Acts for Today

Written by Michael Green Reviewed By Craig Blomberg

Michael Green is well known on both sides of the Atlantic for his pastoral ministry (esp. in St Aldates, Oxford), academic work (esp. in Regent College, Vancouver) and prolific pen (esp. I Believe in the Holy Spirit and Evangelism through the Local Church). This volume repeats many of the key themes of the two aforementioned writings but resembles more in genre his Matthew for Today and To Corinth with Love. Like the latter work, this is not a running commentary on the book of Acts but a topically arranged study of key themes (lifestyle, message, methods, church planting, pastoral care, leadership, etc.). As in the former work, Green concentrates on contemporary application; indeed, the most interesting parts of the book are consistently those in which he shares first-hand experiences from a lifetime of ministry on every continent of the globe.

Overall, Green has captured the spirit of the early church well and consistently shows how it defies most contemporary labels. Like Green himself, the Christians on the pages of Acts supported team ministry, had few encrusted institutional patterns, were moderately charismatic in the technical sense, creative and resilient in all forms of outreach, and focused on Jesus in their ministering and preaching. Green’s thematic approach allows him to insert regular references to other parts of the NT besides Acts and to add choice quotations from the early church fathers which further illustrate (though occasionally idealize) primitive Christian life. About the only time Green allows his contemporary ecclesiastical commitments to prevent him from reading the text in a balanced fashion is in his discussion of baptism, under which Baptist perspectives are summarily dismissed (pp. 134–137). Given Green’s consistent evangelical ecumenism elsewhere, and given paedobaptists’ frequent admission that the NT evidence is at best equivocal, this inconsistency is curious indeed. But the rest of the book more than compensates, and theological students should find Green’s view of appropriate ministerial training particularly challenging (p. 174)!

Craig Blomberg

Craig Blomberg
Denver Seminary
Denver, Colorado, USA