Pentecost and Beyond: Christian Theology in Acts 2

We were out of town for Memorial Day weekend, and I was reminded again why Pentecost should not fall on the same weekend as a secular holiday. The empowering of God’s spirit is absolutely critical for faithful living; so for many Christians to be absent from church on Pentecost while traveling or doing other holiday activities is regrettable. Fortunately, Pentecost season in the church is like Eastertide, it is not a 24-hour event but a way of life.

To that end I am going to post here a series of reflections on Acts 2 which is one of the most important and complete summaries of Christian theology in the entire Bible. That one chapter covers a remarkable summary of the story of repentance, salvation, the power of God’s spirit to create both personal and social holiness, individual evangelism and conversion, and the resulting transformation of servant disciples into a model faith community.

Over the next few weeks I will reflect on different parts of Acts 2, and the outline for this 5-part series, at least at the outset, is as follows:

Verses 1-4: Obedient waiting for the Holy Spirit. If you are expecting a nice gentle dove be forewarned that the power of God’s spirit is not for sissies.

Verses 5-13: The communication barriers created at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11) are miraculously removed and spirit-drunk apostles emboldened to preach the word.

Verses 14-36: Through the Holy Spirit all people of any age, race, and gender are capable of being God’s prophetic witnesses. As proof of that the former Christ-denying Peter’s first sermon summarizes salvation history culminating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Verses 37-42: The overwhelming response to authentic preaching – 3000 people from all over the world repent, believe and accept the gift of God’s grace.

Verses 43-47: The proof in the pudding. True conversion and salvation are not one and done personal events, but result in an authentic community of social justice, compassion and holiness.

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