Publisher IVP Academic
The Reformation was a call to return with renewed vigor to the biblical roots of the Christian faith. But to the Reformers, the truth of the Bible could never be separated from the true community of God's people gathered around his Word by his Spirit. In the book of Acts, they found God's own promises for what he would do in and for his church, as well as his blueprint for how the church should participate in accomplishing his purposes in the world. Reformation approaches to the narrative account of the early church in the book of Acts are rich and diverse. Commentators like John Calvin and Heinrich Bullinger tended to elaborate on the theological implications of the text with a great deal of historical detail. Others like Katharina Schütz Zell evoked episodes in Acts in response to pressing concerns of the day. She, for example, appealed to Paul's warning about those who would draw away believers from the flock (20:29) in order to denounce "fierce wolves" in contemporary Strasbourg. Sermons and homilies upheld notable characters in Acts such as Peter, Stephen, Paul, Lydia, Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos as exemplars of robust faith and of life in Christian community. Meanwhile, Anabaptist writers in their apologetic works focused heavily on the contested meaning and significance of baptism throughout Acts for the spiritual character of this community. In this volume, Esther Chung-Kim has brought together the best of this diversity of authorship, conviction and genre to present a vivid portrait of Reformation-era answers to the question of the contemporary faithfulness of the church to its God-given identity and calling.