Paul's Theology of the Church (Nature of the church (Letters are to…
Paul's Theology of the Church
Nature of the church
Letters are to gathered community, not individuals (except 2 Tim) Churches are believers coming together for worship and support.
House churches - average size 20. 40 for wealthy.
Paul's references to church are always to people, not to bulidings
Church could be in many
at one time - Judea, Asia, Macedonia, Galatia
ekklesia" a gathering of those baptised
in the name of Jesus was the church / assembly of God. Most frequent term. Address letters to "the church of the Thessalonians" etc.
possibly influenced by Gk idea of ekklesia as assembly of citizens, or Hellenistic philosophy schools, clubs or socieities. Just means general assembly.
Eschatological community of new covenant people of God
occasional / situational
nature of Paul's letters may mean we can't fully understand all his theology on the church
Church of people called by God
More likely Paul's idea of ekklesia comes from OT Hebrew qahal "assembly".
qahal YHWH or qahal Israel
Idea of community of ppl
called out of the world
all enter through
discontinuous bc resurrection of Jesus is eschatological event ushering in new age of humanity and new creation
Mission of the church
LTJ - church's mission is not a task to fulfil but a
character of life
it must exhibit:
righteousness before God
right relationship with others
forgiveness and reconciliation
(Gal 5:22, Phil 2:1-4)
bearing one another's burdens
love one another
"The church is called not merely to
the gospel but also to
the gospel and thereby to
the gospel; the church is a
of the gospel." Michael
Metaphors of the church
Dunn quotes Paul
95 images of church in NT including
, a letter from Christ, olive tree,
bride of Christ
, God's planting and God's building, the elect,
, Abraham's sons, sons of God, the new creation...
- Abraham as father
brothers" - adelphoi
- language of kinship. Effect is to strengthen community idenity and unity.
believers are "
children of God
" through adoption
Body of Christ metaphor
with many parts.
UNITED BUT DIVERSE
bc of different
ethnic, gender and class
status - Jew, Gentile, male, female, slave, free.
belief, worship, united by Holy Spirit.
image of the
where the state or city is seen as a body was around at the time - evidence in
But different bc body of Christ.
is head. Over the church.
Temple in which God dwells
the Spirit is the
renewed presence of God with his ppl
"in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God" (not all scholars see Eph as authored by Paul)
OT Ezek and Jer
Community but with no cultic aspects
Language of sacrifice, temple and priesthood
but without the sacrifices, temple, priestly practices and rituals.
made the church stand out from
Greco-Roman religious gatherings
redefines cultic terms
Present your bodies as a sacrifice
You are God's temple
" 1 Cor 3:16-17
serving the gospel of God as a priest
" Rns 15:16 but with no
high priest, no libations, ritual sacrifices, prophetic oracles
" "fellowship of the Spirit" or "participation in the Spirit"
Created and formed
by the Spirit, the early
communities thus became fellowships
of the Spirit.' (Fee)
establishing and sustaining
the life of the church
"Charismata" gifts to be exercised for the benefit of the whole body.
everyone's an active member - all
and are ministered to
" - manifestations (
1 Cor 12:8-10
) wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment spirits, tongues, interpretation tongues.
" spiritual things / spirituals (
1 Cor 12:1
Luke Timothy Johnson - the main concern of Paul's is "
stability and integrity of his churches
." Not concerned with the individual as much as the community.
Paul concerned with how practices might
(circumcision, use of tongues, visions etc)