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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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On the production of meaning and truth by the community, see Stanley Fish, Is There a Text in This Class?

(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980), 14.

Hans Hübner, “The Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture,” Ecumenical Review 41 (July 1989): 328–29; Stanley Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994), 482-85.

comes to indwell individuals upon their conversion, validates the common bond of salvation for every member of the Christian community.161 The Holy Spirit creates an epistemological bridge to conversion and an experiential unity within the community.

The Spirit of Truth, Conversion, and Community

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conversion as a “reorientation of the soul” which involves a “turning which implies a consciousness that a great change is involved, that the old was wrong and the new is right.”162 In Peter’s Pentecost sermon, the people respond to the gospel with a cry of dismay over their condition (Acts 2:37).163

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In the context of this call for decision, repentance connects the hearer to conversion. Stagg confirms this connection when he declares that metanoevw represents the NT William Neil, Acts of the Apostles, 79; Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit, 260-62; G. W. H. Lampe, The Seal of the Spirit (London: Longmans, 1951), 3-7.

Arthur Darby Nock, Conversion: The Old and New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo (London: Oxford University Press, 1933), 7.

Rienecker, Linguistic Key, 267. Luke’s description, katenuvghsan th;n kardivan, indicates a “painful emotion which penetrates the heart as if stinging.” idea of conversion. He writes, “The call to ‘repentance,’

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conversion mean to change one’s mind and turn toward something or someone else. Indeed, Behm indicates that conversion is “the basic requirement” in the apostolic kerygma, and metanoevw is “the heart of the apostolic mission.”165 Peter clearly presents the connection between metanoevw and ejpistrevfw in Acts 3:19.166 Repentance is to change one’s mind concerning the old way of life, and conversion is to change one’s direction toward God.167

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postmodern person through the work of the Spirit of truth in the evangelistic engagement. The Spirit of truth leads the postmodern person to the acquisition of the truth of the gospel. Wells suggests that evangelism involves “explanation and persuasion relative to Christ” and the truth of the cross. “Biblical conversion is conversion that is brought about by truth.”168

Frank Stagg, New Testament Theology (Nashville:

Broadman, 1962), 118-19.

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shows that the confession of faith identifies the believer to the Lord for the purpose or with the result of salvation.170 The corollary identification in baptism is incorporation as a member of the community of believers.

The believer in baptism numbers “himself with the people who invoke the Name of Jesus” and is incorporated “into the community of those who inherit the Kingdom.”171 The concept of incorporation indicates the nature

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writes, kai; ga;r ejn eJni; pneuvmati hJmei`~ pavnte~ eij~ e{n sw`ma ej baptivsqhmen.172 Here, Paul emphasizes the relationship between “SpiritWilliam Barclay, The Promise of the Spirit (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 58.

George R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962), 102-103. The phrase, eij~ a[fesin tw`n aJmartiw`n uJmw`n (Acts 2:38), should be connected to metanoevw in conjunction with baptivzw. As Bruce (Book of Acts, 70) writes: “It would indeed be a mistake to link the words ‘for the forgiveness of sins’ with the command ‘be baptized’ to the exclusion of the prior command to repent. It is against the whole genius of biblical religion to suppose that the outward rite could have any value except insofar as it was accompanied by the work of grace within.” Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament, 103.

“For in one Spirit we all were baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13a).

baptism” and incorporation into the “body of Christ.” Beasley-Murray takes the phrase, ejn eJni; pneuvmati, to depict agency, so that the Spirit is the “agent of baptism to membership in the Body.”173 Beasley-Murray contends that this verse points directly to “Christian baptism in water.”174 This conclusion presents dangerous implications.

The apparent danger of this view, in this writer’s opinion, is the unlikely identification that water-baptism is Spiritbaptism. Beasley-Murray sees this danger and writes that “there is nothing automatic about this association of baptism and the Spirit” but “the relation of the believer with the Spirit is to be construed in strict analogy with his relation to the Risen Christ.”175 Beasley-Murray, therefore, contends that the reference in this verse is to G. R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament, 169-71. The preposition ejn may signify the dative, locative, or instrumental case. If one sees the locative case in this verse, then pneuvmati is the realm in which believers are baptized. If one sees the instrumental of agency, then pneuvmati is the “agent of baptism to membership in the Body” (167).

Ibid., 169. His arguments include: 1) the work of Christ by His Spirit in baptism for consecration of the believer in 1 Cor 6:11; 2) evidence from Acts in which the primitive church saw the fulfillment of messianic baptism in the outpouring of the Spirit and in the “administration of baptism to those responsive to the gospel” and 3) the connection between Gal 3:27 and this verse which link “baptism to Christ with baptism to the Church.” Ibid., 170.

water-baptism, but it does not refer to water-baptism as a salvific act of the Spirit through water-baptism.

Fee provides a lengthy discussion on this verse.

He suggests that Paul is not referring to water-baptism in

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eJni; pneuvmati as locative, places the emphasis upon conversion when the believer is “immersed in the Spirit.”177 Although Fee’s emphasis on conversion is admirable,

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understands the symbolism of water-baptism (Rom 6:3-11).178 As Fee concedes, however, “the point of reference for the metaphor would be their own baptism (immersion) in water.”179 Fee himself indicates the association between baptism and the reception of the Spirit, which is the “crucial ingredient” of conversion.180 It is therefore reasonable that Paul refers to conversion, calling to his readers’ minds their water-baptism, when he writes ejn eJni; pneuvmati hJmei`~ Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 604-606.

Ibid., 605.

See Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, New

International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids:

Eerdmans, 1996), 359-79.

Ibid., 604 n. 24.

Ibid., 604.

pavnte~ eij~ e{n sw`ma ejbaptivsqhmen.

The significance of this discussion is that Spiritbaptism incorporates believers into the “body of Christ.” Water-baptism is the visible demonstration of this incorporation. Bruce suggests that “faith-union with Christ brought [H]is people into membership of the Spirit-baptized community, procuring for them the benefits of the once-forall outpouring of the Spirit at the dawn of the new age, while baptism in water was retained as the outward and visible sign of their incorporation into Christ.”181

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repentance and baptism provides a transition from Peter’s Pentecost sermon to apostolic community life (Acts 2:41-47).

Gaventa points out that Acts 2:38 “provides a transition to the ensuing narrative of the expansion of the Jerusalem [Christian] community.”182 Those who submit to baptism as an expression of repentance receive the seal of the Spirit.

Conversion which is wrought by the Spirit leads to community

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apostle Paul elucidates the preeminent community ethic in F. F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, New Century Bible Commentary (London: Marshall, Morgan, and Scott, 1971), 121.

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, From Darkness to Light:

Aspects of Conversion in the New Testament (Philadelphia:

Fortress Press, 1986), 98.

his epistle to the Ephesians: e}n sw`ma kai; e}n pneu`ma, kaqw;~ kai;

ejklhvqhte ejn mia`/ ejlpivdi th`~ klhvsew~ uJmw`n: ei|~ kuvrio~, miva pivsti~, e}n bavptisma, ei|~ qeo;~ kai; path;r pavntwn kai; dia; pavntwn kai; ejn pa`sin.183 Through this extensive examination of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, and evangelism, the following foundations

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Spirit unites ejlevgcw with the evangelism of the church.

Third, Peter’s sermon at Pentecost reveals an example of apostolic khvrugma for postmodern people by which the Spirit

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establishes the conviction of postmodern people that the “truth-claims” of the apostolic khvrugma are in fact true.

The Spirit leads postmodern people to conversion through repentance and community through baptism.

“One body and one Spirit, just as also you have been called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who [is] above all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:4-6).


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An apostolic approach for the evangelization of postmodern people has a community focus. Postmodernism has inaugurated the demise of the “autonomous individual” and given way for the exaltation of community. This creates a specific advantage for the contemporary church following an apostolic approach for evangelism in the postmodern milieu.

The influence of community in the postmodern world, however, engenders the notion of truth as a social construct. An apostolic approach depends upon the Spirit as the epistemological bridge toward the access of truth. What, then, is the role of community?

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An examination of the biblical images of an apostolic community serves as a starting point for an analysis of the role of community in an apostolic approach.1 Paul Minear, Images of the Church in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), 268-69. He proposes ninety-six “analogies” of the church in the NT.

This examination is not as exhaustive as Minear’s and These images, drawn from Acts and Paul’s epistles, reveal an apostolic view of the Christian community. Although this is not an exhaustive examination, the premise of this author is that the images of an apostolic community present an evangelistic focus for the apostolic church.

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the NT is ejkklhsiva.2 This is the primary term in Acts.3 Lohse understands ejkklhsiva to mean the “immer handelt es sich in der Versammlung der christlichen Gemeinde um Gottes heileges Volk,”4 and the following images reinforce this concept.

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Trinity provides a fundamental framework for the Christian answer to God’s identity in a postmodern context.5 organizes specifically around a trinitarian motif.

Boyd Hunt, Redeemed! Eschatological Redemption and the Kingdom of God (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1993), 182.

Acts 5:11; 8:1, 3; 9:31; 11:22, 26; 12:1, 5; 13:1;

14:23, 27; 15:3, 4, 22, 41; 16:5; 18:22; 20:17, 28. jEkklhsiva is assumed as the referent in Acts 2:47.

Eduard Lohse, Die Entstehung des Neuen Testaments (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1972), 192.

The translation is:

“yet even more it [ejkklhsiva] presents itself in the gathering of the Christian church as the holy people of God.” Lohse further writes that the local church can represent completely (vollständig) the Church of Jesus Christ.

Stanley Grenz and John Franke, Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context Therefore, as these authors seek to “shape theology in a postmodern context,” they suggest that the Christian community “finds its basis in being and action” within the framework of the Trinity.6 Paul Minear also indicates that the biblical images of the church point “to a realm in which God and Jesus Christ and the Spirit are at work.”7 Clowney furthermore proposes that these images “continually relate the church to the triune God.”8 With this concept in mind, the trinitarian metaphors for the Christian community provide the basis for “being and action” in apostolic approach.

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The “body of Christ” represents one of the major metaphors for the apostolic community. Paul describes the unity of the body amidst the diversity of the membership.9 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 187.


P. Minear, Images of the Church in the New Testament, 223.

Edmund P. Clowney, “Interpreting the Biblical Models of the Church: A Hermeneutical Deepening of

Ecclesiology,” in Biblical Interpretation and the Church:

Text and Context, ed. D. A. Carson (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1984), 76.

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, St. Paul’s Corinth: Texts and Archaeology (Wilmington, DE: Glazier, 1983), 167; idem., Paul: A Critical Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, The Spirit “eliminates the old distinctions,” ei[te jIoudai`oi ei[te {Ellhne~ ei[te ejleuvqeroi, kai; pavnte~ e{n pneu`ma ejpotivsqhmen (1 Cor 12:13).10 The elimination of these symbols of alienation presents an answer to the postmodern quest.

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