New Release From Nelson Identifies the Book of Acts as a Legal Brief

New investigation into the Book of Acts in the New
Testament indicates it is far more than a record of the journeys of the
Apostles of Christ after His death and resurrection. Veteran lawyer John
Mauck argues Acts is actually a legal brief written to the Roman investigator
Theophilus to defend the Apostle Paul and Christianity against criminal
charges pending before the Emperor Nero, in the new book, Paul On Trial: The
Book Of Acts As A Defense Of Christianity (Nelson Reference & Electronic
Publishing).
Combining modern legal techniques with the particularities of first century
Roman criminal law, Mauck uncovers 15 charges brought against Paul, then
explains 58 arguments in Paul’s defense. He also expounds on 13
counter-charges against the opponents of Paul and the Christians. Mauck
believes the legality of Christianity was squarely before Nero who was being
asked to rule that Paul and the believers in Jesus were defying Roman law by
starting a new religion.
“Paul’s opponents assaulted him viciously on two legal fronts,” says Mauck,
himself an attorney specializing in civil rights, “First, they charged him
with teaching an illegal new religion fraught with danger to the social,
political and military dominance of Rome. Second, they accused him of
inciting violence and riots in major cities of the empire. Having succeeded
in forcing the Romans to crucify Jesus, but unable to keep him in the grave,
these opponents then sought, through criminal proceedings, to destroy Paul
and the news of the Resurrection he was spreading.”
Mauck received his B.A. from Yale University and his Juris Doctor from the
University of Chicago Law School. He co-founded the law firm of Mauck & Baker
where his practice concentrates in the area of civil rights litigation,
particularly involving zoning laws which conflict with First Amendment
freedoms of religion and speech. Mauck was instrumental in the passing of
the Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act of 2000, signed by
President Clinton in September, 2000. Mauck testified before the House
Subcommittee on the Constitution presenting over two dozen examples where
houses of worship were unfairly restricted by zoning laws. The bill passed
the Senate and House unanimously in July, 2000.
Paul On Trial is the rare apologetic which relies exclusively on Acts in
defending Christianity. The book illuminates the powerful legal, religious,
military, economic and political forces emanating from Rome and Jerusalem
which sought to annihilate faith in Jesus. Paul On Trial shows not only that
Acts uniquely justified the first believers in Jesus as Messiah but also
validates Christianity in the 21st Century.

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