Necessity is laid on me: the birth of mission in Paul.
I will be spending most of my time in the first, not the twenty-first, century. Although I will make a few comments about the relation of the first century to our own, I leave it to the respondents (and now, the readers) to think through implications for evangelism now.
This is not a new topic for Lutherans in America. The Lutheran Church in America owes its existence to the evangelistic fervor of some of its early leaders. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg came to America as an evangelistic minister to gather people into the church, as his reports in the Hallische Nachrichten make clear. And, whatever one thinks of Samuel Simon Schmucker, his Definite Platform was an attempt to put Lutheran theology into English for America--an early attempt at indigenization, if you will. (2) A few years later, Wilhelm Loehe, a Franconian pastor on fire with missionary zeal, was sending Nothelfer ("helpers in a time of need") to America from Neuendettelsau. One of the treasures in my own library is the English translation of Aegedius Hunnius's small dogmatic treatise, Epitome Credendorum, which Loehe had prepared and published in Neuendettelsau to make Lutheran theological literature available in English for North America. (3) One of my own forbears came to America as a missionary after study at Hermannsburg in Germany. Thus, evangelism ought to be bred into our very bones, in some form or fashion--though the recent activity in the ELCA suggests that it is not. Hence this topic is truly relevant today.
Not too long ago I did a Google search on the Internet, entering "Evangelism, New Testament." Not until the fifteenth screen did I find a site related to a mainline church. I discovered that Perkins School of Theology, the Methodist Seminary related to Southern Methodist University, has a major in evangelism. One might argue that evangelism has not been a front-burner item for our students, our seminaries, or our church.
My two lectures concentrate on the understanding of mission in Paul and Matthew. (4) There is significant material in the New Testament that I do not discuss, for example the Gospels of Mark and John. President Tiede has based his lectures primarily on Luke-Acts, so I will not draw on them to describe the biblical basis of mission. Nor will I be engaging in dialogue with the extensive literature by missiologists on what we should mean when we talk of the missio dei.
A number of terms that might be used in this presentation require definition. Evangelism, mission, conversion, and the like are interrelated but not the same. Evangelism is proclaiming the gospel to nonbelievers. But recent scholars have defined mission as "the church sent into the world to love, to serve, to preach, to teach, to heal, to liberate." (5) Conversion is turning from one religion to another. Mission stresses the proclaimer as one sent out to evangelize.
Johannes Nissen recently mentioned four aspects of New Testament material that might play a role today: (1) Mission is being sent out (especially the Fourth Gospel); (2) mission is making disciples of all nations (cf. The Gospel of Matthew); (3) mission is deliverance and emancipatory action (cf. The Gospel of Luke); and (4) mission is witness (especially Acts and the Fourth Gospel). (6) I will return to these toward the end of this lecture.
When the New England Transcendentalists were talking together one time, many of the wealthy ones were describing the effect of their grand tour in Europe, what they had seen and learned. At which point, so the story goes, Henry David Thoreau interjected, "I have traveled much, too--in Concord." He implied that one could learn much by careful observation in one's hometown. My Concord in these lectures is Paul and Matthew, from whom I keep on learning much.
Matthew ends his Gospel with the great commission of Matt 28:18-20, the most explicit instruction in the New Testament to make disciples. Paul, however, nowhere in any of his letters commissions people to proclaim Jesus or orders leaders in the congregations to invite non-Christians to join them. And yet, he describes both his own work as a proclaimer of the gospel and the activities of others as active in proclamation. Only from such descriptions can we infer Paul's understanding of mission. (7)
The major terms in Paul that connote missionary activity are [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as we will see below. (8) The term "apostle" implies that one is not an individualistic, self-appointed emissary, while "spreading the good news" stresses the message that one carries. There is other terminology that is also important--[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and related nouns. (9)
Paul as missionary model
I decided to speak on Paul in part because he is certainly the best-known evangelist in the early church. Moreover, he has been a key influence on and source for Lutheran theology. Certainly Luke-Acts has been equally important for the development of missionary theory. Since President Tiede is one of this country's recognized experts in the interpretation of Luke, I leave that area of the New Testament to him in this lecture series.
Paul is the best-known early missionary figure of the first century church, but it would be a mistake to assume that he was the first. (10) Paul knows that there were Christians in Rome before he came there. Indeed, Romans 16 lists quite a number of Roman Christians by name. Paul greets Andronicus and Junia (11) and describes them as "outstanding among the apostles before him in Christ" (Rom 16:7). Urbanus receives the accolade "co-worker" (Rom 16:9). Tryphaina, Tryphosa, and Persis all "labored [much] in the Lord" (Rom 16:12-13). Paul himself testifies that his proclamation was not novel but shared with the apostles before him: "Whether I or they, that's the way we are proclaiming [Christ] and that's the way you came to believe" (1 Cor 15:11). Paul is not the first, even if the best-known, evangelist of the early church. Horace's ode has it right. Literature produces memory. (12) Paul is simply best known because of Acts 13-28 and his surviving letters. (13)
Paul's mission is based on Christ's resurrection. Like Jeremiah, Paul the evangelist expresses his feelings, his hopes, his plans, and his problems in his letters. He is the one New Testament figure we can truly come to know as a person. Paul makes clear that his mission is born on Easter, a conviction expressed in every Pauline letter. And, as John Reumann said not too long ago, "The resurrection of Jesus and its implications for believers, living their life now 'in Christ' and hoping to be 'with Christ' at the future resurrection and judgment, are major topics in Paul's theology and mission praxis." (14)
Jesus is raised to Lordship, not resuscitated to be what he was before. Psalm 110:1 affirms. "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool under your feet.'" Paul makes clear that Jesus' resurrection realizes what Psalm 110 asserts. This conviction, arising out of the resurrection, is the common credo of the primitive church, as 1 Cor 15:11 makes clear. History is the unrolling of the events that will make that enthronement of Jesus as Lord ultimately visible throughout creation (1 Cor 15:20-28).
This hope is based on God as the prime mover of history, the one true God. (15) God raised Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus reveals who the true God is and what God is like. Paul describes the Thessalonians' conversion as their turning "from [the worship of] statues to serve a God who is authentic and alive and to wait for God's son from the heavens, whom God raised from the dead, Jesus, the one who rescues us from the wrath that is on the way" (1 Thess 1:9-10). The sin of the Thessalonians is idolatry from which Paul's proclamation turns them. The God who raised Jesus from the dead is thus revealed as the God of both Jew and non-Jew, the universal God, who justifies the Jew out of fidelity to his covenant, the Gentile by faith in God (Rom 3:27-30). Proclaiming Jesus also means proclaiming God. It is not surprising, therefore, that Paul in Rom 1:18-32 regards idolatry as the fundamental sin of non-Jews. (16) This Jewish Pharisee Paul now thought of God differently: God is not a tribal God, not the God of a particular ethnic community, but the one God of all people, no matter what their language or nation. And Paul the Jew became the evangelist of the Gentiles.
Romans 4 makes this explicit as Paul reflects on Abraham. Paul argues that Abraham's story makes clear that God is the God of both Jews and non-Jews. When Abraham believed in the God who makes righteous the impious (Rom 4:5, referring back to Gen 15:6), he was not a Jew, since he had not yet been circumcised. Abraham believed in the God who makes the dead alive, who calls nonexistent things into existence (Rom 4:17). This also applies to those who later believe "on the one who raised Jesus from among dead people (Rom 4:23-25), that is, to us. Jesus' resurrection is the ultimate revelation of the fact that God is the creator God, the source of life, in whom all are to believe.
So it is not surprising that Paul gives his doxologies to God (Rom 11:36) or that all of his berakoth ("Blessed be ...," 2 Cor 1:3-4, Rom 1:25 at the end) are of God. He ends the great Christ hymn in Phil 2:11 with the words "confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Paul addressed his prayers to God, not to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Or consider the magnificent paragraph that ends Romans 8, which begins "What shall we say then with reference to these matters? If God is on our side, who can be opposed to us?" (v. 31) and ends with that striking sentence "For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angelic beings nor [cosmic] rulers nor impending [i.e., threatening] things nor future things nor [cosmic] powers, nor things above [heavenly beings] nor depth [i.e., chthonic beings] nor some other created being has the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord" (Rom 8:38-39).
There is a temptation for us to become "second-article Christians" only. Paul constantly reminds us that the Christian gospel goes beyond Christ to make clear what God is really like, a God of life. Therefore evangelistic proclamation must preach Jesus as the one who reveals God's character and being to us and so calls us to faith in God through Christ. Recall that Luther in discussing the first commandment in the Large Catechism described one's god as that in which one trusts, finds security, and devotes one's time to pursuing. His exact words are "A 'God' is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and which we are to find refuge in all need." (17) Luther then mentions what some of these gods are: money and property ([section]6), learning, wisdom, power, prestige, family, and honor ([section]10), and "that conscience that seeks help, comfort, and salvation in its own works and presumes to wrest heaven from God" ([section]22).
Paul's obligation to proclaim and activity as a missionizer grew out of his confrontation with the risen Christ, which shaped him in a way that he never got over and never ceased to regard with some amazement (cf. 1 Cor 15:8-10; Phil 3:4b-11). Following Krister Stendahl, New Testament scholars now say that Paul was not converted on the road near Damascus--he did not move from one God to another but still worshipped the God and Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--but his faith, his attitudes, and his life received a drastic reorientation. Paul stresses this in different letters. In 1 Cor 15:8-10 he describes how the resurrected Christ's appearance to him "last of all" changed his life and led him to work "more than all"--though it was actually the "free gift of God" that did it. In 1 Cor 9:2 he asks rhetorically "Am I not an apostle? Did I not see the Lord?" Or recall Gal 1:15-16: "God decided to reveal God's Son in me in order that I announce him as good news to the gentiles." Paul immediately lost his earlier view of the concentration of God on the Jewish people. (18) At once Paul left for Arabia to make that proclamation. After he decided he had finished his work in the Aegean basin, he intended to travel west to Rome to have evangelical results there as well as among the other Gentiles, since he is a debtor, i.e., under obligation, to Greeks and barbarians, to wise and senseless (Rom 1:13-15). Paul's activity as evangelistic proclaimer was based on the resurrection of Jesus. (19)
Paul uses a variety of images, metaphors, and similes to describe his activity as evangelist. In 2 Cor 2:14 he describes God as "leading us in triumphal procession in Christ, and making evident in every place the redolence of his knowledge." Paul is either soldier or slave in this procession led by God, while the smell of God's sacrifice, a segment of the triumphal procession that permeates the Roman world in Paul's day, is a metaphor for knowing God. The triumphal procession was largely restricted to imperial use in the first century. Paul transfers the language to his missionary activity.
2 Corinthians presents another way in which Paul formulates his self-understanding. Here his language is molded in the fires of controversy. Some in Corinth held that his low rhetorical ability and his sufferings show that he is not an authentic apostle. (20) He does not come with letters of recommendation (2 Cor 3:1-3); he does not show the power and glory that ought to accompany an emissary of God. (21) Paul responds by discussing what the true "marks of an apostle" are: sufferings and weakness that demonstrate that power comes from God (2 Corinthians 11 and 12). Paul's weak body and suffering make clear where the power lies: in God's strength revealed in the gospel. He deals with the issue of glory in 1 Cor 3:7-4:6. There is glory in Paul's ministry, but it is "the glory of God in the face of Christ."
Paul somewhat later uses the metaphor of God's ambassador to describe his ministry (2 Cor 5:20). (22) He introduces himself in the letter as "apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God" (2 Cor 1:1). As an apostle, Paul is one sent out with a commission. Ambassadors were concerned with reconciling hostile parties. God has given to Paul a "service of reconciliation" (v. 18) based on the reconciling activity of God in Christ. "Therefore, we function as ambassadors on behalf of Christ. [In our voice it is] as if God were directly exhorting you. On behalf of Christ we implore you, be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:18-20). Paul bases this metaphor on Christ's resurrection. Paul no longer knows Christ according to the flesh; if anyone is "in Christ," there is a new creation (2 Cor 5:16-17). It is the resurrected Christ preached by Paul who brings creation to its goal. (23)
In some ways the most surprising of all, Paul even uses technical cultic language to describe his evangelistic activity. In Rom 15:15-20 he describes his goal with the words "in order that I might be a minister ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of Christ Jesus to the [gentile] nations, serving the gospel of God as a priest in order that the offering of the gentiles [that is, a genitive of apposition; the gentiles are the offering Paul makes (24)] might be acceptable [to God], set apart as holy by the Holy Spirit." Paul's activity as evangelist is equal to the priest's work in offering sacrifices to God. It is not surprising, therefore, that Paul describes worship as a living sacrifice in Rom 12:1. Such language makes clear the high value Paul places on evangelistic activity.
Paul's outlook has an indelible eschatological character. The resurrection of Jesus means that the end time has, in some sense, begun. Paul says in Gal 1:3-4 that Jesus Christ gave himself over on behalf of our sins "in order to rescue us from the present evil aeon in agreement with the will of our God and Father." He uses language borrowed from Jewish apocalyptic, which contrasts the present evil age with the coming age. (25) The resurrection of Christ means that the decisive event of all history has taken place. Therefore the promises of the Old Testament must come to fulfillment. As Paul makes clear in 1 Cor 15:20-28, Jesus' resurrection is the first stage in history moving toward its ultimate goal. All that remains is for the effects of that resurrection to be publicly realized. Finally, death, the last great enemy, will be defeated. Then the Son will be subjected to the One who subjected everything to him, in order that God might be ford over the universe in all respects.
The announcement of a future filled with hope is integral to Paul's message. (26) Romans 5:2-5 avers that Christians boast in the hope of the glory of God in the middle of opposition, sure in their hope because the love of God, which God's Spirit ratifies, is in their hearts. Romans 8, where Paul considers the future of the universe, links both the creation and humanity to future hope (vv. 22-25). Verses 21-39 are a magnificent description of that hope. God the creator will bring his will for creation to pass. This passage picks up the language of Rom 1:18-32 to express the plan of God for the created universe. And Rom 11:33-36, the doxology that concludes the major theological argument of the book, ends up with an assertion of God as the creator of all things, i.e., the universe.
We may have difficulty in comprehending the magnitude of this eschatological hope. After almost 2,000 years of Christian existence we no longer think of Christ making such a radical change in human history. Indeed, Christianity has become a ho-hum matter, neatly segregated off in a Sunday morning slot if present at all. Perhaps thinking through what Paul inferred from that history would help us to recover some of that early Christian excitement and recover from the ennui of the post-Christian age.
Paul's concern with the mission to the Gentiles was reinforced by his eschatology, drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures. The Old Testament spoke of God blessing the nations through Abraham (Gen 12:3; 17:5-6: "father of a multitude of nations"; 22:18: "by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves) and Israel (see Isa 42:1; 49:6). Convinced that the resurrection of Jesus is the dawning of the end time, Paul regards the church as the "Israel of God" (Gal 6:16). Through this community God blesses the nations. Paul holds that he is specially set apart to bring that good news to the nations.
Romans is in many ways Paul's major mission document, as Arland Hultgren argued some years ago. (27) In Rom 1:1-7 Paul lays out his life work as Christian as follows: through the risen Christ he received "grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among all the gentile nations on behalf of his name."
The resurrection of Christ, Paul's commission, and faith among the Gentiles stress the tie. So Paul confesses the gospel, (28) God's power that aims at salvation. Paul uses the term "salvation" of the ultimate act of God's vindication of his people at the eschaton. Jesus is the savior only in the future (cf. Phil 3:20-21). Thus, for Paul, we are not saved now but justified; we will be saved in the future, as Rom 5:9 affirms. Abraham becomes for him the evidence that God saves both Jew and Gentile as descendents of Abraham.
As Romans states, Paul is convinced that he has completed his work in the east (Asia and the Aegean basin), having proclaimed the gospel as far as Illyricum (present-day Serbia and Croatia). He turns his eyes to the west. Paul is no loose cannon, making his solitary way through the Roman world. Rather he seeks Rome as an authorizing base in the west. He intends to go to Spain (Rom 15:24, 28). To that end he asks that he be "escorted on his way" by the Roman church (Rom 15:24), to "depart to Spain through them" (15:28). Hence Paul writes to a church he has not founded to get an "Antioch in the west."
But first he proposes to take the collection to Jerusalem. He had given instruction about this collection to the Corinthians earlier in 1 Cor 16:1-4 and indicated its importance by urging comparisons with the Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 8-9. Galatians 2:10 gives the partial background to the collection. Paul had agreed that while he went to the Gentiles he would "remember the poor" (Gal 2:10). It was more than charity for the economically deprived. It was a symbol of the unity of Jews and Gentiles in the church, but it also had an evangelistic purpose. If the wealth of the nations would come to Jerusalem, fulfilling Jewish expectations about the end time, then, perhaps, Israel would come to faith. Paul hints at this hope in the citations of Isa 55:10 and Hos 10:13 in 2 Cor 9:10 and expresses it even more clearly in Rom 11:13-32. (29)
Paul's proclamation is situation-oriented. Some years ago the Society of Biblical Literature sponsored a seminar on the Theology of the Paul's Letters. The seminar decided to examine Paul's letters one by one and cumulatively erect a unified theology of Paul. The attempt was not successful, for a very good reason: Paul was not compiling a systematic theology. He was a missionary evangelist, to use our language. He worried less about consistency and more about communication. (30) This does not mean that Paul did not think and write theologically; rather he formulated his theology in terms to meet particular situations.
C. K. Barrett wrote that the starting point for a lecture he gave (31) was the assertion that "Paul was not a theologian, but a missionary." He said the statement was false in principle and also in content, for there is no Christian theology that is not in principle also kerygmatic. It was wrong in content, said Barrett, because Paul actually wrote as a theologian and worked as a missionary. Paul fit his language to his audience. When writing to the Galatians about their relation to the law and circumcision, he speaks of justification, Abraham as the model of faith in Galatians 3 (and again in Romans 4), and how these relate to law. Romans is similar, because in Romans he is concerned with the ultimate significance of God's election of the Jewish people. When he writes to the Thessalonians, a Greek city, he never cites or refers to the Old Testament, its key figures, its temple worship, or the law. In Philippians he makes use of the language of civic life to a city that originated as a Roman military colony. Paul varies his language to fit his audience--a model for all evangelism.
Paul's basic conviction shaped his life. His life style and proclamation agreed. He was led to recognize the diversity in God's way of dealing with people. Jews did not cease to be Jews when they came to faith in the God who raised Jesus from the dead. Non-Jews did not need to become Jews to serve this living and authentic God (1 Thess 1:9-10). But Paul changed his language and metaphors to fit the audience he addressed.
Paul described his initial mode of proclamation to the non-Jewish church in Thessalonica in 1 Thess 2:1-12. (32) He carefully distinguishes himself from the wandering philosophic teachers, using language close to that of Dio Chrysostom's Oration to the Alexandrians (Or. 32). His message does not arise out of deceit or impurity, he does not seek a reputation by flattery, and he does not earn money by his proclamation. Rather he takes courage to proclaim the gospel of God even in a struggle, because he had been approved by God to proclaim. He seeks to please God who tests the heart. Paul's proclamation is God's gospel, given by God and approved by God. Paul's language here is unique to this letter.
But there is analogous language in 1 Corinthians 9 related to Paul's cost-free gospel. Paul had seen the Lord and so was an apostle (1 Cor 9:1). In that encounter Paul discovered freedom. In part this was the freedom to work in self-support, even though the Mosaic law authorized the payment of priests, and therefore "the Lord gave detailed instruction that those who proclaim the good news should also live from the good news" (1 Cor 9:8-14). (33) But for Paul personally evangelistic proclamation was not a choice made to earn a living! Preaching the gospel is not for him a reason to brag, since "necessity has been placed on me [to proclaim good news]. If he does not proclaim a free gospel, an eschatological curse would be placed on him (1 Cor 9:16). He does not decide to proclaim as a conscious decision; rather he is under divine obligation to proclaim. He exercises his freedom by deciding not to accept any money for his proclamation; cf. 1 Thess 2:1-8.
We need to recover Paul's sense of urgency about witness. For him it was the central concern of his life. He worked as a leather worker to enable witness. We tend to make witness quite peripheral to our daily existence.
Paul's formulation makes clear that those who elect to do missionary work in our time are not obligated to do it without payment. However, there are stories that can be told of missionaries who felt so compelled to evangelize that they went to proclaim without official church commissioning and without pay. My father more than once told the story of a missionary who went to China, paying for his way by selling his library before he left. But such are the exception, not the rule.
Paul's call from the resurrected Christ also gave him the freedom to fit into many different cultural or religious contexts. At the end of 1 Corinthians 9 we can find the parade example of this, though one can infer the same principle from Paul's letters. Paul's freedom allowed him to enslave himself to others: for Jews he was like a Jew, like one subject to the Torah among those subject to Torah--though not subject to Torah, among those without the Torah, like one without the law--though not without law, but inside the law of Christ; to the weak in faith, he became weak in faith. "I became for all people all things, in order that I might rescue at least some." (34) Paul's freedom in "life style" is determined by his evangelistic goal, "gaining them," or "rescuing at least some" (both terms occur in 1 Cor 9:19-22). (35) In that way he becomes, as he puts it, a sharer in the good news (1 Cor 9:23). Freedom is exercised for the sake of the gospel and other people. (36)
Paul's proclamation had a social, practical thrust. It came to individuals but was not individualistic. Rather, those who responded came into a new social community, the church. Paul's standard term for this in Greek is ekklesia, a term with a political association: it denotes the gathered citizens of a city as a legislative or judicial body. It also can be used of a group of people with a shared identity, as of Pythagorean adherents (Diog. L. 8.41) or devotees of Orpheus. The term implies shared commitments, shared concerns. Proclamation includes the creation of community. (37)
Paul introduces the "body of Christ" metaphor, which we find earlier in Greek and Roman philosophy as a metaphor for the state, the "body politic," to describe the Christian community (1 Cor 10:17, 11:27-32, 12:27; Rom 12:3-8). Baptized into Christ, Christians become related to one another so closely that they are no longer first and foremost individuals: they are united with one another in loving service. Members of the Christian ekklesia learn new modes of relation. Paul stresses that variety and difference are good. In a society structured on power, Christians learn that freedom and power are bounded by the weaker Christian "for whom Christ died" (1 Cor 8:11). Individualism gives way to edification; hence prophecy is superior to glossolalia. New relationships exist in the community: "For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no slave, no free person, there is not male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:27-28). There is a new equality of wife and husband in marriage (1 Cor 7:3-4). Philemon receives Onesimus back as a beloved brother, not a slave (v. 16). Unity wipes out ethnic, social, and biological differences.
Paul thus stands for unity in diversity, for tolerance that can live with difference. The key passage, though by no means the only one in Paul's letters, is Rom 15:7: "Therefore, welcome one another, in the same way that Christ welcomed you for the glory of God (38) (15:7-9). In the immediate context Paul applies this concept of acceptance to the equality of Jews and Gentiles. But as we consider his letters, we conclude that it has much wider application. Liberty is valued by Paul, as Gal 5:1 makes clear. Liberty prizes difference.
Such unity in diversity certainly applies to worship, as 1 Corinthians 8-14 illustrates. Worship changes. As Paul puts it in Rom 12:1-2, worship now is a "living sacrifice," the worship that agrees with the basic account of Christianity, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Such worship means new standards of life, not conforming to the world but being metamorphosed so that one approves what is good and acceptable to God and fully developed (morally). (39) Women lead public worship, praying and prophesying as leaders of the community (1 Cor 11:2-16); Paul assumes that they do, while giving the conditions under which they may lead in worship. The Corinthian penchant for individualism in worship led to a divisive Lord's Supper, which Paul countered by recalling that the loaf means the community (1 Cor 10:16-17). (40) To eat without concern for all others, including the socially marginalized in the community, would bring judgment in the form of sickness and even death (1 Cor 11:27-30). The more excellent way for community life is love (1 Cor 13:13).
Paul's letters show us a man who traveled widely, founding churches over an area about half the size of the United States. Some have held that Paul went only to areas where no missionary had been before him. (41) The discussion of Romans above makes clear that Paul did consciously move into new areas. I Corinthians makes clear that both Peter and Apollos also had gained converts in Corinth, while Paul looked forward to proclaiming the good news in Rome, which had house churches before he got there. He did not restrict himself to virgin territory.
Run-of-the-mill Christians and mission in Paul's letters
In the comic strip Sherman on the Mount Walt Lee has the angel Sherman ask the Lord "Am I doing a good job as an angel?" The answer comes from a cloud: "You're doing fine."
Sherman: "You want me to keep the faith, right?" to which God responds "Nope. Spread it around."
We have discussed Paul's life and activity as evangelistic proclaimer of the gospel. But did non-apostles, average Christians, "spread it around?" Paul nowhere expressly states that all Christians should witness to their faith. But there are indications in his letters that he both accepts and approves such activity by others. As John Dickson puts it, "Paul conceived of his coworkers' involvement in mission as similar to his own. They too were to "herald the gospel.'" (42)
Paul was not a lone ranger with an exaggerated ego. His letters make clear that he is a very social person who works with others. When Paul came to Troas while Titus was on a mission to Corinth, he was unable to take advantage of a missionary opportunity because he did not find Titus there. "Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and a door was opened in the Lord for me, I had no ease for my spirit because I did not find Titus, my brother, there; on the contrary, giving some directives to them I went off to Macedonia (2 Cor 2:12-13). Because of his concern for the Corinthians Paul was unable to respond to a promising evangelistic opportunity.
Many of Paul's letters make clear that he valued coworkers, both men and women. His earliest letter is addressed to the Thessalonians from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (1 Thess 1:1), while he lists Sosthenes in 1 Cor 1:1 and Timothy in 2 Cor 1:1 and Phil 1:1 as co-senders of those letters. Titus functions as his emissary to the Corinthians, as 2 Cor 2:12-13 and 7:5-6 make clear. In Phil 2:19 he describes Timothy as unique in his concern for the Philippians. They will recognize that he has been tested and approved.
Paul recognizes a number of women as workers alongside him. (43) In addition to those named as workers in the gospel before him in Romans 16, he calls Euodia and Syntyche (44) persons "who have struggled together with me and Clement and the rest of my co-workers" (Phil 4:3). (45) He identifies Phoebe as his patroness in Chenchrea, which implies some wealth and higher social status; she clearly has a key role in the church there and most likely carried Paul's letter to Rome, a role that elsewhere men who were Paul's coworkers played. It is not absolutely certain that Chloe was a Christian, though it is likely, given that people (most likely slaves) from her household brought information about the situation in Corinth to Paul. It is clear that women were active in leadership in Paul's churches.
Perhaps the most striking example of Paul's attitude in this respect shows up in Philippians 1. Paul is under house arrest, most likely in custodia libera, where he has some freedom. Under these conditions he can still report that his situation has "turned out to advance the gospel" (Phil 1:12) in two ways: first, that his imprisonment is in Christ has become clear to the entire Praetorian (Guard?), and second, his imprisonment has stimulated others to proclaim Christ--some from love, others from "selfish ambition" (Phil 1:16-17), (46) since they think they can cause Paul distress in his imprisonment. Paul's reaction is "So What! Whether on a pretext or truly, Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I take joy." The overriding principle that puts these actions into perspective is that the proclamation of Christ go on. Paul does not place his person ahead of the mission.
Was Paul alone in his urgency to evangelize? Martin Goodman says "The evidence is remarkably exiguous, but there is just enough to suggest that some, if not necessarily many, Christians in Paul's time shared his missionary assumptions, even if they rarely (if ever) took such active steps as he did to win proselytes to the Christian faith." (47) Some evidence is in two smaller Pauline letters, which indicates how proclamation of the gospel was carried on by people whom Richard Caemmerer some years ago termed "the great unwashed," the nameless members of Pauline churches in contradistinction to the named apostles Paul, Peter, and the like. In 1 Thessalonians Paul describes the members of that congregation as models for all the "believers in Macedonia and Achaia." Their account of how they turned to God echoed out (as a form of instruction or teaching) (48) the account about God so that Paul has no need to speak about it (1 Thess 1:7-9). The Thessalonians simply could not keep quiet about their new understanding of God and his resurrected Son--though Paul exaggerates the amount of reaction it got. He was, after all, proclaiming the gospel in Corinth when he wrote these words. But Paul clearly approves of what the Thessalonians are doing. J. Ware holds that 1 Thessalonians gives us a unique insight into Paul's expectations of missionary involvement on the part of his congregations. (49) They are presented as a model of what activity should characterize Paul's congregations.
But there is a congregation that exemplifies a different form of evangelistic action. The church at Philippi demonstrates another way in which a local Pauline community participated in missionary evangelization. In Philippians Paul uses many words formed on the stem *koinwn-. He thanks God for their partnership ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) for the gospel ever since they became Christian (Phil 1:5). They had him in their hearts in his chains and in his defense and ratification of the gospel, fellow partners ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of his grace (or does he by [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] here mean gift, i.e., apostleship, as in Rom 1:5?). This is not an abstraction. They were the only congregation from which, so far as we know, Paul accepted money. They had sent money to him twice when he was in Thessalonica (Phil 4:15-16), and most recently Epaphroditus had been their emissary (ambassador) and liturgist of Paul's need in prison (Phil 2:25) (50) by bringing a gift of money (Phil 4:18). Paul describes their action in cultic terms as an act of worship. Why did Paul accept money from the Philippians, when he told the Corinthians that it was a principle that he would not do so? Apparently no other city congregation interpreted it as a partnership in proclamation (cf. Phil 4:15). They could not travel; they could support.
These two congregations are the models for congregational action today too. In evangelism one does what one can. If you cannot open a new parish, support someone who can; if you cannot be a full-time professional worker in the church, witness to Christ where you are. That is what the Thessalonians and Paul did.
The Pauline assemblies met in houses, not in buildings set apart for Christian worship. It appears also that the Lord's Supper was celebrated early on in homes within the context of a meal. When Paul discusses glossolalia in 1 Corinthians 14, it is clear that non-Christians are present when the entire assembly gathers (1Cor 14:23-25). In a fascinating book John Koenig argues that the Eucharist has significance for Christian mission. (51) Koenig's work deserves careful reflection, since his interpretation does not correlate well with the manner of celebrating the Lord's Supper in many congregations today.
Another aspect of early Christianity deserves mention: the house church and its significance for evangelism. (52) We know that Prisca and Aquila hosted house churches in Ephesus (1 Cor 16:19) and Rome (Rom 16:3-5), while Nympha hosted one in Laodicea (Col 4:15) and Philemon one in Colossae (Philemon 2). (53) Paul probably shared in both living quarters and work space with Aquila and Prisca. (54) At Corinth Paul "baptized the house[hold] of Stephanos (1 Cor 1:16), and, as 1 Cor 16:15-16 makes clear, his "house" played a leading role in the Corinthian church. Paul did not describe his audience in Rome as the church there but simply as "all those in Rome beloved of God, called saints," which gives credence to the idea that Rome had a number of house churches. Thus it is not surprising that Paul three times uses the expression [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Rom 16:3, 5; 1 Cor 16:19; Philemon lf. cf. Col 4:15), "the church in someone's house."
Roger Gehring argues that houses were the staging point for all local and extra-local mission. (55)</p> <pre> These small cells, however, were house churches. In the Pauline mission, houses served not only as meeting places for the worship services but also as Missional support bases that provided the personpower for Missional outreach to the city and beyond. Providing personpower in this way was made possible by the economic and social resources of the ancient oikos. (p. 182) (56) </pre> <p>Paul's travels depended on the "guest friendship" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of Christians. His letters were written to communities that met in house churches for worship, and the travels of his companions probably also relied on such hospitality. Thus he writes a letter of recommendation for Phoebe, who carries his letter to Rome (Rom 16:1-2), to insure a hospitable welcome. The Greek and Roman household was a key ingredient in early Christian evangelism. (57)
This implies both that hospitality was an important aspect of early evangelism and that house churches, being small, would be communities in which Christians knew and easily supported one another in the faith. Such small gatherings were described by fictive family language--e.g., with the use of the term "father" for God and "brothers" for other Christians. I leave it to modern sociologists of religion to ask what this implies about the ideal size of congregations today for both effective evangelism and community maintenance.
At the beginning of this lecture I cited the fourfold description of mission by Johannes Nissen. He did not credit Paul as typical of any one of the four. And it is good he did not, for Paul exemplifies each of the four in some way or another. Recall what he said:
1. Mission is being sent out (especially the Fourth Gospel). Paul's self-designation "apostle" and use of ambassador terminology demonstrates that he fits this description.
2. Mission is making disciples of all nations (cf. the Gospel of Matthew). While Paul does not use the term "disciple," he clearly is concerned with winning people for Christ among the nations, as Rom 1:5, for example, shows.
3. Mission is deliverance and emancipatory action (cf. the Gospel of Luke). Paul's use of the language of freedom in Galatians 5 and of slavery to God as freedom from the tyranny of law, sin and death in Rom 8:2, a summary of Romans 5-7, demonstrates. This implies ongoing activity in the local community to maintain people within the group.
4. Mission is witness (especially Acts and the Fourth Gospel). (58) While Paul does not stress the term "testify," his description of his activity as "proclamation of good news" correlates well with Nissen's point. Witness includes hospitality that results in community.
Given these four insights one might ask questions today about our local communities, our parishes. What might the optimum size for such a community be, if it is to show true hospitality and create familial interrelationships? If the house-church structure is not practicable in our world, what do we do to create its benefits? How do we express in down-to-earth manner the inclusive nature of the gospel whose liberating and equalizing power we claim? How should we describe ministry in Pauline terms? How do we show the liberating power of our gospel in concrete situations where we live?
Perhaps most important of all, how can we recover Paul's sense of urgency about evangelization? "Necessity is laid upon me!" he said. Paul cannot but evangelize; for him it comes with the turf. In that way Paul serves well as model of evangelistic activity for us, with the motivation made clear. The twenty-first-century problem for us today is to recover in some fashion the excitement and commitment of Paul and his coworkers for spreading the good news
The answer may lie in words my teacher of New Testament--and later colleague and neighbor--Martin Franzmann penned:</p> <pre> Give us lips to sing thy glory, Tongues thy mercy to proclaim. Lips that shout the hope that fills us, Mouths to speak thy holy name. Alleluia! Alleluia! May the light which thou dost send Fill our songs with alleluias, alleluias without end! (59) </pre> <p>Edgar Krentz
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1. Available on the ELCA Web site: http://www.elca.org/visionevangelism/. See also "Faithful Yet Changing: ELCA Planning for Mission" (http://www.elca.org/planning/theological.html).
2. I have collected editions of the Lutheran Confessions over the years and now have almost every one ever published in North America, including the fifth edition of Schmucker's Elements of Popular Theology with occasional reference to the Doctrines of the Reformation as avowed before the Diet at Augsburg, in MDXXX (Philadelphia: S. S. Miles, 1845; the first edition was published in 1834). It includes seventeen articles of the Augsburg Confession with Schmucker's commentary on them.
3. Nicolaus Hunnius, Epitome Credendorum: Containing a Concise and Popular View of the Doctrines of the Lutheran Church. First edited in 1625. Translated from the German by Paul Edward Gottheil (Nuremberg: Printed by U. E. Sebald, 1847).
4. A bibliography for both lectures is appended to the second (see pp. 39-41).
5. This definition is from Johannes Nissen, "The Use of the New Testament in Mission: Methodological and Hermeneutical Reflections," unpublished paper presented to the Seminar on the New Testament and Mission, Meeting of the Studiorum Novi Testament Societas, Bonn, Germany, August, 2003, p. 2.
6. Nissen, New Testament and Mission: Historical and Hermeneutical Perspectives (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999), 18. While Nissen does not mention Paul in these four points, he could have; he does treat Paul in his chapter 6, pp. 101-28.
7. There is no term in the New Testament that one would translate with the English term "mission" or the Latin word missio. In his English-Greek dictionary of Attic Greek S. C. Woodhouse enters the following Greek words, among others, as possible classical Greek equivalents of mission: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Woodhouse, English-Greek Dictionary: A Vocabulary of the Attic Language [London and New York: Routledge, 1998 = London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1932] under the term "Mission," p. 535). The first suggests the word "Apostle" (frequent in Paul), the second the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2 Cor 5:20, its only occurrence in the New Testament), as terms in Paul possibly equivalent in a broad sense to mission, though each has specific social implications.
8. See John P. Dickson, Mission-Commitment in Ancient Judaism and in the Pauline Communities (WUNT, 2. Reihe 159 [Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003]), 86-94. He regards terms formed off the stem *eujaggel-as the most important ones.
9. Evangelism is closely related to conversion. There is extensive literature on conversion. Ramsay MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire A.D. 100-400 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984), passim, argues that conversion in that period depended on showing that the God of Christians was more powerful than the non-Christian gods. This theme shows up very rarely in the New Testament. Rodney Stark holds that Christian converts were very small in number until the time of Constantine. He estimates that there were only about 2,000 to 3,000 Christians in toto during Paul's lifetime (The Rise of Christianity [San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997], 217, note 3). This surprisingly low figure in no way vitiates the understanding of evangelism we learn from New Testament writers. On conversion in the first century see Hubert Cancik, "Lucian on Conversion: Remarks on Lucian's Dialogue Nigrinus," in Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Bible and Culture: Essays in Honor of Hans Dieter Betz, ed. Adela Yarbro Collins (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998), 26-48, and Edgar Krentz in the same volume, "Conversion in Early Christianity," 49-58, with bibliography in the footnotes.
10. See Martin Hengel, "The Origins of the Christian Mission," in Between Jesus and Paul (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983), 48-64.
11. Junia is a woman. See the extensive philological, historical, and exegetical arguments as to why '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] must be a feminine name and not a masculine in Eldon Jay Epp, Junia: The First Woman Apostle (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005). Hence A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (henceforth BDAG), rev. and ed. Frederick William Danker (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2000), s.v. '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], holds that the term can refer only to a woman and mentions that Thecla is later described as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the Acts of Paul and Thecla.
12. Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona multi--Many brave men lived before Agamemnon (Horace Odes 4.9.25-26).
13. Acts supports this when it credits unnamed Christians from Cyprus and Cyrene with first preaching the good news about the Lord in Antioch with the result that a large crowd turned to the Lord (Acts 11:20-21; they were the first to be called "Christ devotees" (X[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Acts 11:26). Later in Acts Paul discovers brothers (Christians) in Puteoli, the port city on the bay of Naples (Acts 28:14), while Christians come from Rome to escort him into the city from the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns (Acts 28:15).
14. John Reumann, "Resurrection in Philippi and Paul's Letter(s) to the Philippians," Resurrection in the New Testament: Festschrift J. Lambrecht, ed. R. Bieringer, V. Kioperski, and B. Lataire (BETL 165 [Leuven: Leuven University Press; Uitgeverij Peeters, 2002]), 408.
15. See Ralph P. Martin, "Theology and Mission in 2 Corinthians," in The Gospel to the Nations: Perspectives on Paul's Mission, ed. Peter Bolt and Mark Thompson (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 73-75.
16. Paul does not accuse the Jews of idolatry. Rather Jesus reveals the true nature of the God of Israel. He does accuse them of "bringing the name of God into disrepute" by their treatment of gentile temples in Rom 2:22-24.
17. The Large Catechism, The First Commandment 2, in The Book of Concord, ed. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 386.
18. See the long discussion in Terence L. Donaldson, Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle's Convictional World (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997).
19. The resurrection is, so to speak, the presupposition for Paul's announcement of his theme in Rom 1:13-17. I thus differ in accent from N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. III (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003), 242-48, who argues on the basis of Rom 1:3-5 that "The Messiahship of Jesus, with all that follows from it, is central to the whole letter...." I do not find Paul arguing from the messiahship of Jesus in Romans, though he does stress the importance of Christ's resurrection, as argued above.
20. On his low rhetorical ability and weak body, see 2 Cor 10:10. Paul stresses his suffering in this letter in 4:8-12, 6:3-10, and especially in the peristasis catalogue in 11:21b-33. Krister Stendahl points out in Final Account: Paul's Letter to the Romans (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 1, that two problems bothered Paul theologically. The first was the question of why God did not keep him, his messenger to the Gentiles, healthy. This is the problem Paul thinks through in 2 Corinthians, when he is under attack. In the book of Romans he faces the second problem, that Israel, the Jewish people, in large measure did not accept Jesus as God's fulfiller of God's promises.
21. Note the stress on [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in 2 Cor 3:7-4:6.
22. See Victor P. Furnish, Second Corinthians (AB 32A [Garden City: Doubleday, 1984]), 338-51, and Anthony Bash, Ambassadors for Christ: An Exploration of Ambassadorial Language in the New Testament (WUNT, 2. Reihe 92 [Tubingen: J. C. B. Mohr/Paul Siebeck, 1997]), 87-116.
23. In addition to BDAG, s.v., see Bash, Ambassadors for Christ, for a description of an ambassador's role in the Roman empire.
24. See Joseph Fitzmyer, Romans (AB 33 [New York: Doubleday, 1993]), 711-12. Arland J. Hultgren calls attention to Sirach 50:12-13 as a parallel to this priestly language, though the precise language is not there. Paul's Gospel and Mission: The Outlook from his Letter to the Romans (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985), 133-36.
25. See Hans-Dieter Betz, Galatians (Hermeneia [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979]), 42, n. 58.
26. The term "hope" is found in every letter in the Pauline corpus, including the deutero-Paulines, except 2 Timothy and Philemon. See Rom 12:12, 15:13; 1 Cor 13:13; 2 Cor 1:7, 3:12!, Gal 5:5; Phil 1:20; 1 Thess 1:5, 23, 2:19, 4:13 (!); in the deutero-Paulines, Eph 1:18, 2:12, 4:4; Col 1:5, 23, 27; 2 Thess 2:16; 1 Tim 1:1; Tit 1:2, 2:13, 3:7.
27. See Hultgren, Paul's Gospel and Mission: The Outlook from His Letter to the Romans (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985).
28. "I am not ashamed of the Gospel." Paul uses the rhetorical figure litotes, the denial of its opposite, to stress a point. The antonym to being ashamed is not to be proud but to confess. Cf. Mark 8:38.
29. See Keith Nickle, The Collection: A Study in Paul's Strategy (SBT 48 [Naperville: Alec R. Allenson, 1966]), 134-43.
30. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said "Idle consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Paul did not have a little mind.
31. C. K. Barrett, "Paulus als Missionar und Theologe," ZTK 86 (1989): 18-32. I owe this reference to Scott Hafemann, "The Role of Suffering in the Mission of Paul," in The Mission of the Early Church to Jews and Gentiles, ed. Josten Adna and Hans Kvalbein (WUNT 127 [Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000]), 165.
32. Cf. Abraham J. Malherbe, The Letters to the Thessalonians (AB 32B [New York: Doubleday, 2000]), 133-63, and "'Gentle as a Nurse': The Cynic Background to 1 Thessalonians 2," NovT 12:203-17, reprinted in Paul and the Popular Philosophers (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1989), 35-48.
33. For this translation of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] see BDAG, s.v. 2.
34. One might also translate "in order that by any and all means I might rescue some." See BDAG, s.v. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 4.
35. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is a very difficult term to translate. Our usual translation, "save," has become so immured in our religious understanding that we sometimes miss overtones inherent in the term. These range from "save from death," medical "cure, save from disease," to "keep, preserve," to "preserve from destruction." Here the verb implies that Paul regards himself as the mediator or agent of divine salvation. See BDAG, s.v. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 2.a.g.
36. A parallel idea of freedom is in 1 Cor 8:10-11 and Gal 5:13-15, 22-26.
37. Written to people identified as resident aliens and foreigners (1 Pet 2:11), 1 Peter creates a past and gives an identity to these marginalized people by (1) reminding them they are now part of God's family (1 Pet 1:17), (2) by applying to them the great titles given to Israel in the Old Testament (1 Pet 2:9), and (3) by telling them that in them the negative judgment placed on Israel in the names of Hosea's children (Hos 1:6, 9) is reversed (1 Pet 2:10). Part of proclamation is giving an identity and a past to neophyte Christians.
38. See Robert Jewett, Christian Tolerance: Paul's Message to the Modern Church (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1982) 23-42.
39. The term is [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. On this passage see Ernst Kasemann, "Worship in Everyday Life: A Note on Romans 12," in New Testament Questions of Today (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969), 188-95.
40. Note that Paul assumes that one loaf will be enough for the community, an indication of the size of the Corinthian house church. One might ask how we preserve this symbolism in our Lord's Supper's practice of using wafers, individual pieces of tasteless bread.
41. See the summary of scholars who hold this position in I. Howard Marshall, "Who Were the Evangelists?" in The Mission of the Early Church to Jews and Gentiles," ed. Adna and Kvalbein, 252-56.
42. John P. Dickson, Mission-Commitment in Ancient Judaism and in the Pauline Communities (WUNT, 2. Reihe 159 [Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003]), 91.
43. The literature on Paul's view of women is immense. What I say in the text is based on the seven letters all scholars agree are by Paul. If one uses the entire Pauline corpus, one comes to different conclusions. See Andreas J. Kostenberger, "Women in the Pauline Mission," in The Gospel to the Nations, ed. Bolt and Thompson, 221-47, who stresses the subservience of women to men in the church. He argues that the church as God's house will have the same social structure as the household in the Roman world.
44. The names of these two women do not occur in Acts 16:11-40 or in the present corpus of inscriptions from Philippi gathered by Peter Pilhofer in Philippi. Band II: Katalog der Inschriften von Philippi (WUNT 119 (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000]). Theodor Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament I (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1909), 533, notes that the names are frequent in inscriptions with different provenance. It is pure speculation to regard one of them as Lydia, who is important in Acts 16.
45. Markus Bockmuehl, The Epistle to the Philippians (BNTC [Peabody: Hendrickson, 1998]), 5, calls attention to "the relatively prominent status of women in Macedonia and Thyatira" (see also pp. 8 and 18). Paul has contact with an amazing number of women in that society; it may be a mark of their relatively low social status. Bruce W. Winter, Seek the Welfare of the City: Christians as Benefactors and Citizens (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1994), 100-102, interprets Paul's advice to "most noble yoke fellow" as an attempt to avoid litigation in the courts of Philippi and so to avoid a public display of disunity, a civic vice.
46. So BDAG, s.v. But Danker also allows for the translation "contentiousness" or "strife."
47. Martin Goodman, Mission and Conversion: Proselytizing in the Religious History of the Roman Empire (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), 106.
48. See BDAG, s.v.
49. J. Ware, "The Thessalonians as a Missionary Congregation: 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8," ZNW 83 (1992): 126-31.
50. The two terms [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] come from urban civic life. The first is a term for an ambassador; the second describes a citizen who has done a major civic service. Ambassadors were usually more wealthy individuals who could pay their own travel expenses. See Bash, Ambassadors for Christ, 62-64.
51. John Koenig, The Feast of the World's Redemption: Eucharistic Origins and Christian Mission (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2000).
52. See Roger W. Gehring, Hausgemeinde und Mission: Die Bedeutung antiker Hauser und Hausgemeinden--von Jesus bis Paulus (Giessen: Brunnen Verlag, 2000), especially pp. 220-384; translated as House Church and Mission: The Importance of Household Structures in Early Christianity (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004). See also the review by Christoph Stenschke, "Neuere Arbeiten und Tendenzen zur Mission im Neuen Testament," European Journal of Theology 12 (2003): 12-13.
53. According to Acts 16:14 Lydia also hosted a house church after her conversion; in Acts 16:29-34 the jailor of Philippi converts along with his entire household, and Jason in Acts 17:1-9 hosts Paul in Thessalonica. Gehring, 224-38, argues for the historicity of these accounts for reconstructing the house as influential in the Pauline mission. The house church may well have offered many women the locale for evangelistic activity, e.g., Lydia (Acts 16:15), Nympha (Col 4:15), and Prisca (Rom 16:3-4). See for extensive documentation from the New Testament and the Greco-Roman world Carolyn Osiek, Margaret Y. MacDonald, with Janet H. Tulloch, A Woman's Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005).
54. Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003), 192, describes the size of "shops" in Corinth.
55. Gehring, 315, cites this phrase from W. Vogler, "Die Bedeutung der urchristlichen Hausgemeinden fur die Ausbreitung des Evangeliums," ThLZ 11 (1982) 790.
56. "Diese Keimzellen aber waren die Hausgemeinden. Denn Hauser dienten in der paulinischen Mission als Missionsstutzpunkte, nicht nur als gottesdienstliche Versammlungsraume, sondern auch dazu, dass sie Mitarbeiter fur die Mission in der Stadt und deren Umland bereitestellten.... Diese Bereitstellung von Mitarbeitern ist auf der wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Grundlage des antiken Oikos ermoglicht worden" (pp. 315-16 in the German original).
57. Bruce Button and Fika J. Van Rensburg support this conclusion in "The 'House Churches' in Corinth," Neotestamentica 37 (2003): 1-28. They say "All in all it would seem that Paul made use of the household in every possible way for spreading the gospel and instructing believers.... Households provided networks of relationships (both internally and externally) which provided lines of communication for evangelism and for the instruction of believers" (p. 26).
58. Nissen, New Testament and Mission, 18. While Nissen does not mention Paul in these four points, he could have; he does treat Paul in his chapter 6, pp. 101-28.
59. Martin Franzmann, "Thy Strong Word," stanza 5, Lutheran Book of Worship, #233.
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|Title Annotation:||theology studies|
|Publication:||Currents in Theology and Mission|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2006|
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