I am working on a series of lectures on “Luke’s theology of the Holy Spirit”, that I am giving at my church.   My primary sources are:

  1. The Bible NIV 2011
  2. The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke, by Roger Stronstad
  3. Luke Historian & Theologian, by I. Howard Marshall
  4. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall
  5. New Testament Theology, by I. Howard Marshall

The premise of the lectures will revolve around Roger Stronstad’s book, which Brian LePort has already written a short review, and has had some dialog on this matter as well.  Last night I did my first lecture and want to get some dialog going on some of Stronstad’s conclusions.

The first one is the separation of the Gospel of Luke, from the Book of Acts.   Stronstad makes a good point that we should understand Luke’s usage of various terms and phrases as having the same meaning in both books.  We don’t do that with Paul’s writings or any other bible author for that matter, so when Paul uses a particular phrase or term we consistently define it the same, so there is continuity between Paul’s terms and phrases.  For example, Luke’s usage of the phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit”, this is a phrase that is used in both Luke’s Gospel and Acts, but yet there is a discontinuity in how one understands its meaning.  J.H.E Hull writes:

Elizabeth and Zechariah were, in Luke’s view momentarily filled with the Spirit.  In other words, they could be aware of His (seemly) fleeting presence and His (seemly) fitful and necessarily limited activity.  The disciples, on the other hand, were permanently filled with the Spirit” CTHLuke p4

Stronstad rightly charges Hull with an “exegetically baseless affirmation that the phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit” has a different (and superior?) meaning in Acts than it does in Luke, he changes the Lukan metaphor…” CTHLuke p4

There is so much reading into the text by Hull going on here that I have to agree with Stronstad that Hull went to far in his explanation of the text.  Is there any valid reason to think that Luke’s usage of the phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit” means something different to him than what he means in Acts?  Why wouldn’t there be continuity between the sort of language that Luke uses in his writings?  If Luke understood being “filled with the Holy Spirit” as being permanent in Acts, why would we think that he means otherwise in his Gospel?

What do you think about Stronstad’s conclusion?