The Church’s Disputed Growth Rate in Acts

Analogous periods of intensive growth attested for new religious movements render Luke’s reports of the church’s growth (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 21:20) more plausible than often assumed. Indeed, far from being absurd, Luke’s figures appear modest in comparison with significant growth rates in much of global Christianity and other mass movements today. This is not to deny that Luke may have preferred higher estimates where available, or to presume that careful statistics were kept. Nor do the arguments here prove Luke’s accuracy. Concrete information and analogies, however, challenge the usual arguments against Luke’s accuracy, so if we have other reasons to respect Luke’s sources of information, his figures remain plausible.

This content is by Craig Keener, but edited and posted by Defenders Media.

For more, please check out Dr. Keener’s Between History and Spirit.

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