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«_ A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the School of Theology Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Fort Worth, Texas _ In Partial ...»

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This aspect of koinwniva establishes the nature of Christ’s death as God’s provision of life, promotes the nature of the future with Christ’s imminent return, provides the nature of the blessings received as part of the community, commends the nature of ethics within the community, and commissions individuals for the continuity Brad Blue, “The Influence of Jewish Worship on Luke’s Presentation of the Early Church,” in Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts, eds. I. Howard Marshall and David Peterson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 488-89.

F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, 73; H. Conzelmann, Commentary on the Acts, 23.

Hans Conzelmann, The History of Primitive Christianity, trans. John E. Steely (Nashville: Abingdon, 1973), 53.

J. Neyrey, “Ceremonies in Luke-Acts,” 375.

and expansion of the community.186 Michael Green suggests that “much about the Christian faith is ‘spiritual’ and hard

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postmodern person visualize the nature of salvation, daily nurture, and future glory in Christ Jesus.

Furthermore, apostolic fellowship includes proseuchv, which denotes the regular petitioning to God for aid.188 Falk suggests that Luke records the adoption of Jewish prayer practices including the appointed prayer times.189 The connection, however, between koinwniva and klavsi~ tou` a[rtou suggests that the devotion to prayer moves beyond the practices of Temple worship.190 Indeed, the tight connection of the fellowship suggests that the apostolic community shares prayer together around the celebration of the common Ibid., 376-77. This conclusion is drawn from Christ’s farewell meal with His followers as the startingpoint of the ceremonial meal of Acts 2:42.

Michael Green, Evangelism Through the Local Church (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1992), 299-300.

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Daniel K. Falk, “Jewish Prayer Literature and the Jerusalem Church in Acts,” in The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting, ed. Richard Bauckham, vol. 4, The Book

of Acts in Its First Century Setting (Grand Rapids:

Eerdmans, 1995), 300.

W. Neil, Acts of the Apostles, 81.

An apostolic approach sees this aspect of koinwniva meal.191 as an “integral part of the Christian movement” and is related “to the growth of the church.”192 DeSilva provides an interesting analysis on the

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“God as benefactor.” For the apostolic community, DeSilva suggests that God goes “far beyond the high-water mark of generosity” through the bestowal of reconciliation to His enemies.193 Furthermore, as the “personal patron to Christians,” God hears and acts upon the specific petitions from “local communities of faith” who enjoy the “privilege of access to God for such timely and specific help.”194 Prayer, therefore, is “the means by which believers can personally seek God’s favor, and request specific benefactions, for themselves or on behalf of one another.”195 The role of th`/ klavsei tou` a[rtou and tai`" proseucai`" in apostolic fellowship presents a valuable picture for the J. Polhill, Acts, 120.

Allison A. Trites, “The Prayer Motif in LukeActs,” in Perspectives in Luke-Acts, ed. C. H. Talbert (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1977), 179.

D. A. deSilva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity, 129.

Ibid., 130-31.

Ibid., 132.

transformation of worldview in postmodern people. Sally Morgenthaler calls for the increased “vertical and horizontal interaction” in community.196 This interaction “provides pathways of contact with a holy and loving God” and “avenues of nurturing, uplifting relationships with those who are called in God’s name.”197 Bruce Thede suggests that the evangelization of postmodern people depends upon more participation and interaction in the community.198 Morgenthaler indicates that postmodern people are searching for an “escape from the perpetual dehumanizing anonymity” of everyday life.199 The common meal and the place of prayer in apostolic fellowship provides such an escape.

For instance, Elmer Towns examines the role of “small-group prayer” during worship. In this approach, the worship leader calls for the congregation to gather in small groups during the worship in order to pray for the needs of one another. Towns writes that this place of prayer Sally Morgenthaler, Worship Evangelism: Inviting

Unbelievers into the Presence of God (Grand Rapids:

Zondervan, 1995), 123.

Ibid., 123.

Bruce Thede, “How One Church Reached Out to Baby Busters,” Worship Leader (July-August 1994): 14.

S. Morgenthaler, Worship Evangelism, 120.

connects people to the love of God and community for them.200 Meeks states that “in order to persist, a social organization must have boundaries, must maintain structural stability as well as flexibility, and must create a unique Through the apostles’ doctrine and koinwniva, the culture.”201 apostolic church transforms worldviews, establishing the boundaries, structural stability, and unique culture of an apostolic community. It is the connection within the community that provides impetus for transformation.

Furthermore, the distinctive nature of the apostolic community promotes evangelism. Elliott suggests that the community represents “the basic social organization through which the gospel advances from Palestine to Rome.”202 Through the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, the apostolic community establishes solidarity for the church’s missionary enterprise.203 Elmer Towns, An Inside Look at Ten of Today’s Most Innovative Churches (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1990), 66-67.





Wayne A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 84.

John H. Elliott, “Temple versus Household in LukeActs: A Contrast in Social Institutions,” in The Social World of Luke-Acts: Models for Interpretation, ed. Jerome H.

Neyrey (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991), 226.

John Koenig, New Testament Hospitality:

Partnership with Strangers as Promise and Mission (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985), 118-23.

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The postmodern person desires intimacy and belonging,204 which can be found in a community following the pattern of ethics in an apostolic approach.205 The apostolic ethics of the community provide a warm environment for the evangelization of postmodern people. This writer seeks to demonstrate the necessity of a commendable community for the evangelization of postmodern people.206 The apostles’ doctrine and koinwniva transform worldviews so that the community becomes “the contemporary embodiment of the paradigmatic biblical narrative.”207 Witness occurs through the “way of life” of the community.

Nicholas Lash proposes that martyrdom is the “performance or enactment of the biblical text: in its ‘active reinterpretation.’”208 In order to overcome the postmodern scepticism of truth, an apostolic approach seeks to Zygmunt Bauman, “What Prospects of Morality in Times of Uncertainty?” Theory, Culture, and Society 15 (February 1998): 11-12.

Thom S. Rainer, Bridger Generation (Nashville:

Broadman and Holman, 1997), 63.

David Wells, God in the Wasteland (Grand Rapids:

William B. Eerdmans, 1994), 29-30.

Ibid., 78-81.

Nicholas Lash, “What Might Martyrdom Mean?” Ex Auditu 1 (1985): 23.

demonstrate the truth of the gospel through the performative interpretation of Scripture in the way-of-life of the apostolic community. In other words, the Christian worldview is “lived-out” through the community of faith, and this presents the “transformative power of Christian ‘martyrdom.’”209 Meeks suggests that “making morals means making community.”210 The premise of this section, however, is that ethics proceed from the demands of the Spirit and the One to whom He bears witness. The Spirit establishes community, and the community adheres to His demands.

The Ethics of Community: Acts 2:44-47 and the Importance of ajllhvlwn in Pauline Paraenesis The description of the apostolic community in Acts presents the ideal paradigm for the ethic of community.

Capper and Schmithals indicate that Luke records the summaries to present the Christian community as an ideal community (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-35).211 These summary Ibid.

Wayne A. Meeks, The Origins of Christian Morality:

The First Two Centuries (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 5. The contention of this writer is that the Spirit forms community, and the morals or ethics that proceed from the community proceed from the demands of the Spirit upon the community as revealed through Scripture.

Brian J. Capper, “The Palestinian Cultural Context of Earliest Christian Community of Goods,” in The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting, ed. Richard Bauckham, vol.

4, The Book of Acts in Its First Century Setting (Grand narratives present a paradigm for all Christian

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the community shares with one another in tangible expressions of love; such as the sale and distribution of personal property to those in need. Unity of the apostolic community leads them to help a[n ti~ creivan ei\cen (Acts 4:35).213 T. B. Maston indicates that there are three aspects to the apostolic ethic in Acts: ethic of the Spirit, ethic of fellowship, and ethic of inclusion.214 The ethic of the Spirit centers on the decision-making within the community of faith recorded specifically in Acts 5:1-11 and 15:1-29.

The fellowship ethic focuses upon the “the concept of sharing.” The ethic of inclusion involves the inclusion of Gentiles in the community (Acts 11:1-18). This apostolic ethic presents a paradigm for the contemporary church.

Although the community of goods in Acts 2 and 4 appear as an Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 324; W. Schmithals, Theology of the First Christians, 334-35.

Alan Brehm, “The Significance of the Summaries for Interpreting Acts,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 33 (Fall 1990): 33.

Ibid., 35. Luke presents the nature of this unity in the summaries with ejpi; to; aujto/ and a{panta koina; (2:44); kardiva kai; yuch; miva and a{panta koina;(4:32).

T. B. Maston, Biblical Ethics: A Guide to the Ethical Message of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation (Cleveland: Word, 1967; reprint, Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1982), 246-53.

occasional concern for the apostolic community, the collection for the poor by Paul and the paranaetic sections of Paul’s epistles extend and amplify the ethic for the Christian community.

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Paul presents the ethic: mhde;n kat j ejriqeivan mhde; kata; kenodoxivan ajlla; th`/ tapeinofrosuvnh/ ajllhvlou~ hJgouvmenoi uJperevconta~ eJautw`n.217 Schnabel indicates that this “modest self-assessment” calls for each member of the community to seek the “advantage of his fellow believers” above personal benefit.218 This is the Gordon Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 115, 106.

See also the ethic of humility in Rom 12:10. Paul writes, th`/ filadelfiva/ eij~ ajllhvlou~ filovstorgoi, th`/ timh`/ ajllhvlou~ prohgouvmenoi. The translation is: “Loving dearly one another with brotherly love, outstretching one another with honor.” Here, prohgouvmenoi indicates the desire to be the best at giving honor to one another. BAGD, s. v. “prohgevomai,” 706.

“Nothing according to ambition and not according to vanity, but with humility considering the others better than himself.” Eckhard J. Schnabel, “How Paul Developed His Ethics,” in Understanding Paul’s Ethics: Twentieth Century Approaches, ed. Brian Rosner (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), principle of love as sacrificial service for one another.

–  –  –

2:5-11). Beginning with the conception of Christ’s preexistence (o{~ ejn morfh`/ qeou` uJpavrcwn),219 the logic of the hymn moves to the One who eJauto;n ejkevnwsen morfh;n douvlou labwvn and schvmati euJreqei~ wJ~ a[nqrwpo~ (Phil 2:7).220 This logic presents “prior existence as God.”221 Christ “freiwillig arm wurde und ein Dasein in Machtlosigkeit und Entehrung wählte.”222 Christ “ein Mensch wurde (V. 7c.d) und im Gehorsam gegen den Willen Gottes den Weg der Erniedrigung ging: den Weg an das Kreuz (V. 8).”223 The apostolic ethic of sacrificial service 291-92.

“Who existing in the form of God.” This translation follows Gordon Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, 202-204. Fee considers morfh; to be “that which truly characterizes a given reality” (204). The use of uJpavrcwn points to real existence (202). See also, James D.

G. Dunn, Christology in the Making: A New Testament Inquiry into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1980), 114-20. He views this passage merely a depiction of Christ’s humanity.

“He emptied himself receiving the form of a slave” and “being found in outward appearance as a man.” G. Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, 203.



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