Acts

Acts

THE WRITER IS Luke, who reminds us that he has previously written—in his Gospel— of ‘all that Jesus began to do and teach’ (Acts 1:1). The book of Acts starts with Jesus’ ascension to heaven (1:9), and shows how Jesus was still at work after his ascension in the spread of the Gospel by his followers. Chapters 2–12 show how, with God’s power (the Holy Spirit), Christ’s apostles preached the Gospel in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The preaching was so effective that thousands believed and were baptized (2:41, 47; 5:14; 11:24). In Jesus’ name the apostles also performed miracles. Their message always concerned ‘the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ’ (8:12; 19:8; 28:23, 31). It was a message rooted in Old Testament history and God’s promises to the fathers of Israel, but it was now based on the work of Jesus Christ and not the Law of

Different Points of View

Different Points of View

IT’S GOOD TO BE able to see other people’s points of view. If we all did this more often there would be more understanding and less confrontation in the world. People with strong opinions can be particularly bad at seeing different points of view. They can be intolerant of those who disagree with them. Perhaps, deep down, this is because they are afraid of having their beliefs challenged. Some of the most opinionated people you’ll meet are religious people. And as it happens, religious people can be some of the most intolerant. You only need to think of the brutalities of the Church Inquisitions over the last few centuries, or the so-called Islamic State in recent years. Reacting against the intolerance and bigotry that’s undoubtedly characterised many churches in the past, many modern Christians make a point of being nonconfrontational and inclusive—to the extent that it’s common to hear phrases