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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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Otfried Hofius, Der Christushymnus Philipper 2,6Untersuchungen zu Gestalt und Aussage eines urchristlichen Psalms (Tübingen: Mohr, 1991), 63. The translation is: “voluntarily became poor and chose an existence in powerlessness and dishonor.” Ibid. “[He] became a man (v. 7c.d) and in obedience toward the will of God went the way of for others finds ultimate fulfillment in Christ.224 Obedience to Christ’s command to love one another sacrificially, as well as following His example, gains attentive ears as the apostolic community considers the lordship of Christ.225 In Eph 4:32, Paul once again utilizes ajllhvlou~ to depict the ethic of the apostolic community. As Schnackenberg concisely indicates, “‘zueinander,’ unterstreicht die Verpflichtung zur Gemeinschaft.”226 Relationally, this commitment to the community involves humiliation: the way by the cross (v. 8).” Ralph Martin, A Hymn of Christ: Philippians 2:5-11 in Recent Interpretation and in the Setting of Early Christian Worship (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1997), 289Martin argues against such an ethical interpretation of this hymn, proposing instead that the purpose of the hymn in the midst of Paul’s ethical instruction is to call the community to live worthy of Christ’s kenosis, death, and exaltation. His conclusion, however, does not militate against the ethic of community toward one another. Indeed, his conclusion only strengthens the portrait of this ethic.

L. W. Hurtado, “Jesus as Lordly Example in Philippians 2:5-11,” in From Jesus to Paul: Studies in Honour of Francis Wright Beare, ed. P. Richardson and J. C.

Hurd Jr. (Waterloo: Wilfried Laurier University Press, 1983), 125.

Rudolf Schnackenburg, Der Brief an die Epheser, Evangelisch-Katholischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament 10 (Neukirchener-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1982), 215. “‘To one another,’ underscores the commitment to the community.” crhstovth~,227 eu[splagcno~,228 and carizovmeno~.229 Each of these virtues proceeds eij~ ajllhvlou~ in an apostolic community.

Thus, “Aus Güte (crhstovth~) wächst barmherzige Gesinnung

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principle of love is goodness, compassion, and forgiveness eij~ ajllhvlou~. The pattern for the apostolic ethic of forgiveness eij~ ajllhvlou~ is: kaqw;~ kai; oJ qeo;~ ejn Cristw`/ ejcarivsato uJmi`n.231 God’s forgiveness in Christ becomes the pattern by

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555-57. The term points to a deep feeling of compassion.

Markus Barth, Ephesians: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary on Chapters 4-6, Anchor Bible 34a (New York: Doubleday, 1974), 523-24. The term indicates the activity of forgiveness toward others.

R. Schnackenburg, Der Brief an die Epheser, 215.

“From goodness (crhstovth~) grows a merciful attitude (eu[splagcnoi) and from that the will to forgiveness.” “As God in Christ forgave you.” The aorist use of carivzomai refers to God’s forgiveness, and the present tense carizovmenoi refers to the saint’s forgiveness.

M. Barth, Ephesians 4-6, 525.

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carizovmenoi eJautoi~ (Col 3:13).234 Such a construction is “characteristic of extended ethical injunctions in the NT.”235 The apostolic ethic calls for “mutual tolerance” as

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apostolic ethic is found in Christ: kaqw;~ kai; oJ kuvrio~ ejcarivsato uJmi`n, ou{tw~ kai; uJmei`~ (Col 3:13).236 As ajgavph is the suvndesmo~ th`~ teleiovthto~ (Col 3:14),237

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of ajgaphv with ajllhvlwn indicates the reciprocity of love.238 This love produces spiritual strengthening of one another.

This edification involves the pursuit of ta; th`~ oijkodomh`~ th`~ Fritz Rienecker, Linguistic Key to the Greek New

Testament, ed. and trans. Cleon Rogers Jr. (Grand Rapids:

Zondervan, 1976; reprint, 1980), 580-81.

“Bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” The term, ajnecovmenoi, is an admonition to the community to extend love to one another willingly. H.

Schlier, s. v. “ajnevcw ktl.,” TDNT, 1:359.

F. F. Bruce, Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians, 155 n. 134. Here the present participles are utilized in the sense of a command.

“Just as the Lord forgave you, in the same manner also you.” “Love, which is the bond of completeness.” Paul exhorts the community to ajgapa`n ajllhvlou~ in Rom 13:8 and 1 Thess 3:12, 4:9, 18.

eij~ ajllhvlou~ (Rom 14:19).239 It includes the responsibility ajllhvlou~ nouqetei`n (Rom 15:14).240 Here, nouqetevw denotes the activity of a community’s influence upon the mind and will of others in order to set them upon the right path.

Spiritual strengthening in the community also involves “reciprocal comfort,” as Paul suggests when he writes, parakalei`te ajllhvlou~ (1 Thess 4:18, 5:11).241 Spiritual edification involves the ethical imperative, ajllhvlwn ta; bavrh bastavzete (Gal 6:2).242 As a community ajnecovmenoi ajllhvlwn ejn ajgavph/ (Eph 4:2),243 the nature of Christ’s love calls for “helping out those fellow members

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others overcome the temptation to sin is part of the ethic.

Fung indicates that ta; bavrh euphemistically points to a “The things for the building up of one another.” J. Brehm, s. v. “noevw “To admonish one another.” ktl.,” TDNT, 4:1019-1022.





Abraham J. Malherbe, The Letters to the Thessalonians, Anchor Bible 32b (New York: Doubleday, 2000),

278. Paul’s exhortation, “comfort one another,” focuses upon the eternal association of all who are in Christ, even those who have already died. It further points to the comfort of Christ’s return.

“Bear the burdens of one another.” Hans D. Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia, Hermeneia (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979), 299.

“Bearing with one another in love.” James D. G. Dunn, Galatians, 321.

believer’s lapse into sin.245 In this way, the apostolic community joins together to offer spiritual strength to one another.

Other tangible expressions of the principle of love in apostolic ethics include proslambavnesqe ajllhvlou~, kaqw;~ kai; oJ Cristo/~ proselavbeto uJma`~ (Rom 15:7).246 The exhortation informs the relationship between the dunatoi; and the ajduvnatoi in Rome.

Black suggests that the ajduvnatoi are Jewish Christians whose dietary rituals caused them to condemn those who did not

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Christians who condemned the ajduvnatoi for their legalism.247 Paul’s exhortation is for mutual acceptance within the apostolic community. As Christ received them, they should receive one another in community.248 The apostolic approach for the evangelization of Ronald Y. K. Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 284.

“You receive one another, just as Christ received you.”

David Alan Black, Paul, Apostle of Weakness:

Astheneia and Its Cognates in the Pauline Literature (New York: Peter Lang, 1984), 198-206. Moo does not draw such a tight distinction between Jewish and Gentile Christians as the identification of the “strong” and the “weak,” but he rightly indicates that the “dividing line between these two groups was basically the issue of the continuing applicability of the Jewish law.” D. Moo, Epistle to the Romans, 873-75.

postmodern people depends upon a community which follows the principle of Christ’s love for one another as exemplified by Christ Himself. Thus, the principle of apostolic ethics is love and the pattern is Christ.

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The postmodern need for intimacy presents a connecting link between the gospel and postmodernism. In the postmodern world, individuals possess a hunger for community and connection. An apostolic approach seeks to bring ideal community to the hearts of postmodern people.

Indeed, as Leonard Sweet suggests, “relationship issues stand at the heart of postmodern culture.”249 Kenneth Gergen notes that postmodernism leads individuals into “a state of continuous reconstruction.”250 In the flux of interminable meaning, postmodern people seek “a self-identity within a connectional framework of neighborliness, civic virtue, and spiritual values.”251 Middleton and Walsh indicate that postmodern people Leonard Sweet, Post-Modern Pilgrims: First Century Passion for the 21st Century World (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2000), 113.

Kenneth Gergen, The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (New York: Basic Books, 1991), 5-7.

L. Sweet, Post-Modern Pilgrims, 115.

exist in a state of “radical” homelessness.252 The deconstruction of metanarrative is also the deconstruction of reality. As such, postmodern people are “submerged in a world of disorder, senselessness, and madness.”253 They exist in a state of exile, searching for intimacy in a world of violence and isolation.

Postmodern people, in turn, yearn for community that embodies “wholesome, authentic, and healing relationships.”254 Rorty’s espousal of a communal view of understanding promotes the community as the creator of identity, meaning, and value for the individual.255 Rorty suggests that in a world with contingencies rather than truth “loyalty to other human beings clinging together against the dark” is a more appropriate pursuit than the pursuit of truth or the goal of “getting things right.”256 Being informed by the “epistemic undecidability” of Middleton and Walsh, Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be, 145-46.

Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967), 22.

Stanley Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 169.

Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 38;

idem., Essays on Heidegger and Others, 163.

Rorty, Consequences of Pragmatism, 166.

postmodernism, Winquist suggests that “we can no longer develop an ethic in itself.”257 By this, Winquist embraces a postmodern skepticism toward any claim to a universal, absolute ethic. In response to this “epistemic undecidability,” Winquist proposes “paraethics.” He describes “paraethics” as a “belief that life is less beautiful when people are oppressed and disenfranchised.”258 “Paraethics” seeks to “deterritorialize” texts, so that no text has a privileged place.259 With “perspectives that are never absolute,” Winquist proposes that the “becoming of paraethics” is love. This love, however, is “contingent on place and time” and subject to the “finite experience” of relative context.260 The context of the individual, therefore, informs and directs the becoming of “paraethics.” In the view of this writer, an apostolic approach presents a more constructive avenue of ethics. Being informed by the apostolic community of the NT, an apostolic approach seeks to embody the principle of love in Christ.

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and direct the ethics in which one engages,261 apostolic ethics allows the paradigm of Christ unveiled by the Spirit of truth to dictate and direct moral principles and obligations. An apostolic approach, therefore, speaks with “decidability” to the postmodern need for intimacy.

Helmut Anselm describes the necessity of an ethical response to the postmodern generation.262 Anselm indicates that the postmodern generation is an ethical community which needs a stable, concrete way of life. Postmodern ethics is “virtuell” -- “Sie selbst aber ist ‘invisibilis,’ unsichtbar, besistzt keine strukturierenden Institutionen und keine eigenen Organisationsformen.”263 Citing Bauman’s negative view of the postmodern “way-of-life,” Anselm suggests: “die Postmoderne macht uns zu ‘Landstreichen’ im Land der Werte, ethische unbefriedigt, moralisch heimatlos und immer auf der Suche nach dem Anderen, dem Neuen.”264 This evaluation necessitates that the church is to provide a Ibid., 142-43.

Helmut Anselm, “Virtuelle Ethikgemeinschaften und Werteerziehung heute,” Zeitschrift für Evangelische Ethik 41 (1997): 129-136.

Ibid., 133. “It itself, however, is ‘invisible,’ unseeable, possesses no structured institution and no specific form of organization.” Ibid., 129. “The postmodern creates us as “hoboes” in a land of values, ethically unsatisfied, morally homeless and always on the search for the other, the new.” stable, concrete “way-of-life.” This concrete ethic is built upon the principle of love and the pattern of Christ.

Anselm calls for a movement in the church from “virtuelle Ethik-Community” dominated by speeches and theories. He suggests that “kann man den Jugendlichen nicht durch Reden vermitteln, sondern nur durch eigenes Tun, nicht durch Theoretisieren, sondern durch Praktizieren.”265 The practice of an apostolic approach follows the principle of love and the pattern of Jesus Christ modeled by the apostolic church in Acts and in Paul’s use of ajllhvlwn.

The ethic of community focuses upon the ethic of Christ, which is not a theory, but an active engagement of others.

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A community following an apostolic approach to ethics provides a commendable community for people in a postmodern setting. Stanley Hauerwas posits that all human relationships are “splintered and tribal existence” in comparison to a church which reflects an apostolic ethic.266 An apostolic community of love in Christ satisfies the Ibid., 135. “One cannot however mediate to the youth through speeches, but only through specific action, not through theories, but through practice.” Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character: Toward

a Constructive Christian Social Ethic (Notre Dame:

University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), 92.

postmodern yearning for intimate connection. This writer proposes that the commendable community of an apostolic approach to ethics energizes the evangelistic ministry in the postmodern world.



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