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Book Reviewed


By Rev. Dr. Roy Sheldon MacKenzie

DR. MACKENZIE has once again given the church and all individuals who love the scriptures a chance to look at them with fresh eyes. He brings his academic background in biblical studies and the joy of being a grandparent to his work. He weaves Old and New Testament contexts together in the Book of Acts as he applies the scriptures to the 21st century, comparing for example, Ananias and Sapphira with Achan. Of course, the strength of the work comes in his applications to living today.

As all good preachers do, he leads his listeners and readers back to the text to wrestle with the content found there. Whether he addresses the Ascension, Pentecost or Stephen's ministry, his approach invites us to wonder at how God started the church. Moments of humour lace the work, such as The Evangelist Was Stoned! He doesn't hesitate to bring his own experience to the table, nor to address controversial issues. He tells us how one student tried to introduce him to her experience of the gift of tongues. His style impacts the reader more like poetry than prose, and the print is arranged accordingly. While you may not agree with all his interpretations, you can certainly appreciate where he brings us. His destination is a greater appreciation for Luke who brings us his understanding of what God was doing in his time, the same God who wants to do much in our time. He validates the reality of the scriptures speaking to our times as much as they did to theirs.

MacKenzie underlines the clash of several cultures coming together in one place and the persecution of those who proclaim Christianity's positive relevance to today as major themes in Acts. We experience more and more the same in Canada when he delivered these sermons as well as today. As we listen to him, we are drawn back to the Spirit of God.

He has continued to publish his sermons in The Master series. All these help us to encounter the scriptures and the Lord of the church anew. Whether you read them in bits and pieces, or sit for a long while with the whole book, you will be refreshed. I trust this is as true in British Columbia as it is in Newfoundland, and everywhere in between.

Rev. Dr. Jonathan Dent is minister at St. David's, St. John's, Nfld.

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Title Annotation:The Master Missionaries: Sermons from Acts
Author:Dent, Jonathan
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jul 1, 2010
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