souls of many through transformations or miracles. His strategy is to start with cells (the embryo) to extend to city-wide and then regional networks, to build up churches, affirm local leaders, and network with ministry partners which results in sustainable  reproducing movements. Paul develops personal strategies to help him avoid burn-out: teams, periods of rest and renewal, connection to his home base.

The author thinks Acts can be viewed as a missionary training narrative, but there is nothing triumphalistic about this, for throughout, Paul’s ministry is soaked in suffering. Luke recognises that if Christians of succeeding generations follow the missional examples he provides in Acts they will invariably experience opposition of various kinds. This may help we, the readers, who have been knocked down or knocked back, to make sense of our stories and to continue our journeys.

 

Ray Simpson

Posted at 10:54am on 10th March 2022
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