Saturday, May 28, 2022

The Long Lost 29th Chapter of ‘Acts’

Did you hear the exciting news? An ancient manuscript was discovered recently, which turned out to be the long lost 29th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. People often wonder why the book of Acts ends so abruptly after 28 chapters. Well, now we know why: there is one final chapter which wraps up the story.

The 29th chapter was recently translated into English, and here is an excerpt:

"The Lord God spoke unto Paul, saying, 'Behold, the power of the Holy Spirit, which has filled my people from the day of Pentecost until now, shall cease once this present generation has passed away. Even though the Holy Spirit has worked wondrous deeds and transformed countless lives, I, the Lord God, do not want people in the 21st century to get bogged down with "religious stuff." Their schedules will be so jam-packed they won’t have time to get serious about faith. This will allow them to focus on more important things, like their careers and their cars, their iPads and their Facebook posts. Thus saith the Lord.' Paul bowed down and said, 'Your will be done, O Lord, most high. But, what's an iPad?'”

And that’s how the 29th chapter ends.

OK, well, maybe I exaggerate a bit. But an awful lot of Christians down through the centuries, including the institutional Church herself at times, have acted as if this bogus 29th chapter were real.

Some fundamentalist groups accuse the Catholic Church of trying to make the Holy Trinity a quartet. They misinterpret Catholic devotion toward Mary as worshipping her, even though the inerrant Scriptures quote Mary herself as saying, “All generations shall call me blessed.” Catholics do not worship Mary, of course, and it’s a good subject for another day.
However, a much more common and real problem is not making the Holy Trinity into a quartet, it’s making the Holy Trinity into a duo.

Christian Trinitarian doctrine teaches that the one God exists in three persons. Believers have no problem acknowledging the first person of the Trinity, the Father, the Almighty, maker of Heaven and earth. And they have no problem acknowledging the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father.

But when it comes to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, most believers pause and say, “Umm…well, two out of three ain’t bad.”

Far too many people are under the mistaken impression that the wondrous deeds of the Holy Spirit chronicled in the book of Acts — the fruits of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the miracles, the healings, etc. — somehow died off when the first century Christians died off. The thinking is, “Yeah, well, Peter and Paul and John and Lenny and Squiggy and whoever those other apostles were, they needed that stuff back then, but once the faith spread and the church got established, it was no longer necessary.”

What a goofy thought. Nowhere in Scripture is it stated, or even implied, that the Holy Spirit’s ministry was a temporary assignment. After guiding the first century believers, the Holy Spirit did not go on vacation, and He certainly did not get a pink slip. He is still present; He is still working; He is still inspiring God’s people, filling them with faith and hope and love, and empowering them to live victorious lives on this side of eternity.
This Sunday is the feast of Pentecost, and it’s a great time to contemplate the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We should read through the exciting book of Acts in our Bibles (just the first 28 chapters, please) to see how the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of the early believers. We should realize the same miraculous power is still available to us today. And we should sincerely open up our hearts and let the power of the Holy Spirit flow from within us. And maybe this can happen if we turn off our iPads once in a while.

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