by Robert L. Gallagher and Paul Hertig, eds.
Robert Gallagher and Paul Hertig have edited a book that seeks to bridge the gap between the first century context in which Luke wrote, and the twenty-first century context in which mission practitioners live.
Orbis Books, P. O. Box 308, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0308, 2004, 323 pages, $30.00.
—Reviewed by John D. Harvey, associate professor of New Testament and Greek, Columbia Biblical Seminary and School of Missions, Columbia, South Carolina.
Robert Gallagher and Paul Hertig have edited a book that seeks to bridge the gap between the first century context in which Luke wrote, and the twenty-first century context in which mission practitioners live. The result is a commentary on Acts and a textbook on missiological praxis. By bringing together a group of denominationally diverse, evangelical contributors with extensive cross-cultural ministry experience, Gallagher and Hertig have produced a book unique in its structure and contribution.
The purpose of Mission in Acts is to introduce readers to Acts by focusing on key passages which have particular relevance for contemporary mission practice. Following an introductory chapter that addresses the background, genre, authorship, date and purpose of Acts, the book moves section by section through the biblical text. Each chapter considers the socio-historical background of the section under study and weighs its implications for contemporary missions activity. Each contributor also seeks to weave his or her personal story into the chapter.
Some passages are grouped thematically. For example, Mary Hinkle groups 7:2-53; 13:16-41; and 14:15-17 in a helpful chapter on the relationship between ancient speeches and post-modern sermons. Shawn Redford combines the three accounts of Paul’s conversion (9:1-9; 22:3-33; 26:2-23) in a strong chapter on contextualization.
Several passages are addressed more than once. For example, Acts 22 is included in at least three chapters. On the other hand, several sections—for example, Acts 5:1-32; 17:1-15; and 19:23-20:16—are not discussed. Attention to the omitted sections would have further strengthened an already good book. Also, Clark Walz’s chapter on cursing and magic might appear questionable to some, and Robert Linthicum’s chapter on Paul’s “acts of power” is less persuasive than other contributions.
Nevertheless, the strengths of this book far outweigh its few weaknesses. I began reading skeptically and ended convinced that this book is one I want in my library.
Check these titles:
Dollar, Harold E. 1996. St. Luke’s Missiology: A Cross-Cultural Challenge. Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library.
Larkin, William J. Jr. 1995. Acts. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
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