The Oct. 16 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers. In the cover essay, Sarah Hinlicky Wilson writes about how her time as a member of St. Alban’s Church in Strasbourg deepened her appreciation of the Book of Acts and world mission:
[D]espite my 11 years of theological education, it had never once occurred to me that my thirst for foreign lands had the slightest thing to do with God.
If only I had paid better attention to Acts!
As it turns out, it wasn’t even the colorful congregation of St. Alban’s that sent me back to reread what I regarded as such a disagreeable book. it was my job. As a brand-new ecumenist, I was charged with the task of figuring out the world’s 600 million Pentecostals for the world’s 70 million Lutherans. My ignorance shielded me from any debilitating fears about what I was undertaking. Plus, I had the great fortune of making friends with fantastic Pentecostal scholars who gave me valuable pointers. It didn’t take too long to realize that if I was ever going to figure out Pentecostalism, I had to figure out Acts first.
So, despite my theologically upturned nose, I plunged into Acts again. I didn’t get it. I read it again. I still didn’t get it. I was struggling with a particular puzzle: how to make sense of what Pentecostals said about the Holy Spirit and about baptism, and how that fit, or not, with what Lutherans (and Anglicans and Roman Catholics and Orthodox) said about the Holy Spirit and baptism.