Michael Gorman: St. Paul’s Epistle to the American Churches

Euangelion | 12/15/2019 | Staff
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In the best display of anachronistic pseudonymity that I’ve read, Michael Gorman’s new book, Participating in Christ: Explorations in Paul’s Theology and Spirituality, includes a letter from Paul to the American churches. You can read the whole “letter” at Christian Century. Here’s part of it:

To be in Christ is also to be an alternative community, even an alternative political community. Your Christian communities need to be more political. I do not mean that you should be trying to grab political power or looking for ways to restore Christendom’s civic muscle and influence. That was and is a really bad idea. Why? Because the central reality of our gospel, the one message I preached everywhere, is Christ crucified—and that is the antithesis of worldly political power.

Christian - Community - Way - World - Way

What I do mean by political is that the Christian community is an alternative way of being in the world, an alternative way of ordering relationships, an alternative “body.” Actually, it is not only an alternative. It is the alternative—a sign of the new creation that God has inaugurated in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This benevolent sabotage is not aimed at the state or any other institution. It is not a Christian takeover, a religiously based coup d’état. The goal of the church is not to take over anything but to be a foretaste of something—the new creation that has come and is coming.

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All of this leads to my third point about being in Christ. To be in Christ as an alternative community is to be a living exegesis, or faithful interpretation, of the gospel. It is to become like Christ and therefore, in a profound sense, to become the gospel by becoming communal commentary on it. That, brothers and sisters, is true fellowship—participation in God’s work.

I lived in the time before Christendom in the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Euangelion
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