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The Church according to Paul: Rediscovering the Community Conformed to Christ
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The Church according to Paul: Rediscovering the Community Conformed to Christ

Author: Thompson, James W.
Your Price: $15.69
Retail Price:$26.99
Your Savings:$11.30(42%)
ISBN: 0801048826 / 9780801048821
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Baker Academic
Release Date: 2014-09-16
Condition: New with remainder mark.
Availability: 5 in stock Free Shipping with $35+ Order

Amid conflicting ideas about what the church should be and do in a post-Christian climate, the missing voice is that of Paul. The New Testament's most prolific church planter, Paul faced diverse challenges as he worked to form congregations. Leading biblical scholar James Thompson examines Paul's ministry of planting and nurturing churches in the pre-Christian world to offer guidance for the contemporary church. The church today, as then, must define itself and its mission among people who have been shaped by other experiences of community. Thompson shows that Paul offers an unprecedented vision of the community that is being conformed to the image of Christ. He also addresses contemporary (mis)understandings of words like missional, megachurch, and formation.

Introduction: Reimagining the Church
1. A Community Like No Other: The Key Themes--from Paul's First Letter
2. Not Just Any Body: The Church and Paul's Corporate Christology
3. The Church Made Visible: Baptism and the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans
4. Spiritual Formation Is Corporate Formation: The Transformative Church in Romans and 2 Corinthians
5. Justification Is about Unification: The Death of Jesus and the People of God in Romans and Galatians
6. "Missional" May Not Mean What You Think: Evangelism and Social Action according to Paul
7. The Universal Church Is the Local Church: Koinōnia according to Paul
8. Discovering the Real Megachurch: Cosmic Church and House Church in the Disputed Letters
9. Leadership Like No Other for a Community Like No Other: Authority and Ministry in the Undisputed Letters
Conclusion: The Church after Christendom


"Always with one foot planted firmly in the academy and the other in the church, James Thompson has given us a highly insightful, theologically rich, and timely study of the apostle Paul's view of the church--one of the best Pauline ecclesiologies in print. Thompson argues compellingly that Paul's first-century vision of the church as a distinctive community speaks clearly to the twenty-first century. This excellent volume should be studied not only by students of Paul but also by all who are (rightly) concerned about the identity and mission of the church today."

Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, St. Mary's Seminary & University, Baltimore, Maryland

"James Thompson's The Church according to Paul is as challenging as it is clever. It is clever because Thompson takes contemporary visions of the church and replaces the language of their proponents with Paul's own language, thereby upturning today's categories. It is challenging because it virtually dares those who are concerned with the state of the church today to rethink the church according to the mind of Paul. All in all, The Church according to Paul is a useful and quite valuable read for anyone interested in either the church or the Bible, perhaps even both."

Raymond F. Collins, visiting scholar, Department of Religious Studies, Brown University

"Diagnoses of the church's problems and prescriptions for its flourishing abound. As James Thompson wisely observes, however, most contemporary discussion of the church shows little evidence of engagement with the letters of Paul. In this careful volume, Thompson studies the church in Paul's words and his work, in the hope that Paul's rich wisdom might have its rightful place in contemporary Christian reflection."

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, distinguished professor of New Testament, Department of Religion, Baylor University

"In this stunning and much-needed study of Pauline ecclesiology, Thompson offers far more than careful historical scholarship concerning the apostle's understanding of church. While his analysis provides a first-class treatment of Paul's letters as first-century documents, he also rediscovers ideas that speak to the contemporary church about its mission and identity in the twenty-first century. The result of Thompson's work is that rare learned book that is grounded in sure-footed and careful biblical scholarship yet speaks powerfully to the church today about its role and outreach to modern society. This is a scintillating achievement that is vital for the church as it seeks to understand its continuing role in the wider secular culture."

Paul Foster, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

"According to Thompson, the crisis facing the Western church is not its survival but rediscovering its purpose. Probing the theological depths of Paul, this book offers a model for the contemporary church that is deeply challenging to the 'emerging' and 'missional' church and to those who see the church as a political action group, for example. Rather, chosen to participate in the destiny of the crucified Lord, the church lives for others. For Paul, the church, as Thompson argues, is characterized by holiness and as an outpost of the world to come--by bringing together different cultures in one community that is both local and ecumenically engaged. This is essential reading for those seeking a model for the contemporary church that is scripturally informed."

Graham H. Twelftree, Charles L. Holman Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, PhD Program Director, School of Divinity, Regent University

"James Thompson applies his exegetical skill, literary sensitivity, and theological acumen to the topic of Paul and the church. He corrects those who emphasize Paul's soteriology but neglect his ecclesiology. Thompson sets that ecclesiology in the context of Paul's theology. Ecclesiology and Christology are thus inseparable.'"

Everett Ferguson, distinguished scholar in residence, Abilene Christian University

"From the seasoned hand of James Thompson, who has already authored excellent books on pastoral ministry and moral formation in the Pauline letters, comes this lucid, timely, and insightful study, The Church according to Paul. Thompson deftly engages the Pauline witness and offers challenging reflections, in light of Paul's writings, about the contemporary ecclesiological context in Europe and North America. For Western Christians attempting to embody a biblically informed vision of the church in a post-Christian culture, there is perhaps no better resource available to stimulate fruitful reflection on Paul's ecclesiology than this gem of a book."

David Downs, associate professor of New Testament studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

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