Interpreting Acts is often very difficult. Interpreters and methods differ as to whether to understand Luke’s book as “formative” or “normative”.
If Acts is “formative” (or “descriptive”), then Luke was simply describing how the early church developed and how the early believers lived.
If Acts is “normative” (or “prescriptive”), then Luke intends his historical writings to form how we live today.
But more importantly why should formative and normative be exclusive categories? If God worked in particular ways to establish churches and the worldwide missionary endeavor, would it be so very strange if he continues to do so? Is it not better to say that what was formative for missions and church-planting should generally be normative for missions and church-planting? If we donâ€™t see it in our situations today, it is our situation and experience that needs to be aligned to the New Testament pattern, not the other way round. The main difficulty I have with the formative-not-normative argument is that it leaves me with the freedom to decide which bits I should apply as relevant today and which bits I can avoid. I donâ€™t think Luke wants us to decide what to apply; I think Luke wants us to apply all of it.
I tend to agree with this quote, with one caveat: I don’t think Luke was intending to tell us what is “normative for missions and church-planting”. Instead, I think Luke was intending to tell us what is normative for those following Jesus – that is, all of us, not just “missionaries” or “church-planters”.