Exemplary Life articulates Lukes vision for life together in a local church using key passages from Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35; and 5:12-16 (known as "summary narratives") as the starting point of reference. Although Luke is rightly acclaimed as the churchs first historian, he was a powerful writer and theologian as well. He also planted churches with Paul and had definite convictions about what life together in the church should look like. Yet, Lukes theology of church life is underemphasized in modern scholarship, downplayed by issues rising from the historical-critical method.
However, when the summary narratives are studied through the lens of narrative and rhetorical criticism, Lukes strategy is unmistakable. Those passages cast a vision for life together in an exemplary church, drawn from the historical circumstances of the church in Jerusalem. These narratives also serve as a starting point for studying church life throughout Acts. When the church planting movements in Samaria, Antioch, Ephesus, and Troas are examined, we find echoes of the narratives almost constantly. These amplify and drive home Lukes message in the summary narratives.
Taking this path, twenty distinct characteristics of exemplary church life emerge. From repentance and Scriptural authority to praying together and earning the respect of neighbors, each one is thoughtfully presented here by author Andy Chambers to reassert Lukes voice in 21st century conversations about the faithful formation of New Testament churches.
Andy Chambers is senior vice president for Student Development and professor of Bible at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. He holds an MDiv and PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has done additional study at Baylor University and Harvard Universitys Institute for Education Management.
Can Acts teach us about modern church life? Andy Chambers says. Yes indeed, and shows us how its portrait can enliven the church. It is a book worth reading with ideas worth implementing.
Dallas Theological Seminary
In Chambers Exemplary Life you can find help for building the modern church on an ancient and rock-solid foundation.
Andy Chambers firmly believes that the book of Acts is deeply relevant to the church and to the Christian life in our contemporary age. His thorough study of Acts will be of great benefit to the church, and I warmly welcome the publication of this book.
-R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Exemplary Life helps us hear Lukes distinctive voice on the church alongside other Bible authors. I highly recommend it.
-Thom S. Rainier,
CEO Lifeway Christian Resources
In a day of tremendous upheaval and debate over what church life should look like, we need a book that brings Lukes voice back into the conversation. Chamberss volume does just that.
President, Lifeway Research
In lucid language, Chambers provides a compelling argument that Lukes rhetorical strategy is to illuminate a model for the churchs life before God and the world. I highly recommend this volume for pastors and academic, as well as their students.
-Malcom B. Yarnell III,
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary