Jon A. Weatherly
Cincinnati Bible College
In common with most Protestant groups, the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement has read Acts with the assumption that what the book narrates, it asserts as normative. Such an approach neglects consideration of the author's purpose. Acts in fact presents Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel for universal redemption and Jesus' followers as those through whom God continues that redemptive work in the world. Within this purpose, conversion narratives appear less to indicate how one becomes a Christian and more to suggest that the Christian gospel fulfills God's universal saving purpose, despite constant opposition. In this light, what Acts assumes about the meaning of baptism remains apparent while the immediate purposes of conversion narratives explain the irregularities in the presentation of baptism in relation to conversion and reception of the Spirit.
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