We often talk about the individual books of the bible. We are typically asked to turn to a particular book by teachers and preachers. The selected passage then becomes the springboard for their lessons and sermons. However, we must not disregard the bible as a single book. As a book, the bible has a main overarching idea. Brother David Norris asserts that the entire bible is redemption’s story, which climaxes at Acts 2:38. And this is best caught when we understand the mission of Jesus’ ministry.
Our journey begins with the author on an airplane on his return flight after a prolonged speaking engagement. The passenger to his left notices he disagrees with something he has read. The disagreement spirals into a conversation. It starts with a question: “Let me ask you, do you believe that if you don’t speak in tongues, you are going to Hell?” In a touch-and-go-type style, the remainder of the book carefully handles that question and addresses several others. It is happening methodically though imperceptibly. It has a parabolic feel. As the disciples waited around to have the parables explained to them, you’ll be turning page after page for meanings and connections that unravel with each chapter.
The genius of this work is that the author has stitched together several stories from different settings and times of his life, creating a tapestry of truth for the airplane companion or any reader. It is a story within a story. He is explaining how theology is often distilled in a narrative like Luke-Acts. While telling this, he is lacing together a story of theology for us too. Each account highlights a different facet of redemptive truth. Subjects like grace, faith, baptism, Holy Ghost infilling evidenced by speaking in tongues, and the gift of tongues are all touched upon to some degree. We are reminded that concepts that get lost in translation by our communication are often found in experience.
Many of the writer’s stories center around his role as a professor at Urshan Graduate School. He incorporates several of his students, although there are too many to name here. One focuses on a student named Sandra. Primarily detached, to begin with, she warms up with each additional lecture. She realizes that Acts 2:38 is the apex of the bible and not just the culmination of the Luke-Acts narrative. She shares this revelation with Brother Norris, and both are exuberant over her discovery.
In my opinion, new converts and anyone with questions or curiosities about Apostolic/Pentecostal doctrine would benefit from Acts 2:38. Even aged converts or the other “Sandras” among us could bolster their biblical foundations and learn how to navigate sensitive salvific matters appropriately. I’ve often said, “You don’t have to run someone through with a sword when showing them the tip of it will do.” Our author has handled the subject matter delicately. The epilogue alone takes inquiring minds by the hand and leads them through some achievable action steps in a positive direction. Churches would do well to add Acts 2:38 to their arsenal of resources. I’m glad it has been added to mine.
Paul McGee is the Pastor of First Apostolic Church in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. Receiving the call to
ministry at the early age of 12, he committed his life to spiritual service and has over 30 years of ministerial experience. He is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (ALJC) and has served in a few different capacities including full-time evangelism. He is part of a national prison team that holds conferences in state penitentiaries for women/men across the United States. Paul mentors young men in an Iron Sharpens Iron program. He has been honored to speak at conferences, camp meetings, and special meetings throughout the United States as well. Paul often says, “God keeps good records.” He lives by the philosophy that everything we do for the kingdom of God is important and ought to be done with a level of excellence. Paul is complemented by his wife, Dawn, along with their two teenage children, and a small dog, Rascal. His pastimes include reading, woodworking, and motorcycling.