Sunday, February 12, 2017

 

Paul's View of the Church: ETS Paper 2014

I recently posted a draft of a paper I presented at the Evangelical Theological Society in 2014. The paper is entitled "Paul's View of the Church: Embodied or Electronic?" You can find a copy on Academia.edu. Here is the link: https://www.academia.edu/31379686/3_Pauls_View_of_the_Church_ETS_2014.pdf. The paper is about 30 pages long, so I won't try to reproduce it in its entirety here. If you have any trouble downloading a copy, let me know. Here is the abstract:

With the rise of the internet and electronic communications, the world has witnessed a rise in so-called “on-line communities.” These on-line communities represent a loosely connected family of sorts where people interact with each other via electronic resources. As a result of these things, many Christian communities have attempted to build a “church community” in an on-line environment. Paul describes the church as a community in most of his letters, and in some letters he even describes the church as a body and a bride. The language Paul uses is very relational and almost physical. How would Paul respond to the move today to create on-line Christian communities? Paul would respond that the church that represents Christ is comprised of people who gather physically and by their worship and actions embody the Lord whom they serve. For Paul, the body and bride of Christ is more a physical reality than simply an on-line collection of disembodied electrons. Taking cues from Paul’s letters (specifically but not limited to Romans and 1 Corinthians), a contrast will be built between on-line Christian communities and Paul’s vision of the church as Christ embodied in life and action. The importance of physical contact, regular interaction, and actual (not virtual) community will describe the church as seen through Paul's eyes.. 
Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading.

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