MID-ACTS and THEISTIC EVOLUTION
The mid-acts position starts the church (of whom Christ is head) in the book of Acts. This has many consequences, including the playing of doctrinal catch up on many manifestly clear observations about the church that all with open eyes can see. For example the church today has no signed gifts, we do not observe them despite many claims by some for their presence. Yet if the mid-acts position is true then the church should have them — in fact the body of Christ as taught by Paul in 1 Cor.12-14 is composed of members with these gifts and whose distinctiveness depends on their presence.
The answer provided by mid acts expositors is to teach that as time went by and Israel progressively rebelled the gifts gradually disappeared and further revelation was given to Paul as this was in progress. That is, the church of Ephesians 1:22 came into being as a matter of evolution. It started in Acts and through guided natural selection it came to excise all those doctrines and practices associated with Israel (I say “all” advisedly) till finally the shining church of Ephesians and Colossians evolved from the admixture of Acts.
Of course some things just cannot be “evolved” out by the mid-acts position. The new covenant, for example. This is clearly a part of Israel’s spiritual food, but because Paul was an able minister in the acts of this covenant, many mid-acts teachers find it difficult to separate from it, which in turn justifies their teaching and observance of the Lord’s supper (connected to the new covenant and passover).
The word covenant is translated from διαθήκη and is used by the Spirit of God in some 30 verses in the new testament of the bible. If one views the distribution of this word across the new testament books and especially Paul’s epistles (I will include Hebrews) there is only one occurrence in PAul’s post Acts epistles:
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants <1242> of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
This passage gives the national standing that the Gentiles had before God., they were “strangers from the covenants of promise”, that is in time past they were away from Israel and estranged from and at enmity with Israel and God. The mid acts position will “often” teach that we have been made nigh by being made partakers of the new covenant. We need to investigate this evolutionary position.
Paul in Acts
During the Acts period Paul was an able minister of the new testament
2Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament <1242>; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The same greek word is used here and shows that Paul was ministering Israel’s new covenant, indeed Jesus was the mediator of this better covenant. Look at this concordance of the greek word for “covenant” in the book of Hebrews. Ask yourself before God and in all good conscience if the new covenant has ever been ours by promise. Is this the spiritual food for us today? Are we partaking of Israel’s new covenant today?
Heb 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament <1242>.
Heb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant <1242>, which was established upon better promises.
Heb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant <1242> with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Heb 8:9 Not according to the covenant <1242> that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant <1242>, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant <1242> that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Heb 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant <1242> overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant <1242>;
Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament <1242>, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament <1242>, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Heb 9:16 For where a testament <1242> is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
Heb 9:17 For a testament <1242> is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Heb 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament <1242> which God hath enjoined unto you.
Heb 10:16 This is the covenant <1242> that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant <1242>, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant <1242>, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant <1242>,
Clearly this is Israel’s spiritual food and would be of our concern if we were living in the time of the book of Acts because during that time the Gentiles were graft unnaturally into the olive of Israel to provoke it to Jealousy.
Ro 15:27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
There are some interesting connections that the above concordance makes especially the last verse Heb 13:20 — the Lord Jesus — the great shepherd of the sheep. See the blog on the Fold and the new man. Do you see yourself as a sheep? It may be that you have not as yet believed the gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ see Eph. 3:8.
PAul from Prison
Did the church evolve out of Acts? The answer is given in the context of the only passage in PAul’s prison epistles that includes the word “covenant” below is Eph. 2:12ff
12 (AV) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
12 (TR) οτι ητε εν τω καιρω εκεινω χωρις χριστου απηλλοτριωμενοι της πολιτειας του ισραηλ και ξενοι των διαθηκων της επαγγελιας ελπιδα μη εχοντες και αθεοι εν τω κοσμω
13 (AV) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
13 (TR) νυνι δε εν χριστω ιησου υμεις οι ποτε οντες μακραν εγγυς εγενηθητε εν τω αιματι του χριστου
How were we made nigh? By being graft unnaturally into the olive of Israel in order to partake of the “root” or was something new created and “both” Jew and Gentile made partakers?
14 ¶ (AV) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
14 (TR) αυτος γαρ εστιν η ειρηνη ημων ο ποιησας τα αμφοτερα εν και το μεσοτοιχον του φραγμου λυσας
15 (AV) Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
15 (TR) την εχθραν εν τη σαρκι αυτου τον νομον των εντολων εν δογμασιν καταργησας ινα τους δυο κτιση εν εαυτω εις ενα καινον ανθρωπον ποιων ειρηνην
“…for to make in himself of twain one new man”. What is the word for “make” here? The greek text says “ινα τους δυο κτιση εν εαυτω εις ενα καινον ανθρωπον”. The law of commandment contained in ordinances (dogmas) were abolished so that the new man could be evolved? NO! So that the new man would be created — κτίζω which means “to create” and so it is translated in every other place in the new testament (12 verses).
16 (AV) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
16 (TR) και αποκαταλλαξη τους αμφοτερους εν ενι σωματι τω θεω δια του σταυρου αποκτεινας την εχθραν εν αυτω
17 (AV) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
17 (TR) και ελθων ευηγγελισατο ειρηνην υμιν τοις μακραν και τοις εγγυς
This is how both the Jew and Gentile are reconciled “in one body” and you will notice the order is reversed “peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”
Acts 28 teaches CREATION
The Acts 28 position clarifies the hope and place of the church of whom Christ is head. It teaches the creation of a new entity unassociated with Israel and with none of her covenants.
Are you a creationist or an evolutionist?