We often talk about the individual Books of the Bible. We are typically asked to turn to a particular Book by teachers and preachers. The selected passage then becomes the springboard for their lessons and sermons. However, we must not disregard the Bible as a single Book. As a Book, the Bible has a main overarching idea. David Norris asserts that the entire Bible is redemption’s story, which climaxes at Acts 2:38. And this is best caught when we understand the mission of Jesus’ ministry.
Our journey begins with the author, David K. Norris, on an airplane on his return flight after a prolonged speaking engagement. The passenger to his left notices he disagrees with something he has read. The disagreement spirals into a conversation. It starts with a question: “Let me ask you, do you believe that if you don’t speak in tongues, you are going to Hell?” In a touch-and-go style, the remainder of the book Acts 2:38 carefully handles that question and addresses several others. It is happening methodically though imperceptibly. It has a parabolic feel. As the disciples waited around to have the parables explained to them, you’ll be turning page after page for meanings and connections that unravel with each chapter.Anyone with questions or curiosities about Apostolic/Pentecostal doctrine would benefit from Dr. Norris's book. Click To Tweet
Grace, Faith, Baptism, Holy Ghost Infilling Found in the Book of Acts
The genius of this work is that the author has stitched together several stories from different settings and times of his life, creating a tapestry of truth for the airplane companion or any reader. It is a story within a story. Norris explains how theology is often distilled in a narrative like Luke-Acts. While telling this, he is lacing together a story of theology for us too. Each account highlights a different facet of redemptive truth. Subjects like grace, faith, baptism, Holy Ghost infilling evidenced by speaking in tongues, and the gift of tongues are all touched upon to some degree. We are reminded that concepts that get lost in translation by our communication are often found in experience.
Many of the writer’s stories center around his role as a professor at Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School. He incorporates several of his students, although there are too many to name here. One focuses on a student named Sandra. Primarily detached, to begin with, she warms up with each additional lecture. She realizes that Acts 2:38 is the apex of the Bible and not just the culmination of the Luke-Acts narrative. She shares this revelation with Brother Norris, and both are exuberant over her discovery.
In my opinion, new converts and anyone with questions or curiosities about Apostolic/Pentecostal doctrine would benefit from Acts 2:38. Even aged converts or the other “Sandras” among us could bolster their biblical foundations and learn how to navigate sensitive salvific matters appropriately. I’ve often said, “You don’t have to run someone through with a sword when showing them what the tip of it will do.” Our author has handled the subject matter delicately. The epilogue alone takes inquiring minds by the hand and leads them through some achievable action steps in a positive direction. Churches would do well to add Acts 2:38 to their arsenal of resources. I’m glad it has been added to mine.
(This article was originally published in Apostolic Review.)
Paul McGee is the Pastor of First Apostolic Church in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, and writes for Apostolic Review. Receiving the call to ministry at the early age of twelve, he committed his life to spiritual service and has over thirty years of ministerial experience. He is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (ALJC) and has served in a few different capacities including full-time evangelism.