Ascension Snips and Clips

So much gets left on the cutting room floor–hence “snips and clips” in my title–when preparing a sermon. Here is a fascinating, orthodox, and devotional article by John F. Maile, called “The Ascension in Luke-Acts,” taken from the Tyndale Bulletin 37 (1986). Its gist is to engage in a scholarly, but pious way, with the value and biblical basis for believing, and loving, the doctrine of the Ascension of Jesus Christ.

In particular, I love this quote, below. As you read, notice how the author makes a theological connection between the Ascension in Luke’s Gospel and the Ascension in Acts.

In that regard, this is biblical scholarship that promotes the reading of your Bible, and loving more deeply, and obeying more fully, what it teaches; this is theological scholarship that exalts Christ and His Bride, the Church: Continue reading

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Pentecost and Acts

pentecost by purple whirlpool

Part of the problem with denominations and Christian traditions is that words are taken like brand names (think © or ™), making it harder to use them with genuine biblical meaning…

  • Catholic means “universal”–no Christian in his right mind would deny the universal character to the Christian message (true for all time, in all societies and cultures, around the world)
  • Presbyterian means “governed by elders” (among other things) and in this regard, many churches have presbyters as key leaders in the local assembly, not just “Presbyterian” churches.
  • Pentecostal or “related to Pentecost” ought to describe all true Chrsitians: people who take “Pentecost” seriously as a watershed moment for the church of Jesus Christ.

That last brand name, “Pentecostal,” is on my mind lately as I’ve begun to preach through the Book of Acts. We will hit Acts 2:1-11 in two Sundays; so, I’m asking myself, “what does Luke mean by Pentecost?” and “How, or in what way, are we called to be Pentecostal today?”

We need to begin with this observation: Pentecost (or the outpouring of the Holy Spirit) is not the key action of God in Acts: the key ‘act’ of God in Acts is the Ascension of Jesus. Continue reading