The Gospel’s Extension & Preservation (Acts 8:1-25)
CrossWay Community Church
January 27th, 2019
I like to maintain the habit of reading multiple books simultaneous. An interesting thing that happens occasionally is when two or more books happen to ‘interact’ over an idea as I read these books in conjunction. Something like this happened as I just finished Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel and am near the front end of Robert A. Paterson’s Salvation Accomplished by the Son.
In The King Jesus Gospel (which, by the way, is a good book, although many conservative evangelicals like myself will quibble over emphases and the way he frames/words things), McKnight makes the point that too often evangelicals have reduced the Gospel to the cross of Christ to the exclusion of “the full Story of Jesus, including his life, his death, his resurrection, his exaltation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, his second coming, and the wrapping up of history so that God would be all in all” (119). However, this was
Not so in the early gospeling [i.e., evangelism], for in those early apostolic sermons [he is referring to those in the book of Acts primarily here], we see the whole life of Jesus. In fact, if they gave an emphasis to one dimension of the life of Jesus, it was the resurrection. The apostolic gospel could not have been signified or painted or sketched with a crucifix. That gospel wanted expression as an empty cross because of the empty tomb (120).
That’s true. McKnight is right.
But, without necessarily pitting McKnight’s argument against Peterson’s (to follow), one might get the impression from McKnight that the apostle’s gospeling in the book of Act’s didn’t provide much comment (if any) on the theological, redemptive significance of Jesus’ death. … And that’s where Robertson’s observations serve as a helpful conversation partner.
The following belongs to a series entitled “An Introductory Biblical Theology of Resurrection.” Read other posts belonging to this series here.
Acts begins by acknowledging Jesus’ resurrection and His appearance to many for forty days (1:3; 2:32; 3:15; 10:40-41; 13:31; cf. 1 Cor 15:5-8) and to Paul later on in the narrative (9:1-16; see also 10:13-15; 18:9-10; 22:6-11, 17:21; 23:11; 26:12-18). In fact, witnessing the resurrected Christ appears to be a requirement for apostleship (1:21-22), exposing a primary function of the apostles—to bear witness to the resurrection (1:21-22; 4:33; 10:41). With no surprise then, the heart of the apostolic message quickly becomes the resurrected Messiah.