Someone studying the literature of Alexander Campbell observed that he quoted most often from Acts and Hebrews, and suggested that “our traditional strengths” in the Churches of Christ and the Christian Churches are those two New Testament books.
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I agree that we have relied heavily on proof-texts from those books. But that is not the same as saying that we have listened carefully for the messages which their respective authors intended to convey, or that we have always communicated those messages in our own preaching and teaching.
Acts is Luke’s continuation of the story of the things Jesus did and taught — not in person but by his Spirit send from heaven at Pentecost. We, on the other hand, have often denied the Spirit’s present activity, considered that we ourselves must plan and perform anything that occurs — then picked the bones of Acts for bits and pieces to construct our own program of action. Primarily, Acts shows people proclaiming Jesus — offering life, salvation and healing in his name. Instead of preaching Jesus, we have often substituted our own vision of the church and a “plan of salvation” which is human-driven from first to last and which has very little to do with Jesus at all.
Hebrews is about JESUS — not primarily about “two covenants.” Perhaps its strongest point is that by his work, which he fully accomplished, we are purified, cleansed, made holy, and are authorized to enter God’s presence and enjoy his blessings forever. We have most often talked as if Jesus only made salvation possible, then left us the instructions to complete what he started. However, we often make it sound as if the instructions are written on a jigsaw puzzle, which we must first reconstruct in order to know what to do. At our worst, we have talked as if the floor under us will open automatically if we ever put a puzzle piece in the wrong place and we will slide straight into hell.
No, we really cannot claim Acts and Hebrews as our strengths just yet. But those are wonderful books for us to read and to preach with our eyes focused on JESUS — just as their respective authors wrote them both.