‘Thorough’ and ‘thoughtful’ were words that came to mind as I was reading this book.
This is a study of seven characters who feature in Luke’s account of the early church, showing how they responded to their encounter with the gospel message.
There are four examples of those who were converted on hearing the gospel: an Ethiopian official, a Jewish Pharisee, a business woman from Thyatira and a Roman prison governor — four very different people who came to faith in very different ways.
These accounts are followed by three examples of those who rejected the gospel: Governor Felix, Governor Festus and King Agrippa.
The studies are well researched and background information is given, yet the material is presented in a pleasing and readable style.
An appropriate quotation from either the Westminster Confession of Faith or Larger Catechism is included in each chapter, which I thought most helpful.
No indication of the target readership is suggested but both new Christians and the more mature believer will equally benefit from its content. It could also be put into the hands of those who, while not yet believing, are thinking through gospel issues.
The author is of Presbyterian persuasion and understandably presents his view of covenant children and household baptisms when he comes to deal with Lydia and the Philippian gaoler. His statement that ‘regardless of whether or not individual members [of a family or household] believed, they were baptised upon the household head’s profession of faith’ (p.70) will sound strange to the ears of those from a Baptist background. This, with due respect, is likely to restrict the usefulness of this good little book.
I enjoyed reading the book and would have appreciated an extra chapter on Cornelius, a very significant case study of conversion in the book of Acts.