From the back cover of the book:
“What if Luke had to reteach the basic lessons of his history of the early Church? How would he communicate his point while livening up the details for someone who either was not present for the actual event or had not paid sufficient attention the first time he wrote Acts of the Apostles?
This is Luke’s résumé for a younger and still eager Theophilus. He reenacts stories and replays events almost as a performance before the audience’s eyes. He knows that history is not a dry memorization of facts nor a chain of events, but a compendium of vital lessons that guide growth and change. History unfolds as episodes, cohering around an intelligible theme with drama and suspense. Not unlike a play, it requires imaginative performance to both entertain and provoke an audience to react.
This is a fresh way of presenting the Bible, a method based on a rapidly growing movement in college and university classrooms called “reacting.” It is in line with more traditional ways of understanding Scripture as performed in the context of liturgy. At the same time this book challenges individual with creative poems and illustrations and a built-in system of application questions for daily readings.”
When Mark C. Carnes, Professor of History, Columbia University and author of Minds on Fire: How Role-Immersion Games Transform College (Harvard, 2014) read the book, this is how he characterized its approach to studying the Bible:
“A spotlight illuminates two figures on a darkened stage. The taller actor—is it Russell Crowe?—is the Apostle Luke. With him is a younger man. Luke is explaining the skepticism that greeted the apostles after the death and resurrection of Jesus. But just as you settle into your chair to watch the actors do their magic, Luke steps forward and addresses you: “Ask yourself: ‘Have I allowed my own sense of inadequacy to keep me quiet about what I believe to be the truth?”’ Now you are a performer in a timeless existential drama, an inspiring production by Mark Whitters, savvy director, superb Biblical scholar, and masterful pedagogue.”
Mark Carnes is the mentor for many of us who are trying to figure out new ways of reaching our students, and I think his review of my book hits the nail on the head when it comes to my goal for this book.