Theology

Justice is a Gospel issue: Spiritual and practical empowerment – Acts 6:6

“These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6) Continuing the theme of empowerment that runs throughout Acts 6, verse six describes the apostles’ commission and ratification of the selection of those chosen to solve the presented problem. By definition, this is an example of Apostlic leadership, but we must not rush to assume we know what that means. Firstly, our understanding of apostolic leadership must be…

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Racism Theology

Justice is a Gospel issue: Affirmative action – Acts 6:5

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. (Acts 6:5) If the opening verses of Acts 6 demonstrate the apostles’ listening an empowering approach to resolving the racial conflict that emerged at that time, verse 6 emphasises this approach. “What they said please the whole…

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Racism Theology

Justice is a gospel issue: Hands, feet and mutual submission in Acts 6:4

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Having established a quasi-congregational method of deacon appointment, the text now moves onto what this action means for the apostles. In the previous verse the apostles – who continue to speak in a single, unnamed corporate voice throughout the passage – explained that they “cannot submit” to “leave the word of God”. However, here – as a result of the…

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Theology

Justice is a gospel issue: Empowered problem solving in Acts 6:3

Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. (Acts 6:3) Having set out their team leadership stall in the previous verse, the apostles continue their empowering approach by asking the gathered believers – which we know from Acts 6:2 was the whole assembly – to select “seven men” from “among you…whom we will appoint”. The people were…

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Theology

Justice is a gospel issue: Precedents for ecclesiology and polity in Acts 6:2

And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables”. (Acts 6:2) In Acts 6:1 the immigrant believers complained that the local believers were neglecting the needy amongst them. First, we must note that the complaint was not only heard, which is an important indication that demonstrates the apostles’ receptive handling of the complaint, it was…

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