Paul's Understanding of the Church's Mission: Did the Apostle Paul Expect the Early Christian Communities to Evangelize?

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Did Paul expect his churches to engage in evangelistic activity which mirrored his own? Or have modern readers of the Bible wrongly projected Paul's apostolic passion upon the communities that he founded? Such is the charge of several recent authors, and if their thesis is correct nothing could have larger implications for how the modern church engages in mission.

In this book, Robert L. Plummer engages in a careful study of Paul's letters to determine if the apostle expected ...

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2006 pp. 321. New book. Previously published by Paternoster, 2006.

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Overview

Did Paul expect his churches to engage in evangelistic activity which mirrored his own? Or have modern readers of the Bible wrongly projected Paul's apostolic passion upon the communities that he founded? Such is the charge of several recent authors, and if their thesis is correct nothing could have larger implications for how the modern church engages in mission.

In this book, Robert L. Plummer engages in a careful study of Paul's letters to determine if the apostle expected the communities to which he wrote to engage in outward-directed missionary activity. Plummer helpfully summarizes the discussion to date on this debated issue, judiciously handles contested texts, and provides a way forward in addressing this critical question. While admitting that Paul rarely explicitly commands the communities he founded to evangelize, Plummer amasses significant incidental data to provide a convincing case that Paul did indeed expect his churches to engage in outward-directed missionary activity. Throughout the study, Plummer progressively builds a theological basis for the church's mission that is both compelling and distinctively Pauline.

About the Author:
Robert L. Plummer is Assistant Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Robert L. Plummer is an assistant professor of New Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.
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Table of Contents


Preface     xiii
Abbreviations     xv
Introduction and Survey of Approaches     1
Survey of Approaches     2
Pre-1950     5
Apostle-Church Mission Continuity     5
Gustav Warneck     5
Roland Allen     8
Adolf von Harnack     11
Carl von Weizsacker     13
Michael Green     15
Apostle-Church Mission Discontinuity     16
Paul Wernle     16
Ernest Renan and William Wrede     18
1950-Present     22
Apostle-Church Mission Discontinuity     22
Heinrich Greeven et al.     22
W-H. Ollrog     23
W. P. Bowers     24
David Bosch     25
John P. Dickson     26
Stephen Chambers     27
Apostle-Church Mission Continuity     28
Douwe van Swigchem     28
Peter T. O'Brien     31
James Patrick Ware     33
I. Howard Marshall     35
Eckhard J. Schnabel     35
John Piper     37
G. K. Beale     37
Norbert Schmidt     38
Conclusion     41
The Church's Mission in the Pauline Letters: A Theological Basis for Apostolic Continuity     43
Definitions     43
Church     43
Apostle     45
Theological Basis of the Church's Apostolic Mission     48
The Nature of the Gospel     50
The Gospel as "Power"     51
The Dynamic Gospel and Paul's Apostolic Mission     56
The Dynamic Gospel and the Church's Mission     59
Paul's Theology of Mission within the Broader New Testament Understanding of the Church's Mission     64
Conclusion     67
Excursus: Discontinuity of Missionary Activity Between the Old Testament and the New Testament     68
Excursus: Pauline Co-workers     69
Paul's Instructions to Evangelize     71
Paul's Commands to Witness Actively     72
Paul's Instructions to the Philippians to Proclaim the Gospel     72
Paul's Instructions to the Ephesians to Proclaim the Gospel     77
Paul's Instructions to the Corinthians to Evangelize     81
First Corinthians 4:16     83
First Corinthians 11:1     85
First Corinthians 7:12-16     93
First Corinthians 14:23-25     94
The Church's Active Witness: Concluding Thoughts      96
Pauline Commands to Witness Passively     96
Conclusion     105
Incidental Evidence that Paul Expected the Churches to Spread the Gospel in the Apostolic Pattern     107
Miracles, Prayer and Teaching in Paul and in the Church     107
Divine Confirmation of the Gospel through Miracles     107
Praying for Missions and the Church     111
Teaching and Building up the Church     117
Suffering in Paul and in the Church     121
Christian Identity: Why the Apostles and Church Suffered     121
The Social and Historical Context of Christian Suffering     126
Patterns of Christian Suffering in the Pauline Letters     128
Second Corinthians 4:7-15     128
Colossians 1:24-25     131
Philippians     134
First and Second Thessalonians     135
Conclusion     138
Conclusions and Implications     141
Conclusions     141
Implications     144
Bibliography     147
Scripture Index     177
Modern Author Index     187
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