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Stephen - The Worst Preacher Ever

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I was thinking about the testimony of Stephen the other day, as recorded in Acts 7. I thought to myself, why did the author bother to write down everything seemingly word-for-word that Stephen had to say? What's the significance of recalling the entire lesson that Stephen said? The author didn't bother to record word-for-word what anyone else had to say that day. Stephen basically gave the council a brief history lesson, and at the end of it out of nowhere spit some harsh words out against them. Ironically, this revered symbol of the Christian faith succeeded in only one thing - being the worst preacher ever.


Looking at the lesson that Stephen taught that day, it's pretty pointless. I can't tell if the guy just liked to hear himself speak, or if he was showing the council how much he knew so that they might be impressed with him. He was supposedly filled with the Holy Ghost when he gave his sermon, so why didn't he have anything substantial to say? Why was it just a history lesson of sorts? Then what's up with the sudden shift in focus and calling the council "stiffnecked and uncircumcised"? It seems Stephen would've been better off retaining his dignity by not saying much at all.


It's really not surprising that Stephen was stoned to death. I can imagine the council thinking that they were being humane by putting this man to sleep before he hurt himself.


I believe that most (if not all) of this account is fiction. Like I asked earlier, why was the entire history lesson recorded word-for-word when nothing else was? It's obvious to me that the lesson was written by someone who had time to formulate some kind of argument that would sound good enough for why Stephen was stoned to death. In all likelihood, if there was an actual Stephen, and he did actually get stoned to death, it was probably just because he made funny faces at the council and told them to screw themselves. That, of course, wouldn't fly with the church, so a sermon was inserted into the story instead.


Also, at the end of this story a point is made to say that Saul, who would become Paul, was present for the stoning. Well, now this actually makes sense, because most of the rest of the book would be about Paul, so there's got to be a place to introduce him and get the reader interested. They couldn't have said anything about Paul earlier in the story, because then it wouldn't be a very good cliffhanger. At the end, you're supposed to ask yourself "Who is this guy?" Then you keep reading because you want to find out.


Obviously we'll never know if this event was fact or fiction, but my two cents says it's a pretty decent fabrication. If I were writing a piece of fiction, I may have done it in very much the same way.

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