Saturday, December 03, 2011

New Year: Acts 9-10 for Nov 19

Acts 9-10 are why so many people associate the beginning of the church with both Peter and Paul. The outstanding descriptions of their activities in these chapters gain our attention, but do we notice the providential guidance that is underneath (9:16; 10:19-20)?

So Peter and Paul would both beg to differ on being its beginners, and would ask us to look above them. Luke has a way of doing this, without denigrating their part. For example, lest we're too enamored with one mechanism or topic sequence (2:38), He provides another (10:44-48). It's human nature to ask questions such as "what's first? what's second? what do I have to do next?", but when God is doing the very same thing (10:47) during events which occur a different order, Peter has to backtrack (10:47).

Another example occurs in the variety of the various "conversion" stories. Here was that of Cornelius and his household, which defies us to list the things that were told to them before they were converted (10:44). But that's only one conversion story. Take Paul's: the only doctrine of preparation for conversion we can get from Acts 9:1-3 is what Paul's preceding state before his conversion was, and as far as we can tell, he was travelling on his way to Damascus. As far as I know, there has been no theory of preparing for conversion, among many, many, many, that has stipulated that one needs to be on the way to Damascus.

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