2012 lecture in Bible and Mission – Steve Walton on the book of Acts as the mission of God

Each year we host an Annual Lecture in Bible and Mission at Redcliffe. Following previous lectures by Chris Wright, Gordon Wenham and Eddie Arthur, Prof Steve Walton from LST will be speaking on Tuesday 15 May on ‘The Book of Acts as the Mission of God’.

Here are some further details taken from the main Redcliffe website:

The Acts of the Apostles as the Mission of God

Tuesday 15 May 2012  7.30pm-9.30pm

Delivered by Prof Steve Walton, Professor of New Testament at London School of Theology

Steve WaltonAction plans for mission are widely used today: but are they right? Who really drives mission? In the Acts of the Apostles, the church is frequently slow to recognise and get on board with what God is doing. Mission among the Gentiles happens slowly and is a result of God’s initiative, not the church’s plans – and this reflects the wider point that it is God who drives the story of Acts forward, not the believing community. This challenges some modern emphases on the role of the church in mission.In this lecture, Steve Walton will explore the work of God in Acts, and reflect on this key feature of Acts in the light of the emphasis on missio Dei (the ‘mission of God’) in contemporary missiological thinking.
Prof. Walton has taught at LST since 1999 and has a special interest in Luke-Acts, Paul and New Testament Greek. Among other publications, he is the co-author of a popular textbook on the Gospels and Acts (in SPCK’s Exploring the New Testamentseries) and is currently working on the Acts volume in the Word Biblical Commentary series.  He is a retired international volleyball referee and now works in training and developing other referees, which takes him around the world from time to time.
The Lecture is free but pre-booking is required. Please visit Redcliffe’s website for more details on the 2012 lecture in Bible and Mission
For more details on previous annual lectures, visit the Public Lecture page.

The mission impulse of Luke-Acts

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles by F. Scott SpencerIn his recent book The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles (Abingdon, 2008) F. Scott Spencer describes the ‘”mission” impulse that drives the two-volume project.’ (p.95) Indeed, his book is structured around the explicit theme of mission.

He then fleshes this out in more detail illustrating some of the ways we can understand the Bible as (to put it one way) the product and record of God’s mission:

For all the scholarly debates about the genre(s) of Luke and Acts… in a very basic sense, these books present a grand mission story-that is, the story of God’s world-restoring mission advanced in word and deed through his Son Jesus Christ and Christ’s emissaries. The main characters keep on the move, and the plot largely coheres around a series of journeys across the eastern Mediterranean world. And these characters are fundamentally missionaries undertaking mission journeys-not commercial trips, political junkets, scientific expeditions, tourist excursions, recreational getaways, or any other type of travel we might imagine. These treks proceed by the divine commission for the sole purpose of carrying out God’s will and extending God’s rule on earth.

We may outline both Luke and Acts according to a broad four-part scheme of fulfilling God’s mission:

I. Preparing God’s Mission
Luke 1-4    Acts 1-7

II. Establishing God’s Mission
Luke 4-9   Acts 8-12

III. Expanding and Interpreting God’s Mission
Luke 9-19   Acts 13-21

IV. Defending God’s Mission
Luke 20-24   Acts 21-28

The headings are self-explanatory, charting a rapid, progressive growth in God’s mission through Section III, and then slowing down in Section IV to solidify the movement and defend it against detractors. (pp.95-96, his italics)