In his book Acts 2:38, Dr. Norris covers many subjects: salvation, faith, holiness, learning from the ancients, Hell, among others. Your faith and understanding will grow as you read through this book.
Acts 2:38 Excerpt
She begins, “I want to know about speaking in tongues, for instance.”
Kristyn is nothing but kind, and even if I don’t come up with an answer that satisfies her, she will in the end let me off the hook. “Alright,” I say. “I didn’t get to present McCollough’s whole argument because of limited time. But you can get his book and journal articles to track with him on this.”
She will not be put off by me directing her to another source and ignores that advice, challenging me directly, “Okay, if I’m going to teach others about this, I need to anticipate their objections. For example, someone might argue that what Peter said was just to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost; what they were supposed to do; but this doesn’t apply to everyone.”
I respond, “Hey, I’ve got to tell you something really cool. I talked to David McCollough on Zoom! It was kind of a surprise to get through to him so quickly. It was amazing.” Kristyn is not as impressed as I expected her to be. She is, after all, not here to talk to someone she doesn’t know in England. I work at flattening my disappointment and get down to answering her question, starting with some review. I say, “Okay, remember the claim. Peter is someone in the narrative that the reader can trust. He told the crowd to repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and then they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. The reader should assume people get it the same way they received it in the chapter—accompanied by speaking in tongues. So, the reason we believe it is universal is what Peter says in the next verse: ‘For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’ So, it doesn’t matter who it is. Ever afterward, everyone needs the Holy Spirit in the same way.
Kristyn taps her pen on her notes and says, “I wonder if people might argue with that interpretation.” She continues, “After Peter preaches, it says three thousand were baptized. It doesn’t say they all received the Holy Spirit or they spoke in other tongues.”
I respond, “McCollough would suggest because the paradigm has already been set up in Acts 2:38, the narrative now assumes it, so it doesn’t need to be repeated. He would likely suggest when you say part—in this case baptism—you assume all.”
She responds, “Why wouldn’t you put it in the story if it is so significant?”
I lean back in my chair, trying to think of a creative way to answer. Finally I say, “Think of how we tell stories—how stories should be told. Now let’s suppose you were writing a story about your Aunt Clara. I don’t know if you have an Aunt Clara, but for the purposes of my illustration, you do. So, when you first mention her, you describe her. She wears pink lipstick, has green eyes, and wears oversized four-inch rings that hang down from each earlobe. She talks in a gravelly voice and her bulbous nose protrudes so far that it is the only noticeable thing about her face. Now, once you’ve established her as a character you don’t repeat all these descriptors every time you mention Aunt Clara. They would be assumed.”
Kristyn responds, “So, you’re saying once the pattern for conversion is mentioned, it is never mentioned again?”
“No. I’m not saying that. Only that it is not required and may well be assumed.”
Resources and Links
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