28 November 2005

Acts 8

What is to be made of St. Philip's giving out baptism that does not give the Spirit apart from the laying on of hands? (vs. 16)

What is to made of St. Peter's not treating the forgiveness of Simon's post-baptismal sins as a "sure thing"? (vs. 22)



Anonymous said...

I wonder if the first item would fall under the "Apostle's special gifts" mentioned in the Small Cat. concerning gifts of the Holy Spirit?


Chaz said...

Where in the Small Catechism?

William Weedon said...

And also what about Acts 10:34,35?

Eric Phillips said...

I have a theory about the first question: this was happening in Samaria, and the Samaritans had for long generations defined themselves religiously as opposed to and independent of the worship of God that was centered in Jerusalem. That they were wrong about this, I think, is implied in Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman, even though when it came to the exact question of _where_ God should be worshiped, He told her the truth of the New Covenant instead of pronouncing on the rights and wrongs of the Old.

So now the new faith is coming to Samaria--a faith once more headquartered in Jerusalem and led entirely by Jewish Apostles and "apostolic men." Although the emissary of this new faith is a deacon from Jerusalem, it would be very easy for the Samaritan believers to relapse to old form and refuse to follow the lead of the Apostles, making for the earliest schism in Church History, and one that in this case would prevent them from ever hearing the fullness of the Gospel that God was using these Apostles to reveal to the world. So in order to counter this impulse, God makes the Samaritan believer wait, even after Baptism, for the Apostles to come from Jerusalem and personally lay hands on them, and _then_ He gives them the Holy Spirit, so the connection will be unmistakeable.

William Weedon said...

One thing I do appreciate about the book of Acts: it leaves no doubt that the Spirit does what the Spirit does in whatever way the Spirit wishes to do. I think this is what the AC V is getting at with the "ubi et quando visum est Deo." As Dr. Nagel likes to say: No calling the shots on the Spirit.