Book of Acts & The Work of the Holy Spirit – the Norm for the Church?
Is the work of the Spirit of God in the book of Acts the norm for the Church today?
No, it isn’t. You’d have to begin with external evidence combined with erroneous presuppositions. To attempt to establish a norm for all Christians in all ages from the book of Acts is not proper. It is less than a tenuous position.
The Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles as no other group of humans since those days. There is no evidence of such after the apostles died.
Jesus Christ gave to the apostles and specifically Paul an apostolic commission and the power to do a special work, laying a foundation for the New Testament church at large, but it is certainly not ‘the norm’ for all Christians.
Are all of the experiences of Jesus Christ in the Gospels ‘the norm’ for every Christian? Of course not. Neither is it in the acts of some of the apostles.
Take Acts 10:44, 45, for example. Many today stress praying for the ‘pouring out’ of the Holy Spirit, the ‘falling down’ of the same based on this verse alone.
Look at the verse itself:
While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. – Acts 10:44, 45 (ESV)
The entire context of this passage is clearly an instruction for the Jew. The ekklesia, made of Hebrews required a lesson regarding the conversion of the Gentile. This action of the Holy Spirit confirmed the same. It certainly is not the norm for the church.
Think about this: in the days of the apostles, it was ‘the norm’ for an apostle to lay hands on someone, and that person would receive the Holy Spirit.
But there are no more apostles in the strict sense of the word.
…and if you think anyone can lay hands on another, and they receive the Holy Spirit, you make a claim you cannot, biblically, confirm.