It is often said that Stephen’s speech represents an answer to the charges that he was undermining Temple and Torah, in the form of a theologically radical vision of a God who has brought Temple and Torah to fulfilment in Jesus. It is suggested that from this Christological vantage point, Stephen is critiquing a Jewish over-emphasis on the Temple as the limiting location of God.
But is this theologically radical critique really evident in the speech itself? In my view, the emphasis is not on Temple and Torah as fulfilled and surpassed, but rather on the God of the Scriptures as the one who has historically communicated his presence and his demands through rejected messengers: the alien Abraham, the afflicted Joseph, and the abandoned Moses, in particular. Thus the way Jesus is introduced at the end of the speech (as one who has been betrayed and rejected) is the climax of the point Stephen has been developing throughout the speech.