Scholars today have generally not followed Conzelmann's theological division of the work. Hengel states that his thesis "was certainly attractive, but nevertheless misleading. . . . the whole double work covers the one history of Jesus Christ" (1979:59). According to Hengel, Luke-Acts was necessarily divided into two parts in order to make a distinction between the activity of the earthly Jesus and His work as exalted Lord.
Gasque observes that recent criticism has recognized that in order to understand Luke-Acts both volumes need to be considered (1989:308). Stronstad also argues for the theological unity of the two books by stating that "since Luke and Acts are a single work, it would be far more natural to stress their theological continuity or homogeneity" (1984:4). Finally, Verheyden reports that "there is an almost complete consensus in Lukan studies today that Luke's work indeed constitutes a unity" (1999:3). In the next section it will be illustrated through several themes that this unity was achieved by a conscious parallelism between Luke-Acts.
Fitzmyer categorically states that "in any discussion about the unity of the Lucan Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, the role of the holy Spirit is an important element" (1999:165). Bosch also sees the Holy Spirit as a uniting theme in Luke-Acts by saying "Luke unites the time of Jesus and the time of the church in one era of the Spirit" (1991:87).
Luke accomplishes this by paralleling the role of the Spirit and other themes in the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus in Luke 1-2 and the birth of the Church in Acts 1-2. In this sense, Fitzmyer sees the Spirit primarily as the "inaugurator" of the ministry of Jesus and the Church (1999:172,174). Brown specifically sees that the work of the Spirit and the ministry of the angels are reflected in the two-volume work of Luke-Acts:
The outpouring of the prophetic spirit which moves people to act and speak (Luke 1:15,41,67,80; 2:25-27) is not well attested in the ministry but resembles very closely the pentecostal and post-pentecostal outpouring of the prophetic spirit in Acts 2:17: 'I shall pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters will prophesy' . . . . The angelic appearances which are frequent in the infancy narrative (1:11,26; 2:9) have little parallel in the ministry of Jesus but close parallels in Acts (5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7; 27:23)" (1993:243).9
9 Brown further posits that "it is not surprising that in many ways the infancy narrative is closer in spirit to the stories in Acts than to the Gospel material which Luke took from Mark and Q" (1993:243).