Moraine Valley Community College St Paul Explains Christology Discussion

Moraine Valley Community College St Paul Explains Christology Discussion Moraine Valley Community College St Paul Explains Christology Discussion ORDER NOW FOR CUSTOMIZED AND ORIGINAL NURSING PAPERS Unformatted Attachment Preview St Paul Christology • Paul’s beliefs about Jesus were at the centre of his religious commitment, • and any attempt to understand Paul’s religious thought (or ‘theology’) has to make central what he believed about Jesus Christ • if considered apart from his religious life, however, these christological beliefs can come across as lifeless intellectual categories or even historical curiosities • in a proper portrayal, his christology should be seen • in the context of his religious life, • within which a passionate devotion to Christ is central • one cannot read passages such as Phil. 3:7–11, for example, • without sensing the depth of religious feeling towards Christ that seems to have characterized Paul’s Christian life • in this passage, Paul compares unfavourably all of his pre-conversion religious efforts and gains • over against ‘the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’ • he then posits as his aims • to ‘gain Christ’ and • ‘to know Christ’, amplified here in terms of intense aspirations • to know ‘the power of his resurrection and • the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death’ • other passages confirm Paul’s deep devotion to the person of Jesus Christ • for example, in Gal. 2:19–21 he describes himself as having been ‘crucified with Christ’, his life now so fully dedicated to Christ that ‘it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me’ • • Paul now lives ‘by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me’ In 2 Cor. 5:14–15, Paul refers to himself and his colleagues in the gospel as powerfully gripped (synechei) by ‘the love of Christ’, whose redemptive death for others now obliges them to live ‘no longer for themselves but for him who died and was raised for them’ • in short, Paul’s christology, the body of specific beliefs about Christ, forms part of what we may call his Christ-devotion, which in turn shaped his whole religious life • we also have to take account of a wider range of verbal and non-verbal expressions of his devotion to Christ • in this limited discussion we shall concentrate on key features of Paul’s Christ-devotion and identify some key issues in modern scholarly study of this subject key factors • In approaching the question of the place of Christ in Paul, we must keep three crucial factors in view •Moraine Valley Community College St Paul Explains Christology Discussion 1) Paul came to his Christian faith as a deeply religious Jew zealous for the distinguishing features of his Jewish tradition (e.g. Gal. 1:13–14; Phil. 3:4–6) • among which a strong conviction about the uniqueness of the God of Israel (which we often refer to as ‘monotheism’) was central • for Paul, Jesus is God’s Son whom God gave over for the redemption of the elect (e.g. Rom. 8:32) and raised from death to heavenly glory for their salvation (e.g. Rom. 4:24–5; 8:34) • God has given Jesus a uniquely high status as Kyrios that requires universal acknowledgement, and which at the same time redounds to the glory of God (Phil. 2:9–11) • Paul can refer to the central cognitive content of the gospel as ‘the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 4:6), phrasing which both illustrates the central role of Jesus and at the same time shows how Jesus is defined with reference to God • Paul thought of himself as faithful to the God of his ancestors and that he reverenced Jesus as the crucial part of his Christian obedience to the one God of Israel • this is clearly illustrated in 1 Cor. 8:4–6 • here Paul refers derisively to pagan religious practices as the worship of ‘idols’ and • makes an adaptive allusion to the traditional Jewish confession of the uniqueness of the God of Israel (the Shema, taken from Deut. 6:4), insisting that • there is only one true God, and ‘one Lord, Jesus Christ’ • the inclusion of Jesus with God in this confessional passage is a bold and unparalleled step in comparison with anything we know about other devout Jews of Paul’s time • everything indicates that Paul (with other Christian Jews of his time) saw this stunning prominence that they gave to Christ as fitting within a faithful commitment to one God • Paul’s christology did not involve any conscious abandonment of the monotheistic stance that he inherited from the Jewish tradition • He would not for a moment have assented to being characterized as a Jewish apostate • for Paul, Jesus was not another god and Paul’s reverence for Jesus certainly did not represent any weakening of his devotion to the one God or any diminution of the supremacy and sovereignty of ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (e.g. 2 Cor. 1:3) • yet it is also clear that Paul accommodated an amazingly exalted view of Christ and an equally striking devotion to him within this monotheistic stance • Paul defines Christ consistently with reference to God, and also defines God with reference to Christ • Paul shared this monotheistic stance with all other devout Jews, including Christian Jews, and with the Gentile-Christian converts of his time • but Paul was apparently unique among known members of the early Christian movement of his day in at least two ways • these two distinctives constitute the remaining two important factors to take account of understanding Paul’s christology • 2) prior to his profession of Christian faith Paul had been a vigorous opponent of it • several times in his letters he refers to his persecution of, and efforts to destroy, ‘the church of God’ (Gal. 1:13; Phil. 3:6; 1 Cor. 15:9)Moraine Valley Community College St Paul Explains Christology Discussion • Paul did not come to the christological affirmations reflected in his letters from some neutral or uninformed standpoint • prior to his conversion he had obviously developed sufficient familiarity with Jewish Christians to become convinced that they were a very dangerous sect and that resolute efforts to destroy it were demanded • it is, therefore, reasonable to suggest that • Paul’s basic christological beliefs were very likely reflective of the beliefs he had previously opposed • 3) there is a final distinctive feature of Paul to take account of as well • Paul refers to himself as uniquely called by God to win ‘the obedience of the Gentiles’ to the gospel (e.g. Rom. 1:5; 15:17–19) • in phrasing that seems inspired by accounts of God calling prophets in Isa. 49:1–6 and Jer. 1:5, Paul writes of God having destined him before his birth to be called to proclaim Christ among the nations (Gal. 1:15–16) • in his description of a conference with leaders of the Jerusalem church (Gal. 2:1–10), Paul claims that they recognized his own special mission from God to bring the gospel to ‘the uncircumcised’ (2:7–9), implicitly setting his special status alongside (and in distinction to) that of Peter • it is clear from his letters that • Paul understood his calling as requiring him to make obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ the sole condition of the salvation of Gentiles and • of their admission as fully fledged participants in the Christian movement • Paul insisted that • Christ was the sufficient basis of their redemption (e.g. Gal. 2:15–21; 5:1–6) and that • Holy-Spirit-empowered obedience to Christ was the defining criterion of their ethical obligation (e.g. Gal. 5:6, 13–26) • in light of his earlier zeal for Torah, it is understandable that he refers to his gospel of Gentile freedom from Torah-observance as having come to him with the force of a ‘revelation’ (Gal. 1:12), and not through the teaching of other Christians • for Paul to make faith in Christ sufficient for Gentile salvation either demanded or rested upon the sort of rich elaboration of the implications of Christ’s redemptive death that Paul presents in passages such as Gal. 3:1–29 and Rom. 3:9–31 major christological beliefs • any discussion of Paul’s christology requires us to offer some sort of organization of his beliefs • we can consider Paul’s christological beliefs under two headings: • (1) Jesus’ relation to God and • (2) Jesus’ significance for Christians • (1) Jesus’ relation to God • all of the christological titles that Paul uses and all of the claims that Paul makes about the efficacy of Jesus’ redemptive work on behalf of the redeemed either explicitly or implicitly involve God as well • to speak of Jesus as ‘Christ’ is to claim that he is God’s uniquely anointed/chosen one through whom the promises of eschatological redemption are fulfilled (Rom. 9:4–5) • the most explicit and direct way that Paul links Jesus with God is to refer to Jesus as God’s Son • although Jesus’ divine sonship is not referred to frequently in Paul, it is an important feature of his christology • the Pauline references to Jesus’ divine sonship are in contexts that emphasize • Jesus’ unique and intimate relationship to God, • God’s direct involvement in Jesus’ redemptive work, and • Jesus’ paradigmatic and foundational role for the redeemed • • in other passages Paul refers to Christ as • the glorious ‘image of God’, • the glory of God being revealed ‘in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 4:3–6) a similar theme runs through a frequently studied passage in Col. 1:15–20 • here, Christ is referred to as ‘the image of the invisible God’, in whom ‘all the fullness [of God] was pleased to dwell’ • the meaning of this idea of Christ as God’s ‘image’ (eikon) in whom God’s glory is reflected seems to be drawn from • ancient notions of the function and significance of the images of gods that were characteristically the visible objects to (and through) which one reverenced the gods • the effect is to describe Christ in amazingly exalted terms • in another passage, Phil. 2:6–11, Paul refers to Christ as • having been ‘in the form of God’ (en morphe Theou) and as • having chosen not to regard ‘equality with God as something to be exploited’ for his own advantage (2:6) • (2) Jesus’ significance for Christians • if Paul always implicitly or explicitly expresses Jesus’ status and significance by reference to God, • it is also true to say that Paul’s christology emphasizes Jesus’ significance in relation to the redeemed, the believers who make up the churches • for example, Paul’s many references to Jesus as ‘Christ’ (anointed one) designate Jesus both as God’s anointed agent of redemption and as the figure through whom the redeemed come to salvation, the ‘Messiah’ • Paul’s uses of the term ‘Christ’ are mainly in statements referring to • • Jesus’ redemptive death and resurrection (e.g. Rom. 3:21–6; 5:6–8, 15–17; 6:4; 1 Cor. 15:3), which in the gospel that Paul preached were the key events that made redemption possible in this emphasis upon the death of ‘Christ/Messiah’ Paul shows Moraine Valley Community College St Paul Explains Christology Discussion • both the early Christian appropriation of religious categories from the Jewish tradition and • the distinctive adaptation of these categories in the light of the figure of Jesus • the early Christian conviction that • God had raised Jesus from death and that • he was the Christ/Messiah • led them to see his crucifixion as • an event in the plan of God, producing the distinctive notion that the death of the Messiah was a crucial and central part of his messianic work for the redeemed • the other most common Pauline title for Jesus is ‘Lord’ (Kyrios), which Paul applies to Jesus about 180 times • in fact, about one hundred times in the undisputed letters Paul uses the expression ‘the Lord’ without any other title to designate Jesus • one of Paul’s most striking uses of ‘Lord’ with reference to Jesus is in several citations of Old Testament passages where the Greek term Kyrios represents the Hebrew name of God (usually vocalized by scholars as Yahweh; e.g. Rom. 10:13 (Joel 2:32); 1 Cor. 1:31 (Jer. 9:23–4); 10:26 (Ps. 24:1); 2 Cor. 10:17 (Jer. 9:23–4)) • this application of Old Testament ‘Yahweh texts’ to Jesus surely connotes a remarkable association of Jesus with God • the logic behind this may be the idea reflected in Paul that • God has given Jesus the name and status of ‘Lord’, ‘the name above every name’ (as in Phil. 2:9–11, another christological passage that alludes to an Old Testament passage, Isa. 45:23, where God (Yahweh) is the original referent) • Paul also appropriates the Old Testament expression ‘the day of the Lord [Yahweh]’ to refer to the eschatological victory of Jesus (e.g. 1 Thess. 5:2; 1 Cor. 5:5), in some cases modifying the phrase to make explicit the application of it to Jesus (e.g. 1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Cor. 1:14) • • Jesus thus seems to be the divinely authorized figure who accomplishes the eschatological salvation that ‘day of the Lord’ came to signify • Kyrios (Lord) is also the characteristic term used in various credal and liturgical expressions in Paul’s letters Paul also designates Jesus as ‘the Lord’ in contexts where he wishes to emphasize Jesus’ authoritative status in questions of Christian behaviour • another type of statement in which Paul refers to Jesus as ‘Lord’ has to do with eschatological matters • as example, although Paul refers to awaiting God’s Son in 1 Thess. 1:9–10, note the several references to Jesus as ‘Lord’ in this epistle in statements dealing with Jesus’ eschatological return (2:19; 3:13; 4:15–17; 5:2, 23) • in 1 Cor. 1:7–8, believers are described as awaiting the eschatological revelation and ‘day of our Lord Jesus Christ’, and in 4:1–5 Paul refers to Jesus as ‘the Lord’ whose coming will render judgment major issues • Paul and the earthly Jesus • the Jesus whom Paul proclaims and serves was obviously the resurrected and glorified Son of God,Moraine Valley Community College St Paul Explains Christology Discussion • but what was Paul’s acquaintance with, and attitude toward, the earthly Jesus who went about in Galilee? • in a few places Paul cites words of Jesus, • perhaps quoting from some written collection of Jesus’ teachings or from oral tradition (e.g. 1 Cor. 7:10–11; cf. Mark 10:2–9), and • he can refer to Jesus’ behaviour as an inspiring example for believers (Rom. 15:3, 7–9; Phil. 2:6–8) • Incarnation? • though most scholars see in Phil. 2:6–8 and in other passages such as Gal. 4:4–6 and Rom. 8:3–4 indications that • Paul saw Jesus as in some way having had a heavenly ‘pre-existence’ • Paul seems to presume acquaintance with what he is asserting in these passages and does not feel the need to defend his statements • if, thus, these passages do express the notion of Christ’s pre-existence, this notion may well not have originated with Paul • there is some evidence that in Jewish traditions of the time ‘pre-existence’ was attributed to some figures, and signified their centrality in God’s purposes • Paul as innovator? • there is evidence that Paul was controversial, as shown particularly in the epistle to Galatians • but here and elsewhere in his epistles (e.g. 2 Corinthians 11) the controversies have to do basically with • his validity as an apostle and whether, as Paul proclaims, • Gentiles are excused from Torah-observance • to other Jewish Christians Paul defends his Gentile mission by invoking christological convictions that are shared by them (e.g. Gal. 2:11–16) • certainly, it appears that he drew implications from these shared convictions that were not seen so readily by others • but, apart from the defence of his gospel of Gentile salvation, Paul shows little indication that his christological convictions were innovative or controversial among the Christians he knew • if this is correct, then his letters are in a sense all the more historically important as reflections of christological convictions widely characteristic of his churches and of at least a good many other Christians as well conclusion • in Paul’s epistles we have • not only his testimonies of his christological beliefs and the piety in which they fitted, but also • invaluable historical evidence of the rapid christological developments that characterized the Christian movement in the earliest years • by the time of Paul’s undisputed letters, written some twenty to thirty years from the death of Jesus, a veritable explosion in christological convictions had taken place • in his conversion to the Christian movement, Paul not only assented to a set of christological beliefs, but became a passionate advocate of them • his epistles are remarkable evidence of the intensity of the Christ-devotion that Paul practised himself and promoted among his churches … Purchase answer to see full attachment Get a 10 % discount on an order above $ 100 Use the following coupon code : NURSING10

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